Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic reached the UK, it became clear that the NHS was not sufficiently equipped or staffed to respond to the crisis.
In March, the government put out a call for industry to convert its production to manufacture crucial medical equipment, such as ventilators and PPE for frontline workers. To date, a number of arms and defence companies have responded to this call – alongside existing companies that manufacture medical equipment and others.
Workers at Lucas Aerospace called for exactly this kind of arms conversion back in 1976, when they produced an Alternative Corporate Plan – now known as the Lucas Plan.
In this webinar we discussed what a ‘just transition’ from industries that cause destruction to those that support peace and public health could and should look like.
Thank you to our expert speakers:
* Dr. Stuart Parkinson – Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility
* Phil Asquith – Chartered Engineer and former Chairman of the Lucas Aerospace Combine, Burnley site
* Dr. Andy Haines – Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health at LSHTM
* Hilary Wainwright – Founding editor of Red Pepper Magazine and co-author of ‘The Lucas Plan: A New Trade Unionism in the Making?’
* Sam Mason – Policy officer at PCS Union and member of the New Lucas Plan project
We apologise for the connectivity problems that obscured the later part of Hilary's talk!
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*(Dr Stuart Parkinson said that 1,000 direct jobs were lost in the UK arms industry at the end of the Cold War - it was actually 100,000)