Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1136/32587

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 June 2021

Capitalism's Covid failings

Its workers, not Cummings, who can expose them

Dominic Cummings, photo RadicalLarry1/CC

Dominic Cummings, photo RadicalLarry1/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Wednesday 26 May saw Boris Johnson's ex-advisor Dominic Cummings spend seven hours detailing the government's incompetence in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For workers who have been forced into unsafe workplaces without PPE, put onto furlough with a 20% pay cut, or lost their family members - we don't need Cummings to tell us just part of what we already know. Throughout the pandemic, the Socialist has published the voice of workers from the frontline - those who have been engaged in the struggle for PPE and for workplace safety. But our worker-writers didn't just list examples of the government's incompetence. Unlike Cummings, they explained that the depth and severity of the crisis is a consequence of capitalism putting the profits of big business ahead of our lives and livelihoods.

Importantly, our paper puts forward the Socialist Party's political programme, summed up in our 'Coronavirus Workers' Charter'. We have consistently explained the need to take into democratic public ownership the huge wealth and resources that exist under capitalism so they can be utilised to keep workers safe.

This is what the Socialist said, responding to the crisis during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic:

4 March 2020

The Socialist issue 1076

The Socialist issue 1076

Coronavirus: Underfunded, understaffed - NHS is NOT prepared

An NHS worker: "My hospital is one of those taking suspected Covid-19 cases... Recently we went beyond 'black alert' - indicating a serious incident where the hospital can no longer provide comprehensive care."

On the front page: "Nationalisation of big corporations, including the pharmaceutical industry; democratic planning by the working class, and international cooperation - in a word, socialism - could prevent new diseases like Covid-19 becoming disasters."


24 March 2020

The Socialist issue 1079

The Socialist issue 1079

Tests, full pay and funding for all now!

An NHS professional asked: "When are they going to test frontline staff? This has been the question across the hospital all weekend - and is it any wonder? We feel we are being put in danger."

Jon Dale, secretary, Unite union Nottinghamshire NHS branch (personal capacity) explained: "Testing large numbers is critical to bringing outbreaks under control. All patients' contacts, and health and care workers, need to know they have not become infected themselves and are passing the virus on."

"Large companies making diagnostic tests - like Thermo Fisher, worth about $110 billion - don't invest in tests that may never be needed. They want guaranteed sales.

"A socialist plan of production would combine laboratory research with modern purpose-built factories, prepared for new infectious disease outbreaks whenever they arose.

"Public ownership and investment, not short-term profit-hunting, would save many lives."


1 April 2020

The Socialist issue 1080

The Socialist issue 1080

PPE, tests, full pay for all now

NHS worker Lucy spoke to us: "I dread to think how many patients have been infected on the ward, and how many we have sent to their homes to infect other residents, family, their community and the people who look after them. We only get a flimsy mask and apron to look after 'awaiting results' patients.

"Seems like not testing saves kit and just may get rid of the old and the weak. Staff may still be held accountable for spreading the virus! When concerns are raised, we usually hear: 'We will look into it.' Good luck everyone."

In the same issue an NHS supply chain worker told us: "Clinical oversight of equipment procurement must be reinstated. Massive funding for purchasing and manufacturing PPE must be made available now. Privatisation must be scrapped, and NHS Supply Chain brought back in-house, under a fully funded and democratically planned NHS."

The following week an intensive care technician told us: "I'm working in a Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU). On the afternoon of 3 April, we ran out of body bags.

"The situation at the moment regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) is dire. I started working in the Covid ICU on 30 March and we had plenty of PPE. By that Thursday we were running low. On Friday, we were using secondary, cheap replacement gear, which none of us thought was up to the mark."


Workers' inquiry

The government's record has been a litany of disasters, with grave consequences for hundreds of thousands of workers. It has been announced that there will be an independent public inquiry, but not until spring 2022.

No one knows the full extent of the failings better than the workers on the frontline. And we can only trust our own, working-class organisations to conduct it. That's why we need an immediate workers' inquiry, democratically led by the trade unions (see 'Covid inquiry? Workers must decide' at socialistparty.org.uk).

But the main lessons of the crisis are already clear. That capitalism has failed to protect our lives and livelihoods. That we need a system where the huge wealth and resources in society are in the hands of the vast majority of the population - the working class - with production and distribution democratically planned to meet our needs.


Employers hide Covid workplace deaths

Greedy bosses put their profits ahead of our health. Millions of workers have been forced into unsafe workplaces during the pandemic, without PPE or effective social-distancing. In the year from April 2020 15,236 people of working age died from Covid-19, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Meanwhile, only 387 deaths have been recorded by employers as being as a result of workers contracting Covid at work. In a report compiled by the TUC, figures show between March and December 2020, 600 transport workers died - only ten were recorded as work-related. In the same period, 63 food-production workers died - just three were recorded as work-related.

