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Are the working class are being sacrificed to save the middle class?

(58 Posts)
YakkityYakYakYak Thu 26-Mar-20 14:54:27

From a northern, predominantly working class town but have lived in the south for 15 years in a fairly middle class area.

There just seems such a stark difference between what we and most of our friends here are able to do (working from home, sheltered away in our houses, or able to take mortgage breaks if we need to stop working for a while) and what my family and friends in my home town are having to do (all still having to go out to work in care homes, factories, supermarkets, etc with very little protection).

DF who is close to retirement, has been classed as a key worker in the food supply chain. So he has to go to work every day in a dirty factory where absolutely no precautions have been taken to mitigate his risk of catching it.

Not sure there’s any point to this rant really, and I know there are no winners in this situation but I can’t help feeling that the working classes aren’t being protected at all and are basically being sacrificed to save everyone else.

OP’s posts: |
FuckOffCorona Thu 26-Mar-20 15:00:38

I totally agree. I noticed something similar in my workplace - all the solicitors were told to work from home at the start of last week but it was over a week before support staff were told to do the same.

Ultimately it benefits everyone for those who can stay at home to do so, but there’s no point in denying that a lot of the people having to leave their homes to keep the country running are working class. I hope that, if nothing else, this situations teaches everyone to appreciate the importance of jobs that are usually seen as low skilled and to vote for parties which support fairer pay and conditions for workers.

SerendipityJane Thu 26-Mar-20 15:03:15

Are the working class are being sacrificed to save the middle class?

Isn't that the whole point of them ? (looks back into history ...). Yup, pretty much.

Mind you, the middle class are there to be served up on a platter to save the upper classes, so don't feel too jealous.

Justgivemethehobnobs Thu 26-Mar-20 15:03:25

My husband and I were saying this yesterday. Although not quite as simple as that, I have an office job I could do from home, however he has a manual job. I'm also not sure if we are technically working class or middle class. Both our parents would be working class, but it's a very hard distinction to make nowadays. But I definitely feel like those who are still working now are potentially being sacrificed to save those who can work from home. In fact I cried about this the morning.

Frankiecandle Thu 26-Mar-20 15:06:40

I agree OP, not many retail workers or care workers can stay at home working right now.

The WFH MC on here are shrieking 'STAY THE FUCK AT HOME' at anyone who steps foot outside .While the WC continue to go out to work.

TolpuddleFarter Thu 26-Mar-20 15:10:58

I am from working class background turned middle class. Here, we are fairly comfortable. My DH is WFH and we have food in.

DM is 64 and works full time in a supermarket. It really is only a matter of time until she catches COVID-19. I feel incredibly guilty about this. She can't afford not to work.

I think supermarket workers etc should get a pay rise. We should accept higher prices in shops to enable this. Maybe there will be a call for it after all this?

YakkityYakYakYak Thu 26-Mar-20 15:12:16

@Justgivemethehobnobs I had a bit of a cry about it too. It just makes me furious to think that my DF is being used as cannon fodder basically. I know there isn’t much of an alternative and the supply chain needs to keep moving but many more precautions could definitely be taken to protect key workers.

OP’s posts: |
TooTrueToBeGood Thu 26-Mar-20 15:12:32

Yes, not necessarily by design just because that's the way it is. Those with least power and influence get shafted the most.
Being an optimist, I live in hope that some good will come of this. Who knows? Maybe we'll value our public sector workers more and fight for them not to bear the brunt of austerity measures Maybe some people will get first hand experience of how difficult it is to get by on benefits and will think twice in future before berating benefits claimants.

Absentwomen Thu 26-Mar-20 15:13:24

Absolutely. I've been having these conversations with family.

Look at the current labour market need? All what are considered as gig economy work, on minimum wage which at 40 hours per week, is better than SSP levels.

BubblesBuddy Thu 26-Mar-20 15:16:31

We are doing this to protect the elderly and the already sick. Class only has an impact if you look at some jobs. Many self employed people are facing ruin and they are definitely middle class as well as working class. I don’t think this is necessarily class led. It’s more about preserving the elderly who, in Italy, have been over 98% of deaths. That’s who this is about and people are facing ruin and destitution for the goal of keeping the elderly alive. Not the middle classes.

BubblesBuddy Thu 26-Mar-20 15:19:54

We do pay doctors well. In every research about grad salaries, doctors are top. Nurses are nowhere near the bottom either. They have jobs for life and very good pensions. Others are paid way below this. We cannot look at this from just a panic perspective. If you want everyone to have more money from the state you either borrow it or earn it. If you borrow it, the young are the most shafted. Not the elderly or the ones employed by the state with golden pensions taken at 60.

