Them & Us

Fat cats…

CREDIT CRUNCH hitting wages and prices? Not true for City of London fat cats who have been awarded bonuses totalling £13.2 billion so far this year. These were the record bonuses paid for high finance sector profits earlier in 2007.

The figures so far this year are only 1% down on those of a year ago. But the joy in the City may be short-lived. Some experts think that as many as 50,000 jobs could be lost in the City this year with a knock-on effect on job losses amongst the many lower-paid workers who service the City.

…and beasts of burden?

WORKERS IN Britain do a huge amount of unpaid overtime. A new report by Bristol University researchers suggests that this is particularly true in public-sector employment.

Almost half, 46%, of education, health and social care workers in public-sector and non-profit making bodies do regular unpaid overtime as compared to 29% of those employed by private companies in the same sectors. The unpaid labour of the public sector and ‘non-profit’ workers is equivalent to the work of 60,000 staff on normal hours.

This ‘public-sector ethos’ is being eroded by privatisation. Cost-cutting governments also risk the trust of these workers with pay freezes and below-inflation pay deals. More and more trade unionists will consider refusing to do either paid or unpaid overtime and will insist on taking proper rest and lunch breaks.