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.

Activist agenda: Safe and Equal, Free Our Unions, Neurodivergent Labour, Poplar 100

Safe and Equal is pursuing its drive for full isolation pay for all with systematic phoning-round of its hundreds of contacts, demands for information from councils and from the NHS Test and Trace operators, and an appeal to other groups for a united front on the issue. Momentum Internationalists has given support; a good informal response from Don’t Leave Organise, but no formal answer yet. Free Our Unions has a Zoom meeting on anti-union laws, Tuesday 2 March, 6:30 pm. Speakers include Gerry Carroll MLA on the Trade Union Freedom Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mark Porter, Unite...

Letters: Jumping the vaccination queue; A 0.32% swing

Jumping the vaccination queue I thought the call for school workers to be bumped up the vaccination queue had faded, because it was originally advocated as vaccination in half-term (mostly week 15-19 Feb). Not so. My local Labour Party passed a motion on 17 Feb for bumping up the queue. It was motivated by sympathy and appreciation for school workers, but as a teacher myself I argued against it. We’re for requisitioning Big Pharma to speed vaccine supplies. Even then vaccination will take time. Not everyone can be first. The vaccines drastically reduce death and severe illness from Covid. The...

From scoffing to persuading

The conspiracies and misinformation associated with Covid-19 have shifted within my workplace on the Tube as the pandemic and the measures to combat it have changed. I hear less about 5G and the disease being fake or the same as flu, and more about fear of the vaccine and myths surrounding the “Great Reset”, the World Economic Forum’s plan for economic revival after the pandemic. Misinformation around the vaccine is what dominates now. There is really only a handful of people who are passionately convinced by the anti-vaccine theories. They have gone out of their way to read up and listen to...

Fee strikes and solidarity

Talk of fee strikes is starting to spread through the UK student movement. There are fee strikes ongoing at SOAS University of London and Royal College of Art (RCA); they started in January primarily due to students feeling they have not received “value for money”. Fee strikes are particularly feasible at those universities because of the high proportion of international and postgraduate students, who pay fees from their own accounts, and can therefore withhold them. Home undergraduates’ fees are paid directly by UK student finance, and so they cannot “fee-strike”. The ongoing strikes remain...

Diary of a paramedic: When does your shift end?

I’m working with a newly qualified paramedic today. As we check our equipment we chat about how pissed off he is that, although he’s been doing the full role and not getting any extra support during the pandemic, he’s still on the probationary wage. He says his girlfriend is a student nurse covering wards on no pay at all. Our first job is helping transfer a Covid-positive patient to hospital using specialist equipment. We’re all in highest level PPE. It still feels very odd to be outside on a suburban street in that gear. Once we’re finished and tidied up, we try to clarify what cleaning...

Civil service ballots close 5 and 11 March (John Moloney's column)

Our industrial action ballots at DLVA Swansea, and in 12 courts across the UK, are continuing. Our members there are balloting over workplace safety concerns. Those ballots close on 11 March and 5 March respectively. Our aim is to speak to every member who’s being balloted. Where reps can safely have those conversations in person, in the workplace, they will. But we’re also mounting a phone-banking operation to ensure every member is spoken to, to remind them about the ballot and the importance of voting. That effort will be run by activist volunteers, with support from union officials and...

Isolation pay can keep the curve going down

If we self-isolate when we have Covid symptoms, that reduces transmission by about a quarter or a third. The current contact-tracing regime brings a reduction of only 2% to 5%, an official 19 February report estimates. Reducing social contact for us all — especially face-to-face indoors contact — also reduces transmission, since many transmissions happen before the transmitter gets symptoms. But present only a minority of people with Covid symptoms — maybe 18%, maybe 29% — self-isolate properly. Winning full isolation pay for all is central to improve self-isolation rates and help keep the...

Spread vaccines world-wide

First figures from Scotland and Israel show vaccination working well. It is urgent to spread it to the world’s poorest countries. Africa has had only 2 vaccinations per 1000 people, and many countries have no vaccine supplies at all any time soon. Money from the rich countries into the World Health Organisation Covax project, much less than spent on bailing out businesses, and requisitioning of Big Pharma to get maximum spread of technology and maximum production, can fix that. Saving lives should be the driver, not just the current anxiety of France, for example, that China and Russia will...

Vaccine priority and transport workers

With the government announcement that every adult should be vaccinated by July, there is more jockeying for position among different groups of workers over who gets the vaccine first. Tubeworker knows that our readers probably have different views on this. But we think where we can agree, is that...

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