Britain

UK: Heathrow Airport demands workers to take pay cut or face dismissal

By Alice Summers, 11 April 2020

With significantly reduced air traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic, Heathrow Airport told thousands of workers that they must accept a 15 percent wage reduction, or they will lose their jobs.

New Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledges stepped-up “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt

By Thomas Scripps, 11 April 2020

Even prior to his election, Starmer was at pains to reposition himself to be acceptable to the Zionist and Blairite right.

A year since the arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 April 2020

Assange’s arrest was an historic crime, setting a precedent for escalating attacks on press freedom and the democratic rights of the working class.

UK government ignored scientific advice and treated COVID-19 as a public order issue

By Robert Stevens, 10 April 2020

Behavioural scientists played an extraordinary and unwarranted part in determining government policy, compared with the input of medical professionals.

Lack of ventilators in UK means patients left to die

By Margot Miller, 10 April 2020

“Doctors have to explain to patients over 70, with no underlying health issues, that the doctor has to make a decision to sign a do-not-resuscitate order, because there are no ventilators”—NHS doctor

After 14 London transport workers die: Unite union and Labour mayor insist “PPE is not required”

By Michael Barnes and Laura Tiernan, 10 April 2020

COVID-19 has claimed almost 2,000 lives in the capital and 8,000 across the UK, with bus drivers demanding urgent safety measures to prevent more deaths.

London bus drivers speak out: “They are doing absolutely nothing to protect us!”

By Laura Tiernan and Michael Barnes, 10 April 2020

London bus drivers told the World Socialist Web Site that the lack of basic safety being enforced by the private bus operators, Transport for London, and the unions is putting lives at risk.

“Managers, directors and council leaders should be held to account if people become ill or die”

UK social worker speaks out on unsafe conditions sanctioned by management and unions

By our correspondent, 9 April 2020

The WSWS spoke to a children’s social worker in a Local Authority in northern England about the conditions she and her clients face amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK social care system faces collapse amid spike in coronavirus deaths

By Stephen Alexander, 9 April 2020

Mass deaths and runaway infections have begun to rip through UK residential and nursing home facilities, bringing adult social care services to the brink of collapse.

Hundreds of thousands of UK jobs threatened as coronavirus spreads

By Margot Miller, 9 April 2020

The loss of thousands of jobs only confirms that the government's £370 billion emergency bailout fund to big business is doing next to nothing to protect the working class from the loss of their livelihoods.

Vindictive court rulings prove British state wants Assange dead

By Thomas Scripps, 8 April 2020

Judge Vanessa Baraitser has decreed that Assange will remain behind bars and that his extradition show-trial will proceed in May, even as the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly in British prisons.

British prime minister: A victim of his “herd immunity” policy

By Robert Stevens, 8 April 2020

Whatever Johnson’s personal fate, the herd immunity policy that landed him seriously ill in hospital has already contributed to many infections and thousands of deaths nationwide.

Postal workers at four UK depots take unofficial strike action over lack of safety measures

By Paul Lee, 8 April 2020

Weeks into the pandemic, postal workers are still not able to social distance and have a lack of personal protection equipment when out delivering mail.

Unions agree to salary furlough at British Airways

By Paul Bond, 8 April 2020

The Unite union claims it has secured BA’s agreement that no worker will be laid off without pay, and that there will be no redundancies, at least temporarily.

UK: Health workers threatened for wearing PPE and reporting danger to their lives

By Tony Robson, 8 April 2020

The threats to health workers have been particularly directed at any use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

British Queen appeals for national unity across an unbridgeable class divide

By Laura Tiernan, 7 April 2020

Expunged from the Queen’s narrative was any hint of the mounting public fury over horrific conditions endured by National Health Service staff—deprived of masks, gloves and other essential personal protective clothing, and of ventilators to treat the dying.

Who is the new UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer?

