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APPEAL TO THE LABOUR MOVEMENT

The government was quick to give £350 billion to the banks and businesses, but has left millions of working people wondering how they will survive

Requisition all the resources needed to protect the population!

A single necessity should guide all measures put forward in the current crisis: the need to directly guarantee the health and general well-being of working people, their families and the wider population.

The government was quick to give £330 billion to the banks (in the form of a 100% government guarantee of commercial loans) and £20 billion to businesses (in the form of tax-cuts and grants), with the TUC leadership calling for collaboration between the government, trade unions and business in the national interest.

But It took much longer for them to address the fact that the initial emergency economic measures excluded millions of people, who are left wondering how they will survive, financially as well as physically.

Eventually, the government told hundreds of thousands of people to apply for Universal Credit. Nearly 1 million people applied for the main income support benefit in the two weeks to 1 April, but they are being told the process will take five weeks. What are people supposed to live on during the weeks it will take for money to arrive?

Between 800,000 and 1 million small businesses (almost a fifth of the total UK number) are at risk of collapsing in the next month because the banks will either not lend them money despite the government’s 100% guarantee, or are charging excessive interest on emergency loans, thereby putting a further 3 million workers at risk of losing their jobs permanently.

The NHS, which has been deprived of an estimated £125 billion in underfunding in the previous 10 years, still lacks the resources necessary for meeting the population’s needs. The government’s budget announced on 11 March allocated just £5 billion in emergency funding to the NHS, and on 2 April the government announced it will write off £13.4 billion in NHS debt. But the banks have been allocated £330 billion.

On 1 April, out of 1.2 million NHS staff – roughly half of whom have daily direct contact with patients – just 2,000 had been tested for Covid-19. On 2 April, the Tories made a big show of publicly clapping the very same NHS staff they have been undermining for years. The very next day, four more NHS workers died from Covid-19 after doing their job with insufficient protection. This must not be allowed to continue! Millions of workers are going to bed at night in fear of waking up with a cough or a fever. It is the working population that needs to be protected, not the banks!

Hundreds of thousands of workers have been laid off by bosses who have been bailed out by the government at the expense of taxpayers. Many others are being forced to work by their employers without the necessary protection.

The death-toll is Increasing by the day, with people dying through a lack of testing. Of course, if you are rich, you can pay £250 or £300 and get yourself tested privately straight away…

The Tories have pushed through the Coronavirus Act 2020 with no scrutiny and with the support of Labour and other parties, supposedly in the interests of “national unity”. The new law restricts civil liberties in a number of respects for two years (including the power to ban strike pickets and protest rallies) and gives the government extensive emergency powers to enforce those restrictions. The Act must be repealed immediately and replaced with properly scrutinised measures that do not restrict civil liberties.

Let’s come together to push for the basic emergency measures that democracy requires. 

We reject “One rule for the rich, another for the rest”!

Protect working people, not the banks and big business!

The working class must defend its own interests, and on an independent basis!

Requisition the £350 billion given to the banks and businesses and apply it to these emergency measures to directly protect the population:

– All personal protection equipment (PPE) of the necessary standard to be sourced immediately, including by requisition, and delivered immediately where needed by NHS staff and care-home staff;

– Requisition big companies to serve in the production of ventilators, masks, testing kits, healthcare beds and everything that is lacking today in the NHS;

– Free diagnostic testing for all, free antibody testing for all. All private testing and processing facilities, as well as all other private healthcare resources, to be immediately requisitioned and incorporated into the NHS.

– Free distribution of masks to the whole population;

– Ban “temporary” lay-offs and job-cuts;

– Ban bogus self-employment;

– Full pay immediately, not in May or June, for all self-isolated workers, whatever their work status;

– Paid time off to care for children when there is no other option available;

– All employers without exception to be legally bound by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and the Employment Rights Act 1996, which together give employees the right to leave their place of work if they feel they are in “serious and imminent” danger;

– Financial security for all: scrap Universal Credit;

– Moratorium on all debt and the payment of rent and rental charges (utilities, etc.);

– All social benefits and support allowances to be paid immediately, not in May or June;

– Staple foods and basic goods to be distributed for free to people in difficulty;

– Requisition vacant/available premises to provide accommodation to the homeless and poorly-housed;

– Scrap all Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts, which have been a tool for commercialising education and privatising the NHS;

– Repeal the Coronavirus Act 2020, replace it with properly scrutinised measures that do not restrict civil liberties.

We, workers (full-time and part-time, on secure and insecure contracts), homemakers, pensioners, students and youth, say: These are immediate measures that are needed to avoid medical and economic carnage. They cannot wait.

