Socialist Party banner and youth placards. Photo: Mary Finch
Socialist Party banner and youth placards. Photo: Mary Finch

The rich get richer – make them pay

Reece Wilson

The price of everything is increasing rapidly – except the price of our labour! Petrol has shot up over 30% just this year, bills are going through the roof, and there are a record number of billionaires.

Yet if we ask for a wage increase, we are presented with all manner of arguments against it. The Socialist Party calls for an immediate increase of the minimum wage to £15 an hour, without exemptions. We also demand wages automatically increase, linked to average earnings or inflation, whichever is higher.

If bosses say they are unable to pay it, then open up the books and prove it.

The cost-of-living crisis has made this demand an absolute necessity, but its implementation is long overdue. If wages had continued to rise at pre-2008 financial crash levels, we would be £13,000 better off by the mid-2020s, so our living standards have been decreasing for years.

Young workers will struggle to remember a time before the financial crash, but they bear the brunt of this decrease in living standards. We are less likely to be able to rent or ever buy a place to live and we are more likely to work in insecure jobs that pay minimum wage. On top of this, youth rates pay young workers significantly less than their older counterparts for the same amount of work.

At minimum wage, an 18-year-old now would receive £2.67 less per hour than a 23-year-old – that’s a difference of £433.88 per month for a full-time worker! If you are under 25 on Universal Credit, you will get £69.60 per month less than someone over 25! That’s why we have launched initiatives like Youth Fight for Jobs which have won the support of fighting trade unions such as the bakers’ union BFAWU.

The pandemic showed to all, as clear as day, that workers make society run. Yet it is our lives that are getting harder while the rich get richer. The gap between workers and bosses has increased by £250 billion from 1980 to 2020 – it will have increased even more over the pandemic, when someone became a billionaire every 30 hours.

£15 an hour will not be freely given – we need to fight for it in our workplaces and on the streets. Join the Socialist Party and help us in this fight.