Monday, February 28, 2011

Twenty Years Ago... the New Worker

Hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets throughout Europe against the Gulf War. In Czechoslovakia information is only now beginning to filter through the dense wall of official censorship.

The state mass media, reflecting unquestioning government support for the “American ally” churn out American war propaganda day and night, continuously reminding the public of the divine mission of the “Allied” troops in their crusade against the Iraqi “evil”.

Speculation has now begun to appear over the actual purpose of the 200-strong Czechoslovak army unit to the Gulf for active service. Despite government claims to the contrary, this was tantamount to a declaration of war against Iraq, a strange act for a regime that claims to oppose the use of violence for solving political disputes.

Poverty pay among Britain’s farm workers is increasing. The wage gap between farm and factory is widening.

Farm workers will lobby their wage negotiators and MPs on Tuesday 12 March to demand a £180 a week basic rate and a reduction in the working week from 40 to 35 hours.

The employers claim that times are hard and say the proposed cuts in farm support make it impossible to increase wages.

The big farmers can afford to pay decent wages says the agricultural workers section of the Transport and General Workers Union.

The big farmers are getting richer – output and efficiency are up and land values have increased. Labour costs are low, compared with machinery, pesticides and fertilisers. The loss of jobs on the land is keeping the wage bill relatively low.

The wage demand is no threat to hard-pressed small farmers and can only lift the standard of living in rural areas.

The claim is on behalf of full-time hired workers, the main type of farm worker in England and Wales.

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