Archive for the ‘Wages’ Category

Brief Left Labour Summary of Labour Conference and Notice of Zoom Meeting about It on Thursday

October 3, 2022

I got this email today assessing the good and bad points of the Labour conference. This Thursday, 6th October 2022, there’s also going to be an online meeting about it from the good people at Arise: the Festival of Left-Wing Ideas.

Next Steps – A message from Rachel Garnham

SPREAD THE WORD: Retweet me here // register here

Hello David

This week’s Tory conference takes place to a backdrop of growing resistance. Saturday saw strikes from the RMT, ASLEF, TSSA, CWU and Unite; Don’t pay and Just Stop Oil direct action; and dozens of Enough is Enough events.

There was strong support for action from significant numbers of delegates at Labour’s Conference – and popular policies supported on a raft of issues,from rail public ownership, to a £15 an hour minimum wage, to real action on equal pay – but the importance of backing this resistance was not sufficiently central to the Conference or promoted by platform speakers, who appeared woefully out of touch with this growing resistance. Meanwhile, attacks on Party democracy continue, although not without big opposition, with many CLP and union delegates joining me in fighting for Jeremy Corbyn to be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate in the next election.

There is then much to review, and a need to plot out our next steps as the left. Join me, NEC member Gemma Bolton and Richard Burgon MP online Thursday (details below) for the discussion, and be part of the fightback.

Yours in solidarity,
Rachel Garnham, former NEC member on behalf of Arise & the Labour Assembly.

PS: Please spread the word by retweeting my message here.

Coming up:

1) ONLINE EVENT: Labour conference reportback & next steps discussion

Online Thursday, October 6, 7pm. Register here // Share & Invite friends here // Retweet here to spread the word.

With: Richard Burgon MP, Rachel Garnham, CLPD vice-chair & chair Gemma Bolton (NEC.) Join us online to assess Labour’s conference & discuss together next steps for Labour and the left.

Hosted by Arise – A Festival of Left Ideas.

I am honestly not surprised to read that the platform speakers are out of step with grassroots resistance against the Tories. They’re Blairites, who have an absolute contempt for the party base and who believe in very authoritarian, top-down management.

38 Degrees Petition against Truss and Coffee’s Running-Down of the NHS

September 23, 2022

I just go this email message from internet petitioning service 38 Degrees. Their disgusted at the government’s latest ‘reforms’ to the NHS, which in fact consist of telling doctors to try harder. They make the point that it doesn’t do anything to cut waiting lists nor counter the increasing rates of burn-out suffered by doctors because of overwork. They have therefore launched this petition against it, along with a wider campaign to spread the word about the government’s dreadful NHS policies using an ambulance.

‘Dear David,

Yesterday, our fourth Health Secretary since last year, Thérèse Coffey, revealed the Government’s “Plan For Patients”. [1] It turns out, the plan is nothing more than telling GPs to try harder and giving them a new target. [2] Health groups have said it will “make no tangible difference” and have “minimal impact on the care patients receive.” [3]

This is not acceptable. New PM Liz Truss says the NHS is one of her top three priorities. [4] Yet more than six million of us are languishing on waiting lists. More than two million of us are waiting to see GPs. And there are more than 60,000 NHS vacancies across the UK, with doctors at breaking point, suffering burnout. [5]

We needed something big. This wasn’t it.

We should all be furious about this. There is no point giving GPs new targets if there aren’t enough GPs to meet them. How is a new “cloud-based” phone system supposed to put an end to thousands scrambling for appointments first thing in the morning when there aren’t enough appointments to go around?

David, 38 Degrees supporters like you have been campaigning for a better NHS as long as we’ve been around. We can’t let the Government get away with this new lacklustre plan. Will you sign the petition demanding better – then share it with your friends and family so we, the British public, can make clear that we won’t accept anything less than a properly funded NHS?

YES, I’LL SIGN

NO, I DISAGREE

Over the summer, we fought hard to show that the NHS is on a knife edge. That’s why we bought an ambulance, turned it into a mobile advert, and drove it to leadership campaign events across the country. [6] We know Liz Truss heard us, because she said on the steps of Downing Street when she became PM that making sure “people can get doctors’ appointments” was one of her early priorities. [7]

Yet this first step is embarrassingly inadequate compared to the scale of the problem. And while it can feel hopeless at times seeing what’s happening to our beloved NHS, we know we can change things if we work together. That’s why last year we fought hard for NHS staff to get the pay rise they deserve, and after initially offering a 1% pay rise, the Government increased their offer after hundreds of thousands of us spoke out. [8]

The NHS is one of the most important issues to the 38 Degrees community. We’re not prepared to stand by and let this government underfund and understaff it. Millions of people depend on the services it provides, and thousands more will suffer if we don’t speak out.

