Our key workers keep us strong

For May Day this year, here is Richard Lighten’s updated version of ‘Solidarity forever’. This was written as a tribute to the key workers who are keeping us going in the face of the coronavirus crisis, and to remember those who have died.

There are many more workers to mention than I could fit in the lyrics – nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, cleaners, teachers, transport workers, those in the food sector, postal workers; this is a thank you to all of you for what you’re doing and the sacrifices you’re making for the good of us all.

It is also a protest against the governments and managements who are denying you the protective equipment or other measures that you need to stay safe – this song focuses on the UK, but the picture is sadly similar in so many places.

To the key workers: love, thanks, and solidarity.

To the governments: test test test – get them PPE – shut down non-essential workplaces – pay every worker.

To all: remember the dead – fight for the living.

Read a wonderful article here about some of the actions being taken by key workers to protest against the lack of PPE and other safety measures.

The image at the end of the video, prepared for International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April 2020, was taken from Artivists at Work.

Lyrics:

Since the coronavirus came to haunt humanity
It’s been clear to see the workers we can truly say are key
The nurses, doctors, cleaners and the food delivery
Our key workers keep us strong

Before all this the government told us many were unskilled
But now they’re the ones preventing many more from being killed
And compared to Boris Johnson they’ve colossal strength of will
Our key workers keep us strong

Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Our key workers keep us strong

For years they’ve been neglected and expected to get by
While their pay was cut and their workloads made unreasonably high
Let’s stand with them when they fight for better – give them PPE!
Our key workers keep us strong

The government were slow to lockdown they preferred to sit
They don’t think our lives important compared to precious profit
Now we’re staying home and if the economy tanks then so be it
Our key workers keep us strong

Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Our key workers keep us strong

Many key workers are migrants or descendants down the years
It doesn’t matter where you come from all that matters is you’re here
Don’t let racist politicians fill you with hatred and fear
Our key workers keep us strong

The media keep saying that we’re fighting in a war
But the enemy is a virus not an army hungry for more
We fight with distance, PPE, and ventilators more
And our key workers keep us strong

Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Our key workers keep us strong

We remember those who’ve fallen in this struggle gave their lives
We will never take for granted such an awful sacrifice
The politicians who endangered them will one day pay the price
Our key workers keep us strong

Do the CEOs and entrepreneurs really make their worth?
Or is it that the workers hold the key to the running of the earth?
Yes we can save the world and there is power in our work
Our key workers keep us strong

Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Our key workers keep us strong

Finally, here’s a classic version of ‘Solidarity forever’ by Pete Seeger:

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