THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 16th September 1977


Bread short-wages as well

Once Scanlon had gagged the engineers, there was little doubt but that the TUC would sentence Britain's workers to a 12-month no pay rise "stretch".

But you can't hold a good man down - and it's doubly difficult when, like a baker, he's stuck with £28.50 a week.

It's tough making do without a slice to go with your tea. Nevertheless, Bakers' Union secretary Sam Maddox is right when he says that it's tougher making that £28.50 up to £50 by working, "many long hours,.. Sundays, six days a week..."

The bakers are right to demand pay for the day's break they took at Bank holiday time. It's plain outrageous to suggest otherwise and all the howls against pickets at flour mills and for "plucky little bakers" are so much eye-wash.

A row about a day's pay will not, however, solve all the bakers' problems, never mind the problems of the rest of us who have to buy bread and much else besides.

We report on this page the claim that civil service executive officers will need a 40% rise next April to put themselves back where they were in April 1975.

The New Communist Party's TUC week broadsheet pointed out that the average worker needs around £20 a week extra to restore the living standards he enjoyed before the Social Contract cut into the value of wages. The bakers need more than that £20 a week to enable them to enjoy a decent wage on the basis of reasonable hours.

This paper doesn't carry stock market prices in full. But every reader will know that shares have been going up by leaps and bounds. It's supposed to be some sort of economic miracle. So why isn't anything miraculous happening to wages? Could it just be that shares are doing well because wages are now so low.

We are for the bakers. We are for the Ford workers' 25% claim. We are very much for the miners' demand for £135 a week. Thousands need pay rises and 1.6 million need , jobs. Trade union "leaders" like Scanlon and Jones had better understand that and so had the top men in the Labour Government.

The Lucas tool-room, men have been forced back to work and the bakers may be forced back yet. But spontaneous and disunited though it is at the there's a movement afoot that will take some stopping.

The New Worker means help is on its way.