Will you sign the petition, and get your friends and family to do the same? It only takes a few seconds to add your name, and a few seconds more to ask others to do the same.

YES, I’LL SIGN

NO, I DISAGREE

Thank you for your continued support,

Jonathan, Veronica, Megan, Tash and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1] PoliticsHome: Therese Coffey Sets Out “Expectation” That GPs Will See Patients Within Two Weeks
[2] See note [1]
[3] Royal College of GPs: More expectations without addressing GP workforce shortage not best way forward, says RCGP
British Medical Association: Health Secretary’s new plan brings us closer to the demise of general practice, says BMA
[4] Sky News: The economy, the energy crisis and the NHS – Liz Truss sets out three key priorities in her first speech as PM
[5] Daily Mail: NHS waiting list shoots to ANOTHER record high of 6.8million
Evening Chronicle: ‘Bad health has doubled’ in the last decade across North East – and almost half of people report struggling to get GP appointments
BBC News: NHS in England facing worst staffing crisis in history, MPs warn
The New Statesman: “This is just not safe for anyone”: the NHS doctors at breaking point
[6] Express & Star: Ambulance protest greets Tory Party members at hustings
BirminghamLive: Protestors voice anger at NHS delays and costs crisis outside Truss v Sunak hustings at NEC
[7] 10 Downing Street: Prime Minister Liz Truss’s statement: 6 September 2022
[8] 38 Degrees: NHS Staff Pay Rise Campaign

I’ve had absolutely no problems signing it. If you feel the same way about this latest assault on the NHS, please feel free to do so as well.

Online Left Labour Meeting Tomorrow on How to Challenge the Tories’ Mini-Budget

September 22, 2022

I got this email from Labour MP John Trickett yesterday:

Wealth doesn’t trickle down, it’s hoovered up – a message from Jon Trickett MP

SPREAD THE WORD: Retweet me here // Sign-up here.

Hello David

UK billionaires increased their wealth by over £55 bn last year and workers’ real wages are set to fall by almost 8% this year, yet all the indicators are that this Friday Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng will intensify an extreme Thatcherite economic policy including corporate tax cuts, privatisation and attacks on workers rights. Again and again, these neo-liberal policies have left working people poorer and our country more unequal – and now the Chancellor says he won’t evem publish the economic forecasts. We have to fightback and win the argument for a progressive alternative.

Come and join us online this Friday (details below) at 6pm in response to the “mini-budget,” to discuss how we win the argument that wealth doesn’t trickle down, it’s hoovered up – and, vitally, to help map out our next steps in resisting the Tory offensive.

Yours in solidarity,
Jon Trickett MP on behalf of Arise – A Festival of Left Ideas.

There was also this description of the meeting:

BRIEFING: Kwarteng & Truss’ economic policy – how do we respond?

Online THIS Friday, September 23, 6pm. Register here // Invite friends here // Retweet here.

Join us on the day of Kwasi Kwarteng’s financial statement to discuss how we respond & have your questions answered with John McDonnell, Jon Trickett, Louise Regan (NEU), Chair: Nadia Jama (Labour NEC) & more.

Online briefing on the Tories’ “mini budget” – hosted by Arise – A Festival of Left Ideas.

The fact that Queasy Kwarteng isn’t going to publish the economic forecasts indicates to me that the Tories know that their wretched policies are wrecking the country, but are determined to push ’em through anyway. Now’s the time to start fighting back.

Online Meeting for Campaign to Increase Sick Pay at 6 O’Clock Tonight.

September 21, 2022

I realise that this is very last minute, but I got the news about it only yesterday evening. The Megaphone sent me the email below that the Centre for Progressive Change are holding an online meeting at 6 this evening about their campaign to raise sick pay.

The below is a message from a new campaign to win sick pay for every worker. Can you support this important cause by joining their campaign? See below. 

Dear David,

Whether you’re going through treatment for a long-term illness or you catch a virus, being ill shouldn’t mean not being able to pay the bills.

But a third of us only get statutory sick pay. That is just £99.35 a week, which is nowhere near enough to pay the bills.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 21st September at 6pm, the Centre for Progressive Change are launching a new campaign for better sick pay.

They are organising to extend sick pay to all workers and to bring sick pay in line with the living wage. Will you join the campaign?

Can you join the call at 6pm tomorrow (Wednesday) to hear the plan? Register here.

