Britain

Nearly 200,000 jobs lost in the UK amid pandemic

By Robert Stevens, 7 July 2020

Workers have been laid off particularly heavily in the retail, travel, hospitality, and manufacturing sectors.

British government reimposes welfare benefits sanctions as pandemic continues and unemployment rockets

By Simon Whelan, 6 July 2020

By June, the number of job center claimants had risen by 126 percent since the start of the pandemic, to 2.8 million.

UK pubs reopen in “Super Saturday”: A criminal act

By Thomas Scripps, 4 July 2020

The inevitable deadly consequences of the Johnson government’s latest move will be fully revealed in the weeks and months to come.

Tories resurrect cynical “Clap for Carers” on 72nd anniversary of the NHS

By Rory Woods, 4 July 2020

Sunday’s event insults the memory of hundreds of health and social care workers who died of COVID-19 trying to save the lives of others.

British government ramps up campaign against China

By Jean Shaoul, 3 July 2020

The Tories’ aim is to open another front in US imperialism’s economic, diplomatic, and military-strategic offensive that threatens military war against the world’s second largest economy.

UK government’s guidance on school reopening: Back to “normal” from September

By Tania Kent, 3 July 2020

There will be no social distancing, no personal protection for children or staff and no school closures if children or staff record positively for COVID-19.

Strike against Tower Hamlets Labour council’s “fire and rehire” of 4,000 employees

By Alice Summers, 3 July 2020

Facing massive budget shortfalls, the Labour-run London borough plans to lay off 4,000 workers before rehiring them on significantly worse pay and conditions.

Unite offers support for 10 percent job losses at British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair

By Laura Tiernan, 2 July 2020

The scale of the ongoing jobs massacre was underscored by EasyJet’s announcement Tuesday that 1,900 pilots, cabin crew and ground staff will be made redundant, with Airbus announcing 12,300 job cuts worldwide by Summer 2021, including 1,700 in the UK.

Johnson pledges “New Deal” for UK as he prepares savage attack on workers

By Chris Marsden, 2 July 2020

Johnson is prime minister of a declining imperialist power, dominated politically, economically, and socially by a financial oligarchy whose sole concern is that the flood of wealth into its coffers continues.

Lockdown in Leicester amid surge in infections throughout UK

By Robert Stevens, 1 July 2020

Outbreaks at food factories, garment plants and schools attest to the criminality of Johnson government as it ditches a national lockdown.

COVID-19 increase at UK’s 2 Sisters, Rowan and Kober meat processing factories

By Tony Robson, 1 July 2020

Inadequate and unsafe forms of transport, poor working conditions, and rundown accommodation are class issues bound up with the wealth extraction demanded by capitalism.

New US indictment of Julian Assange not served in UK courts

By Thomas Scripps, 30 June 2020

In yet another Kafkaesque turn, UK legal proceedings are continuing on the basis of an indictment which has been replaced and therefore has no legal force in the US.

Broader reopening of UK schools leads to spread of COVID-19 infections

By Tania Kent and Tim Pearce, 30 June 2020

Recent outbreaks in schools almost doubled to 44 in one week—16 more than were recorded at hospitals

“It’s eugenics by the back door”

UK disability campaigner Doug Paulley speaks on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 30 June 2020

Doug has recently been involved in legal action opposing the use of “scoring” systems to deny ventilator treatment to the sick, disabled and elderly.

Royal Mail workers in the UK face jobs massacre

By Paul Lee, 30 June 2020

Two thousand management job cuts will be followed by at least 20,000 redundancies from the remaining workforce.

Sudanese asylum seeker shot dead in Glasgow

By Steve James, 29 June 2020

The tragedy is the consequence of the brutal treatment handed out to asylum seekers in the city and throughout the UK.

UK government ends lockdown: Feigned official outrage over beaches, raves, and football celebrations

By Laura Tiernan, 29 June 2020

Neither Johnson’s glib and deceitful comments, nor the filthy headlines of the press can conceal their role as the real authors of these dangerous scenes.

Onslaught on jobs and conditions at British Telecom

By Barry Mason and Robert Stevens, 29 June 2020

Slashing offices from 300 to 30 comes on top of proposals to cut BT's 100,000-strong workforce by around 13,000.

WHO warns of “very significant” coronavirus resurgence in Europe

By Will Morrow, 27 June 2020

The resurgence is driven by governments’ reopening policy, whose aim is the full resumption of corporate profit-making, regardless of the threat to workers.

