By Mike Treen, Unite National Director
This is the second of a series of articles based on a speech to a conference sponsored by the Child Poverty Action Group looking at work and welfare in the 21st century. (Part 1)
Since the early 1990s, benefit levels have been slashed in real terms.
The governments of the day were motivated to save money to give in tax cuts to their rich mates.
But they also made it clear they wanted to lower real wages.
That is why they destroyed collective bargaining and union representation for most workers.
But to cut real wages the employer thinks he needs the gap to grow between wages and welfare payments. You have to make living on a benefit as miserable as possible.
Unite Union stop work meeting Feb, 2006. Low benefits designed to maintain a system based on low pay.