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Iain Duncan Smith

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From: The Socialist issue 888, 10 February 2016: Fight council cuts!

Search site for keywords: DWP - Amazon - Government - Pensions - Tax - Tories - Cuts - PCS - Iain Duncan Smith

Cushy government job for Amazon boss

'Nathan', PCS union rep, Department for Work and Pensions

Tory work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has appointed Doug Gurr, president of Amazon China, to his department's board of directors.

The reputation of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has slumped in recent years. There is anger at the impact of austerity carried out by the Tories, Lib Dems and New Labour.

Confidence in the welfare state is at an all-time low. This is due to benefit cuts, sanctions, failed privatisation projects, and profiteering corporations carrying out medical assessments designed to trip sick people up.

DWP staff morale is not much better following years of job cuts, a pay freeze, and attacks on our pensions.

Gurr's appointment will not make life any better for staff or benefit claimants. Working conditions in Amazon factories have been roundly condemned for their abusive nature.

A BBC documentary concluded that Amazon workers face "increased risk of mental and physical illness". Members of the German trade union Verdi have organised a series of strikes at Amazon warehouses against low pay and poor working conditions.

Amazon also robs millions of pounds each year from our public services through tax avoidance. The Tories will hardly get tough on tax avoiders if they're giving them cushy jobs! The only lasting solution is to bring these big businesses into public ownership.

Trade unions in Britain should emulate their German counterparts, and organise these workplaces to fight for better conditions. Finally, we need to kick out IDS and the rest of his rotten millionaire government, and replace them with elected representatives prepared to take on the power of Amazon and the tax avoiders.

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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.

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