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Almost 70 per cent of workers say the quality of their job is getting worse, according to a Scottish Parliament survey. Most had been in their job for more than five years and 68 per cent of this group said work was getting worse. Key factors include low pay, poor management and insecure employment.
More than 60 per cent said their mental or physical health had been impacted by their job, with almost 90 per cent of that group mentioning stress, anxiety or depression.
Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “On the whole jobs have become worse since 2008.“Though there is an ever-increasing awareness of what a good job involves and requires (the importance of aspects such as fairness, equality and work life balance are greater understood and emphasised), there are fewer full-time jobs, there are fewer well-paid jobs and there is less job security.”
NHS Health Scotland said risks to workers’ health was the highest in elementary jobs, sales and customer service, process, plant and machine operative and caring and leisure positions. According to the most recent Annual Population Survey, these occupations account for around one third of the labour force.
The Unite union said tensions in the labour market had created a problem with “presenteeism”, where staff ignore health troubles and continue working for fear that taking sick leave could cost them their livelihood. The union said: “Around one third of sick people are going in to work with stress due to workload and a further 13 per cent with fear of being made redundant. When they do attend work they are unfortunately subjected to extreme stress levels leading some workers to suffer bouts of mental ill health.
Citizens Advice Scotland told the enquiry the number of work-related cases it was handling had gone up 12 per cent from around 45,100 in 2011-12 to more than 50,600 in 2014-15. During that time, it experienced “particularly sharp increases” in matters of pay and entitlements, dispute resolution and self-employment.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress said: “Feedback from trade union workplace representatives across the economy strongly suggests that the quality and security of employment has deteriorated since the recession started in early 2008.
“Adverse trends which were apparent prior to 2008 – eg underemployment, zero hours contracts – have become more deeply embedded over the past seven years with the rising prevalence of insecure work a particular concern. Although concerns around insecurity tend to focus on zero hours contracts, it is important to note other insecure forms of work are also increasingly common.”?alt=rss
5 min 15 sec ago
The Government withdraws two rescue boats, HMC Protector and HMC Seeker, the UK’s last two boats involved in proactive search and rescue missions. Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said the charity was “extremely concerned” by the withdrawal. He said it would reduce capacity Europe to save lives “at a time when rescue missions are most needed”. The UK seeks to be more
6 hours 10 min ago

As we watch the refugee crisis in Europe unfold, we tend to forget the plight of others around the world. The Toronto Star, September 19 reminds us that Dadaab in Northern Kenya near Somalia's border, is the world's oldest and largest refugee camp, "More city than camp, more prison then city." The UN says there are 350,000 people living there but the count is likely closer to 500,000. The camp started twenty-four years ago as a temporary shelter and there are over 6,000 grandchildren of the original inhabitants. That such a place can exist in the twenty-first century is a disgrace to mankind. Time to stand up and be counted! John Ayers.

6 hours 10 min ago

A recent TV program on the American Civil War mentioned the fact that two days after the Confederate victory at Bull Run, a bunch of real estate sharks bought the land and turned it into a museum of the battle to, obviously, cash in on the public interest. So much for capitalism's tawdry set of values. John Ayers.

