Below is an e-letter from Philip Marfleet regarding a South Dorset campaign, Weymouth & Portland Action on Wages (WeyPAW), to address issues of low wages and poverty in the area.
Greetings from WeyPAW – especially to those we met recently at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival.
We’re concerned about poverty wages and well-being in Weymouth & Portland, which now has the lowest average weekly wages in the UK. We also address problems of local housing, health, education and transport.
There’s a widely held view in South Dorset that “things have never been so bad” and concern with the lack of new initiatives for the area. WeyPAW is bringing together people who want to see change. Please see our website: www.weypaw.org.uk
In May we wrote to local MPs Richard Drax (South Dorset) and Oliver Letwin (West Dorset) inviting them to join us in planning a conference to address poverty wages, insecure jobs, “rogue” employers and continuing severe cuts to health services, welfare and education. Both MPs declined. We also wrote to all local councils with responsibilities in the area: none replied.
WeyPAW is going ahead with the conference – and we hope that MPs and councillors will attend. It will take place on Saturday October 13 (12pm-4pm) at Safewise, Radipole Lane, Weymouth. The event is supported by the South-West Region of the TUC.
Among our confirmed speakers:
– Professor Danny Dorling of Oxford University – one of Britain’s leading experts on inequality and social deprivation (www.geog.ox.ac.uk/staff/ddorling.html);
– Eva Herman of Manchester University – researcher on women, wages and the workplace – and co-author of Unpaid Britain (https://tinyurl.com/y9sw2myl);
– Nigel Costley, Secretary, South-West Region TUC, author of West Country Rebels. See Nigel’s speech to the recent Tolpuddle Festival – “Honouring the Women of Tolpuddle” (https://tinyurl.com/yaok7a93).
Other speakers, including local activists, will introduce sessions on health, education, housing and transport. More details on the conference soon: please put this date (13 October) in your diary!