Saturday, 2 June 2012

Pay Up Protest Post Mortem

Pay Up held their planned protest at Sainsbury's HQ as predicted on Monday. It's unclear how many showed up as they didn't release any numbers but the Livestream and photos out there would indicate less than 20. Interestingly, someone brought their kids along, poor little buggers. They've also updated their website with more details about the campaign and blocked me on Twitter, either because I gave their game away or they don't want to hear an opinion different from their own. Disappointingly, they've published this:

We have five core aims:
To make poverty pay a political issue in the UK that can no longer be ignored
To generate a public debate on the relationship between labour and capital
To make Sainsbury’s the UK’s first major Living Wage retailer
To see a living wage implemented across as much of the economy as possible, starting with profitable big business
To promote workplace self-organisation and unions
To foster joint campaigning and organisation between union and civil disobedience activists

Seriously, who the fuck appointed them to do this? Do the staff actually want a bunch of outsiders protesting on their behalf? And civil disobedience activists? They're basically demanding money with menaces.

We are a national network built on the model of UK Uncut.

Oh fuck no. A thoroughly discredited group, acting on a false premise, with little in the way of achievement bar a few publicity stunts. Given that it's the same people who are running Pay Up, it looks doomed from the outset. While they started off reasonably, holding a banner and shouting on a megaphone outside of Sainsbury's HQ for a bit, they then went on to "occupy" a nearby Sainsbury's local which was forced to close - yep, they're actually harassing the very people they purport to help. Incredibly, the kids were used as part of the occupation, presumably in an attempt to keep the police at bay - fucking disgraceful.

Although the living wage - at its' current rate of £7.20 and £8.30 - will not mean less is paid out in tax credits, the living wage does start a process towards companies not shirking their responsibility for pay. Currently £20bn is spent on WTC every year.

So this isn't actually addressing benefit dependency and subsidy to the private sector, it's just big business bashing. Not a mention about taking those on minimum wage out of the tax system, which would help far more people than just Sainsbury's workers.

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