Britain

Britain’s National Health Service workers demand pay rise amid COVID-19 crisis

By Rory Woods, 7 August 2020

Hundreds of health workers demonstrated in London last week and dozens of protests are scheduled in cities across the country this Saturday, organised by Facebook groups.

UK government clears the path for “slums of the future”

By Julia Callaghan, 7 August 2020

On August 23, the moratorium on new evictions in England and Wales ends, threatening homelessness for the near quarter of a million people who have fallen behind with their rent since the start of the pandemic.

COVID-19 outbreaks at four workplaces in Swindon, UK

By Tony Robson, 6 August 2020

Local officials in Wales and England have sought to minimise any disruption to the operations of the corporations as outbreaks of the virus have flared up.

Transport for London coronavirus bailout prepares tube privatisation

By Paul Bond, 6 August 2020

The bailout, only half the sum requested, spearheads an assault on TfL’s workforce, in stark contrast to the generous packages offered to the privatised passenger rail franchises.

Lancet warns of massive resurgence of coronavirus after UK school reopening

By Thomas Scripps, 5 August 2020

Medical professionals warn that schools cannot be reopened safely when testing and tracing are grossly inadequate and there is already a resurgence of the pandemic.

UK teachers’ pay award: A shoddy deal for all

By Tom Pearce, 5 August 2020

The offer is divisive and paltry. It will not be funded nationally by the Johnson government, but out of school budgets which are chronically under-funded.

Britain’s jobs massacre continues

By Margot Miller, 4 August 2020

Many have no jobs to go back to, with young people especially hard hit in hospitality and retail.

BALPA pilots union enforces sell-out deal at British Airways

By Barry Mason, 4 August 2020

The pilots voted for the agreement with a gun pointed to their heads by the union.

Scottish government prepares to reopen schools as new COVID-19 spikes emerge

By Steve James, 3 August 2020

The government intends to re-open all primary and secondary schools by August 18, despite COVID-19 outbreaks in call centres, distribution centres, pubs and care homes.

Families fight for justice for five workers killed by wall collapse at UK Hawkeswood Metal recycling plant

By Tony Robson, 3 August 2020

Tonnes of scrap metal had been stored in the adjacent bay, piled at double the recommended height against a wall of interlocking concrete blocks with no foundation.

“This tragedy was avoidable” at UK Hawkeswood Metal recycling plant

By our reporter, 3 August 2020

The wall collapsed on the five workers. Another worker was trapped and received a serious leg injury. One survivor suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

UK government forced to enact new restrictions after pandemic let loose

By Thomas Scripps, 1 August 2020

Around 4,200 people are catching COVID-19 each day in England, up 68 percent on the estimated 2,500 daily infections two weeks ago.

Grenfell Tower inquiry reveals more criminality by corporations involved in refurbishment

By Charles Hixson, 1 August 2020

An entire culture within corporations, built up over decades, which viewed regulations as impediments to reaping greater profits was evident in Rydon’s testimony.

The coronavirus pandemic and the growing mental health crisis

By Ben Oliver, 1 August 2020

Dealing with the insidious uncertainty of COVID-19's spread is more like living with a domestic abuser or being deployed to a war zone.

Report backing Johnson’s ending UK lockdown concludes: More “deaths and misery” are inevitable

By Robert Stevens, 31 July 2020

England endured the longest continuous period of excess deaths out of 29 European countries.

Talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union will end in job losses

By a socialist postal worker, 31 July 2020

To take forward the struggle in defence of postal workers’ health and to oppose the onslaught on jobs and pay demands the formation of rank-and-file committees.

UK coronavirus infections and death rates increase as Johnson blames Europe

By Robert Stevens, 30 July 2020

The Tories’ aim is to divert attention from the resurgence of coronavirus infections in the UK due to their own criminal policies.

Johnson government scientific adviser claims UK schools should never have closed

By Tania Kent, 29 July 2020

The hostility among teachers and parents to the unsafe reopening of schools is being met with propaganda to confuse, disorient and dissipate opposition.

British grandmother dies weighing just 42 pounds after her benefits are withdrawn

By Dennis Moore, 29 July 2020

The benefit system has evolved from its post-war ethos as a “safety net” to one based on punishing the sick and disabled and coercing the unemployed into low-paid work.

