THE TUC has called for a Fair Pay fortnight from Monday 24 March to Sunday 6 April to highlight the worsening of living standards, the continuing decline in the value of wages and a drop in incomes that is comparable with the early days of the Industrial Revolution at the start of the 19th century.
It is also calling its fourth national demonstration against the Coalition’s so-called economics of austerity, which translates as economics of poverty for workers. The march on Saturday 18 October 2014 will start in central London and go to Hyde Park. The demonstration in March 2011 had over 500,000 people.
Workers has regularly covered the fight for wages. One of the central points of the government’s attack on wages is its attempt to ensure workers are not unionised, not organised and so incapable of either defending wages and wage agreements or of fighting to lift wages. The government has the clear aim of driving the standard of life down for workers by ensuring that the national minimum wage or its variants of the “living wage” become not a safety net but effectively the ceiling for wages for many.
The attempt to drive the standard of living down means that disorganised, demoralised or non-unionised workers learn to live on less and less pay. Wage rates fall to whatever level workers allow. As wages fall, the share creamed off by the employer rises.
Unions are effectively campaigning to run on the spot by re-unionising workers, organising non-unionised workers, re-galvanising those in a trade union to fight for wages. They see the “Fair Pay” fortnight as a way to raise consciousness, shame the employers and politicians – and more importantly recruit workers into their ranks. ■