I’m a journalist, a freelance, self-employed, a caregiver in multiple roles, and a woman.
And I am very, very proud to say, I am a Union woman. And as the song in the link above says:
We are many thousand strong,
And I am glad to say
We are getting stronger
And stronger every day.
Every day I have cause to be glad that I am a long-term member of the National Union of Journalists.
Amid all the hype and bland assurances of financial help for those of us whose income will undoubtedly plummet in a worst case coronavirus scenario, neither British nor Irish government has addressed the hardship facing those of us who are precarious workers.
We cannot avoid social contact. We have to go where the money is.
If there is any money to be earned in the weeks and months that are to come, that is.
The NUJ has already called on the Chancellor to provide more protection for freelances in the media and creative industries because of the threat of Covid-19.
Most of us aren’t eligible for statutory sick pay if we can’t work because of coronavirus.
Most of us will not have our own private medical insurance to cover us.
Most of us will have to rely on Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
But these are complex, convoluted and means-tested benefits.
Those struggling to survive may be faced with 19th Century Poor Laws and 19th Century attitudes.
The TUC has called on the government to introduce emergency legislation that:
- Gives every worker the right to statutory sick pay from the first day of absence.
- Scraps the minimum earnings threshold for statutory sick pay.
- Ensures that sick pay is paid to workers having to self-isolate.
- Increases the weekly level of sick pay.
- Provides funds to ensure that employers can afford to provide sick pay, and additional support to those who miss out.
My union, the National Union of Journalists, demands that this legislation is extended to cover freelance workers and those on zero contracts.
If you are a worker who may be facing hardship because of the threat of Covid-19, contact your union immediately.
If you aren’t in a union, join one.
A woman’s place is NOT at the bottom of the queue.
A woman’s place is in the struggle.