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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2020

Coronavirus

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

photo Joe D Miles for CQC/CC

photo Joe D Miles for CQC/CC   (Click to enlarge)

A Unison member, Leicester

My neighbour contacted me the other night. She is a care worker at a home for the elderly. She had seen the Socialist Party posters on my fence.

She showed me a communication that had been sent to all staff from her boss. It talks about the difficulty in obtaining PPE, hand sanitisers, and so on.

Currently, the home has had no glove supplies for three weeks. The message to staff asks that all staff "bear this in mind and use PPE appropriately and try to be cautious when using any sundries or PPE. Where appropriate, you should always use what is required, but please avoid any inappropriate use or wastage."

My neighbour asks: "What am I supposed to do, use my gloves on more than one person?" The employer's message is both insulting and worrying for staff. The home has already had several deaths from suspected Covid-19. Two residents tested positive and then no further tests were done.

My neighbour is in a union but she is the only one. Most of the other workers are from south east Asia and have accommodation at the home.

I have advised her of her rights under section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, which gives workers a legal entitlement to leave their workplace if they feel that it is unsafe. She is worried she will lose her job.

What is happening at this home illustrates government ineptitude, and the inability of capitalism to protect lives. Indeed, both have caused thousands of unnecessary and untimely deaths. The government failed to plan for and obtain sufficient PPE for a pandemic, and was too slow to act at the beginning.

Private companies that supply the NHS and the care sector have profited from bidding wars as countries and organisations compete with each other for apparently scarce supplies. The smaller organisations will lose out to governments and larger companies. A socialist government would nationalise the supply industry and democratically plan the distribution of PPE and other supplies.

Care of the elderly should not be left to private companies to profit from their needs in later life. All care homes should be brought into public ownership and democratically run.

All workers in the care sector should receive an immediate pay rise of 10% and be offered permanent contracts. Migrant workers, and all workers, should be able to join a trade union without fear or prejudice.

We urgently need an alternative, political voice for workers. Our lives depend on it.

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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 25 May 2020:


What we think

Reckless lying cheats


Schools

Schools aren't safe

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan


International news

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests


Coronavirus news

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

Eerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief


BAME Covid-19 deaths

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality


Workplace news

Strong union response needed against job cuts

No return to unsafe construction sites

Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation


Lessons from history

The 'Lucas Plan'

1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"


Obituary

Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20


Fighting fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis


Readers' opinion

Going viral - Socialist comments and letters


 

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