Will you write to your MP to see where they stand on sick pay, and invite them to a meeting to discuss it?

We demand better. Join us to win these changes to support workers during the cost of living crisis and keep working people healthy.

In solidarity,

Beth

Centre for Progressive Change

Via Megaphone UK

I’ve registered to go to the meeting but haven’t committed myself to the letter just yet. I’ll let you know what’s discussed.

Sent Off the Suggested Motions from the Labour Left to My Local Labour Party

September 5, 2022

Okay, folks, I’ve sent off the model motions that the Arise Festival of Left Labour Ideas suggested to their followers and supporters that they should propose them to their local Labour parties ready for the upcoming Labour conference to my local party in south Bristol. I put up a piece yesterday showing what they were: renationalising the public utilities, including education and the NHS; ending the deportations to Rwanda; raising the minimum wage to £15; and stopping the further Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. All excellent policies. I don’t know if they’ll be proposed at the meeting, as the email I got from them about the meeting said they had six already. But you have to try.

As for whether or not they’ll be accepted and passed by conference even if they are passed by the local party, well, unfortunately the ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer is in charge, a true-Blue Labour Tory infiltrator. And there’s Jess Philips, who said that Labour would be even harder on the unemployed than the Tories. Neither of them would welcome these policies, and neither would the rest of the Blairites now packed in the parliamentary Labour party. But there’s always hope.

Update

After sending them off I got a kind reply from the local party secretary stating that they’re only accepting one proposed motion per person. So which one would like I like to choose? It’s a hard one, as they’re all good and necessary. However, I chose the £15 minimum pay rise because people are starving and they need the money now. I really hope it goes through.

Other motions being proposed for the local meeting this Thursday include:

Green New Deal – Proportional Representation – Support for Striking Workers

Reproductive Rights – International Development – Industrial Strategy (End UK Childcare Crisis).

Reproductive rights obviously refers to abortion, which people are afraid is threatened after the repeal of Roe vs Wade in America.

Megaphone Petition for Raising the Minimum Wage to £15 per Hour

September 1, 2022

I got this petition from the Megaphone on yesterday urging me to sign a petition calling for the minimum wage to be raised to £15 per hour. I’ve had absolutely no problem signing it, given the cost of living crisis, and if you feel as strongly about this as I do, I hope you will too. Here’s the email:

‘Hi David,

Did you see my email from last week? Almost 20,000 people have now added their name in support of a £15 an hour minimum wage, but we need more to join the campaign. 

Sign the petition and join the campaign: Raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour

Thanks,

Anthony

Here’s my email from last week, in case you missed it.

David —

No matter where you work or what you do, everyone deserves a wage they can live on. But as the cost of living crisis deepens, millions of workers are struggling to get by – and it is only going to get worse. 

Last week, the TUC, with the backing of 48 trade unions, made an ambitious demand: We need a £15 an hour minimum wage.

Can you add your name in support of this call? We need thousands to sign to show how important this would be for working people.

Last week, we asked some Megaphone supporters why they need a pay rise. Here are some of the things we heard:

“A pay rise would mean I wouldn’t choose between dental treatment or a new school uniform for my kids”

“It would mean the difference between being able to heat our home or going cold over the winter.”

“A pay rise would drastically reduce the constant stress and worry I have, and would allow me to have a social life again”

Britain needs a pay rise and we need it urgently. Raising the minimum wage will make a huge difference for millions of workers. And the only way we will win is by standing together in our unions, campaigning for a better deal.  

Sign the petition: tell the government you support raising the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible.

The change we need will not come from a petition, but if tens of thousands sign today it will show how many of us are ready to take on the work we need to do to win. This is just the beginning. 

Regards,

Anthony

Liz Truss Co-Author of a Report Which Demanded Savage Cuts and a £10 Charge to See the Doctor

August 19, 2022

This is another piece from the Mirror which reveals precisely what a prize right-wing scumbag Liz Truss is. According to the article, ‘Liz Truss report demanded vast cuts and £10 fee to see GP – ‘true colours’ in full’ by the paper’s political editor Dan Bloom, the Tory leadership contender was the joint author of a 2009 report published by the think tank, Reform, calling for massive cuts to public spending. This included cutting pensioners’ benefits, doctors’ pay by ten per cent, and imposing a £10 charge for seeing the doctor.

The article begins:

‘Liz Truss is accused of showing her “true colours” in a paper that called for vast spending cuts and a £10 fee to see your GP.

The runaway favourite to be Prime Minister was one of seven people who wrote a 44-page slash-and-burn policy document for the 2009 Budget.

