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.

Workers’ inquiries: knowledge for power

A swirl of billions, and a trickle of pennies. A great effort of science to control Covid, with wildly uneven vaccine supplies and patents and production gripped by profiteering billionaires. Huge subsidies for some in the pandemic, while others lose jobs or have to try to self-isolate with no or little pay and in crowded housing. Where are the billions going? Who’s left with pennies? We need to know. We need to inquire. The Safe and Equal campaign, which Workers’ Liberty supports, recently exposed the fact that workers in the virus Test Centres had no right to isolation pay at all, or only...

Activist agenda: Demand sick pay for all

The Safe and Equal campaign is running another “selfie campaign” in the first week of May, asking for people to take a photo of themselves and their workmates calling for full sick pay for all. Since spring 2020, Safe and Equal has been active in efforts to win or keep isolation pay in hospitals, in care homes, among Tube cleaners, and in virus Test Centres, with some wins but much ground still to be covered. With lockdown-easing, the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign is back to its regular 5th-of-the-month protests at the Chinese Embassy on Portland Place, London. Next: 5 May. • Links and info for...

Covid: social battles still needed

The world’s measured Covid death rate has gone through a new surge since mid-March. It may be levelling out now, but is still higher than at any time except a peak around late January. Covid is not fading yet. The latest big spike is in India, from early March, where rates have risen from a low in early March to become even higher than India’s previous worst time, in mid-September 2020. Some scientists had thought that some of India’s big cities, at least, had so many people with some immunity from previous infection that non-immunity would be scarce enough to make chains of infection peter...

Diary of a Tube worker: "If we hadn't kicked off..."

“Even when Boris announced the lockdown they wanted us to continue the training. I will never forgive them for that. Sorry if it sounds like I don’t care, or I am not putting any extra back in, but that is how I feel now. If we hadn’t kicked off, they would have tried to force us into unsafe work. Now, whatever they do, I will remember that”. K, an instructor driver, is not particularly happy to be back instructing. “And even now, I ask to be released so I can do what I think helps the trainees, but instead they are just giving me normal duties, and I am sick of wearing a mask in a train cab...

Uniting in-house and outsourced

In the last week, I’ve had discussions with the United Voices of the World union (UVW), who organise outsourced workers in some parts of the civil service, including the Royal Parks. We’ve worked closely with them in the past; improving the way PCS approaches the organising of outsourced workers has been a central focus of my time in office so far, and strengthening our relationship with UVW has been part of that. Royal Parks is re-tendering its outsourced facilities management contract, and there’s a threat to cleaners’ jobs, which could see cuts of around 50%. UVW members have previously...

As lockdown eases, fight for workers' control

With the new stage of lockdown-easing, from 12 April, comes more agitation from the Tory right to lift restrictions more speedily. The question is: who will decide? And on what terms? Scientist Ian Mackay, author of the “Swiss cheese model” of virus control, writes that in the recurrence of Covid waves across the world: “A driving pressure was to get back to making profits and to restore individual freedoms at the expense of societal safety... Wherever restrictions were dropped while lots of cases still circulated... a surge was sure to follow. It usually only took a holiday or a seasonal...

Civil liberties or the Chinese model?

Back in the early days of the pandemic (24 March 2020, to be precise), theMorning Star carried two articles, side by side: “Instead of chauvinism towards China, we must learn from China. All anti-racists have a duty to campaign for the government to drop any racist inhibitions and adopt the Chinese approach that saves the maximum number of lives”, began an article by Sabby Dhalu. Alongside, another writer had a piece about the emergency powers being enacted in the UK: “Concern as state control tightens — As the government races emergency powers through parliament to tackle the Covid-19...

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, deepening its authoritarian reach into people’s lives under the guise of public health. Perhaps surprisingly, we’ve also seen left wing commentators liken it to showing a driver’s licence to get into a club. It isn’t yet clear what Labour will do, despite glaring issues with the move. A bloated bureaucratic nightmare One of the most obvious objections is the bureaucratic nightmare expected to ensue. The government’s...

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