On 1 April, Tory Chancellor George Osborne will try to take working class people for fools. His so-called ‘National Living Wage’ will be introduced with a fanfare. But not only will it come nowhere near to covering the real costs of rent, bills and basic necessities, it is also a straight forward lie.
Living wage lie
For workers under 25, the minimum wage will remain £6.70 an hour. Meanwhile those aged 18-21 will continue to receive just £5.30. And under-18s will still get a miserly £3.87. What’s more, even many older workers will end up losing out, because this small increase in wages will be offset by swingeing cuts to in-work benefits. Meanwhile, 26% of the wealth created in Britain over the past 15 years has gone to the richest 1% of people, according to Oxfam. The Tories are putting the interests of low-paying bosses first.
That’s why we say all workers, young and old, should unite to fight for £10 an hour. Youth Fight for Jobs is working alongside the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers’ Union in the Fast Food Rights campaign. And we’re demanding a minimum wage of £10 an hour for every worker, whatever their age.
Raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour now would mean the lives of millions of workers and their families could start to be improved. It would also represent a transfer of wealth from the richest to the rest of us – the opposite of austerity which has seen us suffering while the rich get richer.
Won’t be fooled
On 1 April, our campaign will be organising to show we won’t be fooled by Osborne. Stunts and protests are planned to help expose the lie that this government is on the side of ‘hard working people’. And we’ll be using this to build up to a global day of action taking place on 14 April – when workers fighting low pay will join protests worldwide.
Echoing the demands raised by campaigners in the United States – this day of action will call for £10 an hour and a union. We’re encouraging all workers to join trade unions and get organised to fight. In the US, campaigns and strikes led by low-paid workers have forced several cities and states to introduce a $15 minimum wage. When we organise we can win.
In the US, it was a socialist City Councillor, Kshama Sawant, who played a pivotal role in helping make Seattle the first city to introduce $15 an hour. That will mean a transfer of $3bn from the bosses to the lowest paid workers over 10 years. Here in Britain, we need politicians who’ll stand up for workers, just like Kshama did.
During his leadership campaign, Jeremy Corbyn pledged his support for £10 an hour. But, with Labour’s right wing attempting to push him back, it’s vital we continue to build the campaign. We need to counter the Blairites – both in government and the shadow cabinet – who want to force him to retreat from this important promise.
And most crucially we need to stand united in the face of this race to the bottom in wages, terms and conditions. The government is attempting to play ‘divide and rule’, creating a two-tier workforce in which nobody wins except bosses and shareholders.
But it’s not shareholders or executives who flip burgers, serve customers and keep multinationals like McDonalds in mega-profits. It’s workers who create the wealth the fat cats take for themselves. So when we’re organised and united, we have enormous collective power.
If you’re not fooled by Osborne’s trickery, and you want to help build the fight for £10 an hour, join us, get involved, and take action with us on 1 and 14 April.
Events on 1 April
London: Rally: assemble 12pm, outside Downing Street
Leicester: Meet 12noon Leicester Clock Tower
Newcastle: Meet 12noon, outside McDonalds on Northumberland Street
Cardiff: 5.30pm, Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street