Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1078/30433

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 March 2020

Coronavirus: workers must not pay the price!

System in crisis

Coronavirus

Coronavirus   (Click to enlarge)

"Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time," warns Boris Johnson, as coronavirus spreads.

In fact because of austerity, too many families have already 'lost loved ones before their time.'

He never warned that a decade of Tory austerity would lead to an estimated 150,000 premature deaths in England alone... or that women in the poorest 10% of the country would die an average 7.5 years younger than women in the wealthiest 10%. The poverty life expectancy gap for men is 9.3 years.

Now coronavirus Covid-19 shines a spotlight on public services the Tories have cut to the bone. Even the service now central to planning the response to this epidemic - Public Health - has suffered a 700 million cut since 2015. Skilled health workers' jobs have disappeared.

Years of pay freeze or below-inflation pay rises, dangerously high workloads and bullying management policies drove many out of the NHS. There are 100,000 NHS staff vacancies, including 40,000 nursing posts. In the largely privatised social care sector there are 122,000 unfilled posts.

Tory abolition of health students' bursaries and charging high tuition fees slashed recruitment. Chancellor Rishi Sunak's budget announced a mere 5,000 bursary - less than the 8,000 before abolition - while the 9,000 a year fee stays.

Boris Johnson, when mayor of London in 2015 and confronted with a shortage of 10,000 nurses, arrogantly said, "You can afford to be a nurse and live in London." What would he know about trying to survive, let alone raise a family, on a nurse's wage?

When junior doctors were striking in 2016 to defend their working conditions and the service they provide, Johnson said they would "surely endanger the lives of patients." Those same doctors are now working under great pressure to keep on top of this growing crisis.

The coronovirus threat to patients' lives has been magnified by the Tory drive to undermine all public services so that big business and the super-rich pay less tax and turn our services into privatised profit-generators.

It isn't bankers, stockbrokers or property speculators who are needed in this crisis, but ambulance staff, porters, radiographers, cleaners, secretaries, laboratory workers and every other health worker. They are working incredibly hard, reorganising wards and hospitals while treating patients and trying to keep themselves and other patients infection-free.

Private hospitals should be taken over for NHS use. Suitable hotels should also be taken over, at least for convalescence, as the shortage of trained staff limits their use as hospitals.

Health workers' mental health as well as that of the general public and those in isolation is under strain. Children are anxious, picking up on news often distorted through social media. Again, years of cuts to school budgets and mental health services mean services and support staff aren't there when needed.

Evidence from China shows children are least likely to be affected by serious coronavirus illness. However, teachers and other school staff may become ill and need time off work. If there aren't enough staff, schools should close, not combine classes. Education unions should make these decisions on a school-by-school basis.

Over-70-year-olds have been told to isolate themselves, potentially for months. This will increase depression, physical ill-health and other problems.

Community care is another vital service turned into a privatised industry, exploiting its low-paid workers and neglecting the real needs of its service users. How can anyone, allowed just 15 minutes a visit, take all the hygiene measures needed to prevent spread of infection?

As well as anxiety about a new virus for which there is no vaccine or treatment, many workers and small businesses are desperately anxious about their jobs and pay. The government should announce a mortgage and rent holiday for anyone unable to work because of this crisis. Small landlords should be compensated, but big property companies and banks should bear the cost.

Workers must not pay the price of the coronavirus crisis. No worker should lose their job, be forced to take holidays or be laid off with loss of pay. All workers who have to self-isolate or are unable to work because of the crisis should receive full pay from day one.

We cannot trust the Tories, or the system they represent, to keep us safe or defend our interests. We need democratic working-class and community oversight of the measures that are taken to deal with the coronavirus crisis. Local communities are already self-organising to help the vulnerable. Workers' action will be necessary to enforce health and safety as in Italy.

This crisis has exposed the rottenness of the capitalist market system organised around competition and the pursuit of profit. It has shown the desperate need for a coordinated plan to organise the production and distribution of goods and services.

But the level of cooperation and planning needed to protect us when disasters hit, to guarantee us the basics in life and to safeguard the environment, will only be possible in a differently organised society - a socialist system based on public ownership of the major companies and financial institutions, under democratic working-class control and management.

This is what the Socialist Party is fighting for. Join us now!

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.

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 click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

In The Socialist 18 March 2020:


Workplace news and analysis

Stop Press: postal workers deliver massive strike vote and offer to become additional 'emergency service'

East London bin workers strike to get back unpaid holiday pay

Determined St Mungo's homelessness workers strike for three days


International socialist news and analysis

French local elections: CWI candidate elected

New pamphlet: constituent assemblies and the revolutionary programme


Socialist history

South Africa: 60 years marking the Sharpeville Massacre


Coronavirus

Coronavirus: workers must not pay the price!

Capitalist crisis and corona: Johnson's budget for the bosses

Coronavirus - a workers charter 2020

Coronavirus: socialist planning, not capitalist chaos!

Coronavirus housing emergency - suspend rent and mortgage payments, seize empty homes

PCS union demands better deal for benefits claimants

Councils must break austerity rules

Action needed to protect shop workers and access to essential goods

Coronavirus hospital worker: amazing response from staff - but worst still to come

'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy

United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets

Workers at Lewisham coronavirus hospital walk out after not being paid

Coronavirus - waste processing employers putting us at risk

Bexley bin workers strike over lack of hand sanitiser

Going viral: socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

Under the microscope: socialist coronavirus news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Help us fund the Socialist

Stop gentrification of Lea Bridge

Tory student plot defeated at Cardiff uni

Nottingham uni occupation ends

Socialist Students speaking tour

Selling the Socialist


Readers' opinion

TV: Noughts and Crosses


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 March 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleCollective action becoming necessary to ensure safety and vital deliveries

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The role of the Socialist paper and social media

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: China today and the coronavirus

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Domestic violence and women's oppression - How to end?

triangleGoing viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

Workers:

triangleBuilding the Socialist Party

triangleNew laws: Unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests

triangleLabour must resist 'Covid coalition'

triangleRefuse collection workers strike

Pay:

triangleBus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

triangleKey workers should make bold demands

triangleWorking in Mike Ashley's empire: After lockdown we won't forget how we've been treated

Health:

triangleWorking from home during the pandemic

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

1/4/20

Coronavirus

As coronavirus crisis intensifies, class antagonisms deepen

1/4/20

Coronavirus

PPE, Tests, Full pay - for all now

1/4/20

Coronavirus

New laws: Unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests

1/4/20

Coronavirus

Labour must resist 'Covid coalition'

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus news in brief

31/3/20

Coronavirus

NHS workers speak out: austerity has left us unprepared

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Capitalism means empty shelves, food insecurity, and soaring profits - the case for a socialist alternative

31/3/20

Coronavirus

NHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

30/3/20

Coronavirus

Schools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

25/3/20

Coronavirus

We need tests for all now! Nationalise production and research

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus plunges capitalism into global turmoil

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus crisis: Tests, full pay and funding - for all now

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Union independence must be maintained - a reply to the TUC

25/3/20

Coronavirus

State intervention shows what is possible

25/3/20

Care workers

Social care: "Not good enough by miles"

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999