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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 August 2015

Behind the elegant walls

Bath, Somersert, photo from Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)

Bath, Somersert, photo from Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

The city of Bath, a popular tourist attraction, returned a big Tory majority at the general election. But behind the elegant surface of Bath's Georgian walls is a workforce that is ready to be politicised.

Many workers, often living below the minimum wage, cram into small rooms and are financially bled by private landlords. Homelessness has also risen while many local working class families are forced to leave because of high property prices and rents.

The growing tourist industry has made the hotel sector into one of the most lucrative areas of business development, promoted by the city council. A big percentage of the workforce is employed in the hotel service sector. Most are paid the minimum wage, some less; others work zero-hour contracts or even get no contract at all. Many hotel workers receive no sick pay.

Some owners adopt illegal practices by stealth, making workers accept by threatening job losses (with no employer reference on dismissal). Many worry that retirement will bring them little or no pension - this makes employees work significantly past their 'official' retirement age.

Most hotel workers are not at present members of unions. One woman working in housekeeping told me: "I can't afford to pay the membership but even if I did I'd lose my job, for being seen as a trouble-maker".

The Socialist Party's role in aiding workers in their fight for justice could be crucial. Many low-paid workers are ready to struggle and would feel the benefit of talking with others in similar situations who understand their plight.

Kit Jenkins, Bath

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In The Socialist 5 August 2015:


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Jeremy Corbyn: Thousands rally to anti-austerity appeal

Health trusts told 'don't fill posts' - stop NHS cuts!

Abolish the House of Lords!

Police spying: campaigners demand full disclosure

Fiddling finance capital in the dock

Rent hikes make housing unaffordable

Them & Us


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Human tragedy of Calais crisis

Personal care budgets: more choice for service users?


Socialist history

Hiroshima - 70 years on


International socialist news and analysis

China at a turning point


Workplace news

Kill the bill! Join the NSSN lobby of the TUC

National Gallery strike: all-out art action

Rail shutdowns step up: second tube strike, 72-hour Great Western walkout

National Museum Wales strike against pay cut

Traffic wardens strike for sick pay

Workplace news in brief

Fighting the anti-union laws


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Bath: behind the elegant walls


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaigning to end the housing crisis

Lincoln demonstrators defy far-right threats

TUSC lobbies 'Labstainer'

Thousands gather at Leeds Pride

Socialist Party Summer Camp


 

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Related links:

Bath:

triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation

triangleStruggling to care against a backcloth of cuts

triangleYeovil public meeting: Join the Fight Back against Job Cuts, Pay cuts, Public sector cuts

triangleSomerset Socialist Party: What is neo-liberalism?

triangleBristol and Bath joint SP meeting: Post-election analysis

Workers:

triangleAfter 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

triangleBernie's book shows need for workers' party

triangleCapita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions

Minimum wage:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: The campaign for a 10 an hour minimum wage

triangleAmy Murphy for Usdaw president - vote for a fighting and democratic union

triangleUSA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

Low-paid:

triangleVictory for school cleaners!

triangleMixed-fleet workers show strikes get results

Zero-hour contracts:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

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