The minimum wage has been cut by between 1% and 2.4%, despite the government claiming that the minimum wage rate increased in October. For workers aged 21 and over, the rate increased from £5.80 to £5.93 an hour – an extra £5.20 a week – but prices are rising at a faster pace. The lowest paid now have less money to spend on basics. According to government statistics, the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation is 3.1%. The Retail Price Index though (which is a more accurate measure of inflation for the low paid) is currently 4.6%. The minimum wage legislation discriminates against young workers (18-21 year olds are entitled to £4.92 an hour and 16 and 17 year olds are entitled to £3.64!) but Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s don’t have lower prices for young people. This cut is hitting the youngest and lowest paid workers in the country. That is why Socialist Youth is campaigning to abolish the youth exemptions and for an immediate increase to £8 minimum wage as a step towards a living minimum wage.
World leaders are to meet in Copenhagen this December to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol in an attempt to control greenhouse gas emissions. But after their failure to reach the modest target set at Kyoto of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 5.2% from 1990 levels we should not expect that whatever agreement they reach will seriously tackle the threat of climate change.
By Daniel Waldron
The massive spending cuts the new “Con-Dem” government will announce in June’s emergency budget will be the first stage of an unrelenting attack on working class people, sustained over years. Despite the veneer of opposition from some MLA’s, the local politicians are fully committed to implementing this Thatcherite agenda.
This will amount to a colossal re-distribution of wealth away from workers to bail-out the banks and big business and will “Con-Dem” us to a future of attacks on vital public services, job losses, pay cuts, reductions in state benefits and increases in the retirement age, amongst other attacks.
The cuts contained in the Comprehensive Spending Review must be resisted throughout the North and Britain. The cuts will bring about mass impoverishment and unemployment which will plague communities for years.
11 February: From the revolution of the oppressed 1979 to the new wave of resistance 2010
The regime in Tehran is officially celebrating the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution, made by the oppressed, workers and poor. At the same time, thousands of people are imprisoned for the “crime” of demanding democratic rights. But the movement continues: from the protests against the rigged elections, the struggle has moved on to demand the bringing down of the dictatorship of the new elite. If the movement for democratic rights is linked to mass struggle of the working class and the poor, the regime will fall.