Our local newsagent today said the attack on unions was about creating a low wage economy. He praised UNISON for backing workers and not being afraid to speak up on Palestine.
Another customer chipped in on the low wage economy. “Why can’t people see that is what it is about? Forcing though a low wage, low skill economy”. He went on to extol the Scandanavian approach, creating quality jobs and taxes to fund good public services. “You get what you pay for”, he said.
The shopkeeper came back with the question he said people should be asking. “Unions must be doing something right for workers if big companies are so keen to get rid of them.”
A debate followed about whether people had been so conned about the economy that they were gladly giving up their rights, their self-respect and their wages even though they could see the rich getting richer and richer.
“Why couldn’t people see what was happening?” We all pondered, joined by a third customer buying his newspaper and saying something like ‘they’re fleecing us’.
This was minutes after the UNISON Scottish Local Government strike ballot on pay went down by less than one per cent. You can’t help thinking that if more members had been exposed to this debate in the newsagent's, the result might have been different.