Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1163/33619
From The Socialist newspaper, 19 January 2022
Employers use vaccine excuse to attack sick pay
Mandatory vaccination is being used as an attempt by bosses and the government to divide workers Photo: Christian Emmer/CC (Click to enlarge)
Scott Jones, Socialist Party in Usdaw
Ikea has become the latest company to cut sick pay for unvaccinated workers who need to self-isolate because of Covid, and in some cases for workers who test positive.
Sick pay cuts will also be implemented at Wessex Water, and last year supermarket Morrisons cut sick pay terms. Others have a 'no jab, no job' policy like in social care in England.
While the move has been prompted by rising Covid cases and staff absences, this is just the latest in a long line of attacks on sickness pay in retail, with most supermarket workers not being paid for the first three days of absence already, and then paid only £96.35-a-week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) afterwards in most cases. Now companies are using the pandemic to divide the workforce and withhold pay.
At Ikea, unvaccinated workers who do not have mitigating circumstances and test positive will be paid in line with company sick pay, but unvaccinated workers without mitigating circumstances and required to isolate owing to being identified as a close contact, will now receive only the minimum SSP.
But it's unclear who decides what is mitigating or not, is it the bosses?
The shop workers' union Usdaw calls itself the union for Ikea workers, but hasn't said anything about the company stripping unvaccinated workers of proper sick pay.
Such a policy is more likely to push workers towards dangerous conspiracy movements as it is to encourage workers to get vaccinated. Those who may be sceptical about the jab or have concerns about side effects, should be properly informed about the benefits and risks instead of being financially penalised, or in some cases forced out of a job. Unions must defend workers and fight divisive policies.
It shows the need for workers' and trade union control and oversight in the workplace to ensure safety and fair and equal treatment of workers. Trade unions must oppose any repressive compulsion of workers to get vaccinated and attacks on those who don't. But it must also fight for democratic, working-class oversight of the pandemic response, to give workers confidence that decisions are being made in the interests of workers' safety and not capitalist profits.
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In The Socialist 19 January 2022:
What we think
Tories on the ropes
Want to fight austerity?
No trust in Tories to keep us safe
Tories hand cash to private health profiteers
Tory vaccine sacking threat set to deepen NHS staffing crisis
Employers use vaccine excuse to attack sick pay
News in brief
Murder of Ashling Murphy sends shocks waves across Ireland and beyond
Northern Ireland: Workers fight threatened closure of women's hostel
US: Independent Socialist Group launches new paper
Eyewitness account of workers' uprising in Almaty, Kazakhstan
Mutual aid, the welfare state and the fight for a new mass workers' party
Why are things the way they are?
Rob Windsor - remembering a tireless fighter for socialism
Theatre: Yes Yes UCS
Sheffield Just Eat couriers speak about strike
S Yorks Stagecoach strike results in "huge pay win"
Scunthorpe scaffs resume indefinite strike action
Coventry bin strike continues
Bus driver Tracey Scholes reinstated at Go North West
Royal Mail: Unofficial walkouts precede bigger battle to come on pay and workload
Newham college strike solid against bully privatisers
Somers Forge workers continue pay strike
Workplace news in brief
NUS walkout: Organise to fight for free education on 2 March
Demonstrating against the Tory anti-protest bill
Waltham Forest: Campaign unites families facing eviction
Newham council rejects using 0.03% of reserves to fund arts
Birmingham: Cuts consultations replaced by computer game
Southampton uni ignores staff and students in exam farce
Oliver Campbell - 31 years fighting for justice
Bournemouth - angry people not represented by capitalist parties
Pauline Wall memorial meeting
The Socialist 19 January 2022 |
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