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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 March 2020

Key workers should make bold demands

Workers need coronavirus protection, photo USAF/CC

Workers need coronavirus protection, photo USAF/CC   (Click to enlarge)

The coronavirus epidemic has highlighted how important health and social care staff are in caring for some of the most vulnerable, and keeping society running. Through our work we help people to live safely, and with dignity, and reduce the strain on hospitals and A&Es. In a sector characterised by low pay and poor conditions, it is important that trade unionists and activists now make bold demands.

I am the union convenor in my workplace, a homeless charity in London. Although we have shut our day centre due to the pandemic, we are now being asked to return to staff the homeless hotels housing rough sleepers.

We have won a number of important concessions, including: full pay for all those self-isolating or off sick; full pay for any locums who have had shifts cancelled or had to self-isolate; return to face-to-face work on a voluntary basis only; pause in all disciplinary hearings and restructure procedures until we return to the work place; weekly Joint Negotiating Committees to deal with workplace issues; for all employees to have the option of travelling to work via taxi, paid for by the employer, to reduce risk of contagion, and for all clients to be given mobiles to reduce face-to-face contact where necessary.

In an environment where even a journey to work can be a potential risk, it is important for us to demand every action is taken to ensure safety where possible, and that workers are treated with the respect they deserve.

Jack Jeffery, North London Socialist Party

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 31 March 2020:


Coronavirus news

NHS workers speak out: austerity has left us unprepared

Schools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

Councils must use resources now for emergency response

NHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

Self-isolation class divide: decent homes for all!

Fully fund hospices to care for vulnerable children

Scandalous conditions in food distribution centre

Coronavirus news in brief


World War Two

All in this together? The 'Blitz spirit' myth


What we think

PPE, tests, full pay - for all now

Labour must resist 'Covid coalition': Workers need their own voice and party

Emergency legislation: Trade unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests


Food supply and the coronavirus crisis

Capitalism means empty shelves, food insecurity, and soaring profits - the case for a socialist alternative


Workplace news

Key workers should make bold demands

Essential workers deserve more

Working in Mike Ashley's empire: After lockdown we won't forget how we've been treated

Hull construction workers force bosses to shut down site over health and safety fears

Bosses concede to walkouts in Northern Ireland

Bus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

Postal workers walk out over health, safety and junk mail

Working from home during the pandemic

Leicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

Refuse collection workers strike


Benefits

Fight for safety, staffing and services - Covid chaos for benefits claimants

More than ever, we need accountable union leaders


Campaigns

Help us continue to fight for workers and socialism

Building the Socialist Party


Readers' opinion

Going viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis


 

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Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleUnited action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Why are coronavirus deaths higher in working-class areas?

triangleBlack and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

triangleContract tracer speaks out: Tories' plan is outsourced chaos

triangleTrump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

Workers:

triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

trianglePosties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

triangleOrganising to fight for workplace safety

triangleTransport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

Pay:

triangleFurlough cut-off could force millions back to unsafe workplaces

triangleLeicester care workers face pay cut and worse conditions

triangleFurlough scheme extended - workers need 100% of wages

Homeless:

triangleHomeless left on streets during pandemic

triangleDetermined St Mungo's homelessness workers strike for three days

London:

triangleHackney, Waltham Forest & East London Socialist Party branches: Johnson's 'back to school' plan is not safe

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