Coronavirus disaster, worldwide update

This 5 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Johns Hopkins Leads The COVID-19 Response, But Just Laid Off Its Low-Wage Workers

At a May Day rally, workers said Johns Hopkins University reneged on a commitment to give laid off workers four weeks pay.

Modi government punishes officials for urging increased taxation of rich to fight coronavirus. By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 4 May 2020. Even as India’s workers and toilers face the COVID-19 pandemic and mass hunger, the Modi government is opposed to imposing even one additional rupee of tax upon the capitalist elite.

At least 1,245 Philippine health workers test positive for COVID-19. By Owen Howell, 5 May 2020. The WHO said that the rate of infection among health workers, which is now 13 percent of all cases in the Philippines, is likely linked to the shortage of personal protective equipment.

Over 2,000 doctors infected with COVID-19 in Ukraine amid growing protest by medical workers. By Jason Melanovski, 5 May 2020. Opposition grows among Ukrainian medical workers as they are left to combat the disease while lacking both essential equipment and funding.

Australian governments reopen schools despite studies warning of COVID-19 danger. By Mike Head, 5 May 2020. The federal government’s attack on the Victorian state premier was aimed at suppressing opposition by teachers and parents.

Canadian workers at Cargill meatpacking plant forced back to work despite 935 infections. By Carl Bronski, 5 May 2020. The events at the Cargill plant are a case study in the drive by corporations across the globe, backed by governments of all political stripes, to place profit over human lives.

The calamity at Quebec City’s Jeffery Hale Hospital is a product of decades of federal and provincial government austerity: here.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 5 May 2020:

British Columbia Dollar Tree workers denounce lack of virus protections

Low-wage retail workers at “extreme discount” Dollar Tree stores in British Columbia are speaking out about the dangerous lack of company actions to curb the transmission of the coronavirus in their workplaces. Dollar Tree, a Fortune 500 company with over $24 billion in annual revenues, has 85 stores in Canada with 29 in B.C. There are over 15,000 outlets across North America.

Last week workers in the British Columbia stores told reporters that management had failed to provide any basic personal protection for employees. No masks had been provided. Promises posted on Dollar Store’s corporate home page that plexiglass shields would be installed at all work stations by the end of April have not been met in any outlet and will not be installed for at least two more weeks.

Cleaning protocols for shopping carts have not been implemented, placing staff in jeopardy as well as customers. Social distancing procedures limiting the amount of customers in the stores at any one time are ignored. In one store, a worker told Press Progress management had given a directive that it is permissible to attend a shift even while suffering from “cold” symptoms.

Uruguayan supermarket workers strike for 24 hours over lack of preventive measures

Workers for Disco, Uruguay’s largest supermarket chain, held a one-day strike on May 2 to protest the appearance of four cases of COVID-19 and the failure of management to take preventive action. According to the Disco Workers Syndicate, the four cases were discovered in Punta Carretas, a coastal suburb of Montevideo, two in April and two already in May.

A union communiqué said that “the company doesn’t have the slightest intention to close the location, putting at risk the health of the staff … and its customers.” It added, “therefore, we are in contact with Public Health Ministry and Social Security authorities, since this is an emergency situation, and we don’t want it to be repeated in other locations.”

Peruvian nurses protest for better working conditions, pay

Nurses held a protest on May 1 at the Hospital Belén in the northwestern Peruvian city of Trujillo to demand higher wages and better conditions for confronting COVID-19. The nurses currently are paid 1,300 soles (US$385.30) per month in accordance with their Service Administration Contract (CAS). However, due to a so-called descuento de ley (law discount), the real amount is 1,100 soles (US$326.02).

The nurses also live in constant fear of contagion from COVID-19, since they are not provided with personal protective equipment (EPP in Spanish). One nurse broke down crying as she talked to reporters about having seen colleagues die and of living in fear of bringing the virus home to her family.

Dominican Republic: Textile workers strike, protest over noncompliance with COVID-19 guidelines

Daily protests by textile workers began April 28 at the Willbes Dominicana, a factory in a free trade zone in Barahona, Dominican Republic. Protesters picketed, burned tires and placed debris at the company entrance to inhibit entry and exit.

The workers had resumed work after a halt to production due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The executives promised to implement protective measures suggested by the International Labour Organization—provision of masks and gloves, social distancing, checking of temperatures upon entry, and provision of disinfectant gel. The workers were also forbidden to talk on the job or at lunch.

A short while after starting their workday at 7:30 a.m., the workers realized that management was not seriously committed to the protective measures. They walked out demanding that the measures be carried out and that the workers be paid their full wages in the interim. They also demanded that their wages, which are much lower than the free trade zone’s norm of 11,500 pesos (US$210), be raised.

On April 29, police were deployed to the site, and some confrontations broke out. In one, a young man was shot in the right leg, after allegedly brandishing a homemade weapon, and was then taken to the hospital.

1 thought on “Coronavirus disaster, worldwide update

  1. Pingback: Coronavirus disaster, United States news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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