A general strike is needed to defeat the attacks by Bolsonaro, bosses and the National Congress.
It is necessary to use all the resources available in society to fight the pandemic and prevent the social catastrophe and the loss of thousands of lives. It is necessary to apply an emergency plan, under workers’ control, to tackle the pandemic in time. Guedes-Bolsonaro takes advantage of the crisis to make further attacks on workers, the poor and small businesses for the benefit of bankers, speculators, landowners, and large companies.
PSTU – Brazil
Social measures to fight the pandemic and the sanitary crisis
- Decree immediate social quarantine
This is the only measure proven to prevent the infection and the spread of the virus.
All the cities affected by the coronavirus should immediately establish social quarantine. We have the right to stay at home and have paid leave.
Besides the schools, close industry, services, transport, trade, etc., except what is absolutely necessary to living and to fight the pandemic.
Keep essential services under workers’ control: distribution of food, medicines, hygiene products and medicines needed to tackle the crisis, bin collection, transport (only for healthcare users).
These workers must wear personal protective equipment against the virus in workplaces, and the government must ensure the commuting of these people.
- Conduct mass free tests
Compel all available laboratories in the country to produce the test kits. Experts say that the incubation period could long up to nine days but in this period the virus is replicating. Testing, along with social quarantine, is crucial, as is demonstrated in the case of South Korea, where mass testing was applied.
Strengthen the state-owned Fiocruz Foundation, which has conditions to scale up the production of tests.
Declare public interest in test property. No Pharmaceutical industry can demand ownership. All the production capacity of tests must be put under state control to organize the production on a national scale to allow tests to those who need it.
- Expansion of the SUS (equivalent to the NHS in Britain) public hospital network and the requisition of all private hospitals network under SUS command to centralize the use of hospital beds and equipment.
SUS has almost the same number of ICU beds as the private network but serves 75% of the population. The private network was expanded while the government cut funding of public health.
Everyone should enjoy equal treatment, regardless of social or economic status. The beds and ICU of the private network should be incorporated directly to the NHS and provide equal service to people in need. Not a penny for the private network and for those who want to speculate with the lives of others!
- Build new ICUs and hospitals in an emergency speed
The current stage of virus proliferation requires more hospitals and ICU beds. This should be planned before the healthcare system collapses. The country has facilities and technology to build respirators for severely ill patients, as well as other equipment. Requisition of all companies with the capacity to produce them!
- Free distribution of alcohol in gel, masks, and medicines to the population
Brazil is the second producer of alcohol worldwide. It is a shame that most of the people do not have access to these basic items. All production must be nationalized and the manufactures placed under workers’ control.
- Protect and value healthcare workers.
Their jobs are more and more precarious, low paid and now there is a lack of PPE. The public and private healthcare workers are the true heroes in this struggle.
Immediate hiring of staff for the SUS to ensure quality services to patients and also because it is a fundamental part of security and prevention and to provide adequate working hours for all workers in the healthcare system.
- Funds for public universities and for research, now!
- Provide all protective equipment to these professionals to avoid virus infection.
Economic measures to halt the social catastrophe
- No to layoffs! Jobs security now!
Every manufacture and service should shut down now. Companies continue to operate and spread the virus. And they want to cut wages yet.
- Paid leave! Full payment for all workers!
Workers must stay at home and gain full wages. We cannot accept that they turn the paid leave into vacations. We will not accept reduced working hours and wages, as Bolsonaro and Guedes want.
- 2.5 minimal wages for all gig economy workers and unemployed!
We defend an income equal to the average wage of a worker (2.5 minimum wages) for all those who do not have a formal job or who will no longer be able to work, including the self-employed, from trade to crafts, and unemployed. R$ 200 is an insult! Extension of unemployment insurance until the end of the crisis.
- No payment of rents, energy, and water bills!
- Immediate reduction in prices of gas and LPG.
Decrease and freeze in the price of LPG and gasoline in proportion to the reduction in the price of the barrel of oil. Maintaining the current price only serves to increase the profits of Petrobras’ private shareholders.
- Support for small businesses
The government allocated R$ 5 billion to the sector with interest rates that can reach 12% per month. But that is not all. There are 4.9 million small businesses in the country, which means a ridiculous loan of R$ 1,000 each. But, as sales are plummeting, they will only be able to pay their taxes collected by the government itself. A scandal, as 80% of jobs in Brazil are in small companies.
- National, state and local tax exemption for small businesses
- Exemption of water and energy bills.
- Unlimited business lines of credit for all small businesses.
How to pay the bill?
After saying that the pandemic is a fantasy, Bolsonaro decreed a state of calamity, which until now only served to allow wages to be reduced by up to 50% and to help large companies. And he continues saying that the country has no financial resources. It’s a lie! The problem is what they do with the money. We propose:
- No payment of the public debt while the pandemic is threatening us!
In 2019, bankers and investment funds took out R$ 400 billion in debt service. The same will happen this year. Why do these people receive this amount while thousands of people can die?
- Nationalization of the financing system and creation of a single bank, zero interest rates for all loans.
The interest rate of a personal bank loan amounts to 6.05% per month (102.5% per year). Interest rates can reach 150% for overdrafts! A theft! They are true vampire bats. Why does this gang keep making billions in the midst of a social catastrophe?
- No to capital flight, banning of profits remittance to abroad.
In the first months of 2020 alone, more than R$ 44 billion was withdrawn from the country. The state of public calamity decree should serve to prevent sharks from flowing out capital not to reduce wages. Brazil’s international reserves should serve to combat the outbreak, providing all necessary funds to the SUS (Healthcare public system), not to feed these financial parasites.
- Use the international reserve to combat the pandemic and social catastrophe.
Brazil’s international reserve is worth US$ 350 bn. Why doesn’t the government use this mountain of dollars to fight the pandemic? Because it is a guarantee for international speculators to withdraw profits on “investments” made in the country.