Coronavirus: Your rights at home and at work

Information for workers and tenants to deal with the Covid-19 crisis

News

The latest news and analysis from SF locals

PPE AND AGENCY WORKERS

We have received enquires from agency workers asking whose responsibility is it to provide them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), is it the employment agency or the end-user? Under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, the employment agency is responsible for ensuring any necessary PPE is provided to agency workers.

Battling Boris Defeats the Coronavirus

Great news that Boris is now out of hospital and resting at Chequers after defeating the coronavirus. Where others have succumbed to the virus through lack of willpower, our brave Boris took on the virus, and showing true Dunkirk spirit, single-handedly beat the virus through pure strength of character. It was great to see the press exercising their right to criticise and hold to account, in the world’s greatest democracy, by falling over themselves to heap praise on our truly courageous leader. Totally disregarding the acute suffering of the thousands who have died in hospital, the media was able to lift the spirits of the nation by focusing on the high spirits of our leader from is ICU bed and his whiling away the hours in hospital by reading the comic book Tintin. 

Care worker organising in a pandemic

Care workers right now are facing a huge challenge. We were overworked, at risk and underpaid before Covid-19 came along. A lot of us are facing massive upheaval in our work and personal lives. Lockdown is stopping us from seeing our friends, family and colleagues, and the demands nowaced on the NHS, care homes and other workplaces have increased and changed rapidly. So now more than ever we are asking, what can we do?

What are we facing?

Some of the issues we are facing are new, and some are old problems exacerbated by the current crisis. The first one we are going to look at is the most common and well known right now.

PPE

Care Worker Organising in a Pandemic

Care Worker Organising in a Pandemic

Care workers right now are facing a huge challenge. We were overworked, at risk and underpaid before Covid-19 came along. A lot of us are facing massive upheaval in our work and personal lives. Lockdown is stopping us from seeing our friends, family and colleagues, and the demands now placed on the NHS, care homes and other workplaces have increased and changed rapidly. So now more than ever we are asking, what can we do?

What are we facing?

Some of the issues we are facing are new, and some are old problems exacerbated by the current crisis. The first one we are going to look at is the most common and well known right now.

PPE

Donning and Doffing - on the front lines

Mask on, seal over the nose to stop glasses misting up so much. Apron on (always easier with gloves on), feels flimsy especially in the wind, doesn’t feel like it will protect much. Visor on or is the patient low risk? How many more times am I going to put this all on?The beginning of shift routine is to check if we have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This involves checking stores, asking managers, raiding dormant ambulances. As relief staff (not on a fixed shift pattern) you go to different stations. Each station has differing policies; some have personal issue PPE, some are ambulance specific. As relief you end up pilfering PPE to protect yourself as you might end up without.

Coronavirus Crisis: The Government has produced more information in regards to the 80% of wages Jobs Retention Scheme including how pay will be calculated. Here are some of the details:

HOW THE SCHEME WORKS

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

Your employer could pay 80% of your wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

You’ll still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE

Any UK employer with a UK bank account will be able to claim, but you must have been on your employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020. You can be on any type of contract, including a zero-hour contract or a temporary contract. The scheme does not apply to the self-employed.

Under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme you will receive 80% of wages up to £2,500 per month. Below is the latest update on how the scheme will work.

The situation is changing all the time but as far as we are aware the following is correct as we understand it as of Wednesday 23rd March.

Which companies are eligible under the scheme? All UK businesses are eligible, including charitable, non-profit, public sector, local authorities and so on.

Which workers are eligible? All workers on P.A.Y.E will qualify for 80% of their earnings. This is likely to include most workers, apart from the self-employed who have yet to receive any real support from the government.

Coronavirus and the collapse of neo-liberalism

The differences between the various national and governmental responses to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak aside, what they hold is common is a crumbling defence of ultra-neo-liberal policies. By this we mean, as the UK government has shifted from its primary concern to shore up the economy to showing concern about the health of the population, the idea that the state should not intervene in the financial sphere has practically been thrown out of the window. Even the most ideologically-led and fervent advocates of the “minimum state” have had to cave in to a looming disaster that would spell even the end of market capitalism. While anarchosyndicalists are not in favour of a minimum state – we want to abolish the state – we have constantly criticised the politics that sustain this approach.

Guides for getting organised

The Stuff Your Boss doesn't want you to know Knowing about the main workplace rights is the first step to getting organised. Find out about your righs at work from here.
The Stuff Your Sexist Boss doesn't want you to know Sexism is present in most workplaces - find out how we can organise to fight back against it!
SF workplace training The Solidarity Federation workplace organiser training programme is designed to give workers the tools and confidence to organise in their workplaces. You may find the direct action based approach we adopt offers a fresh perspective.

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