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Stand with migrant workers for good pay and conditions

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Issue 2385

Our government would have us believe that migrants are bad—especially those from Eastern Europe who may come at a later date.

But it tries to have it both ways. Some ministers ask why can’t our youngsters pull their fingers out, get out of bed and work like hardworking migrants?

Then a few minutes later we hear about how feckless Europeans are living on our streets claiming benefits. 

In an affluent town in rural Wiltshire there is a car wash where you can get your car washed for £10 while you wait. There are similar businesses in towns and cities across England.

Drive up to these car washes and you will be approached by apparently eager workers, almost all migrants.

One worker I spoke to received £40 for a ten hour day. The woman in question looked exhausted. She claimed to be very hungry and that she had not eaten all day. When I took her hand she was freezing.

Workers, wherever they are from, need to be paid a fair living wage. Furthermore, they should have healthy working conditions.

Many argue that without these businesses operating people would be unemployed. This is a ridiculous argument. 

It is like someone kidnapping a young girl, abusing her, and then arguing that otherwise she would be homeless.

We, as workers of Britain, should be asking questions when we receive services. What are these people being paid? What are their conditions?

Ask yourself—would I work for these wages, in these conditions? 

Don’t kid yourself that you wouldn’t have to because you have qualifications. Many people working in these places are highly qualified. 

If you still can’t see how awful this is ask yourself—would I want my child to work like this?

Louise Stradling


Remember the Holocaust to stop fascism today

In 1943 a remarkable poster was published by those resisting the Nazi Holocaust in the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto. 

Two hands clasped in a handshake from each side of the Nazi ghetto wall which separated the Jewish and non Jewish populations. Together they crash the wall into rubble.

The poster is republished in the latest Bookmarks edition of The Ghetto Fights, memoir of leader Marek Edelman. It reminds us that solidarity is key to resisting Nazi barbarism. 

Bookmarks will host a Holocaust Memorial Day event along with hundreds of other organisations. 

Socialist Worker readers are urged to attend these events or work with other anti-racists to organise one in your locality.

 This is not just about the past. Everywhere the extreme right is trying to crawl out of the gutter. 

These events are about saying Never Again!   

John Rose

East London

Who should get to vote in Scottish independence referendum?

Barry Salvage is correct to say that the vote on Scottish independence will affect the lives of everybody in Britain.

However, he is wrong to say that this means that everyone in the UK should get a vote. 

Socialists have always defended the principle that nations should be able to self-determine.  

The people of Scotland have a basic democratic right to decide if they want to remain part of Britain.

Barry also argues that an independent Scotland would mean permanent Tory rule in the rest of Britain. 

This is a myth. 

There has only ever been one Labour government that has relied for its majority on Scottish MPs—the Harold Wilson government of 1964. 

This argument also assumes that the best we can hope for is another Labour government. 

I don’t think that’s true. As socialists, we need to fight for something better.

And we need to do that whether inside Britain or in an independent Scotland.

Callum McCormick


Cruel film firm uses the young

Checking my bank statement recently infuriated me., a film website similar to Lovefilm, had charged me five pounds. 

I subscribed due to a cold caller knocking a few months back. 

The cold caller was 17 years old, and had travelled from Plaistow in east London to south west London to try to get subscriptions. 

I asked him how much they were paying him and he told me absolutely nothing. He said he worked on commission, receiving ten pounds for every subscription. 

I subscribed because I am a human being and felt bad for him. 

It is an absolute travesty that rather than providing proper employment for teenagers, they are asking them to travel miles to probably earn nothing. 

Jack Faux

West London

More wins against the bedroom tax in Fife

There were two more landmark victories over the bedroom tax in Fife last month.

Alex McPhie from St Andrews and Judith Aitken from Glenrothes both won appeals against the tax.

Judith said that it had been daunting deciding to appeal but that coverage of others who had won their cases inspired her to go ahead.

You can contact the Fife Anti Bedroom Tax campaign on [email protected]

Louise McLeary


Serco shame as costs rise

Serco is in trouble after wrongly charging the government for tagging criminals.

It said the cost of this would be £27 million—not including any charge it has to pay the government. 

This has now risen to £36 million. We need to get private firms out of public services. 

Kirsty Hill 


I support the firefighters

It was heartening to read of crews of firefighters helping to clean up flood ravaged parts of Norfolk last year.

Public sector workers often have an altruistic motivation in their work.

I’ll be offering support to firefighters taking lawful industrial action in defence of their pensions.

Jo Rust 


A headline to shout about

Socialist Worker’s front page on the death of Margaret Thatcher made a big impact.

It came tenth in a list of 27 most popular front pages of 2013.

The list was based on how many retweets the page received on Twitter.

Well done to the paper for having such a great response to the demise of a terrible Tory.

Mary Cooper 


A great poster to stop racism

I was heartened to see leading Labour movement figures take up the Socialist Workers Party’s (SWP) slogan, “Don’t blame the Bulgarians or the Romanians—Blame the Etonians”.

Jennie Formby of the Unite union and former deputy prime minister John Prescott both tweeted a version of the SWP’s poster with the slogan.

If only the Labour Party as a whole was as resolute against 

anti-immigrant racism.

It is to the SWP’s credit that it maintains a proud, principled record of solidarity with immigrants.

Sasha Simic

East London

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