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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 November 2016

Job figures mask casualisation

For real jobs, not 'gig economy'

Deliveroo food delivery workers are unionising to win employment rights

Deliveroo food delivery workers are unionising to win employment rights   (Click to enlarge)

Pete Offord, Lewisham Socialist Party

Unemployment levels are at their lowest for eleven years, according to the Office for National Statistics. You might be forgiven for thinking that the economy had turned a corner.

However, when you scrape below the surface of the headlines, then for ordinary people there is little to celebrate. The figures are propped up by a big rise in often bogus self-employment, now 15% of the total UK workforce.

Most of these workers are living on a knife's edge. 50% of them take home less than half the national average. This is part of an explosion in casual labour. The Guardian estimates around seven million are now in precarious employment - including self-employed, temporary and zero-hour contract workers.

These jobs have the lowest levels of employment rights, and are no longer confined to the 'McJobs' of the fast food industry. Within higher education, over 50% of teaching staff are now on temporary or casual contracts.

Meanwhile, the recruitment agencies supplying much of this cheap labour have found ever more inventive ways to profit from the misery of others. Large agencies are exploiting a loophole which allows them to collect employment allowances designed to help small businesses, avoiding tax and national insurance.

As reported in the pages of the Socialist, we have already seen a fightback. Most notable are the recent industrial victory of Deliveroo drivers, and the court victory of Uber drivers.

The Socialist Party welcomes these victories. We fight for an end to the gig economy, and decent hours, pay and conditions for all. Nationalise the tax dodgers and invest in jobs and services for everyone.

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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.
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In The Socialist 23 November 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Cash for rich and royals, cuts for the 99%

Tories drop 'pay to stay'

Tories plan pain with Brexit Autumn Statement

3.5bn on temporary housing for councils

'Just about managing': 2,500 worse off by 2020

Job figures mask casualisation

What We Saw


What we think

The Socialist Party and support for the Corbyn movement


Socialist Students

Fight back to save education!

Campaigning Socialist Students groups needed to hold student unions to account


N30 strike: five years on

Lessons of the 'N30' 2011 pension strike: when workers showed their power


International socialist news and analysis

USA: mass protests break out to #ResistTrump

Ireland: repeal the 8th Amendment - fight for abortion rights

Spain: Students' Union surges forward in historic congress

Hundreds rally to celebrate anniversary of Students' Union and Izquierda Revolucionaria

UN climate change summit: more hot air from Marrakech


Workplace news and analysis

"I don't always feel that I'm a carer anymore" - a day in the life

Southern Rail Strike


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Reselection motion passed at Labour Party branch

Packed-out Socialist Party meetings hear American socialist and Black Lives Matter activist

School talk on the struggle for the vote and its importance today


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

The Socialist inbox

"I can't stop thinking about Socialism 2016 - it was truly brilliant"

Socialism 2016: what you thought


 

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