Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1089/30844
From The Socialist newspaper, 2 June 2020
Furlough: It's said 'we are all in the same boat' - we are not
photo Creative Commons Zero - CC0 (Click to enlarge)
A furloughed worker
The hospitality industry has been downsized. For some, the furlough scheme came too late and workers were already cut, or businesses had shut their doors for good. We are seeing the fallout of a system of exploited workers on precarious zero-hour and agency contracts for cheap, minimal rights-protected labour.
Many who have been severed from their source of income are sleeping rough, especially in London, and a disproportionate amount of those are non-UK citizens. I am one of the lucky ones.
For those of us in the industry who are still living under a roof, most of us are renters with little to no savings. Although, through furlough, pay has been docked by 20%, we are expected to pay our rent in full. The flow of money is heading one way, syphoned from our pockets and into the hands of the landlords, many of whom sit back as though its business as normal.
Early in May, the Institute for Public Policy Research published a paper titled 'Who wins and who pays?', which predicts that 45% of the money from Sunak's furlough scheme will go to landlords. This epitomises what Karl Marx evokes when he describes capitalism as 'vampire-like'.
Mortgage holders are safe, renters have been left in the lurch. Labour's five-point plan for renters during the coronavirus crisis is tepid at best. On rent waiving, shadow housing minister Thangam Debbonaire called rent cancellations "un-Labour" and "really regressive".
Debbonaire's argument was predicated on the concern for the economy, and a concern for bankrupting landlords, rather than the poor people who live in these homes. She basically said that even if you signed a bad contract, then tough, because it is still legally binding. This has the putrid flavour of the age-old capitalist argument that owning property is a human right, and takes precedence over the very human right to sleep with a roof over your head.
It's said that 'we are all in the same boat.' We are not. When we open back up, due to social distancing, venues will shrink capacity and space significantly. This means businesses will be floating on shallow water and it is uncertain how much buoyancy they will have with staff who have stayed on. There is no safety or security on this sinking ship.
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In The Socialist 2 June 2020:
What we think
Battered Tories face divisions and growing anger
Protect every job, nationalise don't subsidise
Council finance disaster: set emergency no-cuts budgets and fight for funds!
Fight racism and class inequality, fight capitalism!
USA - another cop killing of unarmed black man sparks widespread protests
Stand firm for workplace safety
Schools... no going back until it's safe
Coordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB
Reject the university employers' offer on pay, workload and casualisation
Fight continues for safety on London buses
PCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised
Equity union general secretary election
"Test, trace, isolate, support" - the Tories' scheme fails on all counts
Furlough: We are not 'all in the same boat'
Hospital closed following rampant spread of Covid-19
Socialism Today special issue: Lessons from the Corbyn experience
Blairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated
Football in the time of coronavirus - reclaim our game!
Going viral: Socialist comments and letters
Socialist Party reports
Pandemic doesn't stop Socialist Party educating organisers: northern meeting
The Socialist 2 June 2020 |
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