In the last edition of The Socialist we carried an article on migrant workers in Domino’s pizza stores in Wolverhampton and Derby who were earning negative wages after working for a month! Bosses had charged them extortionate amounts for rent and insurance to cheat them out of their wages. It leaves no doubt as to how Domino’s makes their £700 million every year.
To highlight this scandal Socialist Youth in Belfast organised a stall outside a local Domino’s on the Antrim Road on a busy Friday night. We received a warm response from customers to our leaflets. The response of Domino’s however was to ring the police. There is nothing criminal about campaigning for an £8 an hour minimum wage, but the actions of Domino’s in England should be considered criminal.
Many passers-by were shocked to hear of such exploitation and were very happy to sign our petition against low pay. More activity outside Domino’s has been planned in the next few weeks to ensure Domino’s doesn’t get away with treating other workers like slaves.
However Domino’s is not just one bad apple. It is has become the norm for fast food chains to hire migrant and young workers and pay them as little as possible.
There is a lot of anger against this and the many other examples of low pay that we have found. This anger can grow as the pace of attacks from the bosses increases. In order to make more and more profit companies like Domino’s will seek to continually drive down wages.
When Domino’s workers got organised in a union and began to fight for their rights, they were able to hold the bosses back in their attacks. If all workers in the fast food industry united and struggled for higher wages and better conditions employers can be forced to give concessions.
By Elisa O’Donovan
Students across Ireland are having to resort to prostitution in order to pay their way through college.
“19 year old Waterford student, tall attractive, badly in need of a few quid”; “Open minded, young sociology student looking for fun”.
Adverts such as these are now common among the booming business of escort agencies in Ireland – a business that is thriving on the financial insecurities of young female and male students.
It is becoming increasingly more expensive for students to further their education in Ireland. With many students unable to afford decent accommodation or even books for their course, and with agencies such as Escort Ireland network offering students ?135 an hour it is not difficult to see why students are being reduced to selling their bodies in order to afford a decent standard of living. One agency, D4 escort agency, even boasts “many of our ladies are students or recent graduates”.
The lack of any decent affordable accommodation for students reached crisis point this summer with some students having to resort to sleeping on the streets . The maximum higher education grant stands at ?3,420 yet students living in Dublin can expect to pay ?500 a month on accommodation costs alone. With the maximum grant hardly covering living expenses let alone money for food, books, lab equipment etc. students are forced to work low paid inflexible jobs which badly affect their studies. The governments inaction on students plight has only pushed students to desperate measures such as prostitution to see them through their course. The student support bill which was to offer a definite schedule for reform of the grants system is now 6 months overdue.
There is no doubt that the gradual glamorisation of the so-called “sex industry” has had an impact on the attitudes of some students towards prostitution. Escort agencies promise glamour by showing pictures of models in luxury hotels with expensive underwear however the reality is very different. A large majority of prostitutes experience violence including rape, at the hands of men who pay for sex.
When asked about the increasing number of students having to turn to prostitution to pay their way through college, Education Minister, Mary Hannafin ,said she was “appalled” at the situation.
But the government is responsible for this scandal. USI should take on the government and mobilise students nationally in a campaign for a living grant for all students.
Posted in capitalism, education, gender issues, ireland, low pay, minimum wage, prostitution, sexual politics, student fees, students, women's rights, youth