Article from the Oct 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

Pay us a living wage!

SOCIALIST YOUTH's End Low Pay Campaign has begun taking on low pay bosses across Ireland. Those paying slave wages are shamed weekly at stalls in Cork, Limerick and Dublin.

By Paul Murphy

Now, Socialist Youth plans to step up our campaign against the bosses and the government. In October, we will be holding Days of Action against low pay across Ireland. We will highlight and expose the exploitation of particularly bad employers, but also will be taking protest action to expose the government who have legalised low pay and to demand that a minimum wage of Euro10 per hour is implemented for all workers immediately.

Most young people, whether they be full-time workers, school students or college students, work somewhere and suffer massive exploitation. The kind of jobs they have are in general badly-paid service industry jobs, like in pubs, shops, restaurants or petrol stations, where the conditions and the way the workers are treated are even worse than the wages. At the same time as the workers are treated and paid like slaves, these companies are making massive profits. The government has legalised slave wages, with its minimum wage of Euro7 per hour, and even worse its exemptions that allow anyone under 18 to be paid Euro4.90 per hour.

This type of low paid employment represents the future for all of us, unless we fight back. The government and the bosses want to see Ireland join the race to the bottom across Europe, with low wages and bad conditions being the norm. Over the past 20 years, there has been a massive shift in wealth from workers to the bosses, with wages dropping from 60% of GDP to 52%, while profits for business have increased from 30% to 40%. The low pay of young people and immigrant workers is a way for them to intensify this shift of wealth from the workers to the bosses.

But just because the government has legalised and encourages our exploitation doesn't mean we have to accept it. Young workers still have power by taking action together to get wage rises and improvements in conditions. Socialist Youth wants to assist any worker that wants to fight back against their boss. If you are exploited and fed up with it, do something about it, contact the End Low Pay Campaign and start to fight for a decent wage in your workplace!

Here's an interview in this issue on Low Pay in Cork

Other articles on our Low Pay campaigns




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