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TOMMY SHERIDAN COLUMN: STOP POOR PAID SHAM.

Byline: TOMMY SHERIDAN

IN 1970, journalist Polly Toynbee took a job in a Lyons bakery to research a book on low pay.

She was paid pounds 240 a week in today's money.

Thirty three years later, she returned to work in the same bakery to research a new book on low pay.

This time, she was paid just pounds 164 a week.

Yet as Polly points out, our society produces double the wealth it did in 1970. And there are three times as many people living in poverty.

Most people on the breadline are far removed from the Tory image of the workshy scrounger who spends days at the bookies and evenings in the pub.

For a start, most of them are women. They work long, hard hours in shops, call centres, fast food restaurants and hotels for a pathetic pittance.

And it's not just private employers who shamelessly exploit their workers in our sweatshop economy.

Our hospitals would grind to a standstill were it not for the cooks, the cleaners, the porters, the auxiliary nurses and the other vital workers who keep the wheels turning.

Yet the best paid of these are lucky to get pounds 5 an hour.

Never mind waging a war on children 5,000 miles away.

We should be waging a war on poverty and low pay right here on our own doorstep.

CAPTION(S):

POVERTY: Toynbee
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 19, 2003
Words:232
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