Trade in your Rights for Company Shares – Lessons from History

Between 1918-21, at a time of great industrial hardship and unrest, British Trades Unions achieved significant advantages for working people. These advantages came after a prolonged period of fatalities and accidents among working people engaged in making a living for themselves and their families. These advantages came at huge cost to those who fought so hard for them.

George Osborne’s latest pipe dream would have us believe that these hard earned rights are worth no more than a few shares in an employer’s company some ninety years further on. If you think I exaggerate, spare a few moments to consider these advantages, and how  today’s working generations take them for granted?

During the period I mention, the working week was reduced, in general terms, from 54 hours to 48. It did, however, remain legal until 1937 for employers to insist on a 60 hour week in non-textile factories with up to 600 hours of overtime per year. The Factory Act of that year reduced the legal hours for women and young people while permitting 60 hour weeks in some seasonal trades. If you could not work, you could not eat and there was no understanding state or landlord to understand that it was sickness or injury that denied them their rent. Thus homelessness was added to hunger!

Working people, through their Trades Unions, have fought tooth and nail to improve and preserve the rights and conditions of those employed for more than one hundred years! Mr Osborne, on yet another of his kite flying exercises, would have us believe that none of this was worthwhile because we would be better off to simply trust our employers to do the “right thing” by us and throw in a few shares as compensation for year upon year of hard won workers’ rights.

This situation would be galling enough if it came from a successful government with a proud record of sound economic provision and a mandate from the electorate to govern as they will. Delivered by the worst Chancellor of the Exchequer in living memory (and beyond) with neither mandate nor plan, on behalf of a party without that mandate for more than twenty years, the ruse is risible and deserving of the mockery of all who seek to protect the living standards of ordinary people.

Osborne proudly reiterated his mocking slogan “we’re all in this together” again today and his greedy, uncaring audience lapped it up! “We”, when describing the the average working stiff, the disabled, the frail, the elderly, the young and the homeless are most certainly “in it”. The posh boys who award themselves massive tax breaks (because we cannot trust them to pay their way if they do not) while making under 25s homeless, are most certainly not in it with us. We should not have to stand and watch as this uncaring, selfish coalition of like travellers continues to blame the poorest of our society for the greed of bankers and non-domicile industrialists. We will remember, come the day that we get to elect the next government, of what this sorry bunch of parasites did to those they were elected to protect!

Please, please learn from the history of our fathers and their fathers. Do not sell your hard fought rights for a few paltry shares. You will most definitely find the price too high should you try to buy them back!

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One Response to “Trade in your Rights for Company Shares – Lessons from History”

  1. publicserf Says:

    Reblogged this on The Public Serf and commented:
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