Young workers excluded from pay rise
Living Wage or Fool's Gold?
Workers will be pleased to get a pay rise in April as the national living wage comes into force but is it really a great deal for workers? Or fool's gold?
Wages are set to rise from £6.70 an hour to £7.20, but here's the catch: this will only effect the over 25s! And even for the over 25's a 50p increase will not be enough next to rising bills and the cost of living. Many workers of all ages are also now on zero-hour contracts which are very insecure with workers never knowing how much they are taking home from one week to the next, rendering any significant increase in wages for an individual at the bosses whim. The Chancellor has said that the aim is for the living wage to be over £9 an hour by 2020 but by then the rate of inflation steeped in the economic crisis will mean that there is no real pay rise at all!
Perhaps the biggest injustice is that the meagre 50p brought to the table by the Tories will not be given to the under 25s. The Treasury tries to justify this by saying "the priority is to secure work and gain experience". The millionaires in the cabinet seem to be ignoring the reality that most workers under the age of 25 want an independent lifestyle and some want to start families as well as have some extra cash to enjoy life with. Due to a lot of workers being on zero-hour contracts it would be easy for the bosses to divide us by giving the over 25s hardly any hours so that they can have the under 25s work more and for less.
For the youth in Britain we have no other option but to keep fighting for £10 now if we are to have any kind of immediate future! A living minimum wage of £10 an hour for workers of all ages and an end to casual zero-hours contracts. We must also demand the right to Trade Union recognition in workplaces that don't recognise unions such as the multi-million pound fast food companies and franchises.
The Tories are only raising the minimum wage for the over 25's because they have felt the pressure from below in the Trade Unions and from campaigns such as Fast-Food Rights launched by Youth Fight for Jobs and the BFAWU (Bakers Union). We must be united and organised to continue pressing them for a real pay rise that meets everybody's needs and not the bosses greed. This is a weak and split Tory government that is already facing a tremendous fight from the junior doctors whom we should extend our full solidarity to. Now is the ideal time for the working class and Labour Movement as a whole to fight back! We can win a real living wage and oust this hated government. The TUC must call a 24-hour general strike now! The Tories would not be able to survive such a show of strength.
Join the protest in your local area on April the 1st for a proper living wage, decent contracts and Trade Union rights! Or if there isn't one near you, organise one or call a meeting about it!
Jaime Davies (Caerphilly Socialist Party, YFJ and BFAWU)
If you agree with what you read, then you should join us!