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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 October 2020

Wales 'firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers

Cwmcafit/CC

Cwmcafit/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Ross Saunders, Socialist Party Wales

The Welsh government is imposing a national "firebreak" lockdown as the second wave of the coronavirus washes over the country.

From Friday 23 October to Monday 9 November, everyone will be asked to stay at home. Many workplaces in leisure, retail and hospitality will shut. Children in years nine and above will not return to school after the half-term break.

As Socialist Party Wales warned, the 17 local lockdowns and other restrictions in Wales failed to contain the pandemic. Labour first minister Mark Drakeford implies 'irresponsible' individuals flouting the rules are to blame. But the truth is that the Wales and UK governments have prioritised the short-term needs of profit over safety.

The Welsh government closed schools too late, and reopened them too early - to all children in Wales, months before England - as it baulked at the effect on profits. Big companies like EE were allowed to drag workers not involved in key work back to the workplace. Students were enticed to campus by hints and promises of face-to-face teaching and in-person freshers events.

Any new lockdown must be accompanied by a massive expansion of testing, with the private sector booted out. If the UK government won't act, the Welsh government should step in. Nationalise any capacity necessary to manufacture and process mass testing.

When questioned about the effect on wages, the first minister passed the buck to Westminster. But the Welsh government should act now and demand Westminster pays the bill.

It should extend the ban on evictions and announce a ban on cuts to pay and jobs in Wales, pledging to nationalise any big companies that refuse to comply. All workers should get 100% pay, with small businesses receiving enhanced support.

Workers will need to organise to win such protection. Cardiff Trades Union Council has appealed to other union organisations to help build this - see below.

Welsh trades union councils demand action for workers

The undersigned trades union councils note with concern the lack of support for workers' jobs and wages in the Welsh government's statement on lockdown, apart from reference to the insufficient UK government's Job Retention Scheme and Job Support Scheme...

We call on the Welsh government to ensure:

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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.

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In The Socialist 21 October 2020:


Lockdown

Health before profit - Work or full pay

Wales 'firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers

Liverpool lockdown: suspicion and anger

Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns

Leicester lockdown: disillusionment and anger


Unison

Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


International

Nigeria protests: 'This movement needs to fight the whole rotten capitalist system'

Horrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!

South Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage


News

Tories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!

World capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now


Coronavirus

Test and Trace U-turn on stopping local case reporting

Oxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!

Millennials disillusioned with 'democracy'

Under the microscope


Workplace

RMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts

Action on Covid transmission in schools now

FCC dismiss Unison activist Tony Smith

Optare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'

Solidarity with Deliveroo Couriers in York


Campaigns

NHS workers

Students: Give us our money back

Fight for your future at the online rally

Southampton: Coxford community condemns racist attack

Socialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?

Selling the Socialist: increase in NHS anger

Truth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack

Kent: Chaotic privatised asylum process

Teignmouth hospital closure threat ... again!


Readers' opinion

Books that inspired me: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Beware the billionaires bearing gifts

Disabled students let down by "rotten education system"

The Socialist Inbox


 

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