Royal Mail was privatised in 2013. The initial public offering went for a paltry £1.98 billion for the country’s postal services. This was a bung to the financial speculators by Vince Cable, the then Business Secretary in the Tory-Lib Dem government. On the first day of trading, share prices jumped 38%, making a tidy sum for the financial speculators.
For the first time ever, McDonald’s workers in Britain are be striking. The first day of this historic strike, on the 4th of September will see some of the worst treated, lowest paid and precarious workers taking on the notoriously anti-union McDonald’s at its restaurants in Cambridge and in Crayford, south-east London.
Like most working class people, our family has been hit hard by the austerity agenda imposed over the last ten years by Westminster and Stormont to bail out the bankers and super-rich after the economic crisis they created.
The surge in price rises continues unabated. Official figures released in May put inflation at a rate of 2.9%, with most economists predicting further price rises this year.
While the attention of the media has been on the protracted collapse of Stormont and the aftermath of the general election, the ramifications of austerity continue unabated.
NIPSA trade union activists in the civil service are currently engaged in a struggle to defend what is known as “facility time” to continue to effectively represent their members and to engage in the internal activities necessary to the democracy of any trade union.
The two largest trade unions here – Unite and NIPSA – are holding important conferences in late May and early June which present an opportunity to rebuild meaningful industrial resistance to the austerity policies of the Tories and the Stormont Assembly.
From the beginning of 2015, leisure centres formerly managed by Belfast City Council have been outsourced to Greenwich Leisure Limited. Although GLL is registered as a charitable social enterprise and claims to reinvest its surplus back into service provision, the company is winning an ever increasing number of contracts by slashing wages, staffing and training while paying its directors exorbitantly.