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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 March 2020

Coronavirus - waste processing employers putting us at risk

Novel coronavirus Covid-19, photo by NIH/CC

Novel coronavirus Covid-19, photo by NIH/CC   (Click to enlarge)

I work as a site assistant at a household waste and recycling centre. Last week we received an email from our employer saying "due to the coronavirus we should stay one meter away from any member of the public who is sneezing and wash our hands regularly".

My first reaction was they have lost the plot, or buried their heads in the sand. So I sent a number of questions to them. I'm still awaiting for a response, even though the situation has drastically changed.

1) Do we have to unload a car from someone who is sneezing as the contents of the car will be contaminated?

2) If we have to self-isolate, will we be paid?

3) If we self-isolate will this be on our record as a sickness incident? Three sicknesses in a 12-month rolling period leads to special measures, and potentially dismissal. If this is the fourth sickness in a 12 month period, will we be dismissed?

5) Can we stop opening black bags of rubbish to remove recyclables as these contain soiled waste and a lot of tissues, which is a health risk at any time but even more so now?

6) If the council decides to close the sites, will we be paid?

7) If schools are closed and employees have to stay at home to look after them will they be paid or forced to use holiday, unpaid leave or dismissed for not showing up for work?

8) What is the policy on agency staff who may come in when ill because they cannot afford not too or have to wait 6-8 weeks for a Universal Credit claim to be paid?

9) As our gloves are cut proof but not water proof will they provide us with better gloves?

I'm not holding my breath about them answering the points raised or paying us if the sites are closed.

The problem with closing our sites is that rubbish will be stored at homes - a potential of health hazard - so our health will be put at risk in order to deal with it.

It is a real worry to me and my colleagues that we could go an extended period, through no fault of our own, without pay, in what is a job that has low pay to begin with.

Dave Moody, Bristol

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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.

  • 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
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 donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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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


 

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Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleCoronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide

triangleThe minimum wage must go up! Fund coronavirus workers, not bosses' profits!

triangleUnder the microscope: Pandemic news in brief

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Waste:

triangleAttacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

triangleVeolia waste workers vote for action in Cheshire

triangleNo to Tory plans for radioactive waste under national parks

trianglePlastic waste - capitalism's Frankenstein monster

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triangleVictimised recycling strikers uncowed as Hull strike wave builds

triangleFCC Environment strike solid

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