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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 March 2019

Poverty pay for 1.2 million public sector workers. 2.7% pay rise for MPs

Trade union action to end low pay now!

Council workers striking for better pay, photo by Paul Mattsson

Council workers striking for better pay, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Scott Jones

More than one million public sector workers are paid less than the minimum amount needed to make ends meet, as set by the Living Wage Foundation. They calculate this as 9 an hour, or 10.55 in London.

Outsourcing to private companies is partly to blame. But many of the 1.2 million are employed directly by the state. Both sets of workers account for 20% of the six million who are paid less than the Living Wage in Britain.

Employers and the government get away with it because the legal minimum 'national living wage' is 7.83 an hour across the country. It is set to rise to 8.21 from April.

The Socialist Party argues that not only is the legal minimum not enough - neither is the so-called Living Wage. We call for a minimum wage of 10 an hour as a step towards a real living wage. Council workers in London are starting to demand more to avoid 10.55 becoming the new maximum.

If the state can afford to give already generously paid MPs a 2.7% pay rise to 79,468 a year then it can afford to pay public sector workers a wage that means there's not too much month left at the end of their money.

Public sector trade unions should strike and fight to end low pay for all state-employed and outsourced workers and an end to privatisation which drives down pay and terms and conditions.

They should then link up with private sector trade unions - whose members in the BFAWU bakers' union, Unite the Union and others walked-out for better pay in McDonald's, TGI Friday's and JD Wetherspoon last year - to win a minimum wage of 10 an hour for all, with no youth exemptions.

We want a real pay rise - and we want it now!

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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 6 March 2019:

What we think

No retreats: Corbyn must stand firm against Blairites

Workplace news

Stop post-16 education cuts

Interview with a shop worker

MPs boost their own pay

Workplace news in brief


Boot out failing Grayling and the other Tory wreckers

Solidarity with Chris Williamson

Trade union action to end low pay now!

A&E 4-hour waiting targets scrapped - Save our NHS!

Them & Us

International Women's Day 2019

A socialist programme to end women's oppression

International Women's Day 2019: End oppression with fight for socialism

Socialist history

Leon Trotsky's struggle against Stalinism

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: Fight council cuts

Cuts must stop - boot the Tories out

Wildfires hit Europe - build for 15 March student climate strikes

Swansea: Labour council tries to dodge no-cuts protest

Hull: support for anti-cuts policies at Corbyn solidarity rally

Hundreds of Tamils protest against death-threat brigadier


Women workers' militancy during the 'great unrest'

The Socialist Inbox


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Low pay:

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Public sector:

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triangleLabour meeting lets MP get away with 'Spycops' abstention

Living wage:

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triangleEffective testing and properly funded safety plan needed

Trade unions:

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Minimum wage:

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