Socialist Worker

Theresa May grants workers the right to remain exploited

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2554

Theresa May thinks the Tories can blusteringly patronise their way to victory

Theresa May thinks the Tories can blusteringly patronise their way to victory (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)


The Tory manifesto set to be released this week will continue attacks on the whole working class.

Theresa May’s claim on Monday that it will be the “greatest extension of rights and protections” for workers “by any Conservative government in history” is a transparent sham.

In the bosses’ Financial Times (FT) newspaper she said the Tories will be the “unashamed voice of ordinary working people”—at the same time as “an evangelist for the entrepreneurs”.

May will “enhance workers’ rights” by legislating so that workers can take time off if their child dies, and request unpaid leave for training or to care for a family member.

Most workers will be unable to afford long periods of unpaid time off work.

Those in need of care should be able to get it from the NHS and local councils, not forced to rely on the goodwill of relatives. But social care funding was slashed by £4.6 billion under the last Tory government.

Burden

The burden of such care falls disproportionately on women, who could face yet more discrimination in the workplace as a result.

The Tories will “ensure that there is representation for workers on company boards”.

If this meant putting a token worker in the boardroom it would be little enough.

Sacked for wanting wages—the reality of workers’ rights under the Tories
Sacked for wanting wages—the reality of workers’ rights under the Tories
  Read More

But the FT reassured its readers that “listed companies will not have to appoint a workers’ representative directly to their board”. Instead they could “designate a non-executive director” to advocate on behalf of the employees they are exploiting.

The Tories will not ban zero hours contracts. They will not push for a £10 an hour minimum wage, but stick with their phoney National Living Wage “to the advantages of employers”.

May’s commitment to workers’ rights means “preventing pointless red tape and keeping corporation tax low”—a gift to the bosses.

It also means sticking with the increased fees to take your boss to an employment tribunal, which has seen a 70 percent drop in cases since it was introduced in 2013.

And of course there’s the draconian Trade Union Act that May voted for and the Tory government rammed through in an attempt to curtail workers’ right to strike.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady shamefully missed the point, hailing May’s “promising set of commitments”.

A dispute at one London restaurant shows the reality of working life under the Tories—and May wants to roll it back even further.

The only way to defend and improve workers’ rights is to fight the Tories—by voting them out on 8 June and by taking action ourselves to resist their attacks.


Councillors slammed for vile racist tweets

Two Tory councillors were in hot water last week over disgusting racist outbursts on social media that exposed some of the bigotry at the heart of the nasty party.

Nick Harrington was suspended from the Conservatives on Warwick District Council after tweeting on Saturday night that Ireland “can keep your f’king gypsies”.

Newly elected Stirling councillor Robert Davies came under fire for tweets implying that black people are cannibals who carry spears.


There are no cuts for the war machine

While the rest of us face cuts, the Tories are splurging on fighter planes, warships and tanks.

They promise not only to keep military spending at 2 percent of national income, but also to increase it by 0.5 percent above inflation every year.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon called himself “passionate about defence” and boasted about building aircraft carriers.


What we say

‘The fat cats keep the money and us lot get nothing! I want my Disability Living Allowance to come back. I can’t live on £100 a month. They just took it all away from me.’

Cathy, a benefit claimant with learning disabilities who confronted Theresa May in Abingdon Market

‘If the Tories get another term, there will be no NHS as we know it. We have to lift the pay freeze and stop privatisation’

Junior doctor Niki Fitzgerald

‘It’s wrong to restrict immigration. It is scapegoating and it divides the working class, helping the bosses to attack our pay and conditions’

Migrant worker Rafel Sanchis-Palop

‘The Tories treated our members across the civil service with contempt by cutting more than 110,000 jobs and closing hundreds of offices’

PCS union leader Mark Serwotka on the Tories’ claim to be defending workers’ rights


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