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8 January 2020

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Tory minimum wage hike not enough: 12 now as a step to 15!

Wandsworth Town strike protest by McDonald's workers, 12th November 2019 , photo Isai Priya

Wandsworth Town strike protest by McDonald's workers, 12th November 2019 , photo Isai Priya   (Click to enlarge)

Berkay Kartav, North London Socialist Party

Ignoring the realities of living in austerity Britain, the Tory government has announced that the National 'Living Wage' will increase by 51p to 8.72 an hour in April.

Every improvement is welcome, of course. The Eton-educated millionaire Boris Johnson said that "for too long, people haven't seen the pay rises they deserve." But for millions of workers who receive poverty wages and struggle to pay their rent and bills, is this all they actually deserve?

The fact is that while the richest in society have more than doubled their wealth, real wages for the majority have either fallen or stagnated over the last ten to 15 years. Rising living costs, cuts to in-work benefits, and insecure contracts have swept a further 500,000 workers into poverty over the last five years, reaching four million in total. There is a rising tide of in-work poverty.

A 6.2% increase, albeit above the inflation rate for one year, does not make up for the 'lost decade' (longer, in reality) of real-term wage cuts.

The 8.72 rate does not apply to under-25s or apprentices, who can receive even lower pay. And it still falls far below the 'Minimum Income Standard' proposed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which measures what the public thinks a household needs for a basic decent standard of life.

10 an hour

Even Jeremy Corbyn's pledge to raise the national minimum wage to 10 an hour without exemption - which workers would rightly have met with a sigh of relief - is no longer enough to cover rising living costs.

In this respect, the McDonald's strikers in London who called for a real living wage of 15 an hour set an example of what we should do to end low pay. But desperate to defend its fat profits, the capitalist class and its representatives in Westminster will do all they can to prevent a real living minimum of 15 an hour.

The Tories' attack on workers' rights, including the right to strike, and the court injunction on postal workers, all show that the workers' movement needs to step up the fight for decent pay and working conditions we deserve - not what the Tories think we deserve.

Coordinated trade union struggle for an immediate increase in the national minimum wage to 12 an hour with no exemptions, as a step towards a real living wage of 15 an hour, could bring this bosses' government to its knees and win big concessions on pay.

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In The Socialist 8 January 2020:


Iran

Suleimani's assassination - Middle East thrown into turmoil

Trump attacks Iran - London protest: We need workers' action against war and austerity


Defend the right to strike

Build union resistance to Tory attacks

Defend the right to strike

Defend the right to strike! - RMT and NSSN lobby parliament


What we think

2020: Class struggles and capitalist instability will intensify

Labour leadership election


News

Capitalism must go - fight for socialism

Trouble ahead for Johnson: Brexit is far from 'done'

Tory minimum wage hike not enough

Northern Rail franchise in question: nationalise the railways!

Children need intensive care? We don't care!

Shell pays 0 corporation tax, and plans huge hike in fossil output

Ignore the hype - austerity goes on: organise to resist

International wave of revolt continues


Workplace news

What next after the general election, for PCS and the left

Council concedes to striking winter gritters' demands

West Midlands RMT guards jobs saved

All we want for Christmas is a no-strings pay rise

Anti-academy strike action in Newham


Campaigns

Socialist Party members out on the streets

50,240 - a new fighting fund record

Avenue of trees saved!


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Minimum wage:

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triangleGarment workers and Covid: Dying for less than minimum wage

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Tory:

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triangleTory hypocrisy over housing benefit cut

triangleRight-wing Labour and Tory commissioners out!

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Workers:

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Pay:

triangleSupport the Broad Left Network for a democratic, fighting union leadership

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Living wage:

triangleLow-paid workers shouldn't pay for Covid crisis

Poverty:

triangle1981 Brixton riots: Racism and poverty - the anger explodes

Article dated 8 January 2020

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Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo by Dave Murray

Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo Dave Murray

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