We will not accept more of the same – what is happening now cannot be allowed to happen again.

5 April 2020

On behalf of the organisation

Ian Hodson, National President, Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union

Stefan Cholewka, Secretary, Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils

Matt Webb, General Secretary, Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council

Margaret K. Taylor, Labour Party member, Treasurer, Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Trades Council

In a personal capacity:

Anwar Alsaid, trade unionist; Aaron Bastani, trade unionist; Leo Bell, trade unionist; Paul Bradshaw, trade unionist; Janine Sally Brady, retired Unite member, Mablethorpe and Coastal Labour Party; Marian Brain, Midland No.1 Branch CWU, Birmingham Ladywood CLP; Alex Braithwaite, trade unionist; Richard Britten, trade unionist; Justina Brook, care worker, Islington UNISON shop steward, London; Graham Brown, trade unionist; Jeff Bull, trade unionist, Matlock; Pat Burns, trade unionist; Mike Calvert, Deputy Branch Secretary, Islington UNISON, London; Charles Charalambous, ex-President, Torbay and South Devon TUC, Editor of Labour Internationalist; Dena Cohen, trade unionist; Lindsay Cole, trade unionist; Sheila Coleman, Unite Community, Liverpool; Alex Dale, trade unionist; John Davenport, trade unionist; Michael Dean, trade unionist; Briony Densham, Islington UNISON Schools Convenor, London; Jane Doolan, UNISON NEC member, Branch Secretary, Islington UNISON, London; Peter Durrant, Unite West Norfolk branch; Christine Ellis, trade unionist; Etta’s Botanica, trade unionist; Naomi K Fearon, trade unionist; Paul Filby, Labour Party member, Liverpool; Rajmil Fischman, UCU Committee member, Keele University; Barry Fox, trade unionist; Ruth Fox, trade unionist; Liz Foley, trade unionist; Sarah Franklin, trade unionist; Sylvia Freeman, trade unionist; Chris Gallagher, trade unionist; James Gamble, trade unionist; Jane Gebbie, Branch Secretary, Neath Port Talbot UNISON; Bridgend County Borough Council member (Labour); Mick Gilgunn, Chair, Islington Trades Union Council, London; Jackie Gilmore, trade unionist; Stephen Hall, President, Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils; Mark Hollinrake, PCS shop steward and branch organiser, Rochdale Green Party; Bill Hutt, trade unionist; Diana James, Assistant Branch Secretary, Islington UNISON, London; Paul Kelly, Vice President, Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils; Yasmin Khan, trade unionist; Brian Lawton, UNISON NCC member, Wanstead and Leytonstone CLP; Peter Lewis, trade unionist; Joan Long, trade unionist; Prof. Michael Loughlin, University of West London; Kurt McDavis, trade unionist; Doreen McNally, Unite Community, Liverpool; Johanna Mackenzie, trade unionist; Patrick Maloney, trade unionist; Kelly Martin, trade unionist; Fiona Monkman, Branch Chair, Islington UNISON, London; Henry Mott, Branch Secretary, Southwark Unite, London; Bill Murphy, Chair, Unite Branch 567, Liverpool; Craig Murray, trade unionist; Pauline Murray, trade unionist; Victoria Nelson, trade unionist; Dave Nichols, trade unionist; Theresa Norton, trade unionist; Caroline Obe, trade unionist; David Osborne, trade unionist; Dave Power, trade unionist; Nat Queen, University and College Union member; Tony Rimmer, Vice-Chair, Unite 567 Branch; Chair, Bootle CLP; Liverpool47 surcharged Labour councillor; Cleo Simmons, trade unionist; Miroslav Spasov, Professor, Keele University, UCU Member, Reading; Gary Stevens, trade unionist; Mark Still, RMT Waterloo, London; John Sweeney, Labour Party member, Leave activist, London; Louise Vincent, trade unionist; John Wallace, trade unionist; Claire Watson, trade unionist; Steve Watson, trade unionist

I endorse these demands

In a personal capacity / On behalf of my organisation

 Name: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……

Trade union / CLP / other:  …..……………………………………………………………………………………….

Position/title: ………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………

Email: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…

Defending the interests of working people against the capitalists’ interests depends on an accurate picture of what is happening around the country. We therefore invite all signatories of these measures to relate what they and their families are going through, their concerns regarding their health, wellbeing and future employment.

To share information, experiences and views, contact: emergency.action2020@aol.com

 

picto-mail labour.interationalist2019@gmail.com

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