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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 February 2021

Where's the road map to jobs and wages Boris?

Trade unions must fight for lives and livelihoods

  (Click to enlarge)

Boris Johnson has announced his 'cautious' road map to reopen society from lockdown in England. But after over 120,000 Covid deaths and a massive hit to our incomes, we want to know if the government's 'road map' will lead to restoration and improvement in our living standards, or if it's going to be a 'road to nowhere'.

According to Channel Four news, destitution - ie a household with two adults living on less than £100 a week and a single-adult household on less than £70 a week after housing costs - shot up last year by a further 220,000 to a staggering 421,500 households. Long lines of people queueing outside food banks are now an all-too familiar sight in the UK.

Nearly six million people are struggling to survive on Universal Credit, yet chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering ending the £20 a week increase to the benefit at the end of March. And although he will extend furlough, there's no commitment to make it up to 100% of pay. With just 80% of pay, it's no wonder household debt has reached record levels.

Equally, the derisory level of £95 a week sick pay needs to be massively upped to prevent people with Covid going back into work out of economic necessity.

But who will foot the bill to pay for the pandemic? Clearly, the Tories have no intention of hitting the super-rich friends with a wealth tax, let alone nationalising the largest companies.

Sunak may, in order to show 'fairness', impose a marginal increase in corporation tax (after decades of governments reducing it) and there may be a small digital sales tax levied on the likes of mega-rich online giants such as Amazon to offset high street business rates.

Yet the combined wealth of the world's ten richest men rose by an unbelievable £400 billion during the pandemic. In fact, the total wealth of billionaires worldwide is now $11.95 trillion - equivalent to the recovery spending of all the governments of the G20 major economies combined.

But instead of taking this wealth - created by the working class - off these parasites, the Tories are instead once again squeezing spending on local services and capping public sector pay, to ensure it's a road to recovery for the wealthiest.

The trade union leaders, representing organised workers, must emerge from their pandemic slumber and start fighting for our jobs and incomes. Certainly, we can't expect the pathetic voice of Labour's Keir Starmer to bring about change.

The Johnson government has U-turned over 20 times in the last 12 months and can be pushed further if pressure through industrial action is applied. Only then can we begin to travel a road to recovery.

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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 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.
  • 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 24 February 2021:


Covid

Where's the road map to jobs and wages Boris?

Johnson's 'road map' for schools: Act together to protect safety

Vaccine algorithm can't solve capitalist inequality

Garment workers and Covid: Dying for less than minimum wage


What we think

Starmer's speech a return to New Labour


News

Justice for Moyied Bashir

Uber drivers win case - they are workers

Social care: End privatisation and let workers decide how it's run


Lessons from history

How militant trade unionism defeated the 1971 Industrial Relations Act


Workplace news

Usdaw elections - right makes gains but Broad Left builds

HMRC: Divisive pay deal leads to expulsions

Hinkley Point electricians fight 'deskilling'

"I'm here to fight for the future education of children in Hackney"

London bus dispute against low pay, pay cuts and longer hours

GMB members continue fight against 'fire and rehire' in British Gas

Scunthorpe steelworks scaffolders: Fifth week of action


TUSC

Liverpool Unite branch supports 'no cuts' budget strategy

Scottish TUSC election campaign launch

Keep the fighting fund rushing in for a TUSC stand in May


Campaigns news

W. Sussex children's centres on the chopping block

Coventry success building subscriptions

Socialist Students conference - postering

Save John Carroll Leisure Centre

Getting the Socialist out in lockdown


LGBT+ history month

Pride flag is about unity in struggle

Tories tout toilet tensions


International news

Nigeria: Abbey Trotsky on trial for assisting workers' struggle

Facebook v Australian government: nationalise the bosses' media!


Readers' opinion

Film Review: The White Tiger

Tories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect

Tories target universities in free speech shakedown

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

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triangleEmployers use vaccine excuse to attack sick pay

triangleNo trust in Tories to keep us safe

triangleLow pay, stress and Covid drive: NHS staff crisis

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Trade unions:

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Pay:

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Wealth:

triangleGlobal inequality grows

Tax:

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