Yesterday the ONS announced the number of excess deaths in the UK due to Coronavirus is now over 50,000.
After briefing that the furlough scheme would be cut to 60% of wages, Rishi Sunak yesterday announced the Jobs Retention would continue until the end of October and that the government would continue to pay 80% of wages capped at £2,500 a month, but the devil is in the detail. It is still unclear to what extent the government would taper off support from August and employers would be expected to to meet some of these costs, which would provide an occasion for employers to lay people off. The government has answered to calls to allow flexibility part-time work from the summer. With government compelled to recognise the strength of organised labour during the pandemic, the unions have won at least a partial victory on this.
Concern remains paramount over health and safety as workers return to work. Workers should join a union and inform themselves about their rights to a safe workplace and to refuse to work if they reasonably believe it it not safe to do so. Here are some useful resources:
- A group of workers has put together this handy explainer.
- There is also a helpful article from trade unionist Charlotte Bence in Tribune on what to do “If Your Boss is Putting Your Life At Risk.”
- Professor Diamond Ashiagbor, a specialist in employment law at the University of Kent, offered advice in an interview with BBC Radio Kent.
At 7pm this evening, there is a webinar on a new Lucas Plan with Phil Asquith (former Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine member), Hilary Wainwright (founding editor Red Pepper, co-author, with Dave Elliott, of The Lucas Plan: a new trade unionism in the making, and fellow of the Transnational Institute), and representatives from Green Jobs Oshawa in Canada).
New articles, podcast episodes, and resources
Grace Blakeley explores in Tribune the austerity cat that won’t go back in the bag.
At a time when effective opposition is sorely needed, for Novara, David Wearing argues that “The Left’s Approach to Keir Starmer Isn’t Working.”
At the Virtual Social Centre
If you have a suggestions for resources we should post, especially about health and safety in workplaces, or for questions you want answered, please let us know. Also get in touch if you have ideas for political education events you’d like to host or stories you’d like to tell about workplace or social struggles.