Solidarity 553, 24 June 2020

Specific demands in the fight against racism

Dan Katz's debate piece (Solidarity 522, 17 June) is self-contradictory and unclear. It says Workers Liberty's programme to tackle racism combines the "specific demands against racist activity by the police, state bodies, and racist groups, and in opposition to racist government policy, with the idea of a united workers' movement which fights for basic, fundamental rights". But, like the editorial in Solidarity the week before, it offers no specific anti-racist demands. It says, "In order to win the trust of black workers, white people in the unions and Labour Party must be seen to take up...

"Not my business, is it?" (Diary of an engineering apprentice)

This week's "Diary of an Engineer" tells a disturbing story about the racism which still needs to be dealt with in sections of our class, the working class. A conversation from the fitter's office on my first week back on normal shifts. There are five people in the small cabin. J: So he (S) texted me — "J, do you know this kid up your way? The really dark one?" I say "Well you have to give me a bit more to go on there pal, like what does his face look like? Have you got a photo?" He sent me this photo of this kid, laid out on the ground J shows D the picture on his phone, who whistles and...

Back to "conditionality"

Some Jobcentre staff have spent the last couple of weeks calling the new Covid-19 claimants offering voluntary job support, work all staff are or were meant to be moved onto. But now we're being told that it's not voluntary for 18-24s, and that besides, "conditionality" — meaning regular phone appointments, mandatory work search activity and sanctions — is returning in July. Confusion and indecision reign. Meanwhile, existing vulnerable claimants from pre-March have been left to rot, in many cases with no contact or support in three months. They are the lowest priority in management's eyes...

Stop this deportation!

A vulnerable 21-year old Black autistic man named Osime Brown was jailed in 2018 and informed he will be deported upon his release to Jamaica. Osime is currently serving a five year prison sentence in Stoken prison for the theft of a mobile phone. A witness for the defence stated in court that Osime did not take part in the street robbery that was carried out in front of him by several youths, and said that in fact he had tried to stop them from taking the phone from the victim. It has since been found that Osime was convicted under "joint enterprise", a discredited legal rule that has...

Still only 40% of care homes with isolation pay

Almost a third of COVID-19 deaths, over 16,000 people, have occurred in care homes. Careworkers are twice as likely to die of COVID-19 as the general public. A little acknowledged but major factor in these carehome deaths is the low pay and insecure employment of careworkers. It is estimated that around 440,000 care workers have no rights to occupational sick pay. If they develop symptoms of Coronavirus or a member of their household develops symptoms, then they are faced with an impossible choice: take time off on Statutory Sick Pay (just £95.85 a week) or continue to work potentially...

Ballot to enforce lockdowns

Solidarity is confused about the purpose of lockdown and in a muddle about what to do about the reopenings.

Report highlights Covid impact on BME people. Where is the labour movement?

On 16 June Public Health England published a report, Beyond the Data: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on BAME Groups (see here). PHE have produced a striking summary of the multiple ways in which the Covid-19 crisis is far more of a crisis for black and brown people (and some other ethnic minorities such as Travellers) in the UK. The findings confirm that the Tories’ sacrifice of many thousands of lives to the interests of profit and their neo-liberal and nationalist ideology is not just an assault on the whole working class but specifically racist. However, the recommendations are...

For workers' unity against racism: Black Lives Matter!

On 18 June, Tubeworker held a successful meeting to discuss the Black Lives Matter struggle. The discussion was led by Glen Hart, chair of the RMT's Black and Ethnic Minority Members Advisory Committee. The article below is based on a summary of the discussion at the meeting.

Some comrades have...

Defend Wabtec jobs!

Bosses at the Wabtec rail refurbishment factory in Doncaster have announced a plan to cut 450 jobs in several waves, starting in August and running through to March 2021. The cuts would halve the workforce.

The plans are now out for consultation, and responding should be quick and easy: not one...

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