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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 April 2021

Low-paid workers shouldn't pay for Covid crisis

  (Click to enlarge)

Ferdy Lyons, East London Socialist Party

On 1 April the minimum wage was increased from 8.71 to 8.91 an hour for those aged 23 and over. For low-paid workers this was welcome news. However, for myself and fellow furloughed workers this wasn't the case. Our pay will continue to be based on the previous year's pay.

We were already struggling to live on the so-called 'living wage', so having to live off 80% of that for the majority of the last twelve months has been horrendous.

According to the House of Commons Library, 800,000 low-paid workers were on furlough in February. Many haven't been able to pay their bills, plunged into debts they can't repay and having to rely on the kindness of family or unaffordable loans to survive. Not including us in the increase will only exacerbate this problem.

Our exclusion is outrageous, but it's also the case that 8.91 an hour is still far too low to survive on, especially for workers living in London. The Living Wage Foundation sets a voluntary Real Living Wage of 9.50 nationally and 10.85 in London. A full-time employee on these levels would earn about 1,150 and 3,800 a year more than those on the government's so-called National Living Wage. Low-paid workers shouldn't be made to pay for the Covid crisis. We need a 15 minimum wage for all and full pay for all furloughed workers.

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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 7 April 2021:


News

Pay NHS staff 15%!

Racism exists! Unite to fight all inequality

Report condones vigil police violence - democratic community control a necessity

Low-paid workers shouldn't pay for Covid crisis

The system is broken... youth unite and fight back

Fighting Fund: An amazing 39,948 raised


Schools

Sexism in education: It shouldn't be like this!

Pimlico Academy protests: "Run by racists for profit"

Academy schools have become business ventures


Protests

Defiance continues against anti-protest bill

London: #BuhariMustGo protests are back


Local elections

Councillors have a choice - don't vote for cuts

Former Labour parliamentary candidate to stand for TUSC


Workplace news

NEU elections: Elect a socialist leadership to fight for national action and a united campaign

GMB general secretary election: A fighting, socialist leadership needed

Sparks take deskilling protests to Hinkley Point

Marley Tiles workers strike against bullying bosses

New British Gas deadline and strike dates

Bristol Water walkout


Childcare

Childcare in crisis: A socialist solution


Liverpool

Right-wing Labour and Tory commissioners out of Liverpool!


Brixton riots

1981 Brixton riots: Racism and poverty - the anger explodes


International news

Brazil: Bolsonaro regime plunges into a deeper crisis


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Low-paid:

triangleLow-paid hospital workers strike

triangleCallous Tories threaten not to uprate the minimum wage

triangleFurlough scheme extended - workers need 100% of wages

triangleBEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory

triangleTrade union action can end low pay

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triangleBooks that inspired me: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists

triangleRedbridge school walkout over victimised union rep

triangleLeicester University workers strike against redundancies

Pay:

triangleJohnson's G7 hypocrisy

triangleEnfield byelection: We need councillors prepared to resist

triangleSocialist Party to the fore at Unison LG conference

Covid:

triangleEngineers in fourth week of strike action

triangleNow is the time to fight for the NHS

Living wage:

triangleGoodlord strike starts to bite

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