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Towards a Working Class Program during the Lockdown for Epidemic Control


As the people and the State face the double difficulty of stopping the spread of Covid 19 and of getting food supplies to everyone, the following organizations have given general endorsement to the document that follows after the names:

CTSP - (Reeaz Chuttoo)

MLC /AWF - (Haniff Peerun) 

LALIT - (Alain Ah Vee) 

Government Services Employees Association (GSEA) - (Radakrishna Sadien) 

FPBOU - (Deepak Benydin) 

ACSEF - (Vinod Seegum) 

Muvman Liberasyon Fam - (Ragini Kistnasamy) 

 Towards a Working Class Program during the Lockdown for Epidemic Control

The two pressing needs of the moment: 

* stopping the spread of the coronavirus epidemic by limiting direct social interaction

while, during the whole process

* getting everyone stocked up on food and other basics, in a calm and assured way. 

We see that, in order for the spread of the virus to be quelled, until such time as vaccines come out next year, the state needs to, throughout the process: 

a) Assure food for all, and 

b) continue its excellent “trace and test” strategy

c) support all health care workers, all grades of worker being provided with adequate protective equipment, and not just the disposable protective mask for a whole day when it is designed to last only 3 hours. Transport Facilities must be prompt and adequate. To avoid other dangers and health hazards, they must be picked up from home to hospital and back.

d) offer a new social contract to the working class, going forward, so as to include everyone in the discipline needed in order to keep up the “stay home” policy as long as necessary and, at the same time, assure food supplies for all, as well as essential services for all.

This means, the State must:

1. Guarantee every family in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega an immediate revenue, or an immediate food supply. Half of people, remember, work for SMEs or are self-employed – so have neither pay nor pension.

2. Announce an immediate moratorium for x months on all loans, rent payments, and utility bills.
3. Price controls, and where necessary, rationing of food, cleaning materials, cooking materials, medicines.

4. Essential service workers (whether in refuse collection or food distribution or any other key sector) must be immediately included in a future social contract, preferably as future government employees, with proper conditions.

5. That the government assures people that, as we come out of the crisis:
a) All IRS-type villa schemes be frozen.

b) To assure food security over time, one-third of all sugar estate land (either plenn-ter or antreliyn) be used for food crops, while each estate or ex-estate immediately sets up a food preservation factory to preserve and transform the first crops. This is essential work. If the sugar estates do not obey Government, their land must be requisitioned and nationalized to this end.

c) As part of the new social contract, every person living in crowded housing or bad housing will, going forward, be housed.

6. Now that we see the importance of a universal, public health system, that the Government announce it withdraws the private insurance and private health schemes it has been trying to impose on civil servants, as this will weaken instead of strengthen our health system.