Workers need full pay when sick, from day 1!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
23 February 2022

On Monday, that great model of "responsible action", Boris Johnson, announced an end to all Covid restrictions.  From now on, protecting others and oneself would rely on “individuals acting responsibly”!

    Free testing will continue until April, after which lateral flow tests could cost £5+ a pop!  Johnson said he was “worried” about the cost of testing: NHS Test and Trace with a budget of £37bn over 2 years, cost £2bn in January alone.  But conveniently, "commercial confidentiality" prevents the government from saying where all that dosh actually went!  No wonder, because what we do know is that “friendly” companies providing tests, like Innova, got £4.2bn; G4S got £1.4bn; Serco £855 million; Randox £600m, etc, etc...

    Anyway, from Thursday, there'll be no legal requirement for those with Covid to isolate: just "government advice" to stay home.  What's more, Statutory Sick Pay will now only start from day 4.  It will be one’s "personal responsibility" to refrain from going to work with symptoms (or without, but untested and unknowing!), thus possibly infecting others.  Johnson added that he hoped workers would "learn from Germany", where they are "more disciplined about staying at home when sick”.

    As if here in Britain it’s a choice not to attend work, when one might get zero pay as a result!  At least the pandemic highlighted that!  Two million workers who're paid £120/w or less, or who're classified as “self-employed”, don't even qualify for the meagre Statutory Sick Pay (£96.50/w) set by the government!

    And that's the real issue.  Low pay, or no pay, when ill!  Sick pay in Germany and the Netherlands is 70% of pay, while in France it's £269.71/w - over 2X the rate here. And Italian bosses have to pay 50% of wages.

    So no, it's not "unwell" workers who need to learn anything "from Germany" (or France, Italy... etc), but the bosses and their government.  However, the working class knows very well that the bosses only "learn" if they're forced to do so: their lesson from a concerted fight by the working class for full pay when sick, from day one, is overdue!