Dundee SSP

Now at www.dundeessp.org

We have moved!

Posted by alangdundee on October 11, 2008

We have moved this blog to DundeeSSP.org please update your links as appropriate.

Thanks,
Dundee SSP

Posted in Dundee | Leave a Comment »

Happy Birthday to the Minimum Wage (or a decade of inequality?)

Posted by agorrie on March 31, 2009

Despite marking its tenth anniversary tomorrow, the National Minimum Wage Act continues to discriminate against young workers.

While workers aged 22 or over can expect to receive a minimum of £5.73, those aged 18-21 are guaranteed just £4.77. Workers over compulsory school age but younger than 18 are entitled to a mere £3.53. Those under this age, such as school pupils who deliver papers, are not covered by the legislation at all. In reality this often encourages the practice of employers hiring younger staff at lower wage levels, then finding ways to dismiss them as they age and their wage increases.

Britain is not the only country to have different rates for different people, however of around fifty nations who currently enforce minimum wage levels, only four (Israel, Chile, Belgium and Luxembourg) explicitly discriminate due to age. Other nations categorise based on skill level (Pakistan); industry (Cuba); whether or not the position is in the public or private sector (Bahamas); geographical considerations (Mexico); or how long an employee has been in their role (Canada).

Regardless of whether or not you believe that the minimum wage should exist, the inbuilt age inequality is surely indefensible. Can anyone give a valid explanation as to why the government feel I’ll automatically be worth an extra 97p per hour by the middle of next month, after my 22nd birthday?

Many make the argument that a 22 year old will have more experience, and is less likely to live at home with their parents, so does not require as much money. This opinion is based purely on often wrong assumptions and would have little credibility in a pub debate, let alone as a central part of a so called ‘progressive’ policy.

While the wage paid varies depending on age, the cost of living does not. I’ve yet to walk into a shop and see products priced on a sliding scale according to the customer’s age! Similarly, the income tax levels paid by those either side of the divide are identical.

Although some unions have continued to call for improvements to the minimum wage, such as paying the adult rate at 18, it is clear that these demands are not enough. The Scottish Socialist Party continues to call for a single, £8 per hour guarantee, regardless of the workers age.

Posted in Dundee | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Credit Crunch Blues

Posted by alangdundee on October 11, 2008

Rod MacGregor has written a poem about the Credit Crunch.

Credit Crunch Blues

Christmas time is coming,
It’s just around the bend,
This year it will be different,
So listen well, my friend.
I’m wearing dirty trousers,
I’m wearing leaky shoes,
Ain’t had a wash in three days
Nor a shave in twenty-two.
The good times they are over,
It’s been in all the news.
I’m just another victim,
A victim of the credit crunch blues.

Once I was so well-off,
I wanted not a thing,
Had a great job in the city,
Silk shirts and loadsa bling.
Had a Porsche in the car park,
A four by four for fun,
King’s ransom for a mortgage,
Hey! Didn’t everyone?
Six-figure bonuses,
How could I refuse?
Never seen it coming,
Never seen the credit crunch blues.

The boss, he called me in this day,
Said, Son, please take a seat,
But don’t you get too comfy
,
Then he turned up the heat.
Told me we’re downsizing,
Our office has to shrink.
The economy, surprising,
Was teetering on the brink.
Head office says one of us
Must go, I gotta choose.

Guess which one it was that went,
Which one is suffering the credit crunch blues.

Well, the good times they were over,
And so much had to go!
The holiday home in Tuscany
(That really was a blow).
The kids’ private education—
I couldn’t pay the bill.
My personal private healthcare plan
For if I should fall ill.
My whole world has exploded,
And greed, it lit the fuse.
Blown my world to kingdom come,
Blown up by the credit crunch blues.

I came home one evening,
On the table in the hall
A note addressed to me
Was sitting there, I recall.
Said, Honey, I am leaving you.
Was paralysed, like polio.
Her note told me she’d left me
For a bigger portfolio.
They say size, it doesn’t matter
But my wife had other views.
She left me for a bigger man,
She left me with the credit crunch blues.

By now my head was spinning,
I really couldn’t think,
Had a load of worthless shares,
No money, turned to drink.
I couldn’t pay the mortgage,
Was turfed out of my home.
The kids went to their mother,
The dog left with his bone.
From being such a winner
I had to learn how to lose,
No pity from ex-colleagues, friends,
No mercy from the credit crunch blues.

