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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 January 2020

Them & Us

Fat Cat Monday

The average FTSE 100 boss had 'earnt' more on 6 January than the typical worker does in a year. Top chief execs get an average 3.5 million - 117 times the median salary - says the High Pay Centre.

Rail fare rip-off

Rail bosses gave themselves a New Year's gift on 2 January and hiked fares by an average of 2.7%. They protest that they're allowed to raise them by more, and didn't. But they've been hiking fares for years - while wages stagnate.

The Trade Union Congress calculates a season ticket from Chelmsford to London costs 16% of the average worker's salary. Equivalent commutes in France cost just 2%.

Rail robbers' rescue

Meanwhile, having run the service into the ground, South Western Railway is warning the state could have to step in. The failed private operator got only 54% of its trains home on time last year.

The East Coast Main Line had to return to the public after collapse, and Northern Rail might too. Nationalisation is very welcome - but the profiteer bosses should be billed for their mess.

Fake apprenticeships

Fake apprenticeships - which earn employers a public funding bonus - account for half of all schemes, reports thinktank EDSK. Many are really just normal jobs, relabelled to get bosses a 10% 'top-up' from the exchequer. There's even an 'apprenticeship' for chief executives!

School strike 'extremism'

London climate strike 20 September 2019, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson

London climate strike 20 September 2019, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Counter-terrorism police targeted school student strikes in a guide circulated last November, the Guardian has discovered. Those who "participate in planned school walkouts" and peaceful protests were listed as prone to "ideological extremism."

After press scrutiny, the police announced the guide was being recalled. But it seems that as far as the capitalist state is concerned, there is little difference between student climate strikers and far-right thugs or Islamist terrorists.

Kids cause poverty?

The Tory leader of Walsall council, Mike Bird, said working-class families suffer food poverty because they have too many kids. Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe answered him on LBC radio. There is huge wealth and plenty of healthy food in the world, but capitalism and austerity mean the poor can't get it.

Now, Tory MP Desmond Swayne has said "the poorest are among the fattest." Claimants just need to learn "how to shop more cost-effectively and healthily" - nothing to do with poverty pay and low benefits then!

Capitalism cuts cures

The proportion of NHS consultant doctors participating in research for new cures halved from 7.5% in 2004 to 4.2% in 2017, reports the Academy of Medical Sciences. Austerity means stretched staff don't have the time. Meanwhile, private pharmaceutical firms have cut their research budgets.

Bank jobs binned

HSBC has announced a further 10,000 redundancies, including 1,000 in the UK. Having made off like bandits after crashing the world economy, now the banksters are coming for even more local branches and jobs. You can bet the axe won't fall too hard on the casino capitalists behind the credit crunch.

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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 15 January 2020:

What we think

Labour Party leadership contest: Fight for a mass anti-austerity, workers' party with a socialist programme

Labour leadership race: Reverse Unison's undemocratic nomination of Blairite Starmer


Low Pay, Long Hours. Bosses rip us off. Organise the fightback now!

Build for strikes to save NHS

No free ride for the airline bosses - nationalise Flybe now!

Them & Us

Workplace news

Hackney school bus workers win pay increase following strikes

PCS: Time to rebuild the left

Northern Ireland: Thousands of nurses continue to strike for better pay

Westex Carpet strike reaches two month mark

London bus drivers ballot to strike

Union lawyer arrested on security guards' picket line


We need socialists in London's City Hall

Stop gentrification in Newham: "We are here, you have consulted us and we're not going anywhere!"

Massive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

Young people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

London: Protesters return to oppose Middle East war

Cladding scandal: Government steps up defence of landlords

Nottingham: Youth protest against Barclays 64 million fossil-fuel investments

Socialist Party national committee meeting

International socialist news and analysis

Renewed protests shake Iranian leaders

France: Strike wave over pensions - Macron government in retreat

Readers' opinion

Sustainable food production and the need for socialism

TV Review: Apocalypse Cow

The Socialist Inbox


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