By Thomas Scripps, 7 April 2020

The election of Sir Keir Starmer marks the return to a business-as-usual Blairism shorn of any socialist pretensions.

As it releases thousands of prisoners, UK government keeps Julian Assange locked-up in danger

By Thomas Scripps, 6 April 2020

The WikiLeaks founder is currently held on remand pending extradition to the US, not charged with any crime or serving any sentence, in Belmarsh maximum security prison.

As Europe’s COVID-19 death toll nears 50,000, British PM Johnson admitted to hospital

By Robert Stevens, 6 April 2020

There is mounting evidence that fatalities are much higher when deaths outside hospitals are factored in.

New UK Labour leader Keir Starmer offers national unity with Tory government

By Chris Marsden, 6 April 2020

Jeremy Corbyn has presided over a massive shift to the right in official politics, with grave implications for the working class.

UK corporations scramble for coronavirus bailout funds

By Paul Bond, 4 April 2020

The £350 billion bailout is an unprecedented financial handout to UK corporations, conducted without even the rubber stamp of a parliamentary vote.

Working-class Londoners risk their lives fighting COVID-19 as the city’s billionaires decamp

By Michael Barnes, 4 April 2020

While the super-rich complain of being bored in their gated mansions, masses of workers in London have lost their jobs or are forced to work in unsafe conditions.

UK: Elderly will be left to die as coronavirus plunges care sector into crisis

By Stephen Alexander, 4 April 2020

It is estimated that up to a fifth of all COVID-19 deaths in the UK have occurred in care homes, hospices, and individual households.

Nearly three years after the Grenfell Tower inferno, flammable cladding still widely used in UK

By Alice Summers, 4 April 2020

High Pressure Laminate cladding, thought to be used on thousands of buildings across the country, has been shown to be as highly flammable as the cladding used on Grenfell Tower.

Julian Assange still held on remand as coronavirus spreads through UK prisons

By Thomas Scripps, 3 April 2020

The WikiLeaks founder, held in Belmarsh prison and facing extradition to the US for exposing war crimes, has a chronic lung condition and has had his health destroyed by a decade of mistreatment by the British state

Royal Mail rejects all demands for basic coronavirus safety measures, but CWU continues to block strike

By Thomas Scripps, 3 April 2020

Sitting on a huge mandate for strike action delivered less than a month ago, the CWU’s only response is to turn to Boris Johnson with an appeal for more talks!

Nightingale field hospital completed in London to cope with mass coronavirus deaths

By Richard Tyler, 2 April 2020

While clearly the temporary hospital is a much-needed facility, given the criminal starving of resources in Britain’s health care system, for many who are taken there it will be little more than a waiting room for the dying.

UK: Communication Workers Union seeks unity with Royal Mail against postal workers

By Thomas Scripps, 2 April 2020

That the CWU is now appealing for the most basic sanitary protections is an admission of the desperately unsafe conditions it volunteered its membership into when calling off the planned national strike.

UK warehouse and distribution workers protest exposure to COVID -19

By Tony Robson and Dan Richardson, 1 April 2020

Britain’s new “Satanic Mills” are a byword for low pay, casualisation and sweat shop conditions, which have only worsened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Daily Telegraph rails against socialist revival due to coronavirus crisis

By Chris Marsden, 1 April 2020

The fears of the ruling class internationally that the coronavirus crisis is leading to opposition to capitalism on a mass scale are expressed in the commentary in Britain’s Telegraph.

“This is a worldwide medical emergency and we shouldn’t put our frontline NHS staff at risk” UK doctor in forensic pathology speaks to WSWS

By our correspondent, 31 March 2020

The doctor raised concerns about the Johnson government’s failures in combating the virus, including a lack of personal protective equipment and its impact on the safety and morale of National Health Service workers in Britain.

Unemployment surges in UK, with millions forced onto punitive welfare system

By Barry Mason, 31 March 2020

In a nine-day period to March 24, 470,000 workers applied for financial support through the punitive Universal Credit system—more than eight times the average.

