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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 May 2020

Them&Us

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Amazon exec resigns over worker persecution!

The vice-president of Amazon has resigned over the sacking of workers who had organised against the company's unsafe working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Tim Bray called the firings "chickenshit" and "designed to create a climate of fear."

"At the end of the day," Bray said, "the big problem isn't the specifics of Covid-19 response. It's that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential. Only that's not just Amazon, it's how 21st-century capitalism is done."

Amazon made more than $33 million an hour in the first three months of this year. Chief executive Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, has seen his personal fortune grow to $145 billion.

On May Day, Amazon workers across the US took part in a "sick-out" to protest against lack of PPE, safety measures and sick pay.

Amazon, photo Scott Lewis/Creative Commons

Amazon, photo Scott Lewis/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

US airlines spent 96% of cash on share buybacks

The top airlines in the US - now begging for bailouts to prevent bankruptcy - spent an average of 95.8% of their free cashflow in the last decade on share buybacks, calculates Bloomberg.

When firms buy their shares back, they are handing money to those (former) shareholders. But this also increases the wealth of remaining shareholders, who therefore own a bigger proportion of the company. All the bosses win!

Airlines are among the worst, but firms across the 'S&P 500' top US companies spent an average of 53% of free cashflow on share buybacks in the last ten years. That's billions upon billions of money the bosses could have invested in new production, reserves against calamities like this, or wages for workers.

Half of all world's workers face imminent destitution

The 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy - casual workers, who make up half the global workforce - are in immediate danger losing their livelihoods, warns the UN's International Labour Organization. Worldwide, this section of workers lost 60% of its income in the first month of the pandemic alone.

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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.
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In The Socialist 6 May 2020:


What we think

Bosses push to lift lockdown - they only care about profits


Coronavirus news

Dispatches from the NHS front

Bail out the real wealth creators, not the rich

Homes needed to end overcrowding

Homeless left on streets during pandemic

Pay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!

Them&Us

Your donations can keep the Socialist going


Test and trace

Test and trace: workers need a real plan

Tories using pandemic to shift lab testing out of NHS


Workplace news

Nationalise British Airways to stop 12,000 redundancies

Postal workers force Royal Mail back

No increase in transport capacity without adequate safety precautions for workers and passengers

Unsafe Workplace? "It's up to you" PCS tells reps and members

Further protests in Ireland against Debenhams closures - UK fightback needed

Rolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses

EDF Energy workers furloughed on 100% pay


International news

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

Trump puts profit before safety (again)


Lessons from history

The Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2


Obituary

Peter Hadden remembered


Readers' opinion

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?


 

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