Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1081/30563

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 April 2020

Coronavirus

Things will never be the same again

A poster at a London tube station

A poster at a London tube station   (Click to enlarge)

Trade union organiser Glynn Doherty reports from the public services frontline

"This certificate provides confirmation you are classified as a Sky key worker...Thank you for ...help[ing] keep Sky's critical services running for our customers".

The 'critical services' Jeremy Darroch, Sky's CEO in the UK, is referring to are television packages. To keep them running (or more accurately, the profits coming in), hundreds of workers are still crammed together in call centres on my patch, brazenly told to defy social distancing guidelines.

As few workers here are union members, my influence is mostly limited to reporting to the press such a flagrant breach of Covid-19 instructions. Most annoyingly, I do have to provide advice to thousands whose work really is essential, and I can do without having to also deal with stuff like this.

Sky and others get away with this because government advice has been a masterclass in doublespeak. Claims that the advice is clear are laughable. Don't travel to work unless it's necessary - what does that mean?!

Only go to work if it's essential. Is my work essential? Ask your employer! Maintain two metres social distancing. What about the call centre? Or the cab of a refuse collection truck? Or the child with behavioural problems who needs, literally, hands-on support? Erm...ask your boss.

In the last fortnight I've had to challenge councils who insist grass cutting is essential or a dripping tap an emergency.

To make matters worse, the written government guidelines state you can travel to work if you can't work from home, contradicting messages about essential roles delivered verbally. I've now got councils saying members can't work from home so they're to continue coming to work as normal!

The busiest part of my job is dealing with the many hundreds of members working for vast numbers of social care providers in the most appalling conditions. Every bit of news you've read about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) is right... and more.

Growing anger

Workers on the minimum wage are caring for elderly, young and disadvantaged people who show Covid-19 symptoms, in care homes and in the community, not only without masks but also aprons and gloves.

I've lost count of the times members tell me they've bought their own gloves locally; begging the question why their employer didn't!

The anger brewing in social care is palpable. My job as an organiser isn't just to represent trade unionists, but to empower them. I try and turn the feeling of helplessness when workers contact me to one that gives them the confidence to challenge their employer.

So, we're now getting workers on 9 an hour confronting chief executives openly. These are the first signs that things will never be the same again.

The world, in general and in the workplace, will not return to 'normal'. Workers are awakening to their power. How it is their actions which are positively affecting the limits of the pandemic, while global capitalism can't cope.

My current task is to keep my members safe, but I'm looking forward to an era soon where workers put into practice what they've learnt during this crisis.

Where they challenge their employers and, indeed, trade union leaders who get in their way. Where they join the fight for a fairer society, which can only be a socialist society.

Oh...and my mole in Sky's call centre? She wants to become a trade union shop steward.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 7 April 2020:


What we think

Tory lies cost lives

End of the Corbyn era - Organise to fight for socialist policies

Workers take action while union leaders call truce with government and bosses


International news

Coronavirus: Amazon workers threaten revolution!

Coronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide


Coronavirus news

Dispatches from the front: shortages of NHS staff, equipment - and union leadership

Expired PPE relabelled for NHS use

The minimum wage must go up! Fund coronavirus workers, not bosses' profits!

Capitalism causes crisis profiteering: fight for workers' oversight and public ownership

Under the microscope: Pandemic news in brief


Workplace news

Where's the PPE Welsh Assembly?

EE puts workers' health and safety at risk

Things will never be the same again

Anger as London local authorities bulldoze through powers to discipline workers

A day in the life of a frontline worker

Victory for Medway bin workers

Socialists in Unite meet via Zoom: Struggles continue in the workplaces


World War Two

Class collaboration and worker militancy in World War Two Britain


Campaigns

Labour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

Coronavirus crisis finance appeal

May Day greetings: we need to fund independent workers' media now more than ever

Getting the Socialist out safely under lockdown


Readers' opinion

Going viral


 

Home   |   The Socialist 7 April 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleWe need union action, not platitudes!

triangleTories' school meals outrage

triangleLockdown: suspicion and anger

triangle'Firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers

triangleHealth before profit - Work or full pay

Workers:

triangleConflict in Ethiopia: ethnic-linguistic divisions are the historical product of capitalist inequality

triangleFast fashion, big profits, low pay

triangleSocialist Inbox

triangleHackney: Stop plan to halve school support staff!

Union:

triangleDon't let the festive season be one of misery for retail workers

triangleEast London teachers strike in support of victimised union rep

triangle

Equity union conference calls for radical change - now lead a fight!

Trade union:

triangleRoyal Mail: No more behind closed doors talks

triangleWhy the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Government:

triangleCaerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: India - Fighting for workers' rights against right-wing Modi government

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

2/12/20

Retail

Arcadia and Debenhams closures: Nationalise to save jobs and pensions

2/12/20

Wales

Wales TUSC plans to mount an electoral challenge

2/12/20

Manchester

Rent strikers' victory in student halls

2/12/20

Austerity

Unions must resist return to austerity

2/12/20

Covid

Better for billionaires. Worse for workers

2/12/20

Carbon

'Building back greener' - yet more Tory greenwash

2/12/20

Poverty

Scotland: Campaign wins end to period poverty

2/12/20

NHS

NHS: Underfunded, understaffed, underpaid

2/12/20

Engels

Review: Friedrich Engels - Condition of the working class in England

2/12/20

Ethiopia

Conflict in Ethiopia: ethnic-linguistic divisions are the historical product of capitalist inequality

2/12/20

Low pay

Fast fashion, big profits, low pay

2/12/20

TV

TV: The Social Dilemma

2/12/20

Football

Diego Maradona - Working-class rebel, football genius

2/12/20

Socialist

Socialist Inbox

2/12/20

Labour

Labour meeting lets MP get away with 'Spycops' abstention

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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


December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999