By Peter Lazenby in Britain today:
Thousands of Dyson staff have been working from home in line with government advice, but managers attempted to force them back in following PM Boris Johnson’s confusing “stay alert – work from home if you can” advice, including those with vulnerable family members.
However, staff, including workers from factories at Hullavington and Malmesbury in Wiltshire and London offices, rebelled and continued to work from home.
From the World Socialist Web Site, 22 May 2020:
UK Dyson engineering workers defy back-to-work order
Management at the Dyson engineering firm were forced to rescind a back-to-work order sent out Friday after a revolt by its UK workforce. The action took place independently of the Unite trade union.
Owned by the UK’s richest man, Sir James Dyson (total wealth £16.2 billion), the company order breached government guidelines “to work from home, if you can.” Workers were expected to return to Dyson’s Wiltshire factories in Hullavington and Malmsebury from Monday on a two-shift rotating pattern.
A worker told the Guardian, “Everyone was very unhappy. … As a company we were pretty proud of James [Dyson] a few weeks ago, trying to make a difference with the CoVent project [a plan to manufacture ventilators].
“…in a few weeks it’s all turned around. If they’d had their way, there would have been 2,500 people in the office and I’d estimate 60% of those could work from home.”
The campus stayed open during the pandemic, with 450 employees working on the Dyson CoVent (ventilator). The Johnson government initially ordered 10,000, before informing Dyson last month that they would not be required.
Walkout by postal staff in Peterborough, England, over COVID-19 fears
Royal Mail workers at Peterborough delivery office walked out on May 16 after a line manager tested positive for COVID-19.
The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) members were concerned that the manager was operating in the delivery office while failing to abide by social distancing. Following the walkout, several other staff were tested and found to be positive for the disease.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been actions by postal workers to protect themselves. In March, walkouts took place in Southwark, London, and Bridgwater in the south-west, and on April 17, by postal workers at Bury St. Edmunds delivery office, Suffolk, for 90 minutes.
Also in April, postal workers took unofficial action over safety at Chatham, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington, Didcot, Edinburgh, Alloa and Fife. …
Last month, a 25-year-old Bpost employee died from COVID-19. The worker was at the time the youngest victim of the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium’s Limburg province.
Belgian health staff turn backs on prime minister in protest
On Saturday, doctors and nurses at Saint-Pierre university hospital in the Belgian capital, Brussels, turned their backs on Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès.
Wilmès was making an unofficial visit to the hospital. Scores of medics and nursing staff lined the road leading up to the hospital. One by one, the workers turned their backs on the prime minister as her car entered the hospital grounds. After coming to a stop, Wilmès quickly alighted from the car and went into the hospital building without attempting to speak to health staff.
The health care staff were protesting the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Belgium, with 55,000 confirmed cases and over 9,000 deaths, has one of the worst mortality rates in the world.
Workers were particularly angered by legislation brought in May 4 whereby unqualified staff could perform nursing duties during the pandemic. Nurses are calling for the legislation to be overturned, backed by the General Union of Belgian Nurses. …
Strike threat by tram drivers in Swedish city of Gothenburg
Swedish tram drivers in Gothenburg threatened to walk off the job at 3 p.m. Tuesday over concerns about insufficient protection from coronavirus infection. Cabs are not sealed off, allowing contamination to take place.
”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.
By Kadeem Simmonds in Britain today:
Men’s football: It’s ‘crazy’ that black players are returning to football, says Nathan Blake
EX-WALES striker Nathan Blake said that unless the coronavirus is eliminated, it would be “crazy” for black players to return to the field, be it for training or games.
With the Bundesliga returning last weekend and Premier League clubs welcoming back players to training over the past 48 hours, a sense of normality for football is well underway.