Why I’m Panicking About Coronavirus

There’s a lot in the news right now about sickness. A lot of fear mongering, panic, and conversations that have been needed for a long time. Sickness is another of those things not many people like to talk about. It’s the dirty thing. The one we filter over and pretend doesn’t happen by sharing pictures of green juice and vitamin C serums. But also right now it’s a huge fear. Not only are people worried about getting sick they’re also—I’m also—terrified of not being able to work.

Let’s get financial for a while (because honesty is my policy). I make £8.21 an hour. I do 15 hours a week. I’m trying to find full time work, obviously, but at the moment I make around £500 a month. My rent is £550 a month. Luckily I was in a position where I could save a lot over Christmas and summer so I have 2 months of rent saved up in case I can’t find anything else for a bit. Yet you can see the obvious problem. I can’t keep that up for more than 2 months. I still need to buy food and pay bills and all the other expenses of life.

I don’t get sick pay

So when I hear people saying shops should be closed and crowds should be avoided and anyone who sneezes should stay at home…I panic for a reason other than the so called pandemic. (I say ‘so called’ because more people have died of the normal flu, or been shot, or starved to death than have perished by coronavirus. This blasé attitude I have will, of course, mean I die in the first wave but fuck it.)

Basically, what I’m getting at here, is there is a huge lack of financial security when it comes to the work place. While some companies are getting better others…aren’t. I’m talking zero hour contracts, trial periods, and of course no sick pay. A huge amount of companies don’t give any sick pay. Or there’s a 3 strikes and you’re out policy. 3 days of sickness a year, or else. It’s ridiculous and I absolutely do not take the ‘but that’s just how it is’ excuse. No. Stop being one of the sheep and get angry. It is unfair to treat staff like farm animals or robots who only get sick to piss you off. And we should be fighting for change instead of muttering to ourselves but ultimately remaining silent.

Of course we must now insert the ‘but people will just go sick because they’re lazy’ person. Let’s call him Barry. Well, Barry, maybe you’re regurgitating the old ‘people are only poor because they’re lazy’ bollocks all rich white men have been taught in their Eton classroom since time/ Eton began (1440 according to Wiki…). Poverty is, in fact, a fundamental issue with the system that doesn’t give disadvantaged/ minority people as many opportunities. Because, repeat after me, unpaid internships are not opportunities. They’re slave labour disguised behind a fancy coffee machine, a pool table, and a sofa that looks like a boat.

Anyway, this goes all the way back to what I’ve said a lot over the past few years and is in danger of becoming my catch phrase.

PAY YOUR DAMN STAFF.

It’s really not hard.

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