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From: The Socialist issue 833, 12 November 2014: We can win 10 an hour

Search site for keywords: Minimum wage - Socialism 2014 - Socialism - Pay - Seattle - Low pay - Kshama Sawant - BFAWU

Pay victories celebrated at Socialism 2014

We can win 10 an hour

October 2014 St Mungo's Broadway strike, in Hackney, photo Paul Mattsson

October 2014 St Mungo's Broadway strike, in Hackney, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Rob Williams, National Shop Stewards Network chair

Socialist Seattle city councillor Kshama Sawant brought the house down at Socialism 2014 in London on 8 November. She spoke about her election victory and the successful campaign she led to win a $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle.

Now a new report highlights the low pay trap that is keeping millions of workers in poverty pay. The Resolution Foundation estimates that only one in four workers who were low paid in 2001 have moved on to jobs with higher pay. But as Kshama and the BFAWU bakers' union President Ian Hodson said from the Socialism platform, there is an escape from low pay - if we fight for it!

In Seattle, Kshama's incredible victory gave a political voice to the struggle of fast food workers and opened the door to a pay rise of almost 40% for the poorest! This has lifted the sights of workers throughout the US as other states and cities are forced into concessions.

Why should it be any different here? Just over the last few weeks, we've seen workers in St Mungo's Broadway homelessness charity and Greenwich libraries, with Socialist Party members playing important roles alongside others, win real victories. If unions give a determined lead, their members can have the confidence to fight to break the scourges of low pay and zero-hour contracts.

We can take inspiration from these victories, here and in the US. Let's commit ourselves to the industrial and political struggles needed to smash the pay freeze and win a 10 an hour minimum wage now!

Kshama Sawant, Socialism 2014, London 8.11.14, photo Paul Mattsson

Kshama Sawant, Socialism 2014, London 8.11.14, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)


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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.
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