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From The Socialist newspaper, 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.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 25 June 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

10 July: All out to end poverty pay

Western hypocrisy as Iraq disintegrates

Blame the profit system not its victims!

NHS: The world's best - but for how long?

Miliband - the emperor with no clothes

Poverty Britain

Them & Us


Socialist Party review

Thomas Piketty: The new Marx?


International socialist news and analysis

Hong Kong: Pro-Beijing newspaper attacks socialists

Israel: Nationalist thugs assault CWI members


Socialist Party workplace news

How can Unite lead fight against cuts?

Reinstate Bryan Kennedy!

Unison conference: members call for united action

GMB members question Labour link

Safety Glass strikers demonstrate their strength

National Museum Wales strike

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

People's Assembly demo shows anti-austerity anger

South Yorkshire 'Freedom Riders' attacked by police

Fighting for young people in Blackwall and Cubitt Town

Victory! York socialists win university letting agency

Tottenham: Stop fascist attacks

Winning recruits for socialism

Tax dodgers feel the heat


Readers' comments

Supermarket price wars

A day in the life of a supermarket worker


Socialist history

When Thatcher unleashed her attack dogs


Obituary

Gerry Conlon: Fighter against state injustice


 

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Related links:

Minimum wage:

triangleWorkers need a 'new deal' - at least 12 an hour now!

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

triangleThe minimum wage must go up! Fund coronavirus workers, not bosses' profits!

triangleEssential workers deserve more

triangleAverage wages recover to pre-crisis levels - but we're still over a decade behind

Government:

triangleHong Kong: The fight for democratic rights

triangleNo going back: Nationalise social care!

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Socialist:

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: The collapse of stalinism

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: The socialist case for nationalisation

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Class struggle and the role of the working class in changing society

Trial:

triangleTV review: The Trial of Christine Keeler

triangleHong Kong protests: No let-up in trial of strength

Claimants:

triangleJobcentre reopening: only union struggle will put safety first

Andy Coulson:

triangleQuiz of the year

David Cameron:

triangleThe Cameron Tory legacy

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