Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/885/22059
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.
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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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
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
The Socialist 20 January 2016 |
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