Recently I’ve been trying to get a pay rise (working as a waiter in a busy Japanese restaurant). Moving from £9 per hour to £10 per hour (which would still fall below the London Living Wage or any measure of decency). Even if this is achieved, I’m aware that many others can only dream of getting £9 per hour, with so many having to scrape by on far less with zero-hours contracts.
And yet, our government likes to remind us that austerity is our common sacrifice and we’re “all in this together”. Who is this ‘all’ the government speaks of? Nurses and teachers haven’t seen any pay rise – their wages have been stagnating for years now. The tiny concessions that have been made here and there, count for nothing when inflation is considered.
Despite this, the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB), has recommended a pay rise of 32% for the judiciary, which would add £60,000 to their annual salary, making it £240,000 – almost a quarter of a million.
Unsurprisingly, a government spokesman has been quick to defend the recommendation saying: “The government values the work of our world-renowned judiciary, which is why we commissioned this review and are considering its recommendations.”
While we certainly do appreciate the comedic value that comes from wearing 18th century wigs, pompous robes and calling themselves even more ridiculously sounding titles like “Lord Justice”, a pay rise like this makes them the most well-paid clowns in the entire world.
And it would be funny, except it’s not.
The starting salary for a nurse in our country is £22,128. Firefighter: £29,934. Doctor: £26,614 to £30,805. Teacher: £23,720, or £29,664 in Inner London.
In short: a single Lord Justice is now worth three nurses, three doctors, two firefighters and two teachers! They earn 8 times more than the heroes that struggled with the murderous blaze at Grenfell Tower. 8 times more than our doctors that fight to save lives daily with their limited resources. 10 times more than our nurses, without whom our NHS would collapse in an instant.
But perhaps there is a grain of truth in the Tory slogan of us “being in this together” – their salaries are also meagre compared to our honoured judges. MPs are paid “mere” £77,000 a year. Truly terrifying – having to survive on £6400 a month!
The madness of this system cannot be made more visible than that: high officials of the establishment are paid incredibly well, while the people without which this country would fall apart are paid pennies.
The Lord Justices might have all the money, thanks to their enormous pay packets, but true power lies with the working people of Britain. Not a single train runs, not a single shop remains open, not a single car has petrol, without us. All it takes is for us to collectively say “no” to make all the hair on the heads and wigs of our Lords and Ladies stand on its end. This is why we must organize against this bankrupt system and set about building a society where workers receive the full fruits of their labour.
State officials must take an average workers’ wage!
For a genuine living wage for all workers!
Kick out the Tories and the unjust capitalist system they defend!
by Peter Kwasiborski, SOAS Marxists