The TUC claim that these figures reflect insufficient scrutiny from the underfunded Health and Safety Executive, and inadequate regulation. Undoubtedly this is true. But workers and trade unions cannot rely on regulation alone to defend safety. As we demanded on the front page of the Socialist on 3 June 2020, after teachers had forced the government to back down over the unsafe full re-opening of schools: "Stand firm for workplace safety - No return to work until safety can be guaranteed - Workers' and trade union control of workplace safety."


Self-isolation support - too little too late

Over a year into the Coronavirus pandemic, and only now are measures being piloted to support those who need to self-isolate. 11.9 million of funding will be split across nine local authorities to pay for alternative accommodation and other measures.

The news comes after figures from a Public Health England and Kings College study that showed less than 50% of people stuck to self-isolation rules. But if the rent can't wait and you won't get paid, many workers are forced to work.

That's why we demand in our workers' charter: "Any worker who has to self-isolate or cannot go to work should receive full pay from day one and not be forced to take annual leave. Pay should be paid directly to the worker not via the employer... Workers who follow health advice to be absent from work to avoid potential spread should be excluded from any attendance-management procedures"


Thousands wait for long-Covid treatment

1.1 million people in the UK are living with long Covid, according to the Office for National Statistics. Thousands are left waiting for care. This is despite the government's promise of 69 specialist clinics operating in January. An all-party parliamentary group has found many sites not even up and running. One NHS trust had assessed only 498 patients of 2,796 referrals by the end of March, and another has not even triaged the 700 referrals it has received.

The NHS remains underfunded and understaffed (see pages 1 and 5) - it needs a huge injection of funding, and a mass recruitment and training programme now. Those experiencing long Covid must receive full sick pay until they are properly medically assessed.

See 'Long Covid: Fight for jobs, benefits and services' at socialistparty.org.uk

Donate to the Socialist Party

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 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.
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 Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 2 June 2021:


NHS

3 July day of protest - save our NHS from the Tories


Covid-19

Capitalism's Covid failings


Unite election

Unite general secretary campaign: Statement from Sharon Graham

Unite general secretary campaign: Statement from Howard Beckett


Israel/Palestine

Boycotts - what role can these play in the struggle for a Palestinian state?

Stop Israeli state terror: solidarity protests continue


US politics

Will Biden's 'green' agenda avert an impending climate change catastrophe?


Workplace news

Sparks force bosses to talk after blockading AWE

Save jobs, save livelihoods, save GKN Automotive - nationalise the plant!

Workplace round-up


International news

Belarus: Lukashenko's desperate attempt to silence opposition

Colombia: General strikes continue


Campaigns news

Cladding danger: Protest 5 June!

Pimlico Academy protest demands elected governors

York students demand democratic control of schools

Protests against anti-protest bill

Waltham Forest byelections: Council homes not unaffordable flats

Raising Fighting Fund in Southern region

Hillsborough crimes go unpunished


Universities

University funding reform: Fight for free, fully funded education for all


 

Home   |   The Socialist 2 June 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleLife expectancy falls - a condemnation of capitalism

triangleWe cannot trust this government over Covid

triangleFurlough reduction risks job losses

triangleOur lives, our jobs, our future - Not safe in Tory hands

triangleCovid inquiry? Workers must decide

Capitalism:

triangle10 years since Occupy

triangleWe won't pay for capitalism's failings

triangleDeaths of despair: Health crisis - capitalism in the dock

triangleClimate change, capitalism, and the struggle for socialism

Covid:

triangleTax fraud could be over 20 billion annually

triangleTV Review - Help: Heart-wrenching portrayal of Covid care home crisis

triangleOn the frontline, and still fighting for the NHS

Workers:

triangleSocialists and the four-day week

triangleStop press: Sparks walk out

NHS:

triangleNHS workers reject 3% insult

Pay:

triangleWorkers at 13 colleges to strike over pay

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

24/9/21

Unite

New openings for militant trade unionism

22/9/21

Labour

Workers' politics won't come from Labour

22/9/21

Energy

Energy market chaos makes the case for nationalisation

22/9/21

Universal Credit

Tory cuts to UC: we need a union fightback

22/9/21

Students

Unemployment, low pay, rip-off uni fees, climate change... Join the fight for Socialism

22/9/21

Climate change

Famine in Madagascar

22/9/21

Capitalism

Life expectancy falls - a condemnation of capitalism

22/9/21

Tax

Tax fraud could be over 20 billion annually

22/9/21

Pay

Socialists and the four-day week

22/9/21

Workers

Working class under attack

15/9/21

The Socialist

We need a new political party for workers and youth

15/9/21

Universal Credit

Hands off the uplift

15/9/21

Workers

What's behind the worker shortages, and what can be done about it?

15/9/21

Health

Deaths of despair: Health crisis - capitalism in the dock

15/9/21

NHS

Take the wealth off the super-rich to fund: NHS and social care, pay and benefit rises

triangleMore News and socialist analysis 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: [email protected]

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: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999