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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 June 2014

Them & Us

Austerity kills

Research in the British Journal of Psychiatry has shown that during the first two years of recession following the world capitalist financial meltdown in 2007, an additional 10,000 suicides were recorded across Europe and North America. Prior to the crash, suicide rates had been falling in Europe.

Experts point to unemployment, evictions and rising debt as the main risk factors leading to suicide during the recession.

Discount pay

Discount chain stores B&M, headed by former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, pays 68% of its 17,000-strong workforce the paltry minimum wage. The company's stock market flotation prospectus says the raising of the minimum wage last October to a paltry 6.31 an hour from 6.19 had cost it 1.4 million. Yet the profitable company (valued at 2.8 billion) can afford to shell out 50 million in fees to City 'advisers' in its stock market listing.

Waiting lists

As the NHS continues to crumble under the hammer blows of funding cuts and privatisation the number of people waiting for treatment has hit three million for the first time in six years.

Pay revolt

While NHS workers' pay rises are either being frozen or allowed to rise by a maximum of 1% by the government health bosses' pay continues to rocket. Some health trust executives have scooped 40,000 bonuses, pay increases of up to 30,000 and perks worth up to 10,000. Little wonder then that health workers are balloting to strike for a living wage.

Child mortality

Among the advanced capitalist countries the UK has one of the highest child mortality rates. Bournemouth University research reckons that 1,827 children's lives could have been saved if the UK simply met the Western average. The researchers put the cause of such a high mortality rate as due to high income inequality and a poorly funded National Health Service (NHS).

Class sizes

The mass media's fixation with alleged religious extremism in schools has been accompanied with an under-reporting of the huge rise in primary school class sizes. One in eight primary school pupils in England are being taught in classes over 30 children - above the government's statutory maximum.

When the coalition came into office there were around 1,000 infant classes of over 31 pupils. This year the figure has soared to nearly 3,000.

Collective gains

What's the point of joining a trade union? Well, on average, a trade union member earns 4,000 a year more than a non-union worker. Non-unionised workers are more likely to suffer wage cuts, zero-hour contracts and worse terms and conditions of employment.

Stop press: One Housing Group (OHG) worker and Unite convenor Bryan Kennedy has been sacked following his suspension and a disciplinary hearing. Last week, fellow Unite members took four days of industrial action in support of Bryan. OHG has a history of harassing and sacking trade union representatives.

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In The Socialist 18 June 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Strike back for a living wage

Report shows huge support for taxing rich

Survey shows potential for new mass workers' party

Them & Us

Kshama Sawant to speak at Socialism 2014

International socialist news and analysis

Iraq: Oil war's bloody legacy

Brazil: Upsurge in struggles of workers and homeless

Socialist Party workplace news

How should the RMT maintain Bob Crow's tradition?

Unison local government members want action on pay

Bakers call for 10 minimum wage

Escalation of FBU dispute begins

Lambeth College indefinite strike

Safety Glass workers strike for a real pay rise

Trades council conference: workers won't wait for TUC

Workplace news in brief

Come to the NSSN conference on 5 July

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition campaign reports

Rhydyfelin library saved

Nottinghamshire fire cuts - "pushed to breaking point"

Orgreave 30th anniversary - solidarity and celebration

Birmingham: new Socialist Party branch

Socialist Party Summer Camp 2014

Readers' comments and reviews

"Self-employed" and exploited

Book review: The man who loved dogs

Letters to the Socialist


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