Wednesday, March 18, 2020

European Communist Initiative: Statement on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

On the situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Secretariat of the Initiative of  European Communist and Workers' Parties issued the following statement:

The coronavirus epidemic reveals the heightened problems and the inadequacies of the health systems in our countries that are in any case insufficient to meet people’s needs, even more so today with the coronavirus spreading.

A responsible stance towards the spread of the virus cannot cover up the policies that for many years now have systematically reduced state funding for healthcare, put a freeze on healthcare worker hiring and made flexible work conditions for medical and nursing personnel the standard, reduced hospital wards, closed down hospital facilities, handed over healthcare services to the private sector, and promoted the privatization – commercialization of healthcare services. The bourgeois governments, in the name of a balanced budget and fiscal stability, that is, in the interests of big capital, have led us to today’s reprehensible situation in the public health system. In addition, we bear witness to rampant profiteering around the prices for materials designed for prevention, against which the bourgeois governments are not taking appropriate action.

The bourgeois governments are attempting to handle the severe shortage in medical and nursing staff and the problem of the requisite hospital facilities and beds, by hiring few, temporary, and poorly-paid healthcare staff, forcing healthcare workers to work under exhausting conditions. The European Communist Initiative and its parties will be on the alert, and with their intervention in the labor – popular movement act against the aims of employers to reduce salaries, to not pay workers’ salaries, or even to restrict labor and social security rights.

The Communist Parties of the European Communist Initiative demand that all of the necessary measures for the confrontation of the epidemic be taken immediately, including the following:

1. Hiring of permanent medical and nursing personnel with comprehensive rights, and an increase in funding to cover staff needs, ICU and other facilities that are needed for the full functioning of public health care services and research centers.

2. Permanent job for all the medical and nursing personnel that works under flexible and precarious work conditions.

3. Free distribution of the necessary prevention materials with the responsibility of the state

4. Right to work leave with full benefits and insurance for sick workers who need to stay home to take care of sick family members.