Sunday Telegraph reports on Exercise Cygnus

UK government source speaks of “blood on our hands” over coronavirus due to NHS cuts

By Robert Stevens, 30 March 2020

The Telegraph article makes clear the NHS was unable to deal with the outbreak of a pandemic because of the decade long and ongoing austerity programme designed to make the working class pay for the trillion-pound bailout of the banks in 2008.

Pandemic death toll in Europe rises to 19,000 as savaged health care systems are overwhelmed

By Thomas Scripps and Alice Summers, 28 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is preying on Europe’s 500 million-plus population whose health care services have been decimated by years of government austerity and private sector looting.

UK government buried 2016 report exposing catastrophic NHS failings during flu pandemic

By Steve James, 28 March 2020

Exercise Cygnus has been buried for years for fear it would give rise to demands for an end to health care cuts.

UK health care assistant: “There’s a fear that if we are tested for COVID-19, most of us will come back positive and the NHS will collapse”

By our reporter, 28 March 2020

A senior health care assistant spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about his experiences at work during the coronavirus pandemic.

UK: Corbyn’s pathetic exit as Labour leader amid coronavirus crisis

By Chris Marsden, 27 March 2020

Corbyn strained every sinew to appear responsible and supportive at a time of national emergency, stressing that he did not want to appear to be “relentlessly negative.”

Julian Assange’s bail request denied despite coronavirus risk

By Thomas Scripps, 26 March 2020

Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s refusal came amid mounting calls for the release of vulnerable, low-risk prisoners from the UK’s overcrowded and woefully unprepared prison systems during the coronavirus crisis.

Johnson’s “herd immunity” strategy and the London Conference on Intelligence whitewash: Britain’s ruling class and eugenics

By Thomas Scripps, 26 March 2020

Innumerable posts on social media have drawn the connection between the reactionary ideology of eugenics and the British government’s criminally delayed and negligent response to the pandemic.

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus measures: Political criminality that will cost tens of thousands of lives

By Chris Marsden, 25 March 2020

For those millions seeking guidance from the government, Johnson’s message—in announcing a national lockdown Monday evening—was one of calculated contempt.

NHS staff contract COVID-19 as UK government refuses to provide testing and protective equipment

By Tony Robson, 25 March 2020

In London, three junior doctors have been taken into critical care and are on ventilators. In the West Midlands, a staff nurse is in intensive care and on a ventilator.

UK: NHS frontline staff and patients at risk through government negligence over pandemic

By Tony Robson, 24 March 2020

NHS doctors and nurses have been battling against the government’s refusal to provide testing and adequate Personal Protective Equipment.

UK: Sheffield health care students demand placements suspended to limit COVID-19 spread

By Julie Hyland, 23 March 2020

The students’ petition to university bosses highlights the widespread opposition to the disastrous course of the Johnson government, which has already forced a shift in its reckless policy of allowing the spread of COVID-19.

Over 620 deaths in Italy on Friday as coronavirus fatalities surge in Europe

By Robert Stevens, 21 March 2020

Italy, Spain, Belgium and the UK all recorded their largest single-day death tolls in the global coronavirus pandemic on Friday.

UK government closes schools under sustained public pressure

By Tom Pearce, 21 March 2020

Although most pupils are being sent home, some schools, with reduced staffing, will have to remain open to ensure “key workers” are able to continue working.

UK Royal Mail workers oppose union citing coronavirus to justify strike vote sellout

By Thomas Scripps, 21 March 2020

Workers have used social media to condemn the union’s refusal to call strikes after a second national ballot recorded a huge mandate for action.

Growing demands for Assange’s release as first coronavirus case confirmed in British prisons

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 March 2020

The British authorities are willfully placing Assange’s life at risk, even though he has been convicted of no crime.

UK: Johnson government uses coronavirus crisis to seize dictatorial powers

By Robert Stevens, 20 March 2020

Britain’s ruling elite is using the enormous danger to public health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to implement a raft of anti-democratic measures they have long planned to impose.

