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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2016

Civil service: 1bn on consultants while cleaners on minimum wage

Dave Semple, PCS union rep (personal capacity)

A National Audit Office report contains further proof that austerity is working out fine for the bosses.

The civil service is shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs - needed to pay unemployment benefit and collect tax. Meanwhile, 47 consultants were paid more than 1,000 a day as part of a 1.3 billion splurge on consultants and temporary staff by the Tories.

Many will be from huge firms such as Deloitte, KPMG and PwC. While soaking up huge contracts to 'advise' senior civil servants, they were condemned last year in Parliament for being part of a "tax avoidance industry".

In contrast, many cleaners working for the civil service are paid the minimum wage.

Campaigns

Ongoing campaigns fought by public sector union PCS have seen breakthroughs in individual departments. The Department for Work and Pensions now pays a "living wage". And in November 2015, the Department for Education conceded a pay rise of up to 23% for low-paid staff.

However, employers are still determined to hold wages down. Last October, outsourcing giant Interserve threatened disciplinary action against its cleaners at the Foreign Office for campaigning against low pay. The whole point of the Tories' Trade Union Bill is to restrict our ability to strike - in order to support the profits of these huge corporations.

Socialist Party members in different unions played a crucial role in getting the Trade Union Congress to officially demand 10 an hour as the minimum wage.

A strike campaign by all unions representing the lowest paid could turn this into a reality. Especially if tied to anti-austerity candidates running on this platform in local and national elections.

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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.
  • 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.
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In The Socialist 20 January 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite the fightback: Coordinated strikes needed

United workers' action can save NHS

Water firms' 1.2bn in profit off human need

Political policing: Met spy targeted socialists

Trident debate: socialist programme needed

Housing crisis reaches level of 1960s

Civil service: 1bn on consultants

Outrageous attacks on Corbyn for 'sexism'

Them & Us


Socialist history

1986 Wapping strike - Defeat of the print unions


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

People's Budget meeting success

Carmarthenshire Unison campaigns against council cuts

Unite the Union local government committee votes for no-cuts budgets

Preparing a no-cuts people's budget

Momentum and democracy in Hackney and beyond

Angry Labour meeting puts councillors under fire

Gateshead carers oppose respite centre closures

Celebrating Eleanor Marx's birthday


Socialist Party workplace news

Nationalise Tata to save steel jobs!

Tube workers to strike again to defend jobs and conditions

Reinstatement victory for John Vasey

Shop workers lobby council against Sunday opening

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

USA: Fight the billionaire class!

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets

Northern Ireland: Defy anti-abortion laws


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Letters to the Socialist


 

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Related links:

Minimum wage:

triangle'Sleep-ins' ruling must lead to a huge campaign for social care workers' rights

triangleUnion fight to save musicians' livelihoods

triangleGarment workers and Covid: Dying for less than minimum wage

triangleNews in brief

Cleaners:

triangleEast London cleaners fight outsourcing and redundancies

triangleMoJ cleaners' covid outbreak

triangleISS workers' pay victory

triangleCleaners strike over low pay at Haringey secondary school

Civil Service:

trianglePublic sector pay - NHS, teachers - Prepare for action!

trianglePCS leadership ballot underway

triangleUnion conference stripped of powers by NEC

Union:

triangleNew left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now

triangleGovernment departments move to impose pay cuts: Fightback needed

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