Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/815/18801
Bakers call for £10 minimum wage
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Youth Fight for Jobs
The June Bakers' Food and Allied Workers' Union (BFAWU) conference called for a living wage of £10 an hour for all workers.
Members of the audience clapped and cheered when the union's president, Ian Hodson, made the call in his opening address to conference.
Delegates were clearly enthused by news of victory for the 15 Now campaign in Seattle, and the increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour in that city.
Almost 100 copies of the Socialist, with Seattle's campaign featured on the front page, were enthusiastically snapped up by delegates.
The minimum wage demand was particularly important as the bakers' union had recently launched the Fast Food Rights initiative, working alongside campaigns including Youth Fight for Jobs, with the aim of organising (mostly non-unionised) fast food workers to fight for better pay and conditions.
The Fast Food Rights coalition, launched a few months ago, has held a series of days of action, and called for an end to zero-hours contracts, a living wage for all workers and trade union rights.
Youth Fight for Jobs
Members of Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) attending and speaking at the conference were greeted warmly by delegates and there was a real sense of optimism about prospects for developing Fast Food Rights.
BFAWU members had also gained enormous confidence from a victory a little closer to home. In September, following strike action over a number of weeks, Wigan Hovis workers defeated zero-hours contracts.
As general secretary Ronnie Draper put it in his speech: "We won't accept any fudged compromises on zero-hours contracts. We want secure jobs paid a living wage."
Now the task is to fight to make this a reality everywhere. Get involved in YFJ and Fast Food Rights and help us build that fightback today.
- See the video of Claire speaking at the BFAWU conference at www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18752
We are fortunate in our union to have two left leaders: Ronnie Draper as general secretary, and Ian Hodson as president. Both spoke with passion calling for the TUC to push for a 24-hour strike, and calling on the Labour Party, if elected, to scrap the hated bedroom tax, end zero-hour contracts, and for a £10 an hour minimum wage.
They went on to vilify the Tories for the large rise in food banks, and attacked the right-wing press. Ian called on everyone to read the Socialist!
A motion to vote Labour in the general election to get rid of the Tories was passed. I spoke against this motion, putting forward TUSC as an alternative. Within the union I felt there was interest in TUSC.
Ricky Tomlinson spoke about the injustices done to the Shrewsbury 24. I urge everyone to find out more and to support the campaign.
Overall it was an enjoyable conference and I can't wait for next year.
Steven Nevin, Socialist Party member and BFAWU shop steward
In The Socialist 18 June 2014:
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