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.

Priorities to curb the virus

Because the Tories bungled and wasted the summer virus-lull, Britain is heading for new lockdowns. Solidarity defers to majority scientific opinion that some sort of new lockdowns will be needed. We insist, too, that sustainable control of virus-spread, and escape from having both infections and lockdowns hit the worst-off hardest, requires social measures to underpin greater social solidarity. It’s not impossible. Some countries, and not just those with the advantage of being remote islands, have kept fairly low death rates (Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany). If we develop measures to keep...

Letters: Marsha de Cordova and the Equalities Act; On-the-spot strikes

My article last week referred to a tweeted comment by Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Marsha de Cordova, and her failure to respond to calls to apologise. It’s worth spelling out the detail. The Law Society had published some good guidance on how to support gender-transitioning employees. A transphobic response was published by a blog called “Roll on Friday”. It criticised the Law Society for saying transitioning employees should be able to use the toilet that they are comfortable using, saying that it meant abolishing “single sex spaces” and implying that it went against the Equality...

Women's Fightback: Pandemic hits women's mental health

New studies indicate that the pandemic has caused a crisis in mental health in women and girls.  CARE spoke to 6,200 women and 4,000 men in nearly 40 countries around the world. They found 27% of women had reported increased mental health challenges. This compared to 10% of men. They identified increased unpaid work in the home and worries about food, work and health care. Women were almost twice as likely to report that accessing quality healthcare services that they needed had been harder during the pandemic. CARE identified three key areas of difference between the genders during the...

John Moloney's column: Strike ballot in DWP

Around 800 workers in Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) job centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Merseyside, Sunderland, and Washington will be balloted for action over health and safety concerns. We’re also empowering members to take immediate action to refuse unsafe work using Section 44 of the 1996 Employment Rights Act, issuing members with pro forma letters they can use with their bosses. The ballot will likely begin on or around Tuesday 27 October, which will set up the possibility of industrial action in early November. Union pressure and the threat of a national ballot already secured...

Couriers hit Wagamama again

Deliveroo workers in the IWGB union in Sheffield struck on 14-15 October against Wagamama over pay and terminations. From 4pm to 10pm on those two days, deliveries were boycotted at Wagamama, which is a major and exclusive client of the Deliveroo food delivery company. Couriers are fighting against a sustained drop in fees and a threatened mass-hiring drive by Deliveroo; and demanding basic due process be applied to the way that the app handles complaints and terminations. Presently drivers can find themselves dismissed arbitrarily from the app following a single anonymous complaint, with no...

Unions must stay active

In light of the developing surge in coronavirus cases, a Covid-19 subcommittee of the IWGB Union’s Executive Committee has issued a ruling stating that all face-to-face union activities – picketing, meetings, recruitment, leafleting – must be suspended, even if they were previously being carried out in a covid-distanced manner. This move is similar to a decision taken by the USDAW shop-workers’ union earlier in the year. In both cases, we think it is mistaken. Unions are an essential service. Like all other essential serivces, they must find ways of working with the increased risk (as all...

Build student rent strikes

At Manchester University a total of 171 students have pledged to withhold ÂŁ307,000 in rent. At Bristol 850 students have pledged to strike. Students at many other places are discussing taking such action after being signed up to move into halls of residence and pay rent and then finding almost no teaching other than online. There are many issues besides lack of support over Covid. At Manchester student accommodation is unsafe, in poor repair, and pest-infected. At Homerton College, Cambridge, students threatened a rent strike and called it off when their college management agreed to investment...

NEU can prepare strikes

Throughout this exchange between myself and leading AWL members I have been hoping someone might convince me that I’m wrong. I’ve been disappointed. Instead I have been offered only misrepresentations of my position to the point where now, after thousands of words of clarification, I feel the process has been exhausted. This is not a complex theoretical disagreement but a simple matter of industrial strategy. Yet I appear unable to make myself understood. In the latest episode Colin Foster says he sympathetic to my supposed advocacy of a national ballot for “school guarantees” (?) including...

To curb the virus, reverse the cuts

The UK’s virus infections are now rising faster than France’s and Spain’s, and are at a higher level (relative to population) than Spain’s. The government’s measures, since infections started rising fast again in early August, have had little effect. The Tories are set to close bars and cafés again, in large areas at least, and maybe soon for a new lockdown similar to spring’s. In Ireland, which has a lower rate of infection increase than the UK, the government’s scientific advisers have already proposed a new general lockdown, not yet implemented. Lockdowns (with suitable arrangements for...

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