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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 September 2018

The Socialist inbox

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

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Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD, phone 020 8988 8771 or email editors@socialistparty.org.uk.

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Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.


Unions work

On a city centre Socialist newspaper sale last week, a young man approached me to buy a paper. I gave him a leaflet for the National Shop Stewards Network rally at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in September too, explaining that the TUC represented all the unions.

He asked if that included Usdaw the shop workers' union, and I was pleasantly surprised that he knew about them.

He explained that he worked in a small shop, with only half a dozen workers, and that he'd been pushed around by his boss, so he had joined the union.

The union told him his treatment was illegal and offered to visit. "Someone called Michelle came in and shouted at him [the boss].

"Since then he's terrified of me and the union. If he asks me to do something, and I'm busy doing something else and I point that out, he says 'it's OK, no worries!'"

I told him one of our Socialist Party members, Amy Murphy, has been elected president of Usdaw, and that the Socialist Party had a newsletter for the union - the Activist. He gave me his email and I've sent him the links.

I was really heartened to hear a young worker who'd found that being in a union works.

Paul Gerrard, Salford

Tesco Dagenham distribution centre; One-day Usdaw strike over pay. , photo Richard Groves

Tesco Dagenham distribution centre; One-day Usdaw strike over pay. , photo Richard Groves   (Click to enlarge)

Workers' rights

Some might have thought abusers of workers' rights were left behind in the late 19th and early 20th century.

But as Cilla would say, "surprise surprise," they're alive and kicking here. While most ears and eyes are on Brexit and Trump, our dearly loved bosses are throwing thousands out of work here in Britain.

Not satisfied with making loads of money at our expense, bosses and governments continue to erode any protection workers have in the workplace.

They want to give our public services away and sell everything not nailed down, while presenting workers in Britain as cheap and amenable commodities.

This will lead to more maltreatment of workers. Already, workers can be summarily dismissed with almost no legal protection at any time before they reach the two-year full employment rights milestone.

It's an open invitation to all despotic bosses to treat workers according to their whims. It's an open invitation for bosses to say what they want, do what they want, whenever they want, knowing there will likely be no comeback because a worker has less than two years' service.

Trade unions should stand up and lead from the front because there's an avalanche of anger coming.

'Rebel with a Cause', Rotherham

Other people's labour

The following appeared in the Financial Times.

"Shareholder rebellions over high executive pay at the UK's largest companies have doubled this year, with companies from AstraZeneca to BT and Shell suffering big protest votes at their annual meetings.

"High pay has risen up the agenda for investors in the face of sustained public anger and criticism from politicians over big payouts for corporate bosses... the number of pay resolutions at FTSE 100 companies where at least 20 per cent of votes were against management was 18 by the end of July, compared with nine during the same period in 2017, according to a public register that tracks shareholder rebellions."

With the shareholders of our biggest companies making such an effective job of sharing out the fruits of other people's labour I wonder if us socialists can't all just take it easy and put our feet up!

Jared Wood, Aylesbury

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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 5 September 2018:


What we think

Unions must lead in fight to kick Tories out

Labour: Blairite wreckers must be given the boot

Theresa May's 'Chequers deal' mauled by Johnson and EU: fight for a socialist Brexit!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight racism, fight capitalism!

Legal Costs Fund Appeal launched for former Derby TUSC election agent

Birmingham Socialist sales success

Obituary: Stan Herschel


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tory and Blairite racist policy is behind Windrush fatality

Self-harm soars among young: fight the mental health crisis

Them & Us

Capitalism in crisis: news in brief

What we heard


PCS union

PCS union: build the fight for a pay rise and against austerity - re-elect Chris Baugh

DWP: PCS union builds fightback on pay

PCS members in Land Registry demand 6% pay rise


International socialist news and analysis

Germany: violent attacks in Chemnitz - how can the far right be stopped?


Workplace news and analysis

Shop workers hungry for 10 an hour now and an end to zero-hour contracts

Guards continue fight against driver-only operation following Merseyrail victory

Higher education ballot: vote Yes and strike for pay and equality!

Housing workers walkout forces improved pay deal

Liebherr Sunderland strike continues


Opinion

A day in the life of a carer: "I am having trouble feeding my children on my wages"

The Socialist inbox

GDPR data laws: Punishing workers for human mistakes


 

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Related links:

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triangleHomerton hospital workers deserve equal pay and conditions

triangleNo choice but to fight the system

triangleFight for every job. Fight for socialism

Unions:

triangleNottingham unions fight council job cuts

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Why young workers need trade unions

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