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.

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...

DVLA strike solid

The strike at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea, from 6-9 April, was very solid. Workers there were striking against having been forced to come into the physical workplace in far greater numbers than necessary. Around 2,000 workers have been made to come in, when during the first lockdown, numbers in the low hundreds were required on site to perform essential and emergency work only. We estimate that, of that 2,000 or so, around 1,400 joined the strike, so that’s a significant number and one that’s had a big impact on the work there. I think the employer was...

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...

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