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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 April 2020

Coronavirus

DWP: Action on workers' safety, and protection of pay and conditions needed

Jobcentre Plus, photo Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)

Jobcentre Plus, photo Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Katrine Williams, vice-president PCS DWP group (personal capacity)

More than two million people have claimed benefits in the last four weeks. Failed Tory austerity is impacting health care workers having insufficient PPE and testing. It is also affecting the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) with its lack of IT for staff to work safely from home, and staff to process claims.

Given the enormity of the DWP tasks, you would think the PCS civil servants' union DWP group leadership would want everyone to maximise the PCS response to the crisis. Yet we have only had one group executive committee meeting since the crisis began, and demands only appeared six minutes before the meeting.

Broad Left Network (BLN) supporters had already submitted a motion, which the group leadership bureaucratically ruled out of order to avoid discussion.

BLN supporters continued to argue for improved demands. We urgently need 20,000 additional permanent staff to support the public by properly processing and paying new claims, and the reversal of plans to close offices. As well as the following protocol:

It is vital PCS supports branches working to protect members' safety, and ensure that capacity of buildings is not exceeded when social distancing is properly implemented. Consultation with management at local level and national level, as necessary, should resolve most issues.

But there could still be instances where members' safety must be collectively fought for. All measures that members take to protect their safety should be supported by the union.

Trade unionists have a responsibility to demand better government support so that no workers furloughed or laid off during the crisis should lose their overall pay.

Also a substantial rise in benefits linked to a rise in the national minimum wage to 12 an hour, 15 in London. And an immediate 10% pay rise for all public sector workers.

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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 21 April 2020:


Frontline workers speak out

Where's our PPE? Where's our testing? Where's our money?

London bus drivers' action over safety stops front door boarding

Care homes coronavirus scandal: blood on their hands

PPE shortages: "I feel so bloody angry"

Trade union activists from across the south of England discuss the battle for safety on the frontline

Management tells carers PPE would 'worry' residents

Councils must demand control of supplies and reversal of austerity

More dispatches from the front: 'There are so many more patients dying'


World economy

World economic crisis: A Marxist approach to the coronavirus crunch


Workplace news

No 'back to school' until outbreak is under control and trade union agreed safety arrangements

DWP: Action on workers' safety, and protection of pay and conditions needed

JD Sports: Shut up shop and give us full pay!

RMT: Lift the suspension of Steve Hedley

Bromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!


Lenin at 150

Lenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas to today's working-class struggles


Coronavirus news

National plan for testing needed

Capitalist press attacks Tory incompetence

Tory think tank proposes attack on pensions

Shocking increase in domestic violence killings

US private healthcare system in meltdown

Coronavirus news in brief


Workplace safety

The history of struggle to make the workplace safe


Campaigns

Excellent support for Socialist Party special appeal

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Clapping, driving, postering - for workers' rights

The role of the Socialist during the corona crisis

Policies that really protect the NHS

Coronavirus: Students' charter

Socialism the Podcast: What do our listeners think?


Readers' opinion

Covid-19 patient speaks out: fantastic support from under-resourced health workers

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters


 

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