Austerity

Britain: English inner-city powder kegs go up in flames

The following article was first published in August 2011. During the five years ago since the riots in England’s inner cities no significant improvements have been made in reducing the social divisions that led to the events of that summer.

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By |August 9th, 2016|Austerity, Britain|Comments Off on Britain: English inner-city powder kegs go up in flames

Quarter of a million protest against cuts in London

Six weeks after the Tories were voted in as a majority government, on June 20, a quarter of a million people protested in London against cuts.

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Britain: Austerity, the unions’ failure and the rise of UKIP

The following article by Sacha Ismail was first published on the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty website. (more…)

Britain: ten thousand students demonstrate for free education

The following report was first published on the Workers’ Liberty site.
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By |November 26th, 2014|Austerity|0 Comments

Britain: paltry rise in the minimum wage

From October 1 the adult rate of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rose by 15p to £6.08. Introduced by the ‘Labour’ government in 1999, the NMW gives a legal and ‘respectable’ face to how cheaply labour-power – particularly that of young workers – can be exploited in Britain.

Although the increase in the adult rate is a pittance it definitely looks better that the rises for younger workers: up by 6p to £4.98 for 18- to 20-year-olds, and up by 4p to £3.68 for 16- and 17-year-olds. If you are ‘lucky’ to be an apprentice then your pay will be going up by 10p to £2.60 an hour!

When the new rates were announced in April Vince Cable, the Con-Dems’ Business Secretary, had the nerve to say: “More than 890,000 of Britain’s lowest-paid workers will gain from these changes. They are appropriate, reflecting the current economic uncertainty while at the same time protecting the UK’s lowest-paid workers.”

The Low Pay Commission
The paltry but somehow ‘appropriate’ rises in the NMW were recommended by the Low Pay Commission. This is supposedly “an independent statutory non departmental public body”. Yet, in addition to being chaired by David Norgrove – a Tory who lists his work as Margaret Thatcher’s Private Secretary from 1985 to 1988 as his top ‘achievement’! – the majority of this committee’s nine members are capitalists. To make it look ‘independent’ and ‘balanced’ there are also two economists and three top union bureaucrats: John Hannett, General Secretary of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers; Frances O’Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary; and Heather Wakefield, National Secretary for Unison’s Local Government Service Group.

It is no wonder that the bureaucracy of the trade unions is talking up the significance […]

By |October 3rd, 2011|Austerity|9,041 Comments