British government suppressed daily pandemic death toll by thousands

By Simon Whelan, 27 June 2020

The government suppressed the extent of COVID-19 fatalities because its policies created the conditions for tens of thousands of needless deaths.

British Airways workers denounce company “offer” to slash pay and conditions

By John Newham and Laura Tiernan, 27 June 2020

BA workers must break free of the corporatist grip of the unions and fight for rank-and-file committees to organise joint action with airline workers across the globe.

UK government refuses support to unemployed migrant workers facing destitution during pandemic

By Harvey Singh, 27 June 2020

Although exact figures are difficult to obtain, it is estimated that up to 250,000 children could directly be threatened with poverty due to the “no recourse to public funds” status of their parents.

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer uses bogus anti-Semitism accusation to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey

By Robert Stevens, 27 June 2020

The move demonstrates that no criticisms of the Israeli government will be allowed in the Labour Party and that Starmer will deal decisively with what remains of the Corbynites.

The Salisbury Poisonings: Skripal drama framed as anti-Russian propaganda

By Thomas Scripps, 27 June 2020

The BBC’s three-part The Salisbury Poisonings uses drama as state propaganda and is designed to reignite the Skripal affair that dominated UK politics in 2018.

Five cruise ships detained by UK revealing atrocious conditions of seafarers

By Paul Bond, 26 June 2020

Globally there have been numerous suicides reported among crew members stranded at sea.

Parliamentary report exposes widespread fire-safety failings three years on from Grenfell Tower inferno

By Alice Summers, 26 June 2020

Of the 2,000 high-rise buildings still coated in highly flammable materials, 300 are clad with the Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panels used on Grenfell Tower.

US indictment of Assange based on testimony of FBI assets, convicted child molester

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 June 2020

The indictment paints a picture of US operatives pouring through decade-old tabloid gossip and dredging up the most unsavoury creatures of their own intelligence agencies to fling mud at Assange.

Johnson announces end of UK’s lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 25 June 2020

The bulk of the UK economy, barring “close proximity” venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas, will reopen July 4. All schools will reopen in September.

London bus drivers’ lives threatened by union collusion on inadequate COVID-19 measures

By Laura Tiernan, 25 June 2020

The Unite union is playing a crucial role for the government and Transport for London in policing the back-to-work drive and concealing the immense dangers facing bus and transport workers.

Unite union facilitates cover-up of COVID-19 outbreak in UK meat processing plants

By Tony Robson, 25 June 2020

Meat processing factories across the world have become a breeding ground for the virus, and working in them is a potential death sentence.

Boris Johnson reinforces imperialist agenda of Britain’s overseas aid

By Jean Shaoul, 24 June 2020

The Department for International Development, which disperses Britain’s £15.2 billion aid budget, is to be subsumed under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Johnson used pandemic to step up privatisation of UK public sector

By Margot Miller, 24 June 2020

The corporate raid underscores the cynicism of government ministers clapping frontline workers and hailing NHS workers as “heroes.”

All schools in England to open in September

By Tom Pearce, 24 June 2020

The government’s decision to return to the full opening of schools has been taken without any systematic review of the impact of the wider reopening of the economy.

Reading terror suspect fought in US-British proxy war to overthrow Libya’s Gaddafi

By Robert Stevens, 23 June 2020

Saadallah and his family have connections to the British-based group of Libyans who were opposed to the rule of the country’s then-leader, Colonel Gaddafi.

Walkout by sorting office workers at Barnsley Royal Mail after coronavirus outbreak

By Thomas Scripps, 23 June 2020

Royal Mail workers at the central post sorting office in Barnsley, England walked out yesterday after colleagues tested positive for coronavirus.

UK students in precarious situation during the pandemic

By Ioan Petrescu, 23 June 2020

An online petition demanding the reimbursement of all this year’s fee due to the pandemic has gathered 345,731 signatures as of the time of writing. Another one, that only asks for refunds for the third semester, has 109,282 signatures.

Suspected assailant in Reading terrorist attack was known to UK intelligence agencies

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2020

If the assailant is Saadallah, it would be the second terrorist attack carried out in Britain by a Libyan national—who was known to UK intelligence agencies—in the space of three years.

Corporations continue to slash workforces in Britain

By Barry Mason, 22 June 2020

Employers are using every opportunity to exploit the pandemic crisis and further slash costs as they shed thousands of workers.

