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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 April 2020

Coronavirus

Waltham Forest trade unions discuss the fight for PPE and workplace safety

PPE against coronavirus, April 2020

PPE against coronavirus, April 2020   (Click to enlarge)

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

In organising a meeting on PPE and workplace safety, Waltham Forest Trade Union Council showed the role of these bodies in drawing together workers in struggle, strengthening solidarity, and helping clarify the tasks for the labour movement through discussion.

Hundreds of small - and not so small - victories are being won in workplaces through workplace organisation and collective action all over the country .

Our trade union council meeting was organised so we could hear about some of those victories and to look at how the whole trade union movement can benefit from discussing them and perhaps emulating them.

There were seven panel speakers at the Zoom webinar discussion. Len Hockey from Barts Healthcare Unite union branch, Esme Choonara, a GMB member and paramedic, Max McGee, Usdaw union rep at a Tesco warehouse, Moe, a London bus driver from Unite, Katharine Lindenberg from the National Education Union and Rob Williams from the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN).

And Jared Wood, explained the fight on London Underground, emphasising that in this crisis we also have to raise the big picture - the failure of capitalism and the need to fight for socialism.

The meeting agreed to carefully test out the potential to show trade union solidarity with the health workers with a trades council car cavalcade through the hospital at 8pm when the staff are clapping to show support for action for PPE and workplace safety.

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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.
  • 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.
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In The Socialist 27 April 2020:


Coronavirus news

Workers' safety before bosses' profits

Dispatches from the front: PPE chaos goes on

Private firm causes weeks of delay to free school meal vouchers: bring it back in-house!


Lessons from history

No return to the 1930s: World War Two and 'a land fit for heroes'


May Day

May Day 2020: join the protests - wear red, bring flags and banners

130 Years of May Day in Britain: Fight for workers' rights more relevant than ever

May Day greetings pull out 2020


Workplace news

Workers fighting to defend safety and livelihoods - NSSN national meeting a huge success

Civil servants in Paisley protest after Covid outbreak

Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest

B&M Bargains management puts profit before safety

Schools: No return without a national union agreement that guarantees safety!

Unions must organise throughout crisis

Waltham Forest trade unions discuss the fight for PPE and workplace safety

Woolwich ferry - workers secure 100% furlough agreement

ISS workers' pay victory


Organising during coronavirus

Should the Socialist still be produced during the Corona crisis? An exchange with Mark Serwotka about sales of the Socialist

Coronavirus crisis finance appeal

Adding demands to the weekly claps


Readers' opinion

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters


 

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