Sorry, the program of the Labour Party is just not that radical!

Given all the hype emanating from much of the left about the wonders of the Labour Manifesto, it is hard not to get carried away. After watching the latest uplifting interview with Labor’s John Mcdonnell you can suddenly find yourself unconsciously humming “oh Jeramy Corbyn” as you set about washing the dishes. Given all this hype, it is perhaps then worth having a bit of a reality check and assessing what the Labour Party is actually promising should they get elected.

Labour is promising to increase overall public spending from the current level of 38% of national income to 43.3%. Though billed as almost revolutionary, this increase is fairly moderate when compared with much of Europe, for example, in Sweden public spending amounts to 48.4%  of national income, Italy 48.8% and France a wapping 55.7%.

Company Targeted Low Income Elderly People to Mis-sell Funeral Plans

Staff at a call centre where customers were described as “gazelles” to be hunted have been subjecting, low income, elderly people, to dozens of calls a week to sell them expensive funeral packages. The company, Prosperous Life,  based in Stockport, Greater Manchester, sells more than 1,000 pre-paid funeral plans every month. Staff at the company report that they are put under pressure to push people to sign up for schemes with little regard for their income.

Prosperous Life runs a workplace culture inspired by The Wolf of Wall Street movie, as a means to pressurise staff into mis-selling funeral plans to vulnerable people. Staff were encouraged to refer to themselves as “lions” and potential customers as “gazelles”. A life-sized cardboard cutout of Leonardo DiCaprio as the disgraced fraudster Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street movie was placed in the office.

TUC SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS GROWING UK POVERTY

A new survey by the TUC highlights the real problems many workers have in just making ends meet in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The survey found that:

● 1 in 5 workers (19%) have gone without heating when it was cold;
● 1 in 5 (20%) workers are skipping meals to make ends meet with the number missing out on meals increasing by more than half in two years;
● 1 in 10 (10%) could not pay their rent or mortgage on time;
● 1 in 5 (20%) had pawned or sold something because they were short of money;
● a quarter of respondents report running out of money at the end of most weeks or months, while a further 16% have to cut down or stop spending many times a year;
● two fifths of those polled (41%) say that pay not keeping up with living costs is among their biggest concerns at work.

Get the Payrise you DESERVE

Do you want better pay? How about less stress, and safer conditions at work? The internet is full of people telling you how to ask for a payrise, or improve your CV to get a nicer job. What they don't tell us is that doing things this way starts from a position of WEAKNESS. The bosses that we ask from have all the power, and HR advisers telling them how to pay us as little as possible. On the other hand the biggest cause of stress work, which in turn causes the most workplace illness, is a LACK OF CONTROL. Over the pace of work, the work itself, and the working environment. Bosses aren't just going to hand more control over to us, however nicely we ask.

If we want better wages and conditions then the answer isn't asking alone, it's asking TOGETHER. Getting people together to make demands is what we call WORKPLACE ORGANISING.

Brighton SolFed Housing Union: New ways of working together and fighting back

Two years into the Brighton Solidarity Federation Housing Union, we've had another busy year of working collectively to push back against the city's continuing housing crisis. In this article, we look back on actions and initiatives from the last 12 months and consider our attempts to maintain the momentum of 2017-18 by adopting different strategies and taking on different cases.

One of our members has successfully fought for a council house!

Some of you may remember Patrick, who has been organising with us for the past 18 months to try and improve his living conditions. Patrick's dispute started when his letting agency, Youngs, refused to do basic repair works on his seriously dilapidated flat. In January 2018, shortly after requesting these works, Patrick was served with an eviction notice by his landlord, Stephen Mitchell.

Patrick successfully fought this eviction in court. In the meantime, we also pursued the council to serve an improvement notice on Mitchell, in order to legally compel him to carry out these works. Undeterred by the first failed eviction attempt, Mitchell tried again, this time with the help of a solicitor. Under much pressure, the council served an improvement notice on Mitchell, which should have invalidated the second eviction notice.