By Alex Ross / @Alex_Ross1983
UPDATE: John Prescott asks David Cameron to reject the Bill that would effectively abolish the minimum wage.
On May 15th, a Private Members Bill will be debated and voted on in Parliament, allowing employers to opt-out of the Minimum Wage and effectively abolishing it. I started a campaign in Shipley against our local Conservative MP, Philip Davies, who supports the Bill. We ran a petition at street stalls and it was amazing to see people who were so disinterested upon seeing a Labour stall suddenly show such enthusiasm to sign the petition once they realised what our MP was supporting. In fact, most of the people who responded to our ‘Do you support the Minimum Wage?’ question with a ‘No’ quickly followed it up with ‘It should be much higher’. You can imagine their response when we told them their MP wanted to opt-out of it altogether!
I then set up a Facebook group, with an online petition, and while they gathered several hundred people (which were more than I dared hope) I thought I’d send a cheeky speculative email to John Prescott to see if he’d write a little blog entry about it. I absolutely freaked out when he launched a full campaign, with the backing of the unions, to ‘Kill the Tory Bill’!
Now the campaign is gathering pace, membership of the Facebook group has quadrupled, the petition has increased tenfold and we have the ‘Wage Concern‘ website where supporters can join the mailing list and see John’s blogs and vlogs.
Last night John spoke to the PLP about the campaign, asking MPs to get on board, and when he tabled an Early Day Motion – his first ever – it quickly gathered over 100 MPs backing it. We reckon it’s probably the fastest growing EDM in years.
Not only that, but during his speech to the PLP, Gordon Brown mentioned the campaign three times! It’s absolutely insane to think that what started out on a street stall in Shipley is now being supported by the Prime Minister, but it’s a testament to Go Fourth and Labour for supporting the grassroots campaign, and also a testament to the power of the internet in modern-day campaigning.
But there is still more to do. The Bill will be debated and voted on this Friday, and there will be a rally at Parliament to oppose it – so we need your help! Join our Facebook group, sign the online petition, come to the rally at Parliament on May 15th and, in the words of John Prescott, ‘kill this Tory Bill’.