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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 July 2020

Continue the fight to protect safety

Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC, photo Troughouf/CC

Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC, photo Troughouf/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Connor O'Farrell, warehouse worker

As lockdown eases, workers' rights must be defended. Employers have been attacking the health and safety measures won by members and their reps. Employers have raised the number of people allowed in shops causing serious concerns about worker and consumer safety, whereas other sectors are still shut until the 25 July.

Johnson's government still states that the two-metre rule should be followed where viable, but this has been left deliberately vague to allow the stick to be bent and used to attack hazard pay, real wages, and conditions.

In my own workplace, a distribution centre of a well-known retail giant, while workers have received briefing after briefing to show how much our employer cares for our safety at work, in terms of action it has been the glaring opposite.

Staggered shift ends have been eroded, but the majority of workers continue to take action themselves against the greed of our bosses, and down tools ten minutes before finishing time to allow distancing at the clock-out machines.

Workers, including myself, have been disciplined for adhering to some distancing guidelines, targets have been reintroduced, and agency workers continue to be threatened with losing their jobs if they do not hit or exceed them.

This for-profit agenda has resulted in three known Covid-19 cases, and the tragic death of an agency worker in my depot. We need a union that fights to defend our safety and jobs, terms and conditions.

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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 22 July 2020:


News

Fight for our livelihoods... fight for our lives!

Fight for the NHS

Huawei: what's behind Johnson's latest u-turn?

Mandatory masks in shops law: workers must not pay the price

Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more

Them & Us


Unison

Hugely significant Tower Hamlets council workers' strike continues

Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


No going back

Housing crisis: what now and after the pandemic?


Workplace news

United Left general secretary hustings shows widest debate needed for left in Unite

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

Online rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

Continue the fight to protect safety

Debenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Time to relaunch TUSC


Campaigns

I joined the Socialist Party to fight back

Wales arts cuts: Save every job

Trade unionists and artists stand with Maxine Peake

Bristol trans rights protest

Getting the Socialist over the summer


Music

Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity


International news

Iran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes

Israel: Nurses strike and win


Communist Party

100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain


Readers' opinion

Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

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triangleFight for our livelihoods... Fight for our lives!

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Agency workers:

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triangleTories' obesity plans - blaming individuals not the profit system

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