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THE PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY has launched a “zero-Covid charter” demanding government action to stave off an impending second deadly wave of the coronavirus and to protect working people from the economic emergency.
The campaign group, which has regional and community-based groups across Britain, said the government “has failed the people at every possible point during their handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” leaving England with one of the highest death rates in the world and “an impending unemployment and poverty crisis” worse than that caused by the first wave of infections.
The People’s Assembly wants workers and their unions to mobilise behind the charter, whose demands include NHS control of the failed track & trace system, adequate protection equipment and full sick pay for front-line workers, NHS control and distribution of any vaccine, and for the NHS to take over the provision of care home services.
The charter states: “We face a single health and economic emergency. There is no health solution without an economic solution, nor any economic solution without a health solution.
“We do not accept that members of our family, our friends, or workmates must suffer death and illness to ‘protect the economy,’ nor do we accept that we must lose our jobs or livelihoods to halt the pandemic.
“The current Chancellor’s bailout scheme was worth £350 billion. But the bailout of the banks reached a peak of £955bn in 2009, nearly three times greater.”
With 10 per cent of Britain’s population owning just over 50 per cent of the nation’s wealth and corporate wealth at an all-time high, the charter is also calling for Britain’s wealth to be made available to the whole of society through a programme of emergency public ownership and wealth and corporation tax measures.
“We reject solutions which pit one part of the country against another or which leave front-line workers, the old, black and ethnic minorities, the disabled, school or college students exposed to the virus,” it says.
The People’s Assembly is calling on workers and their organisations to refuse to work on health and safety grounds in all but essential workplaces and to organise activities in local communities to bring about a Britain-wide lockdown and make it work for the benefit of the people.
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