Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/831/19595
The Socialist 29 October 2014 |
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Fighting for better pay for workers
BFAWU president Ian Hodson (with megaphone) on a Fast Food Rights protest (Click to enlarge)
Ian Hodson, President, Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Tory chancellor George Osborne has evil plans for those on low incomes. Most benefit claimants are actually in work. Osborne's austerity measures are just a programme of wealth protection for the rich. Trusting George Osborne is fatal if you're on a low to middle income.
So why is his rhetoric not challenged? The answer is simple: we aren't being presented with a credible alternative, particularly from the Labour Party.
Just when Labour appears on the verge of some vote-worthy policies - it blows it by announcing a fiscal policy that just continues Tory austerity. Labour believes it can win the election by saying Labour arsenic is less poisonous than Tory cyanide. Good luck with that in May.
Austerity doesn't reach bankers, spivs and speculators. Bonuses skyrocket. The distribution of wealth and earnings gulf between those at the top and those at the bottom is a disgrace, and the time has come to take steps to address this.
£10 an hour
I'm proud to be national president of a trade union that not only fought and beat the use of zero-hour contracts, but is calling for a £10 an hour minimum wage. The taxpayer tops up the incomes of those whose profitable employers are too greedy and selfish to pay properly. That money could sustain the public services that people rely on.
If hugely profitable companies cannot take social responsibility, it should be forced on them. No ifs, no buts. Nobody should be priced out of sending their children to university, freeze through winter in an unheated home, or rely on a food bank or payday loan because of poor wages.
Paying people a wage they can live on would cut the welfare bill, improve people's wellbeing and ease pressure on the NHS in one fell swoop.
You won't hear this from the establishment, as it would mean redistributing wealth, and working people enjoying confidence and high self-esteem. That in itself should encourage people to push harder than ever for better pay and equalisation of income, as well as making different political choices.