Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1062/29782

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 October 2019

Minimum wage debate: what should we be demanding?

Life in the gig economy

In recent issues of the Socialist, we have run a debate about how we can end low pay and what level of minimum wage we should be fighting for. In this issue Chris Parry, a taxi driver in Bristol, shares his thoughts. If you've got a view, email editors@socialistparty.org.uk
photo Elliott Brown/CC

photo Elliott Brown/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Reading the articles about low pay, I am glad we've raised our figure around the minimum wage. We certainly don't want to be gazumped by the Tories, although they have no intention of implementing an increase.

The main thing that I think was missing from the article 'Minimum wage debate: how can we end the scandal of low pay?' is how to address the dire situation facing millions of workers in the gig economy and those like me who have been pushed into the self-employment con trick.

As a taxi driver working a minimum 65-hour week, my net earnings a couple of weeks ago worked out at just 4.50 an hour, after paying fixed expenses which are 600 weekly. People like me get no overtime rate for night-time work, no unsocial hours increment and no bank holiday pay or annual leave.

Most of my expenses have to be paid whether I'm on the road or not. So, no holidays or even days off. Most weeks I have to work over the full seven days and try and fit my political work in! It's true that I get some better weeks (not a lot), but I constantly hear from the firm that hires me, that if I'm not available, then there's no guarantee of future work.

Recently I was called at 3.15am and told to get to Exeter airport to pick up passengers who'd had their flight diverted from Bristol. The sting in the tail was that if I wasn't quick, I'd lose the potential fare as another poor sod like me might get there first and collect it.

So I believe we need to seriously develop our programme for the millions of self-employed, gig economy and casual workers. We need to get out and unionise these workers. I was annoyed to hear John McDonnell talking about a 32-hour week so abstractly, as though everybody is already in a protected workplace having already been enjoying 35 hours. This is far, far from reality.

In Bristol property prices are ten times what they were 20 years ago and wages have fallen. McDonnell has to propose measures that tackle long hours and low pay in a manner that ordinary workers will relate to.

The demands sound great, but I know from bitter experience that in this period, unless we organise collectively to fight back, sweet politician promises will simply stay sweet soundbites.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 30 October 2019:


What we think

Anti-austerity, socialist policies can be a winning formula

Mass protests rock the globe


News

Tories out now. Bin Boris. Corbyn can win with socialist policies!

39 migrants found dead in Essex lorry container

Argos Christmas bonus cut


Wall Street Crash

The 1929 Wall Street Crash: When the capitalist system was on its knees


Workplace news

PCS union election: For a fighting democratic general secretary

PCS: Support Marion Lloyd - a history of workers' struggle and a programme for the future

McDonald's - Striking to end low pay

London - 'autumn of discontent'

RMT election: Fight the cuts, vote for Jared Wood

Uni workers' pay and pension strike ballot


Butterfields

How working-class tenants beat Gentrification


Black history

Black Liberation... Only possible through socialist struggle

Obituary - Bob Lee: 1954 - 2019


International socialist news and analysis

Chile in revolt


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Enfield North socialists lobby candidate stitch-up

Selling the Socialist

Donate to fund the fightback at Socialism 2019

Chile protests - London solidarity rally


Reader's opinion

Life in the gig economy

Film reviews: Sorry We Missed You by Ken Loach

TV: The Accident - Will capitalism be exposed in upsetting, true-to-life drama?

Opinion: Labour Party is structured to block left councillors

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 30 October 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Economy:

triangleThem & us

triangleTwo-metre rule under 'review' - Another case of profit before safety

triangleRoosevelt's New Deal programme - reforms to save capitalism

triangleProtect every job, nationalise don't subsidise

triangleFurlough: We are not 'all in the same boat'

Pay:

triangleReaders' opinion

trianglesocialism2020

triangleTower Hamlets council strike

triangleChange in leadership needed to secure union's future

Workers:

triangleSelling the Socialist

triangleA socialist NHS fit for heroes

triangleSunday trading: Government blinks first

Minimum wage:

triangleWorkers need a 'new deal' - at least 12 an hour now!

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

Low pay:

triangle6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

1/7/20

TV

From slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

1/7/20

US

Readers' opinion

1/7/20

Socialist Party

I left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party

24/6/20

Letters

The Socialist inbox

24/6/20

Covid

A timely read about a pandemic that overwhelms society

17/6/20

Windrush

Tears and anger over the treatment of the Windrush generation

17/6/20

Grenfell Tower

Three years on: No justice for Grenfell, no peace from BLM

17/6/20

Film

Film: Da 5 Bloods - entertaining but politically constrained

17/6/20

Profit

Two-metre rule under 'review' - Another case of profit before safety

17/6/20

Letters

The Socialist inbox

17/6/20

Socialist Party

Why we joined the Socialist Party

10/6/20

Racist

Readers' opinion: Things will never be the same

10/6/20

Socialist Party

Why we joined the Socialist Party

3/6/20

Football

Football in the time of coronavirus - reclaim our game!

3/6/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters

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: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999