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Essential to the people…but apparently not essential for the system

Written by: Alan H. on 5 June 2020


During the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become clear that frontline and public sector workers are essential to society. In fact, we know that workers in general are essential to society functioning. Without them how would the capitalist class get their profits and power? Each day since the crisis began, we have heard state and federal governments say that frontline and public sector workers are vital in getting us through this crisis. And without them, society would be in the depths of Covid-19 and its health threats.

Yet all of this appreciation and good feelings from the government and other sectors of the capitalist system is a mirage. A feel-good news cycle and media comments that mask their real feelings. This has been made crystal clear by the recent attempt by the New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian to put through a wage freeze for public sector workers.

What is essential for the capitalist class is not workers, families or communities but the economy. And of course, by economy, it is actually their profits and ability to gain it through exploiting labour from the workforce. They mask this through the threat of job losses and insecure employment. Why wouldn’t they when they feel secure with the thousands if not millions looking for employment or more hours. Marx referred to this when he described the reserve army of labour and sadly it is still very much relevant today as it was last century.

But all is ok, the New South Wales state government wants to give public sector workers a payout of $1000. That is if they accept their pay freeze. Some called it an attempted sweetener, others a bribe and others a form of economic coercion. Stadiums before hospitals and schools, and now this slap in the face. Especially arrogant considering how essential these workers were not too long ago. Not surprising really, we know how they really feel about workers, families and the community.


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