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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2001

No To Low Pay

Break The Chains Of Poverty

LAST WEEK I met an 18-year-old girl who was on the same training course as me. Before she was 18 she worked in a sandwich bar opposite a Birmingham factory and was paid 2 an hour.

Clare Wilkins, Birmingham

She had to buy her apron out of her wages. This cost 25. Her take home pay was 30 a week, and out of this 9 was taken up getting to and from work.

When she got a job in the canteen at a large office, she worked six days a week and was over the moon to earn 130 a week. There is no minimum wage for under-18s and for under-21s it is 3.70 an hour.

The effect of this is to lower the expectations of young people about what they will earn.

This is a deliberate tactic to hold down the wages for ordinary workers. An ICM poll in last Sunday's Observer newspaper shows that 52% of high earners support Blair and only 17% Hague and the Tories.

This shows who New Labour are interested in. None of the main parties have anything to offer low-paid workers.

Only a minimum wage of over 7 an hour, which the European commission says is necessary to guarentee the basic requirements of life in Britain, can lift low-paid workers out of poverty.

A recent report by Mintel revealed that almost two thirds of 16- to 25- year-olds are now in debt - with nearly a quarter of 20- to 24-year-olds owing at least 3,000.

Britain has become an even less equal society during the last four years than it was under the Conservatives, according to the government's own annual Family Expenditure survey, with incomes amongst the richest 20% rising at 2.8% a year, double the rate of the poorest 20%.

LAST SATURDAY Leicester Socialist Party members and members of the Leicester Radical Alliance took to the streets campaigning for Socialist Party member Steve Score, Leicester West Socialist Alliance election candidate.

Campaigning on the issue of low pay, they made a big impact with plenty of placards and people wearing manacles and chains etc in front of a huge display with the slogan: "No to low pay: Break the chains of poverty".

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In The Socialist 25 May 2001:

Keep The Private Vultures Out

Break The Chains Of Poverty

Labour's union links crack at seams

Asylum - Labour and Tories up the stakes

Fat Cat at Wakefield Mayor's Ball

Socialist Alliance hits the airwaves

Students and Socialist councillors fight fees' threats

Green Party - A serious Left alternative?

Plaid Cymru - good old fashioned socialism?

SNP: Standing up for big business

Law and order: Soft on a criminal system

No to a bosses' Europe: Fight for workers' unity

Middle East - Edging closer to all-out war


 

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Related links:

Low pay:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleTories retreat on pay cap

triangleThree week Argos strike ends

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

Poverty:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

trianglePoverty, repression and fightback on the docks

triangleMajor attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

Pay:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Leicester:

triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

triangleSave Glenfield heart centre

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