From The Socialist
Gordon Brown has announced he wishes to cut the minimum wage in Northern Ireland from £5.35 to £4.80 an hour. This is another attempt to lower wages, particularly those of young workers.
New Labour has announced a cut in the minimum wage, which they claim will allow them to increase it in London to meet higher living costs. However their real aim is to scrap the minimum wage. Recently Brown brought ‘Lord’ Digby Jones into the government. Previously he was head of the Confederation of British Industry (bosses organisation) and constantly opposed any increase in the minimum wage. We know whose views Gordon would rather listen to!
This shameless pandering to the demands of big business over the rights of workers comes at a time when companies are making record profits. Tesco made £2.54 billion in profits alone last year yet this has meant no pay increase for the workers who produced this vast fortune. The reality of living on the minimum wage for young workers is in contrast to the bosses’ obscene profits. “It is hard enough as it is,” a young cleaner told the Socialist, “A drop in the minimum wage is going in the wrong direction. You need more than one job just to pay for the increasing rent.”
This cut is also a threat to workers earning slightly more than the minimum wage. A young worker in the Co-op supermarket explained – “any reduction in the minimum wage affects us too because it gives our company an excuse to try and lower wages”.
The Northern Irish Assembly has done nothing to stop attacks on young workers. Instead they have gone on the offensive against classroom assistants’ pay and conditions.
Young workers need to get organised now to fight this and other attacks. A mass movement of low paid workers in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales is the only way that Brown and his business cronies will back down. The trade union movement needs to launch a campaign, including the use of industrial action, against these attacks. If this attack is introduced, Socialist Youth will be looking for information on employers who implement it in order to organise action to stop any cuts in workers’ pay.
However we need to get active now to stop any cut. If you are a young worker interested in getting active, then get in contact with the Fight Back! Campaign on 02890232962.
Socialist Youth’s Fight Back! Campaign demands:
– No cut in the Minimum Wage.
– £8 an hour Minimum Wage immediately.
– Scrap the Youth Exemptions