Coalition To Use Prisoners To Cut Wages

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PRISONERS will be forced to work 40 hours a week, Thatcherite veteran Clarke told the Tory Party conference yesterday.

The Justice Minister added that he hoped to see ‘many companies organising productive industry in our prisons’, where payment would be less than the minimum wage.

A large number of private companies, who have, no doubt, already made a large number of workers redundant, been having discussions with the Coalition about ‘job opportunities for prisoners’.

Ministers have already had meetings about building large scale working prisons, using existing factories, where no doubt the workforces have already been transferred to the JobSeekers Allowance.

Clarke made clear that the way to prepare offenders for release was by forcibly involving them in ‘routine hard work’.

However the Howard League for Penal Reform said while they welcomed the idea of introducing ‘real work’ to prisons, they believed payment to victims’ charities should be voluntary.

Director Frances Crook said: ‘A much better idea is to get them to pay tax, to earn real money to contribute to their families and then encourage them to be responsible citizens and then invite them to make contributions out of their wages.’

Earlier this week prisons minister Crispin Blunt said he wanted ‘tens of thousands’ of prisoners to take ‘meaningful’ work to help cut reoffending rates.

Tens of thousands of prisoners equals the entire prison population, currently at 85,000.

One Tory leader urged that Britain could become a global leader in forced cheap labour

The Ministry of Justice plans to enact the 1996 Prisons Earnings Act, which would allow prisoners to be paid more than the average of £8 a week those that work currently receive, but for deductions to be made from their wages.

The Tories calculate that around one pound in five would be put in a fund for victims, with the rest used to cover the cost of keeping people behind bars, paying the benefits of prisoners’ families or keeping a few coppers for them when they are released.

Included in the ‘cost’ would be ‘rent’ for their accomodation and the cost of their food, and heating and cleaning their accomodation, and of their prison clothing.

Clarke’s proposals will have had the big employers salivating at the thought of the superprofits that they will be able to make, if they get rid of their existing workers and start prison factories with prisoners as slave labourers.

Nothing will have been seen like this since the days of the war-time slave labour plants run by Krupp and Thyssen!

Workers will greet Clarke’s speech as a signal to oppose all sackings as an attempt by the bosses to move to employing cheap prison labour.

Prisoners will be opposed to 40 hours forced labour for less than the minimum wage, before deductions, and will be demanding proper pay and conditions, at trade union rates of pay, plus the right to join trade unions.

However, the only way to empty the prisons is to get rid of the bankrupt capitalist system, with its rule by a clique of bankers and bosses, and replace it with the socialist planned economy with jobs for all at trade union rates of pay.

This would see the prisons being emptied, and the places of the current prisoners being taken by a handful of malcontented, anti-social bankers and bosses who were unable to change the exploiting and parasitic habits of a lifetime.