Retired UK welfare advice worker Terry Craven: “If they are going to build a herd immunity, they already know it’s going to kill thousands of people”

By our reporters, 20 March 2020

Retired welfare advice worker Terry Craven contacted the WSWS to express his concerns about the lack of provision for people in the UK on social security benefits showing symptoms of Covid-19.

Union calls off UK Royal Mail strike citing national interest during coronavirus pandemic

By Thomas Scripps, 19 March 2020

The CWU has used the coronavirus crisis not only as a cover for a sellout it had already intended, but as an opportunity to prove its unswerving allegiance to Royal Mail and the British state.

London’s Imperial College predicts millions to die from coronavirus pandemic in UK and US

By Bryan Dyne, 18 March 2020

In addition to the mass casualty figures, the study’s authors estimated that the pandemic will continue through August.

UK: Johnson grants £350 billion COVID-19 handout to business and nothing for the working class

By Thomas Scripps, 18 March 2020

The unlimited support for business stands in grotesque contrast to the contempt and neglect toward working people forced to bear the brunt of the crisis.

Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing: Fresh appeal launched to clear Megrahi

By Steve James, 18 March 2020

From the outset, it was apparent there was some level of foreknowledge or complicity on behalf of the US and British intelligence services in the 1988 bombing that killed 259 crew and passengers along with 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland.

UK: NHS anticipates year-long coronavirus crisis and 8 million hospitalised

By Thomas Scripps, 17 March 2020

The UK, along with much of the rest of the world, faces a prolonged social emergency which will affect the lives of millions.

UK doctors speak out on coronavirus pandemic

By our reporters, 17 March 2020

Reporters for the World Socialist Web Site spoke to two medical doctors on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting Britain’s National Health Service and their concerns for the future.

UK Johnson government denounced for COVID-19 “herd immunity” policy

By Robert Stevens, 16 March 2020

For all its belated and half-hearted denials, the government’s actions prove that it is intent on not lifting a finger to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

UK government uses coronavirus pandemic to ready military in “public order” role

By Thomas Scripps, 16 March 2020

Whatever role the military might have in providing logistical support to the health care services, its involvement in law enforcement is a grave warning to the working class.

London postal workers take strike action over coronavirus concerns

By our reporter, 14 March 2020

Workers have accused Royal Mail management of inaction over concerns that they are being exposed unnecessarily to the virus.

Grenfell fire inquiry reveals more criminality by firms involved in refurbishment

By Charles Hixson, 14 March 2020

If those personally involved in events that led to the fire cannot ultimately be prosecuted, then neither can the corporations they represented.

“I certainly think that the whole future of higher education is in peril”

Striking university lecturers and students in Bournemouth, UK speak out

By our reporters, 14 March 2020

The WSWS spoke to striking university staff and students in Bournemouth, who were striking with co-workers around the UK at the end of their 14-day national strike.

Coronavirus threatens to overwhelm UK National Health Service

By Thomas Scripps, 13 March 2020

As of Thursday morning, just 29,764 people had been tested nationally in the UK for coronavirus.

International Bar Association condemns British attacks on Assange’s legal rights

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 March 2020

Michael Kirby, the co-chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute, branded Assange’s treatment as “shocking and excessive” and likened it to the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib.

Lecturers and students rally during last week of UK national strike

By our reporters, 12 March 2020

Rallies were held in several university towns and cities around the UK Wednesday.

Life expectancy growth stagnates in England for first time in 120 years

By Margot Miller, 12 March 2020

Life expectancy decreased in the most deprived 10 percent of neighbourhoods—the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England.

Julian Assange’s mother, doctors warn he is at heightened risk due to coronavirus

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 March 2020

In comments to the WSWS, Dr Stephen Frost warned that “the UK government is effectively playing Russian roulette with Julian Assange’s life” and demanded that he be released from Belmarsh Prison immediately.

