Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/360/5926
Young workers fight to End Low Pay
SOME OF the most exploited sections of Britain's workforce are young people. If you are under 22 you're not eligible for the full minimum wage, at present £4.50p an hour. If you're between 18-21 there is a minimum wage of £3.80 an hour. However, if you're 16 or 17 the minimum wage is a miserly £3.00 per hour from 1 October.
Michael Wainwright (ISR London)
Shamefully though, there is still no legal minimum wage if you are under 16. The ISR (International Socialist Resistance) is fighting for a living wage for all young workers.
We are campaigning to unite the heavily casualised workforce to challenge the scandal of low pay. The enormous response that our campaign has received, even at this early stage, shows the growing anger and determination amongst young workers to stand up to the bosses.
ISR in London has organised regular street stalls in central London, Hackney, Angel Islington and Brixton where workers of all ages have flocked to the stalls to sign petitions and provide contact details.
This campaign is beginning to steer young people towards trade unionism and workforce unity. These fundamental concepts of working-class solidarity and organised labour are vitally important as they will instil confidence and a realisation that real victories can be won.
A series of local meetings are planned for the different local areas, which have been targeted by the campaign, with the aim of sparking off activity and action against low pay and poor conditions.
A London-wide day of action on 17 September has been organised. We aim to gain support from the trade unions as well as galvanising the many young people who are interested in our campaign.
All it would take would be one small victory in a workplace for there to be a surge in similar struggles throughout workplaces in London and the rest of the country. The Low Pay campaign can only flourish if it aims not just to win better wages and conditions in the workplace but to raise the need for a socialist alternative to the rule of the bosses.
The key demands that the campaign calls for, such as the right to quality training with a decent job at the end and an £8 an hour minimum wage, can only be realised if the capitalist system itself is challenged.
Young workers are now, more than ever, aware of their exploitation but they often feel helpless without the tools to fight against it. ISR are starting the important process of arming young workers with the only weapon that can defeat the system of poverty - socialism.
International Socialist Resistance
ISR IS an international anti-capitalist organisation run by and for young people.
As well as in England, Wales and Scotland, we have groups in Northern and Southern Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, France, Greece, South Africa, Kashmir, Brazil, Australia, USA and more.
We initiated the idea of school and college strikes against the war and helped to organise many of them.
We also campaign against low pay, the destruction of the environment, against the commercialisation and privatisation of our education against racism and on many other issues.
If you would like to join/get more info on ISR and link up with young people internationally: 020 8988 8791
In The Socialist 4 September 2004:
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis