Category Archives: minimum wage

SY Belfast – End Low Pay

End Low Pay

 WE DEMAND

£8 minimum wage NOW
Abolish the youth
exemptions
End bullying, intimidation and poor working conditions
Trade union rights for all young workers

 As the cost of living goes through the roof the proposed increase for the minimum wage in October is nowhere near what is needed. How is anyone expected to live off this poverty wage?

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New Young Socialist Bulletin – May 08

The new edition of the Belfast Socialist Youth’s bulletin, the Young Socialist is now available.

In this issue we cover:

  • Fight for young workers rights.
  • The Socialist Solution to Capitalist Crisis
  • Book Review: France 1968, Month of Revolution
  • And More

To download a pdf copy click here

If you would like a number of copies posted out to distribute in your school, workplace or friends please contact Paddy at 07876146473 or the Socialist Youth Office in Belfast at 02890232962.

Belfast: Domino’s Pizza – Delivering Low Pay

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.

Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford… Desperate students turn to prostitution

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.

North: Young workers must Fight Low Pay

From The Socialist (September 2007)

Another year, another supposed increase in the minimum wage. From the 1st October the politicians will be praising themselves for an increase of 3% across the minimum wage rates. They will conveniently forget that inflation is running between 5% and 6% and this ‘increase’ in real terms represents a cut for low-paid workers.

New Labour’s recent threat to break the minimum wage up on a regional basis and lower it in Northern Ireland to £4.80 is a real threat for the future. If the Government tries to pit worker against worker based on where they live, only a joint campaign across Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales can defeat these attacks.

Even the pitifully low minimum wage is still being flouted by many employers. Since 1997 there has only been one successful criminal prosecution for paying under the minimum wage. The likelihood of getting caught and the small compensation companies have to pay mean it is more profitable for some to ignore the legislation. Workers taking action and naming and shaming employers are the best ways of forcing bosses to pay up.

Scandalously apprentices aged under 18 have been treated like slave labour by employers due to exemptions in the minimum wage. Reg Empey, Minister for Employment and Learning, has introduced a new ‘Training for Success’ plan which is designed to force apprentices to work for nothing. According to the Minister apprentices will be “required to be in employment” but will still be exempt from the minimum wage with no guarantee of a trade at the end of it. This is slave labour for bosses.

A 17 year old worker doing the same work as someone a few months older can legally be paid £1.20 an hour less. If you compare a 17 year old to a 22 year old worker the gap widens to £2.12 an hour for doing exactly the same work. In 2001, the Socialist Party’s End Low Pay Campaign succeeded in getting a motion to abolish youth exemptions passed through the Assembly. But the politicians have done nothing to act on this and will continue to do so unless pressure is put on them by young workers.

Socialist Youth’s Fight Back! Campaign will be holding meetings and protests to organise young workers to fight for our rights. If you are a young low paid worker or feeling unfairly treated at work then get in contact with us today at 02890232962 or 07876146473.