A New Lucas Plan for post-pandemic socially useful jobs?

The public health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has put into sharp focus the precarious nature of work and human lives upon which our neoliberal capitalist economies thrive. On the other hand, it has shown who is essential to society such as the workers in health and social care, public transport and other public services, and in the food supply chain.

To ensure capital survives, the government has found a ‘magic money tree’ to stimulate the economy. Companies in the aerospace and defence sector are being called upon to repurpose their production lines for socially needed products such as ventilators or PPE. Meanwhile, workers in some industries are already calling for conversion of their companies to produce socially useful products.

In a few weeks, many things we were told were not possible, have become just that – possible. Many, even in the mainstream, there will be no return to ‘normal’ after the pandemic is dealt with. We believe more radical changes are needed, and that socially useful production is the key idea for the future.

This webinar will discuss how do we can learn from the Covid crisis to create workers and community plans for social and ecologically useful production as a way to address the pre-existing multiple crises of militarisation, climate change, and robotisation.

Speakers include:

Phil Asquith – former Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine member.

Hilary Wainwright – founding editor Red Pepper, co-author, with Dave Elliott of ‘The Lucas Plan: a new trade unionism in the making’, fellow of the Transnational Institute’.

Representatives from Green Jobs Oshawa in Canada on their call to repurpose the former General Motors car plant to a public manufacturing facility

Respecting Our Health & Wellbeing

A key focus of Remote Respect is also to ensure people’s health and wellbeing are being respected. While this dramatic shift in ways of doing things creates a huge opportunity for getting things done and helps with productivity in the workplace, it’s not without potential negative impact on us either.

A report from the United Nations International Labour Organisation found that while employees are more productive when they work outside of the conventional office, they’re also more vulnerable to working longer hours, a more intense work pace, work-home interference, and, in some cases, greater stress.

Internationalism & the Crisis – Building a world of co-operation, ending debt, sanctions & war

Friday May 1, 3pm, online event – register here // retweet here to spread the word // RSVP+share+invite here.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP and Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition will be joined by international guests for this event, which is part of a number of special events on May Day.

Hosted by Arise – A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas – contact arisefestival@yahoo.com for more information.


Palestinian workers are facing the constant pressures of living and working under the Israeli military control of the occupation and siege.

Covid-19 is presenting them with a new set of deadly challenges. This includes Israel’s almost complete closing off of the West Bank, affecting the survival of the 70,000 West Bank Palestinians who work in Israel.

Join us to hear how the current global health crisis is affecting Palestinian workers, and what we can do in solidarity, for justice and equality.

Register here for Palestinian workers webinar

Samia Al-Botmeh, Assistant Professor in Labour Economics and the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at Birzeit University in Palestine
Abed Dari, Field Coordinator, Palestinian Workers Department, Kav LaOved – Worker’s Hotline
Mariela Kohon, Senior International Officer TUC

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers and residents in Barnet

Survey of key workers living or working in Barnet

This is a short survey being carried out by the Chipping Barnet Labour Party to find out about the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for key workers who live or work in Barnet.   The survey involves a maximum of 5 short questions and should take no more than 2 or 3 minutes of your time. All responses are completely anonymous. Your answers will help us to understand more about which workers do or do not have the PPE required for them to work safely. 
We know how very busy you all are so thank you for your help.   

Take survey.

all Unite London bus members

We are all grieving the loss of so many workers in the bus industry in London.

Colleagues with families and friends, who were simply coming to work to carry out the critical role of keeping London moving during this time of crisis. Behind each statistic, lies a human tragedy.

As a mark of all of our respect, we are calling on all London bus workers to stop work and take a minute’s silence at 11am, Friday 17 April 2020 so we can all reflect on the terrible loss of our friends and colleagues.

Unite has worked tirelessly to maximise protection and minimise risk since this terrible virus took hold just a few short weeks ago. And we will continue to explore all avenues. We now have

  • hand sanitiser for all drivers
  • additional sealing of assault screens
  • seats sealed off behind drivers’ cabs
  • enhanced anti-viral cleaning of cabs and touch-points.

But we cannot and will not stop there.

We are demanding that front doors are closed off, the area behind the cab sealed off and boarding should take place on central (and rear) doors only.

A trial has already started on this and positive discussions continue with the Mayor and TfL to roll this out across the fleet. We will apply maximum pressure on this issue.

We are also demanding that TfL ensures that all companies are complying with the various measures introduced, especially the cleaning regime.

The issue of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being constantly reviewed. We are not scientists, but all the evidence points to the use of gloves for those driving buses as offering little or no protection whatsoever. A gloved hand will still have contact with surfaces and then potentially your face.

However, Unite is demanding that the government oversees a national effort to produce and procure sufficient supplies of PPE for all front-line workers. The official advice from both the World Health Organisation and Public Health England points to masks not affording protection for those outside of clinical settings. However, we understand that many drivers and others will feel safer with a mask and we continue to explore this.

We have also begun discussions with TfL and the Mayor about the option of insisting that all those travelling on buses should cover their faces to reduce the possibility of spreading infection.

Finally, Unite has insisted that Reps are stood down in every garage, in order that they can inspect and monitor the various measures that we have managed to introduce. It is vital that if you have any concerns about the cleanliness of your bus, the fitness of the additional sealing of assault screens or any other safety issue, that you raise these directly with your Unite garage representative who will advise you and raise your concerns with the management or seek further advice as necessary from the Unite convenor or officer.

We understand that there is great anxiety among bus workers – across London and throughout the country – and Unite will continue to explore all options, pressure employers and TfL and the national government to introduce all measures to protect your safety.

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