LET WORKERS OWN THEIR FIRMS
You might be sick of political conferences but there’s a really important one next weekend.
Jeremy Corbyn will be at The Co-operative Party’s 100th anniversary conference, making the case for public ownership of water and energy firms, the railways and the Royal Mail. Since 1917, it has argued for businesses to be owned by workers and customers. This would stop water companies raking off billions for overseas investors instead of cutting bills. Go on Theresa May, steal that idea. Though it’d be impossible to find anyone co-operative in her Cabinet. his quiet, steely determination led to the introduction of the minimum wage.
Not only the Conservative Party opposed it. Some unions thought it would damage pay differentials and business warned that it would cause a million job losses and increase inflation.
When it was introduced by Labour it actually created a million jobs, reduced in-work poverty and provided a floor to stop people falling into debt.
It wasn’t just workers Rodney helped. As the chairman of the National Pensioners Convention, he increased state pensions in line with earnings or prices.
However Rodney’s real heroes were his wife Pat and his family.
The great excitement he felt on discovering he had three halfbrothers in Ireland showed how much he was a family man.
His friends will have heard of his death with a tear in the eye – followed by a smile remembering the man they knew.