So here I am now livin’
In the shady part of town.
We all travel the same direction
That direction, it is down.
Here, people see no future,
It’s drink and drugs and fights.
There ain’t too much respect around
For anyone’s human rights.
They fire-bomb police cars,
Stone fire-fightin’ crews.
It’s a whole new style of living
But I’m living with the credit crunch blues.

Christmas time was comin’,
I didn’t have no dough.
I got a job as Santa Claus
But the store said I had to go.
Gave this kid a present, said,
Some day they’ll want that back.
The kid burst into tears
And this Santa got the sack.
Was only tryin’ to tell him
Nothing’s free and bills come due.
He’ll learn that for himself some day,
Me? I learned it from the credit crunch blues.

My power has been cut off,
I’m in the dark and cold,
Just sittin’ here and thinkin’
‘Bout the shit that I was told.
They told me life, it was a race,
Where you watch for number one.
And the devil takes the hindmost
Right from that starting gun.
Don’t get left there standin’,
All alone and all confused.
But that’s exactly where I am now,
Brought on by the credit crunch blues.

My thoughts they turn bitterly
To the people I once knew.
How they controlled the many
Although they were so few.
Now the house of cards they built
Has come crashing down so fast.
No house without foundations
Can ever hope to last.
But till the many take the power
(And this is now my view),
We’re doomed to keep repeating,
Repeating those credit crunch blues.

Posted in Economy, Rod MacGregor | 2 Comments »

Wi cannae afford it

Posted by alangdundee on October 9, 2008

You’ve heard it all before

2000
Brown gives 75p rise to pensions at the time claiming we couldn’t afford more.

2001
MPs award themselves £2000 pay rise months later.

2003
War given blank cheque as Brown pledges as much money as it takes for the slaughter in Iraq.

Chancellor Gordon Brown says the UK will spend what it takes to tackle Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Money well spent then seeing as they didn’t exist. In 2001 the Ministry of Defence put the costs so far at £3.1 billion.

Estimated cost of Free School Meals rejected by Holyrood: £100million per year.

2008

Labour agitate for £20billion to pay for replacement for the Nuclear weapons at Faslane.
The poorest have their Income Tax bill increased to pay for a cut for the middle class.

2008 October 4

Labour councils claim there’s no money for free school meals

2008 October 8

Brown gives £500billion to bail out banks.

At every step money is found to pay for weapons and wars and pay rises for MPs. Low paid council workers are told there’s no money to even give them a pay freeze at inflation, never mind a rise, there’s no money for school meals for children but £16,000 from every person in the UK is found to bail out banks.

This after years of being told the bankers bonuses were justified because of the risks they take with their capital. Of being told privatisation is the only game in town and nationalisation is some bizarre old idea.

Recent events show these words to be as hollow as we have being saying they are for a decade. Money is there. Those in power lack the political will to help the poorest in society.

Posted in Accountability, Economy, Public Services, Scotland | Leave a Comment »

What do they know?

Posted by alangdundee on October 9, 2008

The people who make the excellent write to them have created a new tool what do they know.

This project automates the process of writing Freedom of Information Act requests by:

  • Detailing bodies you can make request from
  • Showing what requests have been made to bodies
  • Showing the responses from those bodies if there is one
  • Automates the process of complaining to the Information Commissioner if they have not replied

Go nuts!

Posted in Accountability, Campaign, Civil Liberties, Public Services, Scotland | Leave a Comment »

Picket of U.S. Consulate in Edinburgh

Posted by alangdundee on October 8, 2008

Reproduced letter below.

There is a picket of the Edinburgh U.S. Consulate (Regents Terrace) for Thursday October 9th from 4pm to 6pm. This has been called by the Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

This is timed to follow the visit of Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez (wives of two of the Cuban Five) to Holyrood. They will attend the picket and speak. Both have been denied visa’s to visit their husbands in jail.

On the tenth anniversary of their arrest progress has been made in the UK in breaking the silence on the Five. See the links following for reports on their visits to the TUC and Labour Party Conference:

Miami Five and Cuba50 get union and TUC backing

TUC delegates pack Cuba fringe meeting

Miami Five wives at Labour Conference

Unions fight for justice for Miami Five on 10th anniversary of imprisonment

This picket is an opportunity to broaden the numbers in action who defend the five, which ultimately will be the key to securing their freedom.

Please forward this to all others you can : union/political/campaign/ organisation lists, newspapers, etc and urge a large attendance. Please also take any steps you can to get labour movement banners to this too.

regards
Peter Clifford

Posted in Accountability, Campaign, Cuba, Demo, Edinburgh, International, Scotland | Leave a Comment »

Support SACC against bullying mercenaries

Posted by alangdundee on October 8, 2008

SACC have been threatened with legal action by the organisation who have the contract on the next Scottish Census.

