The switch of the traditional May Bank Holiday to Friday 8th, has been a cause of disorientation to many trade unionists who have May 1st built into into their DNA. Nevertheless, it’s a timely opportunity to celebrate the defeat of fascism in Europe in 1945 and the sacrifices made by a generation of working people.
In recent weeks the spread of the pandemic has put a new generation of workers in a different line of fire as witnessed by the appalling death rates for NHS staff from Coronavirus. What is also appalling, and becoming more so by the day, is the loss of so many senior citizens within the care home system. Many of these victims survived the worst that Nazism could throw at them 75 years ago only to now die alone, save for the company of heroic care workers who themselves have all too often been left unprotected.
It speaks volumes for the way in which this sector has been denuded of funding and strategic help. One that has suffered in all too many cases from being left in the hands of profit driven privateers who don’t mind raking in the cash but won’t even pay the minimum wage to their employees as successive Tory Governments have ignored the problem.
There will be many bereaved families questioning how and why their loved ones were left to the ravages of C-19; but they will also be asking why, even if death was inevitable, that the thousands of new hospital beds that have been boasted about by Ministers were not utilised. What sort of society have we become that we cannot offer so many people, who were the foundation for Britain’s post-war regeneration the basic comfort, dignity and respect that they deserve in their final hours of need.
Remember them too tomorrow won’t you?
Ian Lawrence, General Secretary