Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1041/29075

From The Socialist newspaper, 8 May 2019

The Socialist Inbox

Letters to the Socialist's editors

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors   (Click to enlarge)

Do you have something to say?

Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to editors@socialistparty.org.uk, or if you're not online, to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD.

We reserve the right to shorten and edit letters. Don't forget to give your name, address and phone number. Confidentiality will be respected if requested.

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


EDF rip-off

On a recent visit to the north east, I was talking to a worker in an EDF Energy call centre.

In talks about pay with GMB and Unite union negotiators, EDF Energy bosses said the workers in the north east call centre were "paid too much for what they do." They offered a one-off, non-consolidated, taxable bonus of 450 for 2019.

Workers in the call centres are low-paid, although those in the south of England are paid more than those in the north because of legacy arrangements with previous utility companies which EDF took over.

EDF nuclear workers were offered 3.35%, which they have rejected. Workers in field services have rejected an offer of 1.2%.

EDF has said that profits are down in its nuclear sector and it cannot afford to pay more. This is far from the truth. EDF would rather pay shareholders' dividends than workers' wages.

EDF made 691 million in profits last year. It paid shareholders an interim dividend of 15p per share in December 2018, and will pay a further 16p on 10 June.

Although stock in the parent company is mostly owned by the French state, there are 3,010,267,676 shares in EDF altogether. Meanwhile, EDF increased its standard variable tariff rate by 10% on 7 February.

Workers should reject the offer and demand a proper pay rise. We need to nationalise the utility companies under democratic workers' control so that workers get proper wages and customers get a fair deal.

Clare Wilkins, Nottingham

Raking it in

Two pieces of news that broke recently perfectly sum up Birmingham City Council.

It was reported in the Birmingham Post that a former senior council officer received a 455,000 severance payment when his job disappeared under a reorganisation.

The council justified it by saying that over 300,000 of this was a pension contribution.

How many council workers who took voluntary redundancy received such generous pension provision? No ordinary council worker would receive such an amount during their complete retirement period.

Meanwhile, in north Birmingham, the council is threatening to close Walsall Road allotment, currently used by over 100 local gardeners, and considered one of the best sites in the country. It has been featured twice on BBC Gardeners' World.

The council wants to use the land for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Allotment holders maintain that there are plenty of other sites in the same park that could be used for the games.

There we have it. Birmingham City Council makes huge payouts to senior managers, while taking away valuable community assets to satisfy a vanity project and the egos of senior Blairite councillors.

At least Brummies can take comfort in having the largest Primark store in the world!

Clive Walder, Birmingham

Musical chairs

Politics in Worcestershire is becoming confusing. Louise Griffiths was elected a Green councillor for Battenhall on Worcester City Council last year - but has defected to the Conservatives, complaining of antisemitism, and feeling "restricted by the set-up of the Green Party here in Worcester."

Now Daniel Walton, who was Labour Party candidate for West Worcestershire in the general election of 2015, is standing for Malvern Hills District Council, Broadheath, as an independent.

I think a bit more testing out of candidates' values and views might be in order to see how committed they are before they stand.

Pete McNally, Worcester

Rouse, Ye Women!

Rouse, Ye Women! photo by Townsend Theatre Productions

Rouse, Ye Women! photo by Townsend Theatre Productions   (Click to enlarge)

Four GMB union members from Beverley and their partners travelled across the Humber Bridge to the former ropery works in Barton-upon-Humber to watch a Townsend Theatre production of 'Rouse, Ye Women!'

The play is set entirely to verse and song, and focuses on the low-paid women chainmakers around Cradley Heath in the Midlands.

While heavy and medium chains were produced by men in the factories, the women made lighter chains, working in isolation from home, in a small back room, in cramped conditions, with a forge and a hammer and tongs.

The women working in these sweatshop conditions were dependent on the "fogger" - a middleman, subcontractor to the large manufacturers - who delivered iron rods and collected the finished chains.

The fogger would take a 25% cut of the money paid by the manufacturers, leaving the women five shillings for a 54-hour week.

It was the work of Mary Macarthur, the founder of the 100,000-strong National Federation of Women Workers, that inspired and gave confidence to these women to strike. Ten weeks in total - and 4,000 raised in strike fund, an enormous amount at the time.

Thanks to the strike and Macarthur, the Liberal government passed the 'Trade Boards Act' to set minimum rates in four low-paid trades, at two-and-a-half pence per hour. For most women, this was a rise of 100%.

The participation and interaction from the audience was spectacular, joining in with song that put a bit of fighting spirit in your belly. When the fogger entered the scene he was met with a chorus of boos reminiscent of a Christmas pantomime.

If we fight, yes we can win. The verdict of Beverley GMB members: absolutely outstanding, thoroughly enjoyable performance - highly recommended.