University and College Union prepares sellout of UK universities national strike

By Thomas Scripps, 11 March 2020

Higher education workers are striking against attacks on pay and pensions that are the direct result of the UCU’s previous betrayal less than two year ago.

Councils to increase tax across UK as services are slashed

By Dennis Moore, 9 March 2020

At present more than 160 councils receive no revenue support grant from Whitehall and the government is shifting responsibility for the funding of local services from government to local council taxpayers.

Years of austerity and welfare cuts lead to record number of foodbanks in the UK

By Margot Miller, 7 March 2020

A Trussell Trust study shows that where the draconian Universal Credit welfare system had been in place for a year, the uptake of food parcels increased by 30 percent and by 48 percent after two years.

Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe, collapses citing coronavirus impact as final straw

By Robert Stevens, 6 March 2020

The company’s final flights were either grounded minutes before take-off or diverted to the nearest airport in mid-air so that planes could be impounded.

As anger mounts over Assange’s persecution, former foreign minister Carr calls for moral appeals to Australian government

By Richard Phillips, 6 March 2020

Veteran Labor leader Bob Carr is attempting to divert the growing movement for the release of Assange into dead-end appeals to the Australian parliament.

UK university strike confronts wholesale marketisation of higher education

By Thomas Scripps, 6 March 2020

The UK’s higher education sector is being moved into the orbit of global finance and subjected to its demands.

UK coronavirus plan underscores gutting of health and social care

By Robert Stevens, 5 March 2020

The ruling elite in Britain, as internationally, are responding based on defending the interests of the tiny layer of financial parasites, who dominate society at the expense of the working class.

Australian parliamentary parties endorse British show trial of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 March 2020

As Assange faced a legal travesty, government ministers declared their faith in British “due process,” while the Labor Party maintained its silence.

UK television presenter Caroline Flack’s suicide and the “bread and circuses” culture

By Paul Bond, 5 March 2020

The widespread public revulsion over Flack’s mistreatment and death is symptomatic of a broader culture and a generally healthy response, but it points to a wide and complex cultural crisis that will not be addressed simply by media regulation.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Anatomy of a cover-up—Part 3

By Alice Summers, 5 March 2020

The 900-page report largely ignores or minimises the criminality of cost-cutting companies and a complicit Conservative Party-run local authority.

Struggles break out in Inverness, Bristol ahead of UK Royal Mail national strike ballot

By E.P. Milligan, 4 March 2020

The targeting of disabled employees is bound up with the “Amazonification” of Royal Mail, a process by which the company hopes to compete with global corporate giants.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Anatomy of a cover-up—Part 2

By Alice Summers, 4 March 2020

The 900-page report largely ignores or minimises the criminality of cost-cutting companies and a complicit Conservative Party-run local authority.

UK university workers face a political struggle against Johnson government

By Robert Stevens, 3 March 2020

The strike is the largest ever in higher education, with staff taking action at 74 universities.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Anatomy of a cover-up—Part 1

By Alice Summers, 3 March 2020

The 900-page report largely ignores or minimises the criminality of cost-cutting companies and a complicit Conservative Party-run local authority.

Grenfell Inquiry witnesses granted immunity from prosecution resulting from oral evidence

By Charles Hixson and Robert Stevens, 2 March 2020

All reassurances from the Attorney General and Inquiry about not granting corporations immunity are a red herring. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 “does not provide a power to arrest any individual.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s criminal silence during Julian Assange’s extradition hearing

By Chris Marsden, 2 March 2020

Corbyn said nothing when he could have raised Assange’s fate in Parliament every single day, informing millions of the fundamental violation of his democratic rights.

Britain and European Union on collision course in Brexit talks

By Peter Schwarz, 29 February 2020

The EU and the British government presented sharply divergent documents outlining their goals for upcoming talks on their future relationship.

