THE INSTITUTE of Directors (IoD) has warned that 250,000 businesses could sack workers as the Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak runs down the furlough scheme.
Sunak this week will unveil his plan to end the scheme under which the government pays 80% of the wages of furloughed workers, and according to the IoD a quarter of a million companies that rely on this state subsidy will have to make ‘difficult decisions’ shortly.
Half the companies using the scheme have admitted that they cannot afford to pay the 20% top-up wages under the scheme, and with Sunak expected to cut the subsidy to 60% these companies will either make drastic cuts to staff or close down completely.
The cut in subsidy is due to start from August and Sunak wants to end the entire furlough scheme by the end of October.
While millions of people will have no jobs to return to, the remaining workers are to be forced back to work under the Tories ‘track and test’ system.
From yesterday anyone with coronavirus symptoms will be required to request a test. If the test comes back positive a Test and Trace team will contact them to find out who they have come into contact with.
These contacts will then be instructed to isolate for 14 days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said this ‘must become a new way of life’ and will require a ‘national effort’, or lockdown would have to continue insisting that it is a ‘civic duty’ for everyone to obey these rules.
Those who self-isolate will be eligible for statutory sick pay of just £95 a week.
Workers won’t be able to afford to enter into isolation and will be forced to keep working regardless of the health risks.
When the coronavirus pandemic first started to rage across the UK the Tories rejected testing and tracking in favour of ‘herd immunity’ – letting the virus spread through the population in the hope of achieving some immunity while allowing industry and business to stay open.
The hit to the economy from lockdown and a rigorous testing and tracking regime was too big a price for the Tories and their advisers, who argued that a few thousand deaths of the elderly was a price worth paying to keep the bosses in profit.
They refused to follow the example set by China, which from the very start of the epidemic instituted mass lockdown and testing, policies that have all but eradicated coronavirus in that country.
When the working class refused to act like a herd of dumb animals and refused to put their lives at risk by working, the Tories were left with no option but to belatedly introduce a lockdown.
Now with British capitalism brought to its knees by the closure the bosses are demanding a return to work at all costs, and the policy of test and track is the mechanism Johnson is attempting to use to force this return.
At present it is being presented as ‘voluntary’ but the fact remains that any return to work can only be achieved through imposing dictatorial measures to enforce it.
We can expect police and other state agents turning up at the door to force families into lockdown at home, citing their ‘civic duty’ to protect those at work ensuring the profits of their bosses.
Trying to resuscitate this bankrupt capitalist system cannot be achieved except through the coercive forces of the state – a police/military dictatorship over the working class.
The trade union leaders who have gone along with the Tories and collaborated with them and the bosses throughout this crisis must be removed and replaced by a new leadership that will break with the government and its attempt to stampede a return to work and demand that the lockdown continues on full pay, as it did in China, until the coronavirus is safely dealt with.
The unions must immediately organise a general strike to bring them down and go forward to a workers government that will nationalise the banks and major industries under workers management and bring in a socialist planned economy.
Socialist revolution is the only way forward today.