Union leaders must take action to bring down the Tories – and reject working with Johnson!

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THE WORLD Health Organisation has issued its ‘Test, Test and Test’ call as its main policy to lay the basis for dealing with the coronavirus emergency. Tory leader Johnson is opposed to this policy – not even NHS workers working with infected patients have been tested! In fact many have written their wills instead!

After Monday’s Cobra meeting, Johnson urged the whole population to avoid ‘unnecessary social contacts,’ to work from home where possible, and to stay away from pubs and restaurants. People in at-risk groups were asked to stay home for 12 weeks.

Johnson’s policy is that treatment would overload the NHS, and it is better for them to die at home. More than 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000.

On Monday night Johnson acknowledged the economy is facing ‘a severe blow’ because of the virus. He stressed: ‘People should only use the NHS where we really need to.’

He added: ‘By next weekend, those with the most serious health conditions must be largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks. If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days.

‘Those people should, if possible, avoid leaving the house even to buy food or essentials’ – but they may leave the house ‘for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others.’

It is a case of out-of-sight-out-of-mind. Johnson considers that this policy will end up with the UK achieving ‘herd immunity’ by the survivors of the virus. But hundreds of health specialists have said that this policy condemns hundreds of thousands of the elderly to death, as the price for achieving immunity. Modelling by Imperial College London predicts 260,000 deaths in the UK on the basis of this ‘herd immunity policy’.

The WRP urges the trade unions to oppose this policy and demand that all of the hundreds of NHS A&E wards and other NHS facilities that have been closed should be reopened, and that hundreds of thousands of health careworkers must be hired. There must now be a massive nationwide testing campaign and the NHS must be strengthened to deal with it!

However, the Labour leaders are now working with Johnson. The decision by Labour to allow the Budget to be nodded through without a vote proves that this is the case, as does the statement by leading Labourites that they are in favour of working with the government on this issue, and even forming a national government.

Yesterday afternoon, Chancellor Sunak was due to speak to the House of Commons to increase the bail-out cash for big business from £12 bn. This emergency legislation on the economic crisis is then due to be nodded through, along with the Budget, by the Labour Party.

Then at PM Johnson’s daily press conference Sunak was due to announce his new major bail-out scheme for the big businesses that have gone bust.

The cabinet and the Labour shadow cabinet are also to meet on the issue. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey had earlier called for a meeting with the prime minister. In his letter to Johnson McCluskey said: ‘If you do not take urgent action to support the aviation industry in the UK, there is absolute certainty that tens of thousands of jobs will be put at risk, and the industry will be unable to resume effectively once this health crisis has passed.

‘It is essential that the government listens to and works with unions, airlines, airports and other key stakeholders in aviation … ‘Without the government’s help, the aviation industry could plunge into an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat …

‘We urge you to release government funding immediately, so the industry, and the jobs within it, can survive what will effectively be a period of dormancy during the next difficult period …’

Sucking up to the Tories is not the way to defeat the coronavirus or defend the jobs of millions of workers that now face the scrapheap because of the world crisis of capitalism.

The unions must insist that there is mass testing of the population for the virus and that all the closed beds and closed A&Es are reopened to provide the facilities to beat the virus.

Not a single industry must be allowed to close. They must be used to produce the millions of ventilators that are needed, without a single job being lost and without even a penny cut from workers’ wages.

The trade unions must call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the capitalists, carry out this policy for the crisis, and build a socialist society.