Julian Assange’s fiancé calls on the Australian government to secure his freedom

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 June 2020

The “60 Minutes” program was the first substantive examination of Assange’s plight by the Australian media since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Around 250 workers infected with COVID-19 in three UK food processing plants

By Robert Stevens, 20 June 2020

The outbreaks underscore the criminality of the government’s decision to enforce a mass return to work and the lack of basic work safety in plants that have been operating during the pandemic.

OECD warns of deep recession in Britain and Europe due to pandemic

By Steve James, 20 June 2020

The OECD envisages no “return to normal” in the world economy, predicting instead mass unemployment and instability.

Doctors head legal challenge to UK government on health care deaths and PPE

By Rory Woods, 20 June 2020

At least 181 health workers and 131 social care workers have died while working on the frontline.

Johnson government mounts offensive against mass opposition to police violence and racism

By Thomas Scripps, 20 June 2020

Home Secretary Priti Patel is linked with a Facebook group providing a platform for the far-right thugs who attacked Black Lives Matter protesters.

British Airways workers in limbo as deadline for mass redundancies passes

By Alice Summers and John Newham, 19 June 2020

One BA worker told the WSWS, “I’ve been with BA for 25 years and was earning more than this new contract in 1996!”

Johnson government reneges on waiving health surcharges on NHS workers from overseas

By Tony Robson, 19 June 2020

What is being demanded by migrant NHS workers is not preferential treatment, but rights that should be extended to all overseas workers.

UK nurses from overseas demand permanent residence after battling COVID-19

By our reporter, 19 June 2020

The SEP was contacted by an overseas nurse from the south of England, urging support for a petition demanding permanent residence for non-EU National Health Service migrant workers.

COVID-19 killing the working class in Britain at more than twice the rate of the wealthiest

By Simon Whelan, 18 June 2020

The pandemic is exacerbating the effects of already growing socioeconomic and urban inequalities.

UK: Marcus Rashford campaign forces Johnson government climbdown over summer free school meals

By Tania Kent and Harvey Thompson, 18 June 2020

The announcement followed a public campaign by 22-year-old Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford.

UK: 600,000 workers already kicked off payrolls during COVID-19 lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 17 June 2020

Companies are implementing long-planned restructuring operations with mass layoffs, a halt to hiring, and pay cuts the order of the day.

UK: Pandemic produces surge in household debt, accelerates child poverty

By Barry Mason, 16 June 2020

Tens of thousands of jobs have already gone, and job losses are expected to mount as companies take advantage of the situation to impose long-term restructuring plans.

UK: Johnson opens the economy and guarantees fresh COVID-19 outbreak

By Thomas Scripps, 16 June 2020

Scientists warn that easing the lockdown under current conditions is likely to lead to a resurgence of coronavirus, endangering lives and throwing away the sacrifices made by workers and their families

UK: Legal action highlights social-Darwinist policies against the disabled during COVID-19 pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

Numerous medical guidance documents published during the pandemic suggest that coronavirus patients can be denied or deprioritised for medical care solely on the basis of their age or existing mental or physical disabilities.

“This government has decided that disabled people are better off dead”

UK disability campaigners speak out on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

The WSWS spoke to disability rights campaigners last weekend about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and the Johnson government’s “herd immunity” policy on the lives of disabled people.

UK government encourages fascist provocation to justify police crackdown

By Thomas Scripps, 15 June 2020

The stage has been set for a law-and-order campaign, directed against anti-police violence protests involving hundreds of thousands of people.

Three years since the Grenfell fire: Collaboration with Grenfell Tower Inquiry must end!

By Robert Stevens, 15 June 2020

Hundreds of thousands of people still go to bed every night in unsafe buildings, with thousands in the “high-risk” category.

UK Health and Safety Executive provides cover for Johnson government’s back-to-work drive

By Tony Robson, 13 June 2020

The Health and Safety Executive has not carried out any inspections of workplaces since March to reduce risks to its own staff.

Scottish government moves to end lockdown as COVID-19 deaths hit 4,000

By Stephen Alexander, 13 June 2020

Scotland has the third worst coronavirus death rate in the world.

Service Prosecuting Authority drops all but one investigation into British war crimes in Iraq

By Jean Shaoul, 13 June 2020

The British government is serving notice that it has no intention of honouring domestic or international law outlawing abuse, torture and murder by its military and security forces.

UK: Police refer decision not to prosecute over death of Belly Mujinga to Crown Prosecution Service

By Michael Barnes, 12 June 2020

No trust can be placed in the Crown Prosecution Service. Justice depends on the independent intervention of the working class.

