Coronavirus crisis

A workers’ charter

Coronavirus - a workers charter, credit: Socialist Party (uploaded 18/03/2020)
Coronavirus – a workers charter, credit: Socialist Party (uploaded 18/03/2020)

* PPE for all NHS and frontline staff

* Tests and full pay for all

* Take over private health and other necessary facilities and industries. Not a penny to the profiteers

* Socialist planning not capitalist chaos

This charter is for discussion and debate in workplaces and communities so that we can organise to defend our health, safety and rights during the crisis.
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Income, jobs and workplace safety

  • Full pay for all workers. Workers, especially those on low pay, can’t afford to lose 20% of their income. Any worker who has to self-isolate or cannot go to work should receive full pay from day one and not be forced to take annual leave. Pay should be paid directly to the worker not via the employer
  • Increase benefits to the level of the national minimum wage. No delay in the payment of benefits
  • Increase the minimum wage immediately to at least £12 an hour, £15 in London
  • Workers asked to work from home must be supplied with adequate equipment, and performance monitoring should be scrapped
  • Workers who follow health advice to be absent from work to avoid potential spread should be excluded from any attendance-management procedures
  • Trade unions to establish an all-union health and safety committee in every workplace to agree joint actions required to guarantee safety
  • No return to work unless adequate safety measures are agreed with trade unions and the workforce
  • Open the books of any company threatening redundancies or closure to the inspection by the workforce and trade unions
  • To defend workers’ jobs and incomes, industries should be nationalised under democratic workers’ control and management with compensation only on the basis of proven need

NHS and social care

  • Emergency increase in funding for the NHS and for social care
  • Adequate personal protection for all frontline workers
  • NHS to take over all private healthcare facilities and staff. Government should take over other industries and convert production where necessary, under the democratic control of workers in those industries and in the wider workforce, to guarantee the supply of PPE, medical equipment and testing. Not a penny to the profiteers
  • Emergency training of NHS staff to deal with the coronavirus crisis
  • Immediate 10% wage rise for all NHS staff and social care workers
  • Resources to be mobilised from government and big-business sources so that free, accessible testing with rapid results is available for all frontline staff, workers interacting with the public, patients transferred into social care and anyone with flu or cold-like symptoms. Requisition all private testing and analysis facilities. Massively increase the number of contact tracers
  • Reverse privatisation in the NHS, remove the privateers and cancel the billions of pounds in annual PFI payments. End profit in social care and bring it into the public sector under democratic working-class oversight
  • Nationalise the big pharmaceutical companies to guarantee research, production and supply of medicines, vaccines and treatments
  • Suspend fees for overseas NHS patients – treat all patients for free without the need to register to control the spread. Scrap prescription charges

Public services and housing

  • Emergency funding to take on more workers in essential services. Resources to protect workers, patients, and service users
  • Councils to coordinate local distribution of food, medicines and other supplies to the vulnerable and people in need, with the democratic oversight of trade union and community organisations. Scrap existing cuts budgets. Demand that the government nationally finance all additional spending necessary to deal with the coronavirus crisis, as well as releasing the resources to reverse a decade of austerity
  • 24 hour, adequately staffed, local authority helpline for vulnerable and elderly people forced to self-isolate
  • Workload demands must be reduced and time made available to prioritise protecting the health, safety and welfare of staff and service users
  • Quality childcare for vulnerable families and children of essential workers, under the democratic control of education and care workers, with adequate protection for all. No delay in food vouchers for children normally in receipt of free school meals. Vouchers must reflect the real costs of providing a nutritious daily meal
  • Nobody should lose their home because of coronavirus. Mortgage, rent and council tax payments should be waived for the duration of the crisis and arrears written off. Democratically controlled local authority hardship funds for small landlords in genuine need
  • Councils to use their powers to take over empty homes to house the homeless, those in inadequate housing and those fleeing domestic violence. Hotels to be used to provide emergency accommodation
  • Funding for 24 hour helplines and increased spending on refuges and safe emergency accommodation for victims of domestic violence
  • No action to be taken for non-payment of utilities. Free broadband for all

Trade union and workers’ action

  • For the Trade Union Congress and the unions, the biggest voluntary national organisation with over six million members across the country, to prepare to lead national coordinated strike action to protect people should necessary health and safety measures not be taken
  • Democratic trade union oversight over any government or private sector emergency measures taken to contain the virus
  • No erosion of workers’ right to organise, including the democratic functioning of trade unions and parties
  • No profiteering. Prices to be controlled by democratically elected committees of workers and consumers
  • No trust in the Tories and other pro-capitalist politicians who are responsible for the crisis in the NHS and other public services to deal with the coronavirus crisis. For a mass workers’ party, drawing together workers, young people, socialists and activists from workplaces and community, environmental, anti-racist and anti-cuts campaigns, to provide a fighting political alternative to the pro-big business parties
  • The resources are there to deal with the crisis. Introduce an immediate 50% levy on the hoarded £750 billion lying idle in the bank accounts of big business.
  • The capitalist market system that prioritises profit and is based on competition cannot keep society safe. We need a democratic socialist plan of production and distribution to meet the needs of the majority in society. Take into public ownership the banks, financial institutions and the top 150 companies that dominate the British economy and run them under the democratic control and management of working-class people so that we can make the decisions about what is needed. Compensation to be paid only on the basis of proven need.
  • For international socialist cooperation

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Our workers’ charter for the Coronavirus outlines a fighting programme for the current situation.
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