McCarthyite witch-hunt over alleged anti-Semitism explodes in British Labour Party

By Chris Marsden, 29 July 2020

Political opposition to the criminal suppression of the Palestinians by Israel is being officially recast as a form of anti-Semitism, slandering and virtually outlawing a vast swathe of left-wing opinion.

Assange appears in court, as lawyers warn case may be delayed by new US indictment

By Thomas Scripps, 28 July 2020

As it stands, the UK courts are continuing with Assange’s extradition process based on an outdated indictment.

Johnson demands two-week UK quarantine for 600,000 Britons holidaying in Spain

By Robert Stevens, 28 July 2020

Spain was taken off the government’s “safe-travel” list with a few hours’ notice, after being put on it just weeks earlier

Vote “NO” to British Airways pilots’ contract! Form rank and file committees to oppose BALPA sell-out!

By Robert Stevens, 27 July 2020

BALPA has been engaged in talks for three months with BA, which is preparing to lay off 12,000 of its 42,000 workforce.

British universities plan tens of thousands of job cuts

By Simon Whelan, 25 July 2020

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 33 percent of academic staff in the UK were on fixed-term contracts in 2017–18.

London bus drivers launch crowdfund appeal for family of murdered French bus driver: “Help the family of Philippe Monguillot!”

By Laura Tiernan, 25 July 2020

London drivers launched the crowdfund for Monguillot’s family two weeks ago and are appealing for support.

Parents oppose dangerous UK nursery and pre-school reopening

By Charlotte Salthill and Joyce Smith, 24 July 2020

A report by the Sutton Trust highlights the devastating impact of decades of austerity by Tory and Labour governments, with the pandemic triggering an existential crisis for early years education.

UK manufacturers warn of “jobs bloodbath”

By Paul Bond, 24 July 2020

More than half of manufacturing companies said they will make redundancies in the next six months, with a further 20.1 percent saying they might.

Grenfell Tower contractor Rydon admits profiteering by using flammable cladding

By Robert Stevens and Charles Hixson, 23 July 2020

The criminal decision to use flammable cladding was the main factor in turning the tower block into a death trap.

Britain’s Russia Report: Propaganda for authoritarianism and war

By Thomas Scripps, 23 July 2020

British politics is ever more closely mirroring US politics, where conflicts within the ruling class are fought out through the prism of anti-Russian hysteria, with anti-democratic and militarist implications.

Doctors warn National Health Service will be “overwhelmed” as Johnson scraps UK lockdown measures

By Laura Tiernan, 22 July 2020

The R-rate, which the government previously said must stay below 1.0 to prevent exponential growth, has risen to 1.0 in almost every area.

ASOS: Fast fashion makes a killing in the UK during the pandemic

By Joe Mount, 22 July 2020

ASOS engaged in profiteering during the health emergency, continuing its operations in defiance of restrictions that only “essential” workplaces should remain open.

Cover-up continues of Manchester Arena suicide bombing

By Margot Miller, 21 July 2020

The government is intent on depriving the survivors, the bereaved and the public of the truth behind this heinous crime.

Nearly 650,000 jobs lost in UK during pandemic, with much worse to come

By Robert Stevens, 18 July 2020

The collapse in the number of workers in employment takes place along with a drastic fall in hours for those remaining in a job, and a fall in wages.

Johnson’s return-to-work speech: UK ruling class opts for mass murder

By Laura Tiernan, 18 July 2020

Johnson’s homicidal plans to end home working and lift public transportation restrictions reveal a financial oligarchy hell-bent on driving millions back to work no matter what the cost in human life.

UK MPs submit early day motion on Assange

By Thomas Scripps, 18 July 2020

The signatories have all either hitherto kept a criminal silence over Assange’s persecution, or, in the case of Corbyn, McDonnell, Abbott and Long-Bailey, found their voice only after losing leading positions in the Labour Party.

Outbreak of COVID-19 at Pretty Little Thing distribution centre in Sheffield, UK

By Tony Robson, 17 July 2020

The outbreak among the 1,000 plus workforce demonstrates that the highly exploitative and unsafe practices of the Boohoo Group extend across the supply and distribution network.