The ‘Back to Black’ paper for the Reform think tank recommended cutting £28bn in a year by introducing “user charges for GPs” and whittling 10% off doctors’ pay.

It also demanded ministers “remove pensioner gimmicks” to save £3.2bn, force civil servants onto a four-day week with a 20% pay cut, and hike the pension age at the last moment.

And it called for major military projects to be axed – including the Royal Navy’s planned aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Despite her being Deputy Director of Reform at the time, Ms Truss’ campaign bizarrely claimed: “Co-authoring a document does not mean that someone supports every proposal put forward.”

Despite saying it shouldn’t be in 2009, a Truss ally insisted the likely Prime Minister does believe in an NHS free at the point of use – and she’ll not cut GPs’ pay or defence spending as PM.

Ahead of tonight’s Tory hustings in Manchester, an ally argued: “The purpose of a think tank is to put forward bold, radical ideas in the hope the government will pick up one or two.”

A campaign spokesman added of the document written 13 years ago: “This is a nearly two decade old document written against the backdrop of Labour bankrupting the economy.”

But Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Liz Truss’s track record shows her true colours. She is out of touch and out of step with the public.’

The article can be read at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/liz-truss-report-demanded-vast-27781979

Ah, we’re back to the old ‘high spending Labour’ refrain, in which Labour is accused of bankrupting the economy and that savage cuts to public spending, meaning primarily the NHS and the welfare state, are needed. Do I believe that somehow, in the past thirteen years, she’s had some kind of conversion to Nye Bevan’s vision of an NHS that provides everyone with care, free at the point of use?

No. Because she’s a liar in a party of liars.

Remember the last election when an independent fact checking organisation found that while Labour had made no untrue statements, the number of lies the Tories told was off the scale in the thousands?

And the Tories don’t believe in the NHS. Not since Maggie Thatcher wanted to privatise it, but was only prevented by a massive cabinet revolt. Since then they’ve privatised everything they could, starting with the ancillary services and progressing to the medical services, as these have been contracted out to private medical companies and hospitals. And the other year various Tory scumbags were demanding an expansion of the list of services for which fees could be charged.

If she doesn’t believe in these cuts now, it’s only because that they’re a political liability. It looks to me very much that she strongly believed in them when Cameron was in power and Gideon, sorry, George Osborne was chancellor.

You cannot trust her with the NHS.

You cannot trust her to look after the elderly.

And you cannot trust her on defence.

Get her out, and her foul party with her.

Neither Sunak or Truss Have Anything to Offer the Working Class

August 12, 2022

The media’s still trying to work up some kind of popular enthusiasm for the Tory leadership battle. They’ve been televising debates between the various contestants, whose thoughts on how they’re going to tackle the cost of living crisis and other issues are also plastered all over the papers. The two were in Cheltenham last night for a debate in front of the Tory faithful there, and the BBC local news for the Bristol region was duly covering it.

But this is a leadership contest in which everyone but a small fraction of the population are just spectators. Which one of them becomes Tory leader is a matter for the Tory party, not the general public, and so while the leadership debates give the general public the chance to see what the candidates stand for, or claim they stand for, and give the media political pundits an opportunity to speculate about what this all means, this mass coverage doesn’t actually affect the public very much. People outside the Tory party naturally have no opportunity to choose the next Tory leader. Nor will we probably get to choose whether they’ll be prime minister or not. The usual process now seems to be that instead of having a general election to decide whether a new party leader should be PM, the prime ministerial successor is inserted into office during the term of his immediate predecessor and an election held later to decide whether he or she should continue to rule. Meanwhile the party continues to govern. Thus have the Tories clung on to power over the past ten years, despite prime ministers entering and leaving 10 Downing Street as if through a revolving door. I assume that this is what will happen with Johnson and whoever is due to succeed him. Johnson will give up office, they’ll take over, but it’ll be sometime before there’s a general election to decide whether this successor should carry on in government. It’s all done to avoid the perils of a proper general election involving both the head of the party and the party itself, when both may find themselves out of power and sitting on the opposition benches. Thus is democracy in Britain manipulated to the ruling party’s advantage.

As for Sunak and Truss, neither of them has anything really to offer working people. Sunak says he’ll cut inflation, which would help admittedly, but not as much as is needed by people on very low pay, benefits or absolutely zilch, thanks to benefit sanctions, facing rising fuel and energy prices. It’s a policy directed primarily at economists and financiers, but not the starving hoi polloi.

