Boris Johnson’s announcement that schools will close until February half term is yet another U-turn from this shambolic Tory government – one which has been forced by the huge pressure from below by education workers.
Unite members at Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union (QUBSU) are celebrating a major victory in their impressive, seven-week-long campaign for respect and pay justice. The campaign developed after workers on zero-hour, casual contracts were left without pay since August as a result of the refusal of university authorities to enroll them on the government Job Retention Scheme (JRS).
Debenhams and Arcadia must open their books to the workers to show where the money has gone. In 2015, the Arcadia Group – owned by multi-millionaire retail tycoon Sir Philip Green – famously sold off the failing BHS department store for £1, but not before Green took £400 million out of the company for himself!
The Living Wage Foundation says that an hourly rate of £9.50 is the minimum required to have a basic standard of living (based on stable, full-time hours). Meanwhile, millions of workers on the so-called ‘National Living Wage’ of £8.72/hour increasingly live in poverty.