SACC initiated a Petition against this and issued a statement which CACI International Inc, have taken offence to.

CACI are the organisation who ran Abu Ghraib, the prison in Iraq where torture images were proven to originate from.

According to SACC they have bullied the media in the United States into silence over their involvement and they are now doing the same here after two articles were published in the Sunday Herald

Scottish Government hires firm accused of torture in Iraq and SNP face backlash for hiring firm accused of Iraq torture.

Posted in Accountability, anti-war, Campaign, International, Public Services, Scotland | Leave a Comment »

Worried about the economy?

Posted by alangdundee on October 2, 2008

Your questions answered!

Millions of people stand to lose their jobs, homes and their livelihood because of the economic crisis. If you’re worried, come and take your chance to put your questions about the economy to a leading socialist economist.

Speakers: Raphie de Santos, formerly head of equity derivatives research and strategy at Goldman Sachs, advisor to Bank of England and Italian Ministry of Finance
Frances Curran, co-convenor Scottish Socialist Party
Jack Ferguson, Scottish Socialist Youth

Thursday 9th October, 7:15pm.

Renfield St Stephens Church, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow

This economic crisis, in which millions will suffer, is a direct result of the economic policies of Labour, but pioneered before them by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory Party.

We were told that industries like shipbuilding and steel were old fashioned, obsolete.

Replacing them would be new industries; the bankers would build call centres and everyone would own shares.

The Tories and Labour deregulated the financial markets and allowed them to build mountains of debt into a casino economy while they paid themselves multi million pound bonuses.

But they bet everything on black and now it’s come up red… and they want the tax payers to bail them out!

We are urged to hand over billions of tax payers money, without any analysis of whether this will work, or how exactly it will help ordinary people.

Politicians are not being asked about specific help for ordinary people, like guaranteeing the value of pensions or re-scheduling mortgages so people can stay in their homes.

Public meeting

For 30 years socialists have struggled to resist public assets being plundered.

We said bankers are playing roulette with workers’ pension funds, insurance funds and privatisation.

We’re fed news stories where we’re urged to view protection of the rich as in our own interest. Just like when they claimed Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction.The media have failed us. This time we won’t be fooled again.

Real economic solutions the government should use now:

  • Take HBOS and other banks into common ownership with no redundancies. Use them to create a social bank providing social loans and mortgages.
  • Provide affordable social housing for rent. The £110 billion that was spent on Northern Rock would pay for 2 million homes!
  • Freeze food and heating prices.

Posted in Economy, Glasgow, Meetings | Leave a Comment »

Free School Meals

Posted by alangdundee on October 2, 2008

There has been a lot of media reporting of the Free School Meals deal by the SNP.

As welcome as it is, it doesn’t mention the role played by the SSP for years initiating this policy. The policy which was voted down by the majority of the SNP and Labour MSPs at the time, with a few honourable exceptions.

David Osler helps redress this oversight.

Special thanks go to Fix Garvie, who the North East region selected as our top regional candidate in 2007 for her role in the campaign, as well as the others in the SSP and elsewhere for making this policy real.

Posted in Campaign, Equality, Free School Meals, Health, Scotland, SNP | Leave a Comment »

Spanish Civil War Memorial re-dedication

Posted by alangdundee on September 30, 2008

Message from Mike Arnott, Secretary of Dundee Trades Council and

I’m writing to request a big turn-out from Trade Unionists, especially with banners, for the parade up Reform Street from City Square to Albert Square at 11am on Saturday 11th October (assemble 10.45am). The event is to mark the rededication of the City’s Memorial to those who died in the Spanish Civil War, and the unveiling of a new plaque.

It is hoped that Jack Jones, the 95 year old former leader of the TGWU, and who fought in Spain, will be present.

The ceremony will be followed by a public meeting in the Wellgate Steps Theatre where former FBU leader Ken Cameron will be speaking, along with the Spanish Consul.

Tickets for the evening social, in the Apex Hotel City Quay suite are also available at £5 each, as are commemorative t-shirts at £6.

An exhibition entitled Dundee and the Spanish Civil War will be running in the Wellgate Library from Oct 7th – 25th.

Banners are important seeing as Dundee Trades Council banner was seized by Police whilst on an anti-G8 march.

Posted in Campaign, Demo, Dundee, International, Meetings, Spain | Leave a Comment »

 
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