Report finds European lockdowns saved millions of lives, ending it threatens millions

By Thomas Scripps, 11 June 2020

The report is an indictment of governments’ initial delays in implementing public health measures and a warning of the terrible consequences of the return to business as usual.

Homeless thrown back onto the streets as UK lockdown ends

By Dennis Moore, 11 June 2020

The Tories feel free to abandon the pose of concern for the fate of the homeless and dump then back where they came from.

Transport for London refuses FOI requests into bus and transport COVID-19 deaths

By Laura Tiernan, 11 June 2020

The involvement of Deputy Mayor of London for Transport Heidi Alexander is proof of a cover-up reaching into the office of Labour’s Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

US Postal Service covers up COVID-19 death toll in New York City

By Tom Carter and Shuvu Batta, 10 June 2020

“There are people that have been gone for weeks, and people who have been gone who never came back.”

UK: Johnson government demands police repression of George Floyd protests

By Robert Stevens, 10 June 2020

Tory MPs as well as Labourites denounced “thuggery” and “violent” protesters, focusing on the tearing down of the statue of a Bristol slave trader Edward Colston.

UK: Setback for Johnson’s school reopening plan due to popular opposition

By Tania Kent, 10 June 2020

The temporary retreat is a credit to the millions of parents and educators who opposed the government and acted in defiance of the trade unions.

UK protesters speak on George Floyd demonstrations

By our reporters, 9 June 2020

“America claims to be the ‘land of the free,’ but protesters are being denied their First Amendment rights”

Johnson government falls in behind Washington’s economic war with China

By Jean Shaoul, 9 June 2020

The “Get Brexit Done/Global Britain” perspective has been exposed as a chimera.

UK: Postal workers at Bridgewater walk out as six COVID-19 cases confirmed at Wellingborough

By Paul Lee, 9 June 2020

Workers have faced threats of disciplinary action such as “wilful delay of the mail,” which can lead to instant dismissal.

UK: Virus infection rate increases as Johnson government continues ending lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 9 June 2020

Since imposing a lockdown on March 23, Johnson and government ministers have proclaimed keeping the “R” rate below 1 as the precondition for ending the lockdown. But ending the lockdown continues.

Tens of thousands continue UK protests against racism and police brutality

By Robert Stevens, 8 June 2020

More than 100,000 people across Britain continued to protest the death of George Floyd over the weekend.

The Malthusian underpinnings of Boris Johnson’s “herd immunity” strategy

By Thomas Scripps, 8 June 2020

Today the toll of the pandemic is viewed by leading figures in the ruling elite as a supposedly natural “check” on sections of the population considered a drain on profits.

UK: After the clapping stops—The way forward for NHS workers

By Rory Woods and Chris Marsden, 6 June 2020

Things came to a head last week because it has become impossible for the government to maintain the charade of unity behind “our carers.”

Collaborations with Grenfell Tower Inquiry must end after corporate witnesses granted legal immunity

By Alice Summers, 6 June 2020

The attorney general announced that any statements given to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry by companies cannot be used as evidence against them in a future prosecution.

UK: Prime Minister’s Questions reveals Labour’s complicity in Tory back-to-school campaign

By Thomas Scripps, 6 June 2020

Every capitalist party in the world is working on behalf of the corporations to impose a reckless return to “the new normal.”

Opposition builds to re-opening of UK schools

By Tania Kent, 5 June 2020

In response to a Zoom webinar held by the National Education Union on Wednesday—two days after the re-opening of schools—many educators on Facebook expressed hostility to the inaction of the union.

London bus drivers face COVID-19 disaster: Build rank-and-file safety committees!

By Laura Tiernan, 5 June 2020

Unite has signed off on the Johnson government’s COVID-19 transport plan despite the serious and imminent danger it poses to drivers and the travelling public.

Thousands protest in London against police killing of George Floyd

By Robert Stevens, 4 June 2020

Protests were marked by their multi-racial character, with attendees comments confirming that what is taking place in the US is a common experience facing millions across the globe.

Nearly 65,000 COVID-19 deaths in UK according to Financial Times

By Barry Mason, 4 June 2020

The FT highlighted the fact that in absolute terms the number of excess deaths in the UK is the highest in Europe, and internationally is only second to the US.

Survey exposes COVID-19 dangers facing call centre workers

By Joe Mount, 4 June 2020

Several call centre workers have lost their lives to COVID-19, with thousands in fear that their health and safety is being jeopardised.

Woman pinned down by police officers in London: “I can’t breathe”

By Thomas Scripps, 3 June 2020

Police violence is directed against the working class, particularly its poorest sections, and falls disproportionately on black communities.

