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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 March 2020

Action needed to protect shop workers and access to essential goods

Shelves cleared by profit-hungry supermarkets permitting uncontrolled panic buying, photo by Derek Harper/CC

Shelves cleared by profit-hungry supermarkets permitting uncontrolled panic buying, photo by Derek Harper/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Scott Jones, Usdaw shop workers' union member (personal capacity)

As the coronavirus crisis deepens, shop workers are becoming another 'emergency service' to ensure people can still access food and other items.

Due to demand and shortages of some goods, supermarkets are under immense pressure, with workers on the frontline and shoppers worried about buying essentials.

Where necessary, more workers must be recruited to ensure goods reach stores and homes, and to support overworked staff.

Socialist Party members in Usdaw, the shop workers' trade union, are calling for companies to agree rationing policies with the union nationally, but also allow leeway for union reps to agree local rationing policies with management where there are potential shortages in specific stores and areas.

There must be protection for workers in stores and delivery jobs:

Shop workers must not pay the price for the coronavirus-related crisis in retail and can play a key role in the effective delivery and sale of essential goods.

Usdaw and other retail workers' unions should immediately convene democratic meetings of union reps from stores and distribution centres, alongside representatives of local shop customers.

The unions should demand a say in how the sale and distribution of goods is controlled, and consider direct action if the situation worsens.

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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:


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

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