You can bank on Unite to continue to challenge the Con-Dem cuts. Yesterday after an impassioned speech in the Lords Unite general secretary Len McCluskey led a host of MPs and lords to a pop up food bank outside the Houses of Parliament. The food bank was there to highlight the massive rise in their use with some 200,000 people expected to turn to local food banks to get by. Unite brought the food bank to the heart of government to draw attention to the impending welfare changes and how these will force ever greater numbers to rely on food parcels and help. Unite is calling on all MPs and members of the House of Lords to donate to the food bank, as well as back changes to the Welfare Uprating bill being proposed by the union and charities intended to stop the legislation causing widespread hardship. Said Len: “These welfare changes are a regressive, mean-minded attack on the most vulnerable in our society - children, the disabled, lone parents. They are the product of a nasty ideology from a failed government and will set our country back to sadder times. We are urging peers to take the opportunity they have now to stop this, as the House of Lords is the last hope for millions fearing the weeks to come."
And while thousands turn to food banks scandal hit Barclays is to reveal that more than 600 of its bankers were paid more than £1 million last year, full results are expected next week but while top bankers get millions the Mirror highlights the Unite campaign over poverty pay with many ordinary bank workers forced to rely on food banks. Barclays has pledged to pay staff a living wage but the starting salary at the bank is just £13,500.
And talking of pay the latest scandal has been uncovered by Unite at Pilkington Glass. The Sun splashes with an exclusive that the glass company could face a crippling strike after the company threatened to freeze workers’ pay for good – yes, forever - in a dispute over pensions. Unite’s Linda McCulloch said: “Pilkington Glass is attempting to bully and intimidate staff out of their pensions.”
And in a threat to pensions or anyone with savings the Bank of England is considering setting negative interest rates to force the banks to lend money to business. While that may help business get going it would hit savings and pensions and could even herald a wholesale change in banking with the end of free accounts.
And the very opposite of savings is also on the agenda in the NHS, as many of the papers report that up to 12,000 nurses will face the axe under the Con-Dems, the Mirror notes that the cost of the Tory’s botched NHS reforms stands at £543 million. So not only was there the broken pledge on no top down reorganisation – a massive one is still going on – and prime minister David Cameron say he’d protect the NHS – he didn’t – but now we have a massive bill to bail out struggling hospitals, the NHS head is under pressure but even worse NHS bosses have pay next on the agenda, the NHS as we know it could soon be gone…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
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Edited by Mik Sabiers