And neither is Truss going to help. She’s announced that she’s going to cut taxes. This will be spun by the Tory papers as somehow meaning ordinary people will be richer. But it won’t mean that. When the Tories cut taxes, it is always for the very rich, never for the poor. And when their taxes are cut, it means that there’s less money coming into the exchequer to support the NHS, public services and the welfare state. So expect there to be more cuts there. And as for cutting down on the bureaucracy in the NHS, this has mushroomed because of the piecemeal privatisation Truss and the rest of the Tory right are so frantically, pantingly keen on. But this is not going to reversed, because the Tory line is that privatisation cuts bureaucracy. What will happen instead is that more services will be privatised and thus remaining will be cut.

It doesn’t matter which one wins, Tweedlesunak or Tweedletruss. They will both continue the campaign of privatisation and impoverishment to the mendacious cheering of the Tory media.

Guardian Letter Blames Privatisation for the Water Crisis

August 11, 2022

More ammunition for those of us demanding renationalisation of the water companies. The Guardian letters page has published a piece ”England’s water crisis should be blamed on privatisation’. It begins

‘The crisis facing the nation’s water supply because of the drought (Ban bonuses for water firm bosses until they fix leaky pipes, say Lib Dems, 8 August) reminds me of the words of Dr Jack Cunningham MP, who was Labour’s shadow environment secretary at the time of water privatisation in 1989.

As the bill to privatise the water industry in England and Wales was going through parliament, I interviewed Dr Cunningham for a political programme called Agenda transmitted by Television South. Dr Cunningham (now Baron Cunningham of Felling) said it was appalling that a natural resource like water should be put in the hands of people with a profit motive. It was unbelievable, he said, that the provision of such a resource should be subjected to commercial criteria like any other commodity. He thought the ultimate losers would be the public.

Twenty-eight years later, in 2017, opinion polling indicated that 83% of the British public would like to see renationalisation of all water services. In the same year, research by the University of Greenwich suggested that consumers in England were paying £2.3bn more every year for their water and sewerage than they would be if the water companies had remained under state ownership. As the disaster of water privatisation becomes ever clearer, I think Lord Cunningham has every reason to say: “I told you so.”’

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/england-s-water-crisis-should-be-blamed-on-privatisation/ar-AA10wq0q?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=d98dd26244804a839d74f30a7c1ba074

83 per cent of the great British public want the water companies renationalised, and we’re paying £2.3 billion more than if they had remained in the state sector.

More evidence that Thatcherism is an utter failure, Jeremy Corbyn was right, and Starmer is a sell-out who has bugger-all to offer the British working class, if you’ll pardon the obscenity, than more reheated Blairism. And as that’s Thatcherism by any other name, just rebranded so it looks a little more left, that’s a colossal failure too.

Renationalise water!

Down with the Tories!

Out with Starmer!

Liz Truss Member of Pro-Privatisation Organisation against the NHS

August 10, 2022

Bog-eyed, pork and cheese promoting Brexiteer Liz Truss is this fortnight’s issue of Private Eye, dated 12th-25th of August 2022. And as any fule kno, that ain’t good. The satirical magazine has revealed she’s a member of a bonkers free trade organisation which wishes to have the NHS privatised and its funding replaced by social insurance, like what they have on the continent. The snippet about this, on page 9 of Ian Hislop’s mighty organ, runs

Health Threat

Would-be leader Liz Truss has offered little on how she would fix the crixix in the NHS, beyond soundbites on cutting management and installing a “strong” health secretary and withdrawing plans to “level down” health workers’ pay in regional rates.

Nor has she mentioned to the Tory faithful that she is on a six-strong board of parliamentary supporters for the obscure think-tank, 1828. Its mission? To “champion freedom and make the case for free markets and limited government.

1828’s advisory board includes Eurosceptic Julian Knight, climate “luke-warmer” Matt Ridley and other assorted right-wingers, including former Ukipper Douglas Carswell. In 2019 it published a “Neoliberal Manifesto for a freer and more prosperous Britain”. But for whom? Its health chapter condemns the NHS record as “deplorable” while ignoring years of Tory government underfundiing, and calls for “far-reaching reforms” – ie a new social health insurance scheme, ,similar to that used in “Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, among others”.

In 2020 Truss said: “1828 is huge part of what’s happening to the right of politics, where a lot of new ideas are coming to fruition. There will always be a need to fight for the forces of freedom.” Is an expansion of NHS plc on her not-so-hidden agenda?’

It certainly looks like it, which is why she, nor Sunak nor indeed any other Tory should be allowed anywhere near the NHS.

Tories very definitely out!