The Socialist 20 June 2012
Fight their profit system
Them & Us
The government will stop at no dirty trick to scare people away from taking strike action. The lowest paid workers are having yet another safety net stripped away - under the new Universal Credit system they will no longer be able to claim working tax credits if their income drops due to taking part in strikes. The fact that the government thinks this will be enough to put people off says a lot about how low paid many workers are.
Never mind the fact that the measly benefits on offer don't amount to anywhere near what most of these workers would lose in a day's pay. Never mind the point of the benefit in the first place - to make sure there's a somewhere-near-decent minimum income for workers. No, the most important thing for work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith and his cronies is attacking our democratic right to strike.
The private sector is the modern way, right? 'The market' will make sure prices are kept down and standards are pushed up. Or so they say. But the government has been forced to accept that it doesn't always work that way. They're having to reorganise the scheme that provides free milk for under fives because the prices have been so inflated by outsourcing to private companies.
The cost of the scheme has doubled in three years with the average spent per pint of milk being 60p last year compared to 45p retail. Some areas are claiming nearly £1 per pint - even Cameron and Osborne know the price of milk shouldn't be that high!
A former boss of Kent county council got a payout of £420,000 when she was made redundant after only 16 months in the job. She must have done something really spectacular to deserve that, you might think.
And in a way she did - she cut £340 million worth of jobs and services - leaving 1,500 workers on the dole. Somehow we doubt their redundancy package was quite so generous.
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