Swathes of UK underwater as record storms expose government indifference

By Robert Stevens and Barry Mason, 29 February 2020

The government repeats that it is spending £4 billion on flood defences over the next four years—a pittance—but has yet to announce where and when the money will be allocated.

Judge rules Assange cannot sit with lawyers during extradition hearing

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 28 February 2020

The first week of the extradition hearing in USA v Julian Assange ended yesterday at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court with Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejecting a submission from Assange’s lawyers that he be allowed to sit with them in court.

Strikers at UK universities speak on their working conditions, pay and pensions

“If you just marketise education, it is not a public service anymore; it is just a commodity”

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

World Socialist Web Site  reporting teams spoke to strikers on picket lines at universities in the UK during the first and second weeks of their ongoing 14-day strike.

Interviews from SEP (UK) public rally

“The working class needs to demand that Assange is released, not that the ruling class do it on their behalf”

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to some of those attending the public rally held by the Socialist Equality Party (UK) in defence of Julian Assange on Sunday in London.

Julian Assange’s father demands immediate bail for imprisoned son

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

John Shipton outlined his son’s decade-long history of arbitrary detention in the UK.

Julian Assange condemns court for preventing him from speaking to lawyers

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 27 February 2020

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange issued a defiant protest in court yesterday, opposing the flagrant abuse of his legal rights in extradition proceedings brought against him by the United States government.

British Tory government’s general practitioner contracts intensify assault on healthcare

By Ben Trent, 27 February 2020

Over a 12 month period, 55 million patients had to wait longer than a fortnight to see a GP.

“The fight for Assange’s freedom requires the political mobilisation of the working class”

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 February 2020

This speech was delivered by Oscar Grenfell, a leading member of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) to a public rally in defence of Julian Assange, held in London on Sunday.

Persecuted journalist Assange handcuffed, stripped naked on first day of extradition trial

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 26 February 2020

As proceedings were due to begin, a court official told WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson that he was barred from the public gallery.

The show trial of Julian Assange begins

By James Cogan, 25 February 2020

The first day of the British court hearing yesterday to determine if WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange will be extradited to the United States left no doubt that what is taking place is a legal travesty that threatens both Assange’s life and fundamental democratic rights.

Assange extradition trial opens in London

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 25 February 2020

Amid growing popular outrage over the railroading of Assange to a US prison, lawyers for the Department of Justice sought to reframe the charges against him.

“Victories are not won through political cowardice, but in struggle”

By Chris Marsden, 25 February 2020

This speech was delivered by Socialist Equality Party National Secretary Chris Marsden to a public rally held in London on Sunday.

Hundreds protest outside Woolwich Crown Court to demand Assange’s freedom

By our reporters, 25 February 2020

Protesters were not allowed anywhere near the building, kept behind barricades and an imposing steel fence by security and police.

Socialist Equality Party (UK) holds London rally in defence of Assange and Manning

By our reporter, 24 February 2020

The meeting was attended by more than 130 workers, youth and students who came from all over the UK.

Don’t Extradite Assange campaign calls on Boris Johnson to intervene

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2020

The struggle to free Julian Assange requires an implacable struggle by the working class against the Johnson and Trump governments now conspiring to silence him forever.

Sabisky eugenics scandal exposes fascist core of UK Tories

By Thomas Scripps, 22 February 2020

Sabisky’s resignation is meaningless and all the questions now being raised in the media about “vetting processes” are irrelevant.

UK: Grenfell fire inquiry finalises moves to grant corporations immunity from prosecution

By Charles Hixson, 22 February 2020

Giannino Gottardi, who lost his son in the blaze, stated, “These companies put profit ahead of everything. They want to save the name of the company and don’t care about anything else.”

New conflict of interest evidence against UK judge in charge of Assange extradition process

By Kevin Reed, 22 February 2020

Fresh evidence has emerged that the chief magistrate overseeing the extradition trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has received financial benefits from organizations connected to the UK Foreign Office.