Socialist Worker

Letters: New Zealand zero hours victory shows we can win

Issue No. 2496

New Zealand zero hours victory shows that we can win

news that the number of zero hours contracts has risen in the last year by over 100,000 to 801,000 shows just what the Tories’ “recovery” really means.

Tory chancellor George Osborne’s budget last week is built on these kinds of shitty jobs that exploit all workers, particularly young workers in the food and hospitality industry.

In Glasgow we’ve been resisting this. We recently had around 30 young workers at our regular Fast Food Rights group meeting to plan our activities to unionise workplaces in the city.

We also made a banner for the anti-racist protest last Saturday to say refugees are welcome here.

Working with other activists we’ve targeted some of the worst kinds of employers in Glasgow to shame them for the way they are exploiting low pay.

The key for us is to get more of these workers involved in a trade union and argue that it can be a means of fighting back for decent pay.

So it was fantastic to hear the New Zealand parliament unanimously passed a law this month that could see the end of zero hour contracts for New Zealand workers.

This came off the back of an active campaign that should inspire us all.

The new law means that employers must guarantee a minimum number of hours work each week, and workers can refuse extra hours without repercussions. That’s a real step forward.

A global day of action by fast food workers and unions across the world will coincide with a major “Fight for 15” US-wide fast food workers’ strike on 14 April. We are organising to be part of that.

Major firms like Sports Direct, or the G1 Group here in Glasgow, that use zero hours to boost profits should start worrying about the work we are doing.

It may be small scale right now but as New Zealand shows workers can fight back—and we can win.

Lorna McKinnon, Glasgow

It's time to call out SNP's broken pledges

The Scottish National Party’s (SNP) plan to raise £100 million for schools by tinkering with the regressive council tax will hit the poorest hardest, according to the Scottish parliament’s research group.

It will benefit local authorities in the most affluent areas. It won’t benefit the parts of Scotland where social deprivation and unemployment are high—where schools would most benefit from the cash.

This is on top of an already unfair council tax that benefits the wealthy.

The SNP resists any radical change or scrapping this regressive tax, like they pledged to do.

It refuses to say if the money raised would be redistributed fairly to those in need. This is just an attempt at tinkering around the edges rather than a break with Westminster austerity.

It will affect disproportionately the poorest and reinforce disadvantage.

The alternative is, clearly, to tax the rich.

With the Holyrood elections in May the SNP needs to be held to account for its list of broken pledges.

Ayesha Saleem, Edinburgh

Lying with dogs carries a risk of fleas

Tosh McDonald, the Aslef union president, dished out a stinging rebuke to Barnsley Labour MPs Dan Jarvis and Michael Dugher as part of a recent talk he gave in Barnsley.

It came at the end of a fortnight in which Dugher publicly condemned Jeremy Corbyn as “quite frankly barmy” for speaking at the Scrap Trident demonstration.

Jarvis had also issued the latest of his policy speeches which are clearly designed to signal a future challenge from him for the Labour leadership.

Tosh beautifully summed up the role that right wing Labour MPs such as Dugher are playing when he said, “Michael, if you lie down with dogs you are going to get fleas!”

Dave Gibson, Barnsley

Shame on Archbishop of Canterbury

The mass media, the government and unscrupulous politicians are engaged in an unprecedented campaign of vilification and scapegoating of migrants and refugees.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has intervened to defend racism, comfort bigots and legitimise xenophobia. He should be ashamed. Let Welby stand with the racists and disgrace his faith. Decent people stand with the oppressed and know racism is wrong.

Sasha Simic, North London

Millions wasted while services cut - it stinks

Four Tube line upgrades will be five years late and £886 million over budget after “gross mismanagement” by Transport for London (TfL)—a testament to Tory Boris Johnson’s time as London mayor. Ultimately, as head of TfL, it’s his responsibility.

Londoners bearing the brunt of government cuts have seen Johnson’s determination to crush trade unions and fund his vanity projects.

He has slashed jobs, overseen fare increases and failed to provide more accessible stations.

Despite the massive waste of public cash, everyone else will be to blame. Meanwhile the mayor, already a MP, will walk into a prime political career with no regard for the reduction in the service and safety of London Underground. It stinks.

A Tube worker, London

No is the only way to go

Yes, of course the EU is just a club for big business. Crucially we shall never be able to renationalise any of our privatised industries until we are out of it.

It is nonsense to suggest that because a person shares one policy of Ukip’s then people will automatically think that they share Ukip’s other policies.

Tony Shaw, Hyde, Cheshire

Tory budget got me angry

Just seeing Georgie’s face makes me want to overthrow the government and inflict pain on them all!

@michellelincoln on Twitter

About time Eton was turned into an academy

@urbanmanc on Twitter

Splinter the duke’s plan

Grosvenor Estate, the Duke of Westminster’s property company, wants to redevelop the last remaining timber yard from the early Victorian period still in use today for its intended purpose.

The plan will oust many from their homes to create luxury apartments, demolish 19th century galleries, except the facades, and cost 35 jobs.

All to create three vast showrooms that would only be affordable to multinational companies.

Humphrey Carrasco, by email

Harold Wilson did bugger all

Harold WIlson, Labour party leader in 1963, would have turned 100 years old last week. What was his legacy?

Well his constituency, Knowsley, remains one of the poorest on all sorts of measures. So he did bugger all there.

Andrew Duff, on Facebook

Tear the Tory dogs apart

I read your interview with FBU leader Matt Wrack (Socialist Worker, 3 March). The fightback must begin. The Tories are unopposed—they need to be dealt with.

@cheisback on Twitter

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Article information

Tue 22 Mar 2016, 17:14 GMT
Issue No. 2496
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