Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/451/5397
Young = exploited
ISR takes to the streets!
ISR on the Central London demonstration against the Israeli IDF onslaught
Swansea ISR members held a protest on 22 July against the brutal Israeli bombardment of Lebanon. In just over an hour we managed to speak to over 50 young people by going round where they hang out with the petition and leaflets.
We had a great response and virtually everyone signed and took a leaflet. Young people are anti-war even when they didn't know much about what was going on (however most had seen the news and were horrified). They agreed with us that this war was not in the interests of workers and youth on both the Lebanese and Israeli sides. Many almost instinctively responded to our call for workers' unity against Israeli aggression (backed by US imperialism) and the corrupt elites in countries like Lebanon.
ISR members from around the South West came to Bristol on 29 July to campaign against low pay and the unequal minimum wage for young people. We had a lot of interest in our 'wall of shame' which listed low-paying employers and the wages they were paying.
One young apprentice (exempt from the minimum wage) had earned as little as £2.50 an hour whilst others received similarly poor wages, mostly in retail and catering. A 22-year-old who worked in a shoe shop chain, getting paid just £4.74, well below the adult minimum wage.
However, even this is more than she would have been entitled to on the derisory minimum wage for under 22 year-olds. This is a shop that sells shoes at over £100 a pair but refuses to pay a living wage.
After we finished the stall we distributed ISR Know Your Rights at Work cards to young workers in local shops.
In McDonald's one ISR member had to distract the manager whilst others gave the cards to the workers. Most young workers we spoke to were unhappy with their wages but said they would be hesitant to challenge their bosses for fear of being sacked. This shows how exploited young people are.
We now hope to develop the campaign by approaching other workplaces about the need for collective action to win better pay and conditions.
Hannah Seaman and Tom Baldwin
Wednesday lunchtime shoppers were hit by an unfamiliar sight in Huddersfield last week, as hordes of people stopped in the sun not to buy, but to sign and talk.
They came over to the Huddersfield ISR low pay stall to discuss their experiences as under-paid workers, sign our petition calling for a fairer minimum wage and examine and discuss our large, bright 'Shame your Boss' board.
Workers of all ages, from students in part-time retail jobs to parents and lecturers in full-time work, agreed with our demands and many enthused about our campaign, one man exclaiming "I want to join this thing!" while pointing at the low pay leaflet he'd been given.
The stall was even big enough to get a reaction from a local shop manager, who was adamant that young people get paid what they deserve. She soon left; humbled.
It was the first push in Huddersfield towards a public meeting on 29 August, which we aim to use to start the first ISR branch in the town, as well as discuss in depth the issues we bring up at these stalls.
Leeds ISR held its first 'Low Pay, No Way' day of action on 22 July. For most members this was their first public campaigning and despite some nervousness, was a success.
We set up an excellent stall, much to the irritation of managers standing in a nearby O2 shop with no customers, with ISR material and GMB and Amicus leaflets on low pay and working conditions.
Unfortunately the heavens opened for the first time in weeks, but the rain didn't dampen our enthusiasm and we decided to carry on, with some members handing out leaflets and others with clipboards asking the public their opinion on the minimum wage, whether they would sign a petition and giving them information on their rights at work and about the relevant trade unions for their work sector.
As a result there were hundreds of ISR leaflets handed out and a number of youth joined or gave their email details for us to follow up later, and around a dozen people joined Amicus.
In The Socialist 10 August 2006:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news