Tony Davison, GMB Beverley

Democratic rights

The state uses the threat of crime to attack democratic rights. I was giving out leaflets, and told to move on.

I refused, and got searched - when they realised I was a 'threat to the public' as I had my work knife on my keys. I told them I work on a building site. They took it. That cost me 15 quid.

Mike, Southampton

Payday penury

The people of Romford, east London borrowed 55,299 payday loans out of a population of just 95,894 in 2018, according to the Financial Conduct Authority. Their loans totalled just over 15 million.

Also, Birmingham was named as the payday loan capital of the UK, with its residents borrowing a total of 37 million in 2018.

A report in the Guardian went on: "In recent years, millions of people have turned to the high-cost payday loans to help pay their rent or mortgage, deal with an unexpected emergency, or simply afford their weekly food shop."

These statistics cannot convey the sheer misery behind them - the human and social cost paid for in poor mental and physical health, homelessness, family and relationship breakdown and rising crime.

We socialists must, however, translate these stats into a programme for revolutionary socialist change - based on common, democratic public ownership of the means of life, including land, our essential public services, industries, and the finance and banking sector.

And we must carry forth a strategy of coordinated, mass action, building towards generalised strike action, to drive the heartless Tories and their Blairite apologists from office and their positions once and for all.

Len Hockey, Loughton

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 8 May 2019:


Socialist Party election analysis

Local elections: Tory meltdown but Labour loses ground

England council elections: socialist anti-cuts message chimes with voters

Leicester elections: "We planted a marker for the future"

Bolsover elections: Labour's cuts councillors punished by voters

Halton Brook election: support for our policies on doorstep


International socialist news and analysis

Spanish elections - new upheavals underline need for a revolutionary socialist alternative


Socialist Party news and analysis

Climate catastrophe looms: we need socialist change

Young and old, unite and fight!

Water bosses plan to undermine nationalisation: no compensation for fat cats!

Northern Ireland: Socialist wins council seat

Them & Us


Workplace news and analysis

Unions must back a general election and oppose bosses' EU

Doncaster NHS pay win shows: strikes can get results!

PCS union: listen to members, link the campaigns - we can win fight on pay

Usdaw union conference demands action on pay, jobs and the right

UCU general secretary election: fight for a left leadership!

Newham gas workers to strike

Hull dinner ladies protest against loss of week's pay

Asda workers protest against attacks on paid breaks and bank holiday working

Woolwich Ferry staff to strike over pay and safety

Radiographers' union slams professional costs


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour launches homelessness campaign

Socialist vision at Leeds May Day rally

Alternative housing awards shames bosses


Opinion

Sequel to 'A Very British Coup' - workers' struggle, not bosses' EU and media, is route to socialism

'Line of Duty' - twists and turns as organised crime meets police corruption

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 8 May 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Letters:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Democratic rights:

triangleMay 1649 - the Last Stand of the Levellers

triangleBolsonaro - a threat to Brazil's workers and all oppressed people

trianglePeterloo: "If the people were to rise and smite their enemies, was not this the time?" Samuel Bamford, demonstrator

triangleDodgy MP lobbied for genocidal Sri Lankan leader

Women:

triangleWidespread condemnation of horrifying, violent, homophobic assaults

triangleDomestic abuse accommodation: Tories shift - but safety is more than a bed

triangleReject Alabama abortion ban

Council:

triangleTerrible child murders linked to cuts

triangleSocialist Party members make big impact at trades council conference

Pay:

triangleScottish airport strikes against attack by "ideological capitalists" - fight for better pay and pensions

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham Pride - revitalising political struggle

Worcestershire:

triangleWorcester libraries campaign victory

EDF Energy:

triangleEDF Energy strike victory against vehicle tracker device

Energy:

triangleLabour's nationalisation plan: What policies are needed to avert climate catastrophe?

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

12/6/19

Review

TV Review: Chernobyl - Workers' heroism vs sclerotic Stalinism

12/6/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

5/6/19

George Orwell

70 years since the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four: "But if there was hope, it lay in the proles"

22/5/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

22/5/19

Climate change

Opinion: socialists must link climate struggle to power of organised workers

15/5/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

15/5/19

Diggers

May 1649 - the Last Stand of the Levellers

8/5/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

8/5/19

TV

'Line of Duty' - twists and turns as organised crime meets police corruption

8/5/19

Socialism

Sequel to 'A Very British Coup' - workers' struggle, not bosses' EU and media, is route to socialism

1/5/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

1/5/19

Capitalist

Knife crime - a product of capitalist misery

17/4/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

17/4/19

Universal Credit

Real life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

17/4/19

Engels

Engels' classic essential for understanding socialist ideas old and 'new'

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999