TUC’s austerity bus rolls into Corby as part of national campaign

The Tuc's Austerity Uncovered bus in Corby as part of a national tour
The Tuc's Austerity Uncovered bus in Corby as part of a national tour

The TUC’s Austerity Uncovered two-week bus tour came to Corby on Tuesday (June 25) to find out how unemployment, benefit cuts and the rising cost of living is affecting people’s lives.

It was parked outside the Cube and residents were filmed talking about the hardships they face.

Their stories, along with those of people all over England, Scotland and Wales, will be made into a documentary film to be shown at the TUC Congress in September and used to lobby MPs for change.

Paul Nowak, assistant general secretary of the TUC, was on board the bus as part of the team gathering the evidence which, he said, will show just how much people are hurting as a result of the Government’s austerity policies.

He said: “We’re giving people a chance to tell their stories. To speak out about how youth unemployment, the bedroom tax, price rises and job losses are affecting them.

“We’ve been hearing from people who, although they have a job, can’t make ends meet.”

Corby Council leader Tom Beattie, who was at the event, highlighted the campaign to tackle abuses by some employment agencies in the town.

He said: “Last Friday the first meeting of our employment agency working party was held and we are in the process of drawing up a local code of conduct for agencies, their client companies and temporary workers.

“As a result of the Government’s austerity policies people who are struggling are putting up with the kind of abuses revealed by a recent investigation into some of the agencies in Corby.”

The three-day Revenue and Customs investigation of 34 agencies in Corby revealed that 3,000 workers had been underpaid by a total of £100,000.

Two agencies deducted money for work boots and uniforms and some docked pay for health and safety training sessions.

Earlier this year a delegation led by Cllr Beattie and Corby and East Northants MP Andy Sawford discussed the issue of job agencies in Corby with minister for employment relations Jo Swinson.

Following the meeting a forum was held in the town to tackle problems associated with some agencies, including low wages and the lack of job security.

Before the Austerity Uncovered bus left town the TUC presented Corby mayor Judy Caine with a cheque for £150 for her chosen charities, Headway, Lakelands Hospice and Arthritis UK.