Workers’ pay & conditions - a return to Victorian values

In the course of this government, the Coalition has attacked public services, slashed crucial benefits for the most vulnerable people, caused massive unemployment, and fuelled insecurity. This has resulted in desperate people working for far less than they deserve, and average wages have fallen by 9% in real terms since 2007. In short, the Tories and Lib Dems have spent their time in power eroding workers’ rights as far as they can, and they do not intend to stop.

In the course of this government, the Coalition has attacked public services, slashed crucial benefits for the most vulnerable people, caused massive unemployment, and fuelled insecurity. This has resulted in desperate people working for far less than they deserve, and average wages have fallen by 9% in real terms since 2007. In short, the Tories and Lib Dems have spent their time in power eroding workers’ rights as far as they can, and they do not intend to stop.

 

In recent weeks, the Government announced that they are going to make it far easier for businesses to fire their employees. Workers who have spent less than 2 years in their current job have already been robbed of their right to take their employer to tribunal for unfair dismissal, and now fees of up to £1,200 are to be introduced for anyone making an application to do so. This is effectively removing the right of the nation’s hardest workers to seek justice from unscrupulous employers who have fired them for no reason.

 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Coalition has presided over an explosion of exploitative zero-hour contracts that ensure that desperate people are trapped in insecure jobs with no guarantee of regular hours. Over 1 million people – and probably many more – have no steady income and no way to plan their lives in these Victorian conditions. This in turn has fuelled reliance on payday lenders charging exorbitant interest rates and making the lives of too many people unbearable.

 

While all this has been happening, the Tories have cut taxes for the super-wealthy and lined the pockets of big business and the city elite. They are robbing the poor and giving to the rich, and are ruining Britain. Justice will only be achieved when all workers are paid a decent living wage, when all workers have the right to challenge their dismissal, and when the burden for fixing Britain’s economy does not fall on those least able to bear it. This government has failed woefully on all three counts, and will continue to do so. They have sponsored a recovery based on low wages, insecurity, and fear that will not benefit the vast majority of British people. We must act to raise wages and secure the rights of working people, and we must act now. 

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