Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

Socialist Party and CWI public figures :: Rob Williams

spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All People subcategories:

BAME

International figures

Labour Party figures

Lefts

Miscellaneous

Nationalists

Other UK politicans

* Socialist Party and CWI public figures

Tory figures

Trade union figures

Transport

Writers and artists


Rob Williams


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1084, 29 April 2020: Workers’ safety before bosses’ profits

Search site for keywords: Coronavirus - Workers - Union - Trade union - Rob Williams

Workers' safety before bosses' profits

Rob Williams, Socialist Party industrial organiser
On workers' memorial day, 28.4.20, in London, photo London SP

On workers' memorial day, 28.4.20, in London, photo London SP   (Click to enlarge)

In the space of one week, the trade union movement is marking two of its most important annual days - International Workers' Memorial Day on 28 April, and May Day on 1 May. Coming as they do during the coronavirus pandemic, they are particularly poignant and relevant.

Tragically, too many workers have died already. Over 120 workers in the NHS and the social care sector have died: killed in many cases by a scandalous lack of PPE, the result of years of austerity and privatisation carried out by successive Tory and New Labour governments.

All frontline and essential workers must have the PPE they need to do their work as safely as possible. They should not be left to individually decide whether or not it is safe to work, but have the collective support of their union behind them.

And now this government, and their friends in big business, are trying to build momentum to push other 'non-essential' workers back to work.

But we have no confidence that the bosses and their political representatives can be trusted with our safety. Profit is their number one priority - in normal times and during emergencies such as this.

Look at the construction companies forcing workers back to the sites. Building luxury apartments isn't 'essential work'!

We have to decide when it's safe to return to work. We need workers' and trade union control over workplace safety. If a workplace isn't safe, it must be closed, and workers sent home on full pay until it is.

If management tell workers that they want us to come back to work, we must only return when we and our unions are convinced it is safe to do so.

Some of the May Day greetings in the Socialist, May 2020

Some of the May Day greetings in the Socialist, May 2020   (Click to enlarge)

A union and workers' risk assessment must be carried out. There must be adequate PPE available; sufficient hand sanitisers and washroom facilities; thorough workplace cleaning carried out on a regular basis; a workplace layout and staff capacity that allows for safe social distancing; regular testing; and any other measures considered necessary to guarantee workers' safety.

If management doesn't accept these demands, workers must discuss what to do next, including deciding collectively to refuse to work in an unsafe workplace. Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provides for the protection of workers if they decide not to work in an unsafe environment.

But we also know that Tory anti-union laws can be used against us. So the best protection, as always, is for workers and their unions to act together. This is what postal workers, firefighters and now Jobcentre staff have done to defend their safety.

Workers have won historic victories on the back of collective struggle. Our pay, pensions and conditions, and the very right to be organised in a trade union, were secured as a result of our struggles and those of workers who came before us.

May Day this year must be a platform to send out a clear message: collective workers' and trade union action is our life-saver.

Click here for a PDF of the 16 pages of May Day greetings in the Socialist marking May Day 2020

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

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.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Socialist Party and CWI public figures keywords:

Andrew Price (3)

Bernard Roome (2)

Brian Debus (47)

Chris Baugh (95)

Dave Nellist (231)

Glenn Kelly (71)

Hannah Sell (114)

Hugo Pierre (40)

John Macreadie (11)

John Reid (35)

Ken Douglas (4)

Kevin Bennett (27)

Lawanya (2)

Martin Powell-Davies (100)

Mary Jackson (12)

Mick Cotter (2)

Onay Kasab (75)

Paul Couchman (19)

Peter Taaffe (195)

Rob Williams (127)

Rob Windsor (34)

Robbie Segal (17)

Roger Bannister (95)

Suzanne Muna (46)

Terry Fields (11)

Tony Mulhearn (136)

Tony Saunois (22)

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Article dated 29 April 2020

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

MEMBER RESOURCES

Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales

Leaflets

Bulk book orders

New member submission

WHAT'S ON

triangle15 Jun Bristol North Socialist Party: Education under capitalism

triangle15 Jun Caerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The socialist approach to the environment

triangle15 Jun Brighton Socialist Party: Disability, neurodivergency, and the left

More...


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

News

What we think

NHS

Workplace news

Lessons from history

Campaigns news

Israel/Palestine

Readers' opinion

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1137 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files


RMT picket at Nottingham station - East Midlands Railway dispute - Sunday 13th June, photo by G Freeman

RMT picket at Nottingham station - East Midlands Railway dispute - Sunday 13th June. Photo G Freeman

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version