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From: The Socialist issue 1066, 27 November 2019: Vote for jobs homes, services. Tories out, Corbyn in. Fight for socialist policies.

Search site for keywords: Minimum wage - Socialist - Socialism - Pay

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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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
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  • 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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