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From: The Socialist issue 1118, 27 January 2021: Covid spreading, poverty rising, rich get richer, fight for socialism!

Search site for keywords: Poverty - Workers - Wages - Jobs - Benefits - Economy

Poverty wages: When workers can't afford to self-isolate

  (Click to enlarge)

Chris Parry, Bristol South Socialist Party

The Tories are now floating the idea that maybe if they paid 500 to desperate workers in the gig economy, they might be inclined to self-isolate for two weeks if they contract Covid. It's taken them almost a year to realise that many workers who eke out a living, or struggle to survive these days, cannot afford the luxury of taking any time off.

But it seems unlikely that this scheme will happen anyway. "These people may deliberately get infected to claim the money", declared a Tory spokesperson on the radio!

I'm currently working in three jobs - taxi driving, parcel delivery, and Chinese takeaway deliveries three evenings a week. And I'm still hardly able to make ends meet. I cannot afford to be ill, as I have to be out there hustling seven days a week.

Shared occupancy

Here's something else I've been wondering about. If you have your own property and money in the bank, self-isolation may be possible. But I live in a shared occupancy, where I don't have my own kitchen, bathroom or toilet. Self-isolation isn't so easy for those like me.

The Socialist Party says:

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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.
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