Solidarity 596, 9 June 2021

Winning decent jobs for all

Café and restaurant bosses in Britain, the USA, and elsewhere complain that a shortage of workers may now push them into raising wages. About time. A pay survey estimates the average wage in fast food in the UK at £6.50 an hour. (The legal minimum wage is £8.91. But only if you’re 23 or over. For under-18s it’s £4.62, for apprentices £4.30). In the USA the estimate is $11 average (£7.75), and the common workers’ demand is $15 (£10.57). But the bosses are puzzled because they’d expected huge unemployment by now and a “buyer’s market” for labour. Thanks to public pressure making the Tories...

DVLA bosses pull back from deal

Our members in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea struck again on 2-6 June, in their ongoing dispute to win improved workplace safety, and a greater say for workers in determining those measures. Immediately prior to the last strike, the local branch felt that an acceptable deal had been on the table. But at the eleventh hour, two elements of that deal — additional cash payments and additional annual leave compensation for workers who’ve been compelled to work at the physical workplace during the pandemic — were unilaterally withdrawn. We don’t know where the...

Fight for proper funding, cut the Tory strings!

The Department for Transport (DfT) has given Transport for London (TfL) another funding bailout, which guarantees its operations for the next six months. The bailout is the latest in a series of similar packages negotiated throughout the pandemic, all of which have been an opportunity for the...

Reject "catch up" blather: fight school cuts!

On 2 June the government announced a £1.4bn “Covid Catch-up” programme for pupils and students, to cover up to six million sets of 15-hour tutoring courses for disadvantaged pupils and expansion of an existing fund for helping 16- to 19-year-olds with subjects such as English and maths. Kevan Collins, the government’s “Catch-up tsar” resigned after the announcement. According to the Financial Times, he and education secretary Gavin Williamson wanted to pay teachers to extend the school day by 30 minutes, and that was vetoed by chancellor Rishi Sunak on grounds of cost. Sunak spent £0.84...

NHS pay: on the streets, 3 July

Within the next few weeks, the issue of NHS pay will be sharply back on the agenda. The NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) is due to make their recommendation on pay for England and Wales in “mid-June”. That will be followed by an offer from the government. After 18 months of the Covid response which has stretched NHS workers to their limits, proved fatal for over 800, and left many more physically and mentally scarred, the offer will certainly bring disappointment and anger. The immediate focus of campaigning is the well-timed day of action called by Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together, NHS...

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