The Socialist 22 July 2020 |
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Continue the fight to protect safety
Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC, photo Troughouf/CC (Click to enlarge)
Connor O'Farrell, warehouse worker
As lockdown eases, workers' rights must be defended. Employers have been attacking the health and safety measures won by members and their reps. Employers have raised the number of people allowed in shops causing serious concerns about worker and consumer safety, whereas other sectors are still shut until the 25 July.
Johnson's government still states that the two-metre rule should be followed where viable, but this has been left deliberately vague to allow the stick to be bent and used to attack hazard pay, real wages, and conditions.
In my own workplace, a distribution centre of a well-known retail giant, while workers have received briefing after briefing to show how much our employer cares for our safety at work, in terms of action it has been the glaring opposite.
Staggered shift ends have been eroded, but the majority of workers continue to take action themselves against the greed of our bosses, and down tools ten minutes before finishing time to allow distancing at the clock-out machines.
Workers, including myself, have been disciplined for adhering to some distancing guidelines, targets have been reintroduced, and agency workers continue to be threatened with losing their jobs if they do not hit or exceed them.
This for-profit agenda has resulted in three known Covid-19 cases, and the tragic death of an agency worker in my depot. We need a union that fights to defend our safety and jobs, terms and conditions.