Strikes during the COVID-19 pandemic
industrial action relating to the emergency
Strikes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic due to many factors including: hazard pay or low pay, unsafe working conditions (due to poor social distancing or a lack of personal protective equipment), inability to pay rent.
- In the face of the COVID-19 tsunami, our lives are changing in ways that were inconceivable just a few short weeks ago. Not since the 2008–9 economic collapse has the world collectively shared an experience of this kind: a single, rapidly mutating global crisis, structuring the rhythm of our daily lives within a complex calculus of risk and competing probabilities. In response, numerous social movements have put forward demands that take seriously the potentially disastrous consequences of the virus, while also tackling the incapacity of capitalist governments to adequately address the crisis itself. These demands include questions of worker safety, the necessity of neighborhood-level organizing, income and social security, the rights of those on zero-hour contracts or in precarious employment, and the need to protect renters and those living in poverty.
- Adam Hanieh, "This is a Global Pandemic – Let's Treat it as Such" (27 March 2020), Verso Books
- Of course, the top priority now is to put public health and safety first. To that end, employees across the country are now thinking about refusing to obey orders to work in unsafe job conditions. U.S. capitalism has thus placed a general strike on today's social agenda. A close second priority is to learn from capitalism's failure in the face of the pandemic. We must not suffer such a dangerous and unnecessary social breakdown again. Thus system change is now also moving onto today's social agenda.