Covid-19

Videos: Socialist commentary on the Covid-19 crisis

Watch videos giving socialist commentary on the Covid-19 crisis below. Many are subtitled. Click in the top right of the video, for the contents of the playlist, and to watch other ones. See Workers' Liberty's channel for other playlists and videos.

Ferry workers demand full sick and isolation pay

The National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers (RMT) plans to ballot members working for Stena Ferries, demanding the reinstatement of a company sick pay scheme.

Issues with "vaccine passports"

On Monday 5 April, after several weeks of speculation, the government announced that it would begin trialling vaccine (or “Covid status”) passports for certain events in mid-April.

Now win full isolation pay for all

For the past few months the Safe and Equal campaign (S&E) has been working with Labour MPs to demand full sick and isolation pay for all frontline Test Centre workers. On 29 March 2021, S&E and Emily Thornberry MP got a letter from Sodexo HR Director Greg Austin: “Since receiving your enquiry I am pleased to report that the DHSC have approved the payment of occupational sick pay for periods of self-isolation for all workers at Test Centres. This commitment has also been included in the tender specification for the new Test Centre contract which commences in July 2021.” Previously, G4S and...

Covid lessons from Chile

So far the news in Britain from the vaccine roll-out and the gradual lockdown-easing is good. News from Chile reminds us that battles for isolation pay and for workers’ control of workplace safety (as in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) remain urgent. Chile has done more vaccinations per population than Britain, 58 per 100 population vs 56 here. Yet on 25 March it imposed a new lockdown in its major population centre, around Santiago, because of soaring Covid infection and death figures. The new lockdown is stricter than anything we’ve had in Britain, with borders closed, a night-time...

Win on disability rights

Disabled people’s organisations have scored an important victory as the government has announced that local councils will no longer be excused from meeting their social care obligations. A year ago, the Coronavirus Act included provisions for councils to apply for “easements”, under which they would not have to provide assessment and care under the Care Act. Eight councils had used this provision, including — shamefully — two Labour councils. But campaigners had objected throughout the year and their pressure has finally been rewarded. This follows the withdrawal late last year of the...

DVLA strikes 6-9 April

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike from 6-9 April. It’s clear from last-ditch talks that the bosses aren’t budging, so strikes will go ahead. The issue is workplace safety; far more workers than strictly necessary have been made to come into the workplace, leading to numerous Covid outbreaks. Our demand is for all workers to be sent home, and for an emergency working arrangement, overseen by union reps, to be agreed which ensures only emergency and essential work is done on-site. Longer term we want investment in equipment and software to...

Haffkine and Saklatvala: epidemics, vaccines and revolutionaries

Workers' Liberty recently published a pamphlet about Indian socialist and anti-imperialist, and 1920s UK MP, Shapurji Saklatvala. (You can buy it here.) The pamphlet explains: His youngest daughter and biographer Sehri speculated that the seeds of revolutionary politics were planted in Saklatvala's mind when he volunteered to help Ukrainian Jewish bacteriologist Waldemar Haffkine combat the plague which killed hundreds of Bombay's people every week for years at the turn of the century. Haffkine was a former populist-socialist and political refugee from Czarism. As Saklatvala would later...

Victory for Test Centre workers

Cross-posted from Safe and Equal, http://safeandequal.org For the past few months Safe and Equal has been working with Labour MPs to demand full sick and isolation pay for all frontline Test Centre workers. Yesterday [29 March 2021], we received a letter from Sodexo confirming that Test Centre workers will now be entitled to full isolation pay and that this provision will be written into new Test Centre contracts when the government puts them out to tender in July 2021. In a letter to Safe and Equal and Emily Thornberry MP, Sodexo HR Director Greg Austin writes: “Since receiving your enquiry I...

Transform "Test and Trace" into an isolation service

Despite a budget of £37 billion over two years “NHS” Test and Trace is having a negligible effect on reducing infections. Only one in five are fully isolating when they have symptoms. Around 12 million workers still have no occupational sick pay and have to rely on Statutory Sick Pay of just £95.85 a week. An isolation service should ensure that workers are not losing any income due to isolation. Germany has a scheme that allows all workers to isolate on full pay for up to six weeks. Practical support could be offered. In New York residents who need to isolate access medication and grocery...

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