6 hours 10 min ago
The capitalist world is a world that is upside down. The motivating aim of economic activity is not satisfaction of people's needs, but profitability of capital. Scientific and technological progress, which are the key to human welfare and well-being, translate in this system into even more unemployment and impoverishment for hundreds of millions of workers. In a world that has been built through cooperation and collective action, it is competition that reigns. To put the world right side up is the aim of the Socialist Party.
The socialist revolution is the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and their conversion into common ownership of the whole society. Communist revolution puts an end to the class division of society and abolishes the wage-labour system. Thus, the market, exchange of commodities, and money disappear. Production for profit is replaced by production to meet people's needs and to bring about greater prosperity for all. Work, which in capitalist society for the overwhelming majority is an involuntary, mechanical and strenuous activity to earn a living, gives way to voluntary, creative and conscious activity to enrich human life. Everyone, by virtue of being a human being and being born into human society will be equally entitled to all of life's resources and the products of collective effort. From everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need — this is a basic principle of socialism.
Not only class divisions but also the division of people according to occupation will disappear. All fields of creative activity will be opened up to all. The development of each person will be the condition of development of the society. The socialist society is a global society. National boundaries and divisions will disappear and give way to a universal human identity. Socialist society is a society free of religion, superstitious beliefs, ideology and archaic traditions and moralities that strangle free thought. The disappearance of classes and class antagonisms makes the state superfluous. In socialism the state withers away. The socialist system is a society without a state. The administrative affairs of the society will be managed by the cooperation, consensus and collective decision-making of all of its members. Thus it is in a socialist society that the ideals of human freedom and equality are truly realised for the first time. Freedom not only from political oppression but from economic compulsion and subjugation and intellectual enslavement. Freedom to enjoy and experience life in its diverse dimensions. Equality not only before the law but in the enjoyment of society's material and intellectual wealth. Equality in worth and dignity for everyone in society.
Socialism is not a dream. All the conditions for the formation of such a society have already created within the capitalist world itself. The scientific, technological and productive powers of humanity have already grown so enormously that founding a society committed to the well-being of all is perfectly feasible. The spectacular advances in communication and information technology during the last few decades have meant that the organisation of a world community with collective participation in the design, planning and execution of society's diverse functions is possible more than ever before. A large part of these resources is now either wasted in different ways or is even deliberately used to hinder efforts to improve society and satisfy human needs. But for all the immensity of society's material resources, the backbone of communist society is the creative and living power of billions of men and women beings freed from class bondage, wage-slavery, intellectual slavery, alienation and degradation. The free human being is the guarantee for the realisation of communist society.
Socialism is not a utopia. It is the goal and result of the struggle of an immense social class against capitalism; a living, real and ongoing struggle that is as old as bourgeois society itself. Capitalism itself has created the great social force that can materialise this liberating prospect. The staggering power of capital on a global scale is a reflection of the power of a world working class. Unlike other oppressed classes in the history of human society, the working class cannot set itself free without freeing the whole of humanity. A socialist society is the product of workers' revolution to put an end to the system of wage-slavery; a social revolution which inevitably transforms the entire foundation of the production relations.
The wage-labour system, that is the daily compulsion of the great majority of people to sell their physical and intellectual abilities to others in order to make a living, is the source and essence of the violence which is inherent of this system. This naked violence has many direct victims: Women, workers, children, the aged, people of the poorer regions of the world, anyone who asks for their rights and stands up to any oppression, and anyone who has been branded as belonging to this or that 'minority'. In this system, thanks essentially to the rivalry of capitals and economic blocs, war and genocide have assumed staggering proportions. The technology of war and mass destruction is far more advanced than the technology used in production of goods. The global arsenal can annihilate the world several times over. This is the system that has actually used horrendous nuclear and chemical weapons against people. Capitalist society can also take pride in its remarkable advances in turning crime, murder, abuse and rape into a routine fact of life in this system.
Capitalism is a world system, the working class is a world class, workers' conflict with the employers is a daily struggle on a global scale, and socialism is an alternative that the working class presents to the whole of humanity. The socialist movement must also be organised on a global scale. The aim of the World Socialist Movement is to organise the social revolution of the working class. A revolution that overthrows the entire exploitative capitalist relations and puts an end to all exploitations and hardships. Our immediate programme is for establishment of a socialist society; a society without classes, without private ownership of the means of production, without wage labour and without a state; a free human society in which all share in the social wealth and collectively decide the society's direction and future. Socialism is possible this very day. The socialist revolution that must bring about this free society does not happen just upon the will of a political party. This is a vast social and class movement that has to be organised in different aspects and forms. All kinds of barriers must be swept out of its way.
The socialist revolution is not a revolution out of desperation or poverty. It is a revolution relying on the political consciousness readiness of the working class. The wider the extent of political freedoms, economic security and social dignity of the working class and people in general and the more progressive the political, welfare and civil standards, the more prepared will be the conditions for workers' revolution, and the more decisive and sweeping the victory of this revolution. The revolutionary struggle to build a new world is inseparable from the daily effort to improve the living conditions of the working humanity in this same world. But the Socialist Party stress the fact that complete freedom and equality cannot be achieved through reforms. Even the most profound economic and political reforms, by definition, leave the foundations of the existing system, namely private property, class divisions and the wage-labour system, untouched. Besides, as the whole history of capitalism and actual show reforms which are won are always temporary, vulnerable and capable of being rolled back. The Socialist Party insists on the necessity of social revolution as the only really viable and liberating working-class alternative.
9 hours 10 min ago