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Socialist Party campaigning
Warm responses against zero hours
On two recent Saturdays, Worcester Socialist Party members held stalls opposing zero-hours contracts and calling for a £10 an hour minimum wage. One was in Worcester, the other in Kidderminster. Many people supported us. Sometimes they were almost past the stall before taking in what we were doing and coming back to sign.
Some campaigners from 38 Degrees arrived with leaflets and a petition about the TTIP free trade agreement. We exchanged petitions and they gave out our leaflet with theirs.
We noticed that once people came towards us on the zero hours issue, they wanted to talk. One couple, both working, said their standard of living was lower now than 20 years ago. They linked low pay and zero hours to the decline of local trade unions. Kiddy used to be a carpet producing town and the GMB was the main organiser. Now there are no major employers and little union organisation.
Many said zero hours was becoming the norm, including one worker form the Co-op.
Pete McNally, Worcester Socialist Party
Starting our campaign stall early on Saturday morning, we attracted many workers to sign our petition calling for a £10 minimum wage and an end to zero-hours contracts.
Workers from Sports Direct, McDonald's and Wetherspoon's all spoke of the real challenges of living on a zero-hour contract. One worker spoke of how she was only given three hours' work that week, meaning that she had to turn to family members for help.
A grandmother spoke of needing to use her small pension to support her daughter who was struggling to get by working as a care worker on the minimum wage. Numerous sad stories were heard over and over again, from people happy to see that the Socialist Party is taking action.
We couldn't help but agree with a worker who said that he cannot believe he had to use a food bank despite working for a company who make millions in profit! He expressed hope that a Labour government would improve things. But he worried that Labour is more focused on being business friendly and would allow business leaders to give the OK on any policies before allowing them to be implemented. This led to a discussion about the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Plymouth, and our hope to build on the 1,100 votes we achieved in the May local elections.
Plymouth Socialist Party members will continue to campaign on these issues. Life should not be a daily struggle with poor pay, insecure work and high rent.
Tom Taylor, Plymouth Socialist Party
North West fundraising success
A mini "collectathon" in the North West raised nearly £400 for the Socialist Party's fighting fund. We ran four additional all-day community stalls, with one alone raising £137.
Campaigning against zero-hour contracts gets huge support from working and middle class people angered at super-exploitation.
Socialist Party branches have been taking fundraising seriously with some notable successes. Liverpool recently raised £93 at a car boot sale, while Manchester raised £140 on one demonstration.
Fighting for socialism requires serious financial resources. Working class people are ready to donate when they see us out there campaigning on the issues they are most angry about.
Hugh Caffrey, Socialist Party North West region
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 9 September 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
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