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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 February 2013

Getting organised can change things for low-paid workers

Hannah Parker

After months of illegal shift patterns and being expected to work without breaks under a bullying management at my workplace (as previously reported in the Socialist), things are looking up.

The minimum-wage bar staff called an all-staff meeting with management to discuss the disgraceful working conditions we were facing.

I worked the night the company who run my pub took the most money it has ever in its history. The manager on duty was offered a bonus.

But, as me and my workmates have discussed, he didn't pull a single pint or serve a single plate of food that night! So why is he getting the bonus and we aren't even getting paid for our breaks?

The line from management was that we were the lowest of the low, it's what we should expect as bar staff and if we didn't like it we could leave and there were hundreds who could take our place.

But we have shown we're not as disposable as they'd like to suggest. During the staff meeting we were offered a number of concessions.

The changes haven't been properly implemented yet and we are going to need a fight to have what we were promised put in place.

It is starker than ever now that to make them stick to their word the workers must join a union that can support us and ensure the changes are made while also helping us move forwards.

This is a positive and big step for young people with little previous knowledge of the role of a trade union in the workplace.

The Youth Fight for Jobs 'Sick Of Your Boss?' underemployment initiative has a huge role to play now in my workplace.

We need to build on the confidence the workers have found from taking on management once. 'Sick Of Your Boss?' can show that young people in small workplaces do not have to fight alone.

Wider struggle

Although making gains in a workplace can have a positive effect on the staff there, this has to be linked to an on-going struggle against Con-Dem austerity.

All the positive changes in my workplace and in others taking up similar struggles don't change the fact that 90% of bar workers live on the minimum wage.

We are low-paid despite the unsociable hours, the dangers of the job and the added costs and difficulties of working late nights such as needing taxis or having to walk home alone at night.

Young people are stuck at the bottom of the heap and in recent years have seen huge reductions in their working conditions and an increase in bosses who 'fire at will'.

Sky-rocketing unemployment is used to intimidate young people into not fighting back against unpaid overtime and long shifts without breaks.

The fight for decent rights, a decent wage and against the squeeze of living standards from both big businesses trying to increase their profits and the government will not be won one workplace at a time but by workers, young and old, fighting together!

Enough is enough! We demand:

Are you sick of your boss? Join the campaign ...

Text 'join', plus your name and post code to 07749379010 and we'll get in touch!
Twitter - @youthfight4jobs Facebook - 'Youth Fight for Jobs'

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In The Socialist 20 February 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Toxic Tories - Time to fight their cuts and lies

Government on the back foot after workfare ruling

Stop social cleansing: Cap rents, not benefits

Food adulteration - government cutbacks and capitalist profits

Self-regulation: 'Like having the burglars install your locks'

Bosses take tax liberties

Action needed to end caste discrimination

Free trade agreement means NHS privatisation

Them & Us

Southampton feature

Fighting for a real alternative to cuts

Councillors' contempt exposed

International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Democratic Socialist Movement conference

Kazakhstan: Vadim Kuramshin faces 12-year jail sentence after appeal denied

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS branch supports 24-hour general strike call

Prison officers protest outside parliament

No pay cuts at Thera!

Tyne & Wear metro cleaners up the ante

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Mid Staffs hospital scandal: Cuts, PFI and big business to blame

Coventry: 'We need to fight now to save our services'

Getting organised can change things for low-paid workers

Caerphilly says 'bring back our A&E!'

Save our Services demo in Newcastle attracts 3,000

Carlisle: Demands to 'tax the rich' hit a nerve

London NHS

Socialist Students holds first North West conference

Nepal: The forgotten revolution

Socialist Party campaigning news

Socialist Party review

Review: "It's time to take over the banks"


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