Things Can Be Different

The summer holidays are over and I have no excuse not to commit pen to paper again. Well, fingers to keyboard actually. I return to a world that hasn’t got any better in the intervening weeks so I inhale deeply, grit my teeth and keep going. Yes, it is getting more difficult to do so but I don’t seem to be able to do anything else. The alternative seems to me to be accepting the status quo and that I can’t do. Still, I’ve just finished writing book number three and am working for a number of very good voluntary organisations and getting paid for doing so and that always lift my spirits. As did an article in today’s copy of The Guardian.

It’s about a group of dinner ladies who, after months of protest, are, at last, earning the living wage. According to the article, had you met these women a few months ago, you might have considered that their cause was as good as lost. Well, not any more. And just to paint the full picture, this was not about union agitators as the women weren’t in a union. Indeed, at the outset, some of them hadn’t even heard of such organisations.

Central to the argument is that, although these women weren’t paid the living wage, it seems that their compatriots in a neighbouring borough, working for the same outsourcing company, were. The difference was some hundreds of pounds. Well one of them went to the library, read up on workplace rights and joined a union. The fight caught the attention of the local paper which named and shamed the chairman of the company. To cut a long story short, the women won their fight.

The moral of this story is that what we’re told is economic sense, the orthodoxy in fact, can be shown to be less carved in tablets of stone than we have been led to believe.  These 300 women have demonstrated that. So, yes, it can be different. I feel better already.

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