The Socialist 8 August 2012
Our health, not their wealth!
Them & Us
Cash for contracts?
Cat Reilly, the unemployed graduate who took the government to court over their slave labour 'workfare' schemes, has lost her case.
The decision came just a week after the latest scandal related to the work-for-your-dole schemes. The Employment and Skills Group is one of the private companies with workfare contracts - paid public money to 'get people back to work'. The company is more than 50% owned by a company set up by John Nash and Ryan Robson, who just happen to be considerable donors to the Conservative Party. A spokesperson assured us that the donations didn't help secure the contracts in any way. If you say so.
The Atos Games
A recent parliamentary question found that 31 people died in a three year period while appealing against decisions that they were fit to work. Also, 32 people die on average every week who Atos, the private company with a £100 million a year government contract to carry out working capability assessments, have determined can be helped back to work in the medium term. Disgracefully, Atos is sponsoring the Paralympics.
Campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts is organising the Atos Games from 27-31 August.
The big business press was very excited by a recent study showing that many European countries have successfully reduced their 'labour costs'. According to the report, the costs of 'labour per unit' have fallen significantly in some of the countries worst hit by the crisis - 5.3% in Ireland, 4.4% in Spain and 3.6% in the UK. Of course 'reduced labour costs' really means slashing the jobs, wages and conditions of workers to increase profits.
A London housing association, One Housing, is threatening to cut its support workers' pay by up to £8,000 a year - 30% of their income. This would be devastating for already low-paid workers. Many will struggle to keep up with mortgage or rent payments - ironic considering One Housing claims it wants to increase its work with the homeless.
These workers have already been through a four-year pay freeze. Unsurprisingly, the executives of the association - and their salaries of up to £135,000 a year - were exempt from this.
(all figures from New Scientist 28 July)
In this issue
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis