Britain

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.

Jobs massacre deepens in European aviation as four UK corporations announce 26,000 redundancies

By Julia Callaghan, 7 May 2020

In recent days, four conglomerates based in Britain and Ireland—British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Rolls-Royce and Ryanair—have announced they will be laying off a combined 26,000 workers.

Pseudo-left groups block fight by London bus drivers against COVID-19

By Laura Tiernan, 7 May 2020

The pseudo-left are seeking to prevent workers from making a break with Labour and the unions and turning to a socialist perspective.

UK coronavirus death rate at record high in Europe as fatalities pass 32,000

By Robert Stevens, 6 May 2020

Deaths reach record levels as thousands of new coronavirus cases continue to be reported daily in Britain—with another 4,406 yesterday and a total of 194,990.

UK: TUC and Labour attempt damage control after Tories push murderous “back to work” strategy

By Chris Marsden, 6 May 2020

The attempt by Labour and the trade unions to feign concern for the working class is laughable, given that they have functioned in a de facto national unity government with the Tories.

Coronavirus, the NHS and the charity shakedown

By Julie Hyland, 6 May 2020

Social care provision in the UK increasingly resembles that of the Victorian period when the lives and wellbeing of millions depended on philanthropy.

British government bailout for big business: An act of robbery

By Richard Tyler, 6 May 2020

While the FTSE 100 index plummeted in early March, losing over 2,000 points, it has already gained 1,000 points since the injection of vast sums of public money into the private sector.

Financial oligarchy turns UK into a killing field

By Chris Marsden, 6 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “herd immunity” policy has cost the lives of tens of thousands in the UK, with the government lying about the real death rate, and doing nothing to prevent the spread of infection.

Assange extradition hearing rescheduled for September

By Thomas Scripps, 5 May 2020

The British state continues to obstruct both Assange’s ability to conduct his defence and journalists’ ability to report on the case in detail.

UK Royal Mail workers oppose Communications Workers Union sellout

By our reporter, 5 May 2020

Many workers responded with hostility to the CWU’s announcement accepting the ending of Saturday letter deliveries and calling off threatened industrial action.

UK postal worker: “Royal Mail are getting what they want and the Communication Workers Union is allowing it—the union really is useless”

5 May 2020

This letter was sent by a postal worker to the SEP (UK) in response to the CWU claiming to have forced Royal Mail Group to back down from plans to end permanently Saturday deliveries, which would cost 20,000 jobs.

Scientists set up independent committee to challenge UK government’s COVID-19 response: “there is no transparency”

By Laura Tiernan, 5 May 2020

Professor David King pointed to daily media briefings with scientists standing alongside government ministers, stating “that is very different from being free to say what your advice is.”

UK Nightingale field hospitals to be “mothballed” as coronavirus death toll reaches 28,446

By Alice Summers, 4 May 2020

The new Nightingale facilities were meant to provide overflow capacity to overwhelmed hospitals, but patients have been turned away due to a lack of suitable equipment or staff.

Scotland: Journalist Craig Murray charged with contempt of court over Alex Salmond trial

By Steve James, 4 May 2020

Journalist Craig Murray could face up to two years in jail following his reporting of the trial of former SNP leader Alex Salmond.

ASOS warehouse workers: Lives versus corporate profit in the UK

By Tony Robson, 4 May 2020

The struggle by ASOS workers has demonstrated that they cannot rely on the local authority, state bodies or the unions for protection.

UK: Delays to medical treatment during pandemic will cost thousands of lives

By Jean Gibney, 2 May 2020

Reports claim that deaths due to the disruption of cancer services alone are likely to outnumber deaths from the coronavirus itself over the next five years.

Communication Workers Union folds 48 hours after Royal Mail threatens 20,000 jobs

By Thomas Scripps, 2 May 2020

Having initially warned of strike action against the ending of Saturday deliveries, the CWU organised a shameless retreat.

Johnson pledges to “restart the economy” as pandemic rages in UK

By Robert Stevens, 1 May 2020

The continuing loss of life barely registered with a national media obsessed with reporting which chain store is opening its doors, when the lockdown “exit strategy” might be announced, and the prime minister’s new baby.

UK coronavirus death toll passes 26,000 as government admits to 4,000 fatalities outside hospitals

By Robert Stevens, 30 April 2020

The UK is fast becoming the centre of the pandemic in Europe and is set to surpass the 27,682 deaths already recorded in Italy.

British Airways announces 12,000 redundancies amid global airline jobs massacre

By Thomas Scripps, 30 April 2020

The job losses will devastate tens of thousands and are a warning to workers of the economic “reconstruction” being prepared by the ruling elite in the wake of the pandemic.

UK postal worker says: Royal Mail workers need to set up rank-and-file committees

29 April 2020

This article was submitted to the World Socialist Web Site by a UK postal worker.

BBC Panorama exposes government responsibility for UK health worker deaths

By Thomas Scripps, 29 April 2020

Using documents from within the NHS supply chain, the investigation rips apart ministers’ claims to have provided 1 billion items of personal protective equipment in the last two months.

COVID-19 infection at sporting fixtures underscores criminality of Johnson government’s herd immunity policy

By Barry Mason, 29 April 2020

It was only due to growing opposition that the government was forced to impose a lockdown. But much of the damage had already been done, as evidenced by its allowing three sporting events to take place.

Johnson returns to Downing Street to map out end of COVID-19 lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 28 April 2020

Johnson’s speech outside Downing street reassured the capitalist class that his government would move toward a full return to work but warned of the difficulties of doing so.

Assange extradition hearing delayed following defence appeal

By Thomas Scripps, 28 April 2020

Assange’s legal team insisted that a hearing could not proceed under the current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic

Application for delay in Assange extradition hearing as COVID-19 sweeps through UK prisons

By Alice Summers, 27 April 2020

The vindictive suspension of the COVID-19 prisoner release programme demonstrates the criminal disregard of the British ruling class for the lives of prisoners.

Leaked UK Labour Party anti-Semitism report: A filthy witch-hunt exposed

By Thomas Scripps, 27 April 2020

The leak of the Labour Party investigation marks an appropriate endpoint to Corbyn’s five-year record of political surrender and collusion.

Estimated £515 monthly loss to UK households due to COVID-19 the tip of the iceberg

By Julia Callaghan, 27 April 2020

Households will suffer an overall £43 billion loss—equating to a 17 percent reduction in monthly household disposable income.

Scottish National Party spearheads UK-wide return to work campaign

By Robert Stevens, 25 April 2020

First Minister Sturgeon’s supposed “progressive” credentials, backed in Scotland, England and Wales by Labour and the trade unions, offer an avenue for big business and banks to engineer a political shift towards a return to work.

COVID-19 pandemic pushes UK charity sector into crisis

By Ben Trent, 25 April 2020

Charities set to lose up to £4 billion over a 12-week period because of the coronavirus pandemic.

UK: Millions of pounds donated to the National Health Service as coronavirus crisis continues

By Alice Summers, 25 April 2020

A fundraising page for the NHS, set up by 99-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore, received overwhelming public support, raising more than £28 million in two weeks.

Unions collude with companies to keep non-essential UK ASOS warehouse and retail businesses running during pandemic

By Joe Mount and Tony Robson, 24 April 2020

The GMB trade union has isolated the struggle of ASOS workers against unsafe conditions and told them to put their faith in the company “to do the right thing.”

London bus drivers say: “Give public transport workers protection or shut it down”

By Miles Driver and Laura Tiernan, 24 April 2020

Drivers told the WSWS about the unsafe working conditions being enforced by the Johnson government, private bus operators, Transport for London and London Labour Party Mayor Sadiq Khan, in collaboration with the unions.

Britain’s coronavirus testing fiasco is a product of herd immunity strategy

By Thomas Scripps, 23 April 2020

The government claims to have established a daily testing capacity of 40,000 but only half that number is being carried out.

Twenty-nine London transport workers dead from COVID-19, as anger rises over unsafe working conditions

By Laura Tiernan, 23 April 2020

More than six weeks after the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic, London bus drivers say they are being treated as an “expendable commodity.”

As COVID-19 deaths pass 17,000, UK corporations scramble for bailout funds

By Robert Stevens, 22 April 2020

In what it described as a "conservative estimate", the Financial Times concluded that its analysis of official data reveals "The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK".

Thousands view online meeting of UK SEP outlining a socialist perspective on the pandemic

By our reporter, 22 April 2020

Around 500 viewers took part in the event with participants from Britain joined by others from Australia, Sri Lanka, Germany, France, Canada and the US—underscoring the international interest in the meeting.

UK government in crisis over back-to-work drive

By Steve James, 21 April 2020

Boris Johnson’s government would like to exit the coronavirus lockdown as quickly as possible to restart the extraction of profit from the working class.

Over 100 health and care workers have died from COVID-19 in the UK

By Barry Mason, 21 April 2020

The gruesome total is more than double the number of deaths recorded by the Conservative government, which only includes fatalities of those directly employed by the National Health Service.

Europe’s pandemic death toll passes 100,000

By Robert Stevens, 20 April 2020

The five major states in Europe—Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK—account for around 85,000 of the 100,000 plus deaths.

UK think tank urges pension cuts to pay for pandemic

By Margot Miller, 20 April 2020

Anticipating rising unemployment and collapsing wages, the Social Market Foundation urges the Conservative government to abandon the “triple-lock” mechanism.

Millions in the UK go hungry in the shadow of COVID-19

By Harvey Singh, 20 April 2020

As well as a food crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, deteriorating housing conditions are a major negative factor for workers, placing them at increased risk of infection.

UK government’s herd immunity policy denounced by leading scientist

By Robert Stevens, 18 April 2020

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives pursued a policy which envisaged the mass infection of tens of millions of people and the deaths of possibly hundreds of thousands.

Calls for early reopening of UK schools met with widespread opposition

By Tom Pearce, 18 April 2020

The plan is for primary schools to start reopening in a “regionalised approach,” despite reports of three teacher deaths from COVID-19.

Intensive CIA spying on Assange targeted his infant child

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 April 2020

As the US government finalised its bogus charges against Assange, it oversaw dirty tricks operations targeting his partner and their infant child.

Bournemouth nurse’s letter to WSWS prompts widespread discussion on dangers facing NHS workers during COVID-19 pandemic

By Alice Summers, 17 April 2020

The letter describes the appalling conditions in the hospital's COVID-19 ward and the anger of healthcare workers at management’s failure to provide adequate PPE and towards Boris Johnson’s Conservative government.

UK universities use coronavirus crisis to make hundreds of temporary staff redundant

By Simon Whelan, 17 April 2020

Three British universities have announced hundreds of temporary contract redundancies in order to make financial savings, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Royal Mail’s putting profits before safety results in deaths of UK postal workers

By Paul Lee and Richard Tyler, 16 April 2020

Even now, as postal workers are dying and the danger of infection is massive, the Communication Workers Union refuses to pull the whole workforce out on strike until Royal Mail can guarantee their safety.

Thousands of UK care home residents dead in COVID-19 pandemic

By Robert Stevens, 16 April 2020

For the ruling elite, the elderly are viewed as a drain on resources and a burden on the further accumulation of personal wealth and corporate profit.

A letter from a concerned UK nurse to the WSWS

15 April 2020

“I urge employees not to be silenced by ruthless and reckless employers and to stand together and speak out.”

Boris Johnson’s praise for the National Health Service: Hypocrisy without limit

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 14 April 2020

It will not be long before Johnson’s words of praise for the NHS will be nothing but a bitter memory, cited by angry doctors and nurses as the Tories resume their efforts to destroy it.

UK NHS workers speak to the WSWS: “Is it worth clapping the NHS without ensuring the safety of frontline workers?”

By our reporters, 14 April 2020

Several NHS workers have contacted the WSWS following the attacks by Conservative Health Minister Matt Hancock, who accused NHS staff of wasting personal protective equipment resources.

A letter from a frontline nurse at the UK’s Royal Bournemouth Hospital

14 April 2020

The WSWS received the following letter in response to the statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson following his discharge from hospital.

COVID-19 deaths surpass 76,000 in Europe as Spanish government sends millions back to work

By Robert Stevens, 13 April 2020

More than 30 National Health Service workers are reported to have died as the UK’s death toll rises above 10,000.

Julian Assange’s partner Stella Morris speaks out: “His life is on the brink”

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 April 2020

Morris’s comments are a moving refutation of the media smears directed against Assange and underscore the urgency of the fight for his immediate freedom.

European governments plot return to work in midst of pandemic

By Thomas Scripps, 11 April 2020

As plans were being hatched over how to impose a return to work, over 4,000 new pandemic deaths were reported in Europe on Friday, bringing the total for the continent to over 70,000.