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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 November 2019

Minimum wage debate: what should we be demanding?

The Socialist is running a debate. How can we end low pay and what minimum wage level should we be fighting for? In this issue, readers share their thoughts. If you've got a view, email editors@socialistparty.org.uk. You can read what's been written so far at socialistparty.org.uk

Could a nationalised taxi service work?

photo Elliott Brown (Creative Commons)

photo Elliott Brown (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Chris Parry, Bristol taxi driver

Clive Walder raises the idea of a publicly owned/nationalised taxi industry, as part of an integrated publicly owned transport system. (See 'In my working life we could afford homes and holidays').

It sounds like a big stretch. But, as a taxi driver, the more I think about it - it's doable, worth fighting for and a lot better than the 'dog eat dog' race to the bottom we have now.

Of course, it would have to be truly democratic workers' control and management at every level. Who knows how to organise the work better than the drivers and workers in the industry?

Otherwise it wouldn't really work. A nationalised taxi service would have to be far superior to the situation we have today.

We could have a decent standard of living without having to be on the road 24/7 - employment rights, sick pay, holidays and a pension. This may not seem like that much, but it's a far cry from the situation we face today.

We'd be able to cut out all the bosses, whether they're multinationals, national or local fat cats - we all know them - so we'd have far more money for decent wages, to invest in the industry, or whatever else was democratically agreed. Taxis could then be made as green as you like, with fares being heavily subsidised or even free.

There are many sectional interests in the taxi industry - hackney carriages, private hire of all kinds - but the lesson we'd all learn is that unity is strength. We can prove that we are not a bunch of 'dodgy spivs', how drivers are often painted, but part of the social glue. Public ownership of cabs would allow us to develop our role in aiding mobility, particularly for the elderly and less able.

There you go! Good idea Clive!

Any other taxi workers who may read this should write in with your ideas.


12 or 15

In the session debating the minimum wage at Socialism 2019, I asked who thought we should call for 12 an hour or for 15. Nearly everyone indicated for 15. Afterwards, some of those who indicated 12 suggested they were more persuaded towards 15, although not committed yet.

I was definitely for '15 now' before I wrote the Socialist's recent centre-page article (see 'Minimum wage debate: how can we end the scandal of low pay?'.

But the discussion made me think that perhaps what our updated 'What We Stand For' column says - 12 now as a step toward 15 - is probably right at the moment. That said, agitating around one national figure is best, and that would have to be 15.

Alistair Tice, Yorkshire Socialist Party

Too low just as counter-productive as too high

Alistair Tice's speech on a 15 minimum wage at Socialism 2019 was well-researched and thought provoking.

One point I'd not considered was that, in certain circumstances, setting a minimum wage goal too low can be just as counter-productive as setting it too high.

David Hofman, West London Socialist Party

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In The Socialist 27 November 2019:


What we think

Labour's manifesto: fight to transform hope into a socialist society

Tories launch 'non manifesto'


International socialist news and analysis

Regime's fuel price rise sparks massive protests across Iran

Sri Lanka: Presidential election sees return of dictatorial Rajapaksa clan


News

Tory election campaign's dirty tricks and lies

Resist attacks against free speech on campus

Northern Ireland: strike action by NHS workers

Prince Andrew outrage exposes establishment


Council cuts

End council cuts now, to end Tory austerity!


Workplace news

Uni strike takes fight to bosses

CWU's right to defend members is on the line

South Western Railway strike: "We're up for the fight"

PCS union ballot closes 12 December: Marion Lloyd for general secretary

Sixth-form college strikes: 'Sticking two fingers up at the Tories'

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trump and Tories are a threat to environment

Brighton anti-academy campaign steps up

Posties withdraw goodwill from cruel bosses

Help fund the fightback: sponsor my marathon

Selling the Socialist

Buy a historical biography for Christmas


Readers' opinion

The private sector will never provide broadband to every home, nationalisation will

Plymouth Blairites side with anti-tenant landlords

Minimum wage debate


 

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