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11 November 2020

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Tory U-turn: Furlough extended - not enough to save jobs

photo Basher Eyre/CC

photo Basher Eyre/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Nick Chaffey, Southampton Socialist Party

Boris Johnson's recent U-turn, to extend furlough, will give a glimmer of hope to some workers, but will come too late for many already dumped by their employers.

Since March, 782,000 fewer people have a job. The majority are young workers aged 16 to 24.

Poverty levels have rocketed for those left in work on 80% wages - reflected in soaring demands on food banks, home evictions and calls for free school meals to be extended. Three million people slip through the government's inadequate support.

The idea of a new national lockdown with workers receiving even less - just 67% of wages and employers forced to contribute more - was untenable. Why? Because the furlough and support measures of the first lockdown were far from the "everything necessary" Johnson boasted.

As a result his initial popularity had plummeted. 53 Tory MPs voting against or abstaining on a second national lockdown show the discontent Johnson faces in his own ranks.

Far from exploiting government division to fight in the interests of the working class, Labour leader Keir Starmer has maintained general support for Johnson's measures. And Trade Union Congress (TUC) leader Frances O'Grady shamefully stood alongside Chancellor Rishi Sunak as he announced savage wage cuts.

91,000 workers joined trade unions under the impact of Covid. The potential exists to gain much more for workers, if a serious fight is mobilised.

Work or 100% pay. That fightback would see many more thousands joining the unions, especially the youth.

It is vital to fight for socialist policies in the interests of the working class in the trade unions, and prepare to stand anti-cuts candidates in the May 2021 elections - the Tories first test at the ballot box since Covid.

Only socialist measures can both address health needs, and maintain jobs, pay and economic development.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 11 November 2020:


Capitalists vs working class - not in it together

Tory U-turn: Free school meals

Tory U-turn: Furlough extended - not enough to save jobs

Covid and poverty rising - Welsh lockdown ends with little progress

Covid law used against striking workers - for workers' control of safety measures

Schools need union action for safety

US election

After the polarised elections - what way forward?

Trump out! But mass workers' struggle needed

Trump is out - our readers react


Spycops inquiry : why the capitalist state feared and continues to fear socialism

Workplace news

Rolls-Royce: Lancashire workers' strike shows the way to fight aerospace cuts and job losses

RMT union AGM votes to defend union democracy

Sainsbury's and Argos: Closures, cuts and soaring sales

Fight the witch-hunt of Corbyn and his supporters


Donate to the Socialism 2020 appeal now!

Solidarity with Manchester students - fight for democratic control of campus safety

Southampton trade unionists demand: "We won't pay for Covid"

Labour movement conference to defend Corbyn and discuss new party

The struggle for a new mass workers' party

Selling the Socialist

Review and readers' opinion

Trotsky's ideas live on in the CWI

The Socialist Inbox

Readers of the Socialist react to effects of lockdown


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