UK Royal household workers threatened with job losses

By Charles Hixson, 17 July 2020

The July 7 announcement, impacting 650 workers, followed reports of the crisis facing the royal budget.

UK excluding Huawei from 5G network

By Thomas Scripps, 16 July 2020

US President Donald Trump was quick to boast of his administration’s responsibility for the UK’s volte face.

“We’re just cannon fodder. This is a policy about economics not safety.”

Teachers, educators and parents speak out against UK September school reopening

By our reporters, 16 July 2020

The Johnson government plans to fully reopen schools nationally in September despite the heightened risks from COVID-19 transmission.

Transport for London downplayed COVID-19 dangers to bus, rail and tube workers in critical early months

By Laura Tiernan, 16 July 2020

New documents reveal that TfL focused on operational efficiency at the expense of workers’ lives.

Quarter of a million threatened with homelessness by UK government’s lifting of evictions ban

By Dennis Moore, 16 July 2020

Almost 230,000 tenants across England have fallen behind with rent payments since the start of the pandemic.

Academy of Medical Sciences warns 251,000 more people could die of COVID-19 in Britain

By Robert Stevens, 15 July 2020

The modelling is based on deaths in hospitals alone and not in care homes and other settings.

Large coronavirus outbreak at Rook Row Farm in Britain

By Thomas Scripps, 15 July 2020

This is the latest, and one of the largest, workplace outbreaks in the UK since the ending of the national lockdown by the Johnson government.

Jennifer Jones speaks on UK Boycott Return To Unsafe Schools campaign

By Tom Pearce, 15 July 2020

The Facebook site of the group has created a map of school closures due to outbreaks, which is a powerful source of information for parents.

COVID-19 outbreaks escalate across England

By Thomas Scripps, 14 July 2020

Workers have been raising safety concerns for months, but have been smothered by the continued inaction of government agencies and local politicians.

Pandemic and Tory government measures having brutal impact on London’s disadvantaged young people

By Harvey Thompson and Charlotte Salthill, 14 July 2020

The report notes, “Families who were already enduring hard, challenging lives have had to survive lockdown in the most appalling circumstances.”

Bereaved family members march on Downing Street to demand UK COVID-19 inquiry

By Robert Stevens, 13 July 2020

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK have set up a petition calling for an “immediate inquiry” that has been signed by over 154,000 people.

Restricted access to Grenfell inquiry for survivors and bereaved

By Alice Summers, 11 July 2020

The inquiry restarted after a three-month delay amid widespread outrage from survivors and the bereaved over further proposed delays.

Chancellor Sunak announces end of UK jobs furlough and rolls out cheap labour scheme

By Robert Stevens, 10 July 2020

Sunak’s declaration that “we can’t protect every job” is the understatement of the century. Companies are announcing thousands of redundancies every day amid warnings of unemployment reaching 5 million by next year.

After police killing of Badreddin Abadlla Adam

More evidence of ill-treatment of asylum seekers in Glasgow hotels

By Steve James, 9 July 2020

Two weeks after the police killing of 28-year-old Sudanese man Badreddin Abadlla Adam, asylum seekers in Glasgow continue to face appalling conditions.

British government’s token arts rescue package: A “back-to-work” agenda amid an ongoing catastrophe

By Paul Bond, 9 July 2020

The limited financial assistance provided is based on the Johnson government’s claim that the pandemic is on the wane and that theatre, dance and music venues will soon be able to get back to relying on revenue from the paying public.

UK: Coronavirus exposes Leicester’s sweatshops and government hypocrisy

By Thomas Scripps, 8 July 2020

Government ministers have struck a pose of outrage at a situation they have ignored for years and want to replicate across the country.

UK meat processing factories involved in COVID-19 outbreak back up and running

By Tony Robson, 8 July 2020

Local authorities and the trade unions have worked to conceal the criminality of the corporations so as not interfere with the premature re-opening of the economy.

UK set to ban Huawei from 5G network

By Nick Beams, 8 July 2020

The key factor in the decision was the move by the Trump administration in May to ban the use of US software in Huawei’s operating systems.

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.