UK police dismiss spitting case in COVID-19 death of rail worker Belly Mujinga

By Michael Barnes, 3 June 2020

A petition calling for Justice for Belly now has well over half a million signatures.

Julian Assange unable to attend court hearing due to illness as legal travesty continues

By Thomas Scripps, 2 June 2020

Assange has a chronic lung condition and his health has been ruined by years of psychological torture and medical neglect.

More than half of parents defy UK school reopening:Education unions seek to demobilise popular opposition

By Chris Marsden, 2 June 2020

The Socialist Equality Party calls for the building of action committees, independent from the trade unions, to safeguard the health of children, teachers and the entire working class.

UK: Allowing mass-attended sporting events to go ahead led to COVID-19 deaths

By Margot Miller, 2 June 2020

Ignoring the WHO’s announcement on January 30 that the emergence of the novel coronavirus represented a “public health emergency of international concern,” the Conservative government made no preparations to stop its spread in Britain.

UK Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill deepens attack on fundamental civil liberties

By Paul Bond, 1 June 2020

Home Secretary Priti Patel introduced what ministers are describing as the biggest overhaul of terrorist sentencing and monitoring for decades.

Administrative hearing in Julian Assange’s extradition case to be held today

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 June 2020

The hearings have had a farcical character, with Assange unable to participate due to coronavirus dangers and the press frequently excluded.

Online meeting

COVID-19: Organise rank-and-file health and safety committees for bus and transport workers!

1 June 2020

We invite bus, rail, and tube workers to attend next Sunday’s online meeting to discuss an international strategy to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

UK: Official figures inflate COVID-19 testing rate by more than a million

By Alice Summers, 30 May 2020

The Johnson government is again seeking to cover up criminal inaction that has led to tens of thousands of deaths.

No to the reopening of schools! Build action committees to safeguard children and teachers!

Statement by the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 30 May 2020

The “phased” return of school children is a criminal policy that places children, teachers, families, and communities open to the risk of serious illness and death.

The Accident unambiguously indicts the corporate elite

By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2020

The British television miniseries, The Accident, tells the story of a decayed former mining and steel town in Wales, in which a factory under construction collapses, resulting in a horrendous tragedy.

UK: Weston General Hospital shuts due to coronavirus outbreak among staff

By Robert Stevens and Ben Trent, 29 May 2020

The outbreak reveals the enormous dangers to the health and lives of National Health Service workers.

UK: Johnson government forced to retreat over attacks on migrant NHS workers

By Tony Robson, 29 May 2020

The government had insisted that only doctors, nurses, and paramedics would be made exempt from the NHS surcharge and that only their families qualified for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) in the event of their death.

British ruling class fears Dominic Cummings crisis undermines “social contract”

By Thomas Scripps, 28 May 2020

Johnson used the phrase “move on” five times in 20 minutes when appearing before the Commons Liaison Committee.

UK: Johnson government to unveil second multi-billion bailout of big business

By Robert Stevens, 28 May 2020

Project Birch follows on from the handing over of nearly a trillion pounds in the form of quantitative easing of £645 billion and £330 billion in business loans.

UK: students charged rent, threatened with eviction during coronavirus pandemic

By Peter Reydt and Laura Tiernan, 28 May 2020

Eighty percent of students are worried about how they will cope financially. Even before the pandemic, soaring rents were creating social distress.

UK: Johnson government crisis worsens after Dominic Cummings press conference

By Thomas Scripps and Chris Marsden, 27 May 2020

Cummings has emerged as the near universally despised embodiment of a hated and crisis-wracked government.

British Trotskyists issue call for working class action against pandemic

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 27 May 2020

The Socialist Equality Party (UK) opposes the reckless back-to-work campaign and the reopening of schools and non-essential workplaces as the pandemic continues to spread.

Postal workers stop work in Peterborough and High Wycombe, England, over COVID-19 safety fears

By Paul Lee, 26 May 2020

The threat to safety in the two offices are replicated in delivery and sorting offices all over the country and internationally.

UK: Johnson government opposes pay increase for nurses

By Rory Woods, 26 May 2020

Boris Johnson and other ministers busy hailing nurses and doctors as “heroes” have again made clear they are bitter enemies of all health care workers.

Boris Johnson defends key adviser over flouting UK lockdown rules

By Robert Stevens, 25 May 2020

Cummings was one of the chief advocates for Britain’s “herd immunity” policy, based on the mass infection of the population with coronavirus.