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Huge TUC March Brings the Issue of Poverty Pay to York

Young anarchists and Antifa make their point about the "system"
Young anarchists and Antifa make their point about the “system”

The massive Trades Union Congress (TUC) demonstration in London on 18th October, which attracted around 100,000 trade unionists and community campaigners from right across the country, was the opening salvo in the campaign by the TUC for the abolition of zero hours contracts and the campaign for employers to implement a Living Wage.

The statistics that back up what we have been saying since the financial crisis make sobering reading. Well over a million UK employees – and rising – now face the prospect of uncertain working hours, and as a result uncertain pay – and among those, it is students and the young who have been disproportionately affected. In the public sector alone, workers have seen a net reduction in their disposable income of a staggering 20% since the Coalition Government took power in 2010. Zero hours contracts – touted by unscrupulous employers as a “flexible” means of employment (meaning flexibility for them and misery for everyone else) have been a driving force in the cost of living crisis which is blighting communities up and down the country.

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Trade union speakers in London repeatedly called for the introduction of the Living Wage right across the board, with some leaders calling for £10.00 per hour being a more realistic figure for living in a country which is among the most expensive to live in and yet has one of the worst gaps in wealth between rich and poor in the Western world. The TUC slogan for the march: “Britain Needs a Pay-Rise” indicated the correct analysis that the wage collapse since 2010 is not the way to go about stimulating economic growth. To stimulate growth disposable income must be put into the hands of those who actually spend it – namely the working people who are being hammered by poverty pay and zero hour contracts.

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Prior to our trip to the London march, York & District TUC had already decided to start a “York Needs A Pay-Rise” campaign in collaboration with our many supporters and affiliated campaign groups. A rolling campaign of conducting a pay review of the city centre, allied with the opportunity of employees to tell their story about living on less than the Living Wage and on zero hour contracts, will being the issue to attention of the public that it deserves. Naming and shaming the worst employers is not something the TUC will shy away from – this is the 21st century, and there is no place in the opinion of our unions and their members for conditions and contracts that belong back in the 19th century. For all the talk about “flexibility” there are a dozen other tales of misery and insecurity at the hands of employers who cannot even guarantee work or decent pay. The anger of people is palpable – and who can blame them, when they cannot guarantee that they are going to be able to make ends meet at the end of every month.

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The “York Needs A Pay-Rise” campaign is being backed by the Regional TUC, whose Campaign Officer Neil Foster, Regional Secretary Bill Adams and Council leader James Alexander all attended a meeting in York in recent days to pledge their support for York TUC’s work in bringing this issue, along with students, charity and community groups, to the wider attention of the public – a public who is overwhelmingly opposed to the draconian “work” legislation that this Government is inflicting on hard-working people.

Neil Foster (TUC Campaigns Officer), Bill Adams (TUC Regional Secretary) and Cllr James Alexander (leader, Labour Group) support the pay-rise campaign
Neil Foster (TUC Campaigns Officer), Bill Adams (TUC Regional Secretary) and Cllr James Alexander (leader, Labour Group) support the pay-rise campaign

(c) all photography by Leigh Wilks. Not to be reproduced without permission.

This Saturday 1st November! YORK FIRST WORLD WAR DAY-SCHOOL

YORK FIRST WORLD WAR DAY-SCHOOL:

THE ANTI-WAR PERSPECTIVE

Saturday 1st November 2014, Priory Street Centre

The York First World War Day-School will provide an alternative to the Government programme of commemoration.  This day-school aims to offer explanations of why the war was fought, and how the war was conducted, in as accessible way as possible.  This is not an academic conference.  There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions, to participate in discussion and to argue.  This event has been sponsored by York & District Trades Union Council.

The programme is attached which gives details of venue, times, ticket prices and where to buy these.  Tickets are also available on the day.

Day-school programme latest

(click to make programme larger)

Annual report – photos required!

Dear delegates, supporters and YTUC EC,

Myself and Leigh are putting together our annual report for 2013 in preparation for our AGM in March and the Y&H TUC AGM (also March). We have been asked to submit a report to the region by 11th February.

Can I ask that if you have any photographs (or reports for those who we delegated to attend specific events) which have not already found their way onto http://www.yorktuc.org.uk, would you please send them to me ASAP? (If sending reports then just a couple of paragraphs will do)

As a reminder, some of the events you may have photos/reports from:

Y&H TUC AGM 2013
Shrewsbury 24 meeting in York (Ricky Tomlinson)
Durham Miners Gala
NHS Demo Manchester (September)
NSSN Conference
Lib Dems in York (Vince Cable)
NHS events in York (Reclaim NHS – April)
Action for Rail East Coast leafleting
International Workers Memorial Day

Regards,

Krzysztof Rockwell
Secretary, York & District Trades Union Council