Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/357/5887
Fight For Your Rights
Fight Low Pay
"THE RESPONSE we've had campaigning against low pay has been amazing", Suzanne Beishon from Hackney International Socialist Resistance (ISR) told the socialist. "We've done two stalls so far - one at HMV on Oxford Street, and one outside the shopping centre in Angel. Both were really good. We got loads of names, mostly people signing because they were low paid, or because they were looking for work and being treated like crap. Loads of students were giving us donations of £1 or £2.
"On the stall at Angel we had a 'wall of shame' where people could write down what their employers were paying them, and peanuts sprinkled on the table so that people could take them.
"Quite a lot wanted to join the campaign and we're thinking about organising a meeting to explain to people about knowing their rights, why they should join a trade union and how to get organised where they work. Over the summer we're going to try and target one of the big chains of shops that pays badly, going to all the different branches in London."
The cheap labour economy hits young people hardest. Poverty pay is the norm for many young people. So are casual, insecure jobs with no prospects or training. Food, rent and travel doesn't cost any less if you're young. But the government claims that workers under 22 need 70p less an hour to live on. They have set the minimum wage at £4.50 an hour for workers who are 22 and over, while the minimum for 18-21-year-olds is £3.80 an hour!
Millions of workers are being paid poverty wages by Scrooge employers who are only interested in one thing - making more profit. An average Tesco worker earns £13,598 a year - 181 times less than the chief executive, who 'earns' £916,000 a year basic salary. On top of this, in 2002 he received 'additional benefits' bringing his total pay package to £2.8 million!
But who produces the profits in Tesco's and other major companies? It is workers, not the executives, who produce the goods, process them, transport them, build the stores, stack the shelves and make sure the money is collected at the tills. International Socialist Resistance will be out on the streets this summer campaigning for a living wage for all.
If you're fed up of being paid peanuts; if you're fed up of being treated like dirt by employers who just want cheap labour: join the campaign, join a trade union and fight for your rights at work!
In The Socialist 24 July 2004:
Socialist Party news and analysis