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25 June 2014

Them & Us

National scandal

The Living Wage Commission has called for one million workers to enjoy a 'living wage' by 2020. Chairman Archbishop Sentamu said: "Working and still living in poverty is a national scandal."

Currently, the living wage is 7.65 an hour and 8.80 in London - 20% higher than the minimum wage of 6.31. The Socialist Party campaigns for a 10 an hour minimum wage. Across the UK only 712 employers are accredited as paying a living wage, while the biggest employer of low paid people is the government.


Short changed

OK, so low paid workers are angry about continual wage freezes but spare a thought for a former mortgage trader at investment bank Goldman Sachs. Deeb Salem is miffed that his $8.25 million bonus in 2010 was $5 million short of what he expected. The trader who pocketed more than $35 million over six years has filed an arbitration complaint.


Government distress

Replacing the Disability Living Allowance in April 2013 with the Personal Independence Payment caused unnecessary distress to thousands of people says the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

Claimants have been subjected to notoriously unfair work capability assessments by private government contractors Atos and Capita.

The reassessment of 1.7 million DLA claimants began last October but was halted after a 780,000 backlog built up, with many claimants having to wait more than six months for a decision.


Bad news

Three Al-Jazeera journalists have been jailed for seven years in Egypt after a farcical trial found them guilty of spreading "false news" in support of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood government of President Morsi.

It was a political trial as Al-Jazeera is funded by the Gulf state of Qatar which backed the previous Muslim Brotherhood government.

Since a military coup led by armed forces chief al-Sisi seized power in July 2013, hundreds of Brotherhood and other opponents have been killed and thousands arrested. 65 journalists have been imprisoned, and 14 are currently languishing in Egypt's notorious jails.

US Secretary of State John Kerry described the sentences as "chilling and draconian". However, it hasn't stopped Barack Obama's administration from unblocking $1.5 billion military and financial aid to the Egyptian regime.


Stop Press: David Cameron's former spin doctor, Andy Coulson, has been found guilty of phone hacking charges while he was editor of the News of the World. Unbelievably, his predecessor, and friend of the prime minister, Rebekah Brooks, was cleared of four related charges.

Coulson had previously given evidence as a prosecution witness in the libel trial which convicted Scottish socialist Tommy Sheridan.

More in a future issue of the Socialist.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18836




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