Britain

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.

Project Restart: English Premier League puts profit first, players’ health a poor second

By Paul Bond, 25 May 2020

The government aims to use televised play to break down public support for social distancing. The PL’s concerns are more directly financial.

Three UK meat processing workers die of COVID-19

By Barry Mason, 23 May 2020

The three died in different sections of Cranswick Convenience Foods factory in Wombwell, Barnsley.

UK local councils face financial collapse due to pandemic

By Dennis Moore, 23 May 2020

Social care spending could face a shortfall of £3.5 billion, placing up to 225,000 adult social care places at risk in the coming year.

UK Labour council, Community union reject appeal to close ASOS warehouse after confirmed COVID-19 cases

By Tony Robson, 22 May 2020

The defence of ASOS workers’ lives requires a fight against the veto that such corporations enjoy over workplace safety.

”We want to be back, but not at the costs of people’s lives”

UK teachers speak on government’s back-to-school plan

By our reporters, 22 May 2020

The WSWS spoke with teachers this week about their opposition to the Johnson government’s reopening of schools.

Pandemic crisis: Tens of thousands of UK job losses announced

By Margot Miller, 21 May 2020

The jobs cull in the UK began in April as firms in retail and hospitality collapsed into administration after the imposition of lockdown, accelerating an already existing trend towards recession.

Education unions and Labour councils ready back-door imposition of Johnson government’s “back to school” plan

By Laura Tiernan, 21 May 2020

The decision to send nursery aged children—including babies and toddlers—and primary-aged students as young as 4, 5 and 6 back into schools was taken solely by Johnson and his cabinet of deranged Thatcherites.

The Berries of Wrath: Prince Charles demands “hard graft” from furloughed workers

By Robert Stevens, 21 May 2020

The Tories have long desired to replace cheap migrant labour with a native workforce so reduced to penury that they too will do backbreaking work for a pittance.

UK: Johnson’s criminal “back-to-work” drive depends on the trade unions

By Chris Marsden and Thomas Scripps, 20 May 2020

The reopening of schools and non-essential workplaces must be opposed until they are made safe.

Letter from UK teaching assistant against reopening of schools

20 May 2020

Sarah, who works in a primary school in south Yorkshire, wrote to the WSWS about the Johnson government’s plans to reopen UK schools from June 1.

Sunday Times Rich Listers receive billions in UK government handouts

By Simon Whelan, 20 May 2020

The pandemic has exposed how those buccaneers of the “free market” are happy to claim government welfare.

NHS management said elderly would “have to die” in care homes

By Robert Stevens and John Stryder, 19 May 2020

Official statistics show that around 10,000 people have died in the UK’s care homes, but the real figure is at least double that.

UK police question suspect in spitting incident that led to rail worker’s death

By Michael Barnes, 19 May 2020

Belly Mujinga’s death produced a horrified reaction among rail workers and an outpouring of sympathy in the working class, but the deranged character of the attack also solicited an outpouring of crocodile tears from those who are ultimately responsible for creating the conditions that led to her death.

Britain’s covert operations to overthrow Syrian government exposed

By Jean Shaoul, 18 May 2020

Sarkha is one of many programmes in a vast network of fake news activities carried out by the intelligence arms of the US and European powers.

UK Royal Mail CEO Rico Back forced to resign: Next stage opens in postal workers’ struggle

By Paul Lee and Thomas Scripps, 18 May 2020

Back’s departure marks the beginning of a new offensive of which the Communication Workers Union “discussions” with the company form a crucial part.

UK government ties Transport for London bailout to “back to work” drive

By Jean Shaoul, 16 May 2020

TfL, which runs the London Underground, bus and rail services, faced bankruptcy, threatening the Johnson government’s efforts to restore corporate profits.

Overwhelming opposition to reopening of UK schools amid worsening COVID-19 pandemic

By Tania Kent and Harvey Thompson, 16 May 2020

The closure of schools is a key measure recommended by medical experts internationally to reduce the infection and death rate from the coronavirus.

UK universities prepare all-out assault on staff and students in wake of pandemic

By Alice Summers, 15 May 2020

With the coronavirus pandemic leading to a drop in student numbers, up to 60,000 workers could lose their jobs as universities face a £2.5 billion funding black hole.

