Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1080/30531

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 April 2020

Editorial of the Socialist issue 1080

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

RMT union members demonstrating against Johnson's threat to the right to strike, London 19.12.19, photo JB

RMT union members demonstrating against Johnson's threat to the right to strike, London 19.12.19, photo JB   (Click to enlarge)

Within just a few days, Tory ministers managed to drive their 329-page emergency coronavirus bill through both houses of parliament.

The new Act gives the government unprecedented and widespread powers. Along with some 'secondary legislation' measures enacted just before, it gives powers to a range of state officials and the police to close premises, stop events, restrict or close transport networks, enforce 'social distancing', order isolation, detain people, and much else.

It also provides power to close the UK borders.

Many of the temporary measures to protect the health of workers and their families, and save lives, will be widely supported, despite the limits on freedoms and rights. The Act also includes measures such as allowing recently retired NHS staff to return to work without any loss of pension rights.

But there are powers in the Act which could potentially impact badly on the health of sections of the population. For instance, it gives councils the power to downgrade care for the disabled and the elderly.

In addition, there are measures which could be misused. For example, it will be more straightforward for doctors to be able to certify a death without actually seeing the deceased person; and the signature of only one doctor rather than two will be necessary to section someone on mental health grounds.

It was for reasons like these that even some Tory MPs expressed disquiet. A Kent Tory MP, Tom Tugendhat, argued that some of the powers could be used in a "malicious fashion". The criticisms led the government to promise a six-monthly 'review' of the measures - which have been legislated to remain in force for two years!

Why two years, when the top health representatives are saying that special measures will be necessary for six months? The trade union movement needs to be on guard for the many possible ways the Act could be used against workers' interests.

The foremost aim of capitalist governments is not protecting people's lives and health but defending the interests of big business and the super-rich. With the economy plummeting, sharp and major battles lie ahead over who will pay the price of the crisis - battles in which the government will seek to use laws and the justice system against workers' struggles.

The new legislation could also be used against other democratic rights, such as the regular holding of elections in which political representatives can be removed.

The Tory government can't be trusted to make decisions on these issues in the interests of working-class people.

The trade unions and working people need to fight for the right to be able to check and veto all emergency measures - and assess and control the way they are used. This is the only way to ensure they are used solely to safeguard the health and other interests of the overwhelming majority in society.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.
  • 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.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 1 April 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


 

Home   |   The Socialist 1 April 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleThe Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

triangleMass testing - we need trade union oversight and full pay for all

triangleCovid vaccines only first step - fight job losses, austerity and 'virus' of capitalism

triangleWe need union action, not platitudes!

triangleTories' school meals outrage

Workers:

triangleJustice for Mohamud Hassan!

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier

triangleTrump Twitter ban: only independent workers' voice can defeat right

triangleVaccine confidence - a worker's response

Trade unions:

triangleNottingham City Council: Major battles against cuts ahead

triangleProtect lives and livelihoods, fight to defend the NHS

triangleWelsh schools close for safety after union pressure

Unions:

triangleEffective testing and properly funded safety plan needed

triangleHow far can the Starmer counter-revolution go?

Health:

triangleOn the NHS front line

Government:

triangleNews in Brief

Tory:

triangleFully resource the vaccination programme now

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

21/1/21

Socialist Party

Socialism the podcast: 2020 episodes

20/1/21

London

May elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

20/1/21

Jeremy Corbyn

Peace and Justice Project - no way forward for socialism

20/1/21

Socialist

USA in crisis - the need for a socialist alternative

20/1/21

BBC

News in Brief

20/1/21

Scotland

Millionaire tendency regains control of Scottish Labour

20/1/21

Vaccine

Vaccine confidence - a worker's response

20/1/21

Social Media

Trump Twitter ban: only independent workers' voice can defeat right

20/1/21

Pay

Make the super-rich pay, not the poorest

20/1/21

Working class

The Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

20/1/21

Covid

Covid: Bosses chase profit and put workers in danger

18/1/21

Britain

Latest Socialism podcast: The outlook for class struggle in 2021

13/1/21

Economy

Global capitalism at most dangerous conjuncture since the 1930s

13/1/21

Vaccine

Fully resource the vaccination programme now

13/1/21

Vaccine

Covid vaccine nationalism threatens pandemic response

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999