Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1090/30884

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 June 2020

Coronavirus

Non-essential retail to open - organising at work is essential

photo Cls14/CC

photo Cls14/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Ryan Aldred, Usdaw Plymouth and Districts General branch secretary (personal capacity)

Boris Johnson has announced government plans to relax lockdown further, with a wider opening of non-essential retail on 15 June.

The mood among many workers in retail at this news will understandably be very mixed. There will be those who are keen to get back to work as quickly as possible as they can't afford not to.

Most retail workers will have been inflicted with a 20% pay cut, as the government has only provided 80% of pay through the job retention scheme.

Considering wages in the retail sector are low, with many on minimum wage, coupled with the abundance of zero and low-hours contracts, retail workers will have been hit disproportionately hard during the pandemic.

Likewise, given the ever-growing list of recognised names disappearing from the high street altogether, some will be anxious to get back to work to avoid the risk of a looming redundancy. With the government being pushed to consider plans to buy stakes in some ailing companies, union leaders should fight for companies that have fallen victim to the pandemic to be brought into public ownership to save jobs.

Many will be worried, and rightly so, with new transmissions even in lockdown still totalling 2,000 per day. Already some supermarket bosses have recklessly scrapped policing social-distancing measures, and have quickly moved away from limiting the number of customers in-store, despite the continued lockdown.

Non-essential retail bosses will undoubtedly try to get away with rushing to return to business as usual, as they try to catch up on rent arrears for the last quarter, as well as clawing back lost profits. The Tory government has released plenty of guidance. But guidance is the key word, as none of it is enforceable, leaving things massively open to abuse by bosses.

In a press release on 26 May, Paddy Lillis, general secretary of shopworkers' union Usdaw, said that businesses will "pay little attention to government advice". The union leadership should make it abundantly clear that it will not tolerate unsafe working practices.

Even government guidance has conceded that "no one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment." Where workers are put at risk, they should organise walkouts under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

As the risks cannot be completely mitigated, workers should demand higher wages and a hazard bonus.

Workers should be encouraged to join a union and challenge unscrupulous employers. Workers and health and safety reps should emphatically insist on conducting risk assessments to guard against corners being cut, and to ensure that safety is put firmly before profits.

They should also consider putting forward reduced opening hours to ensure price changes, restocking, merchandising and stock checks can be done safely. Any non-essential tasking should be scrapped, along with performance targets, until the pandemic has passed.

It has also been reported that the government is considering suspending Sunday trading laws, under the smokescreen of helping key workers to shop. But in reality, it is to try and boost the economy, at the workers' expense. Sunday is the only day of the week that stores cannot be open for 24 hours a day, and shorter working days on Sundays should be defended so that workers have more time with their families and time off.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 10 June 2020:


Black Lives Matter

Fight racism and class inequality. "Seize the time!"

Black Lives Matter protests sweep country: How can the movement win?

Mass protests erupt

Black and white youth rise up against racism - US protester speaks to the Socialist

Capitalism = racism: "You fight capitalism with socialism"

"We're going to fight racism and capitalism with socialism"

France: 20,000 rally against Paris's killer gendarmes

Socialists call for trade unions to join the fight


Schools

Tories backtrack in England - Stand firm for school safety

Oppose the Welsh government's reckless return to school plan


Workplace news

Non-essential retail to open - Organise at work

Debenhams: Workers made to pay for Covid-19 crisis

Workers' union and campaign group fights Derby Rolls-Royce job cuts

Homerton Hospital - withdraw private contract


News

Test-and-trace fiasco - the ringing of the cash till

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief

BAME coronavirus deaths - an indictment of capitalist inequality


Lessons from history

Roosevelt's New Deal programme - reforms to save capitalism


Obituary

Ken Douglas: A tireless and determined fighter for socialism


Campaigns and reports

Why we joined the Socialist Party

Donate so we can raise our socialist message

Domestic violence murder


Readers' opinion

As a health worker, I had to march against racism

Readers' opinion: Things will never be the same


 

Home   |   The Socialist 10 June 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleMoJ cleaners' covid outbreak

triangleTory full return to school plans gamble with lives

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleRenationalisation of the probation service

triangleThem & us

Retail:

triangleSunday trading: Government blinks first

triangleDebenham's protests: Workers must not pay price of Covid-19

triangleResist relaxation of Sunday trading laws

triangleUsdaw shop workers' union activists meet via Zoom

Workers:

triangleBangladesh: Stop closure and privatisation of Jute Mills

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Why young workers need trade unions

Union:

triangleEquity union president elections: fight for resources for all

triangleChange in leadership needed to secure union's future

Usdaw:

triangleWorkers need a 'new deal' - at least 12 an hour now!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/7/20

Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Stop closure and privatisation of Jute Mills

1/7/20

Fighting Fund

Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time

1/7/20

PCS

Change in leadership needed to secure union's future

1/7/20

Black Lives Matter

BLM has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists

1/7/20

Ken Douglas

Red flags line road for Ken

1/7/20

Leeds

Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

1/7/20

Socialist

socialism2020

1/7/20

Equity

Trade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake

1/7/20

Equity

Equity union president elections: fight for resources for all

1/7/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

1/7/20

Cardiff

Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

1/7/20

NSSN

Come to the NSSN conference

1/7/20

Sunday trading

Sunday trading: Government blinks first

1/7/20

Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets council strike

1/7/20

Ministry of Justice

MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999