UK: Johnson government readies post-lockdown onslaught against working class

By Robert Stevens, 14 May 2020

The offensive is being prepared as the government is attempting to force millions back to work in unsafe conditions.

UK: COVID-19 confirmed among ASOS warehouse workers

By Tony Robson, 14 May 2020

The largest on-line fashion retailer in the UK has been allowed to keep its non-essential business open throughout the pandemic, including at its main warehouse and distribution centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire

ASOS worker in UK speaks on unsafe conditions in warehouse

By our reporter, 14 May 2020

“It all looks good on the outside (one-way system, tents with thermo-cameras), but inside they care less and less every day.”

33 London bus drivers killed by COVID-19: “We are expendable like diesel”

By Laura Tiernan, 13 May 2020

Workers fear infections will soar following Sunday night’s “phased exit” announced by the Johnson government

UK: Exercise Cygnus leak confirms Tory government’s criminal inaction over pandemic threat

By Richard Tyler, 13 May 2020

The publication of a version of the report in the Guardian makes clear that the Johnson government tried to hide evidence of its criminal lack of preparation.

Jeremy Corbyn discovers the class struggle—and opposes it

By Thomas Scripps, 13 May 2020

The Socialist Campaign Group acknowledge the “class war” only in order to complain that Johnson is waging it rather than acting in the “national interest.”

UK Labour Party and trade unions prop up dysfunctional Tory government

By Thomas Scripps, 12 May 2020

Johnson could not remain in power for a week if not for the slavish support lent to it by the Trades Union Congress and Starmer’s party

UK COVID-19 death rate far higher in working class

By Simon Whelan, 12 May 2020

Millions of workers employed in what the ONS terms “elementary” jobs, including cleaners and low-skilled construction workers, had the highest risk of death.

UK: Johnson’s “phased” return to work puts millions of workers at immediate risk

By Chris Marsden, 11 May 2020

Johnson tried to portray his six-week plan as “cautious” because of the massive opposition in the working class to ending the lockdown.

Over 5 million live in families with hungry children since UK lockdown

By Harvey Singh, 11 May 2020

Before the lockdown, schools provided the threads of a safety net for struggling families through free school meals and breakfast clubs.

Hardship for UK carers worsens during coronavirus pandemic

By John Stryder, 11 May 2020

A carer of an elderly family member wrote to the WSWS about the problems faced by carers during the pandemic.

Strikes and workers’ protests mount against “back to work” campaign

By Shannon Jones, 9 May 2020

The incompetence and callous disregard for human life by the capitalist authorities in country after country is fueling an upsurge in the class struggle.

British government forced to partially backtrack on ending lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 9 May 2020

The opposition among millions of workers and throughout the population was expressed in Thursday’s top trending hashtags #KeepTheLockdown and #extendthelockdown.

Homeless face desperation on London streets amid lockdown

By Charles Hixson, 9 May 2020

Those remaining on London’s streets face increased deprivation, as normal sources of food from distributors and food kitchens have gone.

NHS staff condemn UK health worker deaths and government herd immunity strategy

By our reporters, 9 May 2020

The UK has registered the highest number of fatalities in Europe from the virus, including at least 200 health and social care workers.

“The Fight for Our Lives” online rally

British pseudo-left and Stalinists unite in defence of Labour and the unions

By Thomas Scripps, 9 May 2020

What is meant by “unity” and “solidarity” is in fact an effort to subordinate workers to Labour and the unions by concealing their rotten dealings with employers and the government.

Ricky Gervais’ After Life: To be or not to be, that’s one of the questions

By David Walsh, 9 May 2020

Tony Johnson (Gervais) is devastated by the death of his beloved wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) from breast cancer. He finds it difficult to carry on with life and frequently contemplates suicide.

UK government covers up PPE shortages leading to health care worker deaths

By Alice Summers, 8 May 2020

Inquests into medical worker deaths from coronavirus will not address government failure to provide personal protective equipment, even as many health care workers still lack adequate equipment.

UK Chancellor Sunak to wind down furlough wage scheme as part of back-to-work offensive

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland, 7 May 2020

The furlough scheme is being ended with workers facing either going back into work in unsafe conditions, in the middle of a deadly pandemic, or losing their jobs.

Deaths surge in UK care homes

By Stephen Alexander, 7 May 2020

Data based on death notifications directly from care homes recorded 6,391 COVID-19 fatalities between April 10 and May 1.