This article is from the July 2004 edition of Socialist Voice
SOCIALIST YOUTH take on low pay bosses
THIS YEAR you'll be happy to know that the Chief Executive at Tesco's will be paid just under £3 million (including basic pay, benefits and bonuses). The average 18 year old employee working a full time, 40 hour week could expect to work for a whopping 380 years to earn this amount (and that's pre-tax as well)! All across Britain and Ireland, young people are getting ripped-off, exploited and denied the right to decent conditions of work.
By Chris Loughlin
Belfast Socialist Youth
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) consistently condemns and attacks the Thatcherite anti-trade union laws in what commentator's call "Victorian" conditions. What, however is "Tory" Blair's New Labour doing to help young workers? Once again the Government plans to continue to keep the Minimum Wage legislation the absolute minimum any person, young or old could survive on!
From 1 October the Minimum Wage will increase from £3.80 to £4.10 an hour for 18-21 year olds and to £4.85 for all those 22 years and over. For 16 and17 year olds new legislation will be put in place to give them a paltry £3.00 an hour.
This legislation is continuing to discriminate against young people by setting the minimum wage at a poverty level. Socialist Youth continues to demand a £6.00 an hour minimum wage for all 16 and over as a step towards a living minimum wage.
Let us return to that "nice" company Tesco's that posted pre-tax profits of £1.36 billion for 2002-03. Tesco could easily afford to pay a decent wage. However, concern about the exploitation of workers is hardly the strong point for a multi-national company!
Socialist Youth over the summer will be re-doubling our efforts to fight the exploitation of young workers around the country. While for years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement we were promised a "peace dividend" nothing concrete has arrived. It still costs £10 more to fill a basket of groceries here than in Newcastle upon Tyne and we have some of the lowest wages in Europe!
Socialist Youth will be holding stalls and discussions and "naming and shaming" low pay employers throughout the summer.
If you are a young person getting paid a disgusting wage contact us and tell us what is going on. Come along to our activities and help us make low pay bosses sweat during the summer!