KenDodd Thu 26-Mar-20 15:20:33

I heard a statistic a few days ago, can't remember exactly but something like -

The 50% highest earners, 70% could wfh.
The 50% lowest earners, 10% could wfh.

Completely agree with you OP. Also, this has really shone a light on which jobs are really essential, and they're definitely not the highest paid with an awful lot of them on real poverty pay.

wheresmymojo Thu 26-Mar-20 15:21:16

We're middle class and facing bankruptcy due to losing our incomes so...not necessarily.

I know lots of other MC families facing the same.

BubblesBuddy Thu 26-Mar-20 15:23:47

Jobs are essential though! You have a crashed economy if millions cannot work at whatever work they do. It’s utterly ridiculous to say whole rafts of jobs don’t matter! They all matter because they pay for the doctors and nurses, and teachers and everyone else who work directly for us. Please learn something about economics and don’t look at the economy through the prism of this virus.

KenDodd Thu 26-Mar-20 15:24:00

Not only are people doing jobs such as care work or shelf stackers or hospital cleaners paid poorly, they also looked down on and sneered at. We threaten our children that if they don't work hard they'll end up like them.

TrainspottingWelsh Thu 26-Mar-20 15:24:10

Yes and no. Partly it's the nature of the work. Imo the biggest sacrifice we're asking from the working classes and the class beneath them is the economic fall out.

Itsnotthatcomplicated Thu 26-Mar-20 15:24:43

Doctors arent working class.

I do think you are right to a point.

But it's not that working class have been then in streets to suffer.

It's a case of what jobs need to be done. So there are plenty of MC people who are also key workers. Alot of these jobs are manual workers and poorly paid. Which says slot about how society is set up.

Lots of our directors, are trained to do the job (and have done the job) that our people on the ground do. Where they have people off isolating or shielding, they are out doing the work. They are all middle class.

So broadly your are right. Looking at the detail, not so much.

wonkylegs Thu 26-Mar-20 15:24:50

Yep all those working class drs & teachers, nhs professionals

Nameofchanges Thu 26-Mar-20 15:25:51

Italy is also in lockdown. It isn’t about looking at who has died in Italy. It is about who in Italy received medical care and survived while the country was in lockdown. That’s going to include a lot of young people.

Without a lockdown, hospitals would be overwhelmed and those people wouldn’t get treatment, not just for Coronavirus but for many other conditions.

Camopetals Thu 26-Mar-20 15:28:21

I don't think the OP was on about bankruptcy, I think she was on about y'know.. actual loss of life.

And yes OP, history will confirm that you were correct.

KenDodd Thu 26-Mar-20 15:28:37

Jobs are essential though

Completely agree. They're all important and we should stop looking down our noses at the 'unskilled' doing 'menial work' or putting high earners on some sort of pedestal. Close the gap on both earnings and status.

GrumpyHoonMain Thu 26-Mar-20 15:29:42

Absolutely. This was the main problem in Lombardy too - a lot of people who are dying / died were self-employed snd often had no choice but to go out to work. Many even sought and obtained permission from authorities to work during the initial stages.

BubblesBuddy Thu 26-Mar-20 15:32:26

Well you cannot get away from the death stats in Italy and this is overwhelmingly the aged. That’s who we are largely trying to save. All of us.

LaurieMarlow Thu 26-Mar-20 15:32:54

Not entirely. Doctors, nurses, teachers are turning up for work and they're middle class.

HCPs are in particular danger.

Having said that, there are industries that shouldn't be in operation right now. Building for one. If you aren't genuinely key to getting through this crisis then you shouldn't be working.

Fatted Thu 26-Mar-20 15:34:00

I agree OP. DH and I live in a very much working class area. It's business as usual. My parents live in a much more affluent area and I'm guessing by the number of cars on their street yesterday everyone is able to self isolate. (Was dropping off medication for vulnerable parents before anyone starts!). It speaks volumes that Waitrose and Ocado was the first home delivery service to crash, doesn't it.

I do also think there is a North/South issue here too. As someone who has never lived south of Manchester, I do feel that the South East have absolutely no interest whatsoever in the problems faced by the 'North' and our complaints are often ridiculed and ignored. Suddenly now London is facing this crisis, the whole country has to go onto lock down.

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