We may have been exaggerating a little with the title, but yesterday was a step in the right direction. Members of Bristol AFed visited our groups most popular destination (yes, it really is) to take part in the first ever Swindon Radical Bookfair. It was a great opportunity for radicals from the town and the wider region to meet up and share information and a chance for other Swindon locals to get involved and find out about their cities radical past, present and (fingers crossed) future.
TV Licence workers at CAPITA are continuing their fight for fair pay with a week-long rolling strike commencing this Monday. Support staff on the picket lines!
CAPITA specialise in buying up public sector contracts as they become privatised, they then rake in massive profits by driving down working conditions and wages for staff. Due to TUPE legislation management will initially have to keep all staff contracts the same, however they will quickly use every tactic at their disposal to lower conditions.
TVL workers have seen permanent staff replaced with agency workers at every opportunity, with staff on decent contracts encouraged to leave, meanwhile bellow inflation pay rises or pay freezes have seen their pay effectively reduced since CAPITA took over. Whist CAPITA is using the current recession as an excuse for this, the argument simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny:
- CAPITA profits have increased substantially in the past two years, despite the recession.
- Profits currently stand in excess of one million pounds a day.
- The contract for TV licencing has been so profitable it has been used as a case study and recently been renewed for another 8 years.
- Whilst low paid workers have had bellow inflation pay offers, the CEO and senior executives have been given a 17% pay increase!
This is the reason workers have decided to demand the pay they deserve and they know their bosses can afford (a 77% yes vote on strike action). It has already led to several days of strikes around the country, including on November the 30th dispelling the myth that only public sector workers are fighting cuts to their living standards. As CWU assistant secretary Andy Furrey put it “Both disputes are about fairness – fair pay for Capita workers and fair pensions for public sector workers. We both face powerful employers who say they can’t afford more. The truth is that these employers will use excuses to squeeze staff costs for fat cat strategies”.
Good luck to everyone on strike, fight ’till you win!