Make work pay raise wages!

by Daphne Liddle

THE WORKING class in this country has just taken an almighty punch from the ruling class in the combined austerity cuts and effectively putting control of the NHS budget in the hands of private agencies.

Already the working class death toll is mounting from seriously disabled and longterm sick people driven to an early death through stress and suicide by the notorious work capability test. And thousands who cannot afford to turn on the heating and have died from hypothermia in this long cold winter.

The number of deaths in March jumped by more than 2,500 in the bitterly cold weather this month compared with past years, figures reveal today.

They show hundreds more people dying in England as millions of pensioners and families struggle to heat their homes. In the week ending March 15, 11,180 deaths were registered — 1,300 more than the average for the past five years — and including 9,500 pensioners. There were 11,245 deaths registered in the week before that, 1,265 more than usual.

In the eight week period from mid-January to mid- March there have been 6,500 more deaths than the average for the last five years. The rising toll is set to spark fresh anger over soaring gas bills as energy companies make bumper profits.

The new cuts that came in on Monday, listed by the homeless charity Crisis, include:

Chancellor George Osborne claims these cuts are fair and necessary to “make work pay”. But the majority of people will suffer from these cuts are in work. Demands for workfare pay nothing to workers.

And if millions of people in full time work are getting wages below the breadline then it is wages that are too low, not benefits that are too high.

Petitions, protest marches and one-day strikes are a part of the fight-back but they are not enough. We need longterm strikes and demands for higher wages to raise workers out of poverty.

And we need a serious organised campaign of non-compliance and civil disobedience to make the new measures unenforceable.

We also need a stream on legal advice leaflets and pamphlets from the unions and the campaigning charities and community groups to help those who will have to fight their welfare cuts in the courts. And we need a new army of McKenzie’s friends to support and advise the victims of cuts through the courts.