Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1085/30728
From The Socialist newspaper, 6 May 2020
Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon (Click to enlarge)
Amazon exec resigns over worker persecution!
The vice-president of Amazon has resigned over the sacking of workers who had organised against the company's unsafe working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Tim Bray called the firings "chickenshit" and "designed to create a climate of fear."
"At the end of the day," Bray said, "the big problem isn't the specifics of Covid-19 response. It's that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential. Only that's not just Amazon, it's how 21st-century capitalism is done."
Amazon made more than $33 million an hour in the first three months of this year. Chief executive Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, has seen his personal fortune grow to $145 billion.
On May Day, Amazon workers across the US took part in a "sick-out" to protest against lack of PPE, safety measures and sick pay.
- See also 'Coronavirus: Amazon workers threaten revolution' at socialistparty.org.uk.
Amazon, photo Scott Lewis/Creative Commons (Click to enlarge)
US airlines spent 96% of cash on share buybacks
The top airlines in the US - now begging for bailouts to prevent bankruptcy - spent an average of 95.8% of their free cashflow in the last decade on share buybacks, calculates Bloomberg.
When firms buy their shares back, they are handing money to those (former) shareholders. But this also increases the wealth of remaining shareholders, who therefore own a bigger proportion of the company. All the bosses win!
Airlines are among the worst, but firms across the 'S&P 500' top US companies spent an average of 53% of free cashflow on share buybacks in the last ten years. That's billions upon billions of money the bosses could have invested in new production, reserves against calamities like this, or wages for workers.
Half of all world's workers face imminent destitution
The 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy - casual workers, who make up half the global workforce - are in immediate danger losing their livelihoods, warns the UN's International Labour Organization. Worldwide, this section of workers lost 60% of its income in the first month of the pandemic alone.
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.
In The Socialist 6 May 2020:
What we think
Bosses push to lift lockdown - they only care about profits
Dispatches from the NHS front
Bail out the real wealth creators, not the rich
Homes needed to end overcrowding
Homeless left on streets during pandemic
Pay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!
Your donations can keep the Socialist going
Test and trace
Test and trace: workers need a real plan
Tories using pandemic to shift lab testing out of NHS
Nationalise British Airways to stop 12,000 redundancies
Postal workers force Royal Mail back
No increase in transport capacity without adequate safety precautions for workers and passengers
Unsafe Workplace? "It's up to you" PCS tells reps and members
Further protests in Ireland against Debenhams closures - UK fightback needed
Rolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses
EDF Energy workers furloughed on 100% pay
India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus
US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide
Trump puts profit before safety (again)
Lessons from history
The Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2
Peter Hadden remembered
Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis
TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?
The Socialist 6 May 2020 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook