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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 April 2020

Collectively demanding safe warehouse working conditions

Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC, photo Troughouf/CC

Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC, photo Troughouf/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Connor O'Farrell, warehouse worker and Usdaw union member

In my workplace, the worry of deteriorating safety is becoming constant - and it is well-founded.

First, a long-standing worker was confirmed with Covid-19, and then a trainer who had close up contact with many workers during a recruitment drive by the employer. But with rotas of seven days in a row at least once a month, and the majority of union reps self-isolating, worrying is not enough.

In order to cut across the artificial divide of old vs new, and contracted workers vs agency, we are trying to co-ordinate a potentially depot-wide grievance campaign to include demands such as the sterilisation of all equipment, the opening up of all unused conference rooms to shop floor workers on breaks to aid social distancing, and for emergency pay to be maintained due to the vital nature of this line of work.

Individual grievances will be treated as just that by management. So, through the use of a mailing list, a programme, patience, and the understanding that we are the union, answerable only to the workers, we can raise their sights to fight back collectively.

So far, two workers have joined the Socialist Party, with more regularly reading the Socialist.

Working-class lives are being sent over the top for profit and this cannot continue. The vaccine for capitalism is socialism.

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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.

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In The Socialist 15 April 2020:


Coronavirus news

MPs get 10k each for lockdown expenses - where's ours?

Dispatches from the front: NHS staff say give us PPE, not medals!

Johnson's hospitalisation: a tale of two treatments

Big pharma's profiteering holds back drug supply

Lockdown increases domestic violence calls - Tory money a drop in the ocean

NHS nurse: we're not wasting PPE - the Tories don't value us

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus


What we think

Exit strategy? PPE and mass testing and workers' control of workplace safety

Fight back against the corona propaganda war


Transport

London Transport workers fighting private companies and TfL to secure health and safety


Workplace news

Unite opposes all cuts to domestic violence services

Passport workers forced back to offices as Home Office shirks its duty of care

Collectively demanding safe warehouse working conditions

Usdaw shop workers' union activists meet via Zoom

Coronavirus workplace news in brief


Labour

Sabotage - the inner workings of Labour's political machine exposed


Campaigns

Plymouth students discuss rent strike

Final push for May Day greetings

Socialist Party coronavirus crisis finance appeal

Join an online Socialist Party meeting during lockdown

The Socialist Party and socialist ideas are growing


Lessons from history

How the catastrophe of WW1 sparked revolution


Readers' opinion

Going viral: Socialist comments on the corona crisis


 

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Related links:

Usdaw:

triangleUsdaw: The Activist no.89

triangleFurther protests in Ireland against Debenhams closures - UK fightback needed

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triangleCoordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB

triangleFurlough: We are not 'all in the same boat'

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