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Fast food workers in seven cities across the US walked off the job yesterday to demand a living wage. Organised through the Fast Food Forward campaign, it is the biggest mobilisation of fast food workers in US history. Workers are demanding a $15 hourly wage, which is almost double the current average. They point out that the average fast food worker earns $11,000 per year, while the average executive earns $25,000 per day!
The action is part of a series of mobilisations by precarious workers in the US, including at Walmart. This kind of resistance is necessary if we are to defend any kind of quality of working life. It is also necessary to return the economy to growth. Higher wages means people spend into the economy and is a far more effective way of boosting growth than giving money to banks to continue to gamble. James K Galbraith makes this point in our web conference with him.
It is elections in Zimbabwe tomorrow, with the main rivalry being between Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC. The MDC was formed in the year 2000 by a coalition of activist groups lead by the ZCTU trade union confederation. It has governed in a power sharing deal with ZANU-PF since the last election, which has resulted in the organisation losing credibility and splitting, but also in greater political stability and economic and social recovery.
Zimbabwe has been in political and economic crisis for more than a decade, but there are signs of greater stability now. With investment from China and other countries, the resource-rich Zimbabwean economy has improved since moving to the US Dollar, and agricultural output is beginning to stabilise. Life is becoming tolerable for the middle class and business community, but unemployment remains very high.
There have been some attempts by commentators in the West to rehabilitate Mugabe recently, pointing to his successful redistribution of land to black farmers, as well as Zimbabwe’s recent return to economic stability. It is important to remember that Mugabe is a brutal opponent of trade unions – see our interview with tortured union activist Tafadzwa Choto. Mugabe is also a notorious homophobe, and has blocked MDC-lead attempts to liberalise Zimbabwe’s persecution of gays.
The BBC is considering tenders for an £80 million security deal – ask them not to consider tenders from G4S: sign the petition on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website.
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