PRESS RELEASE Monday 4th May 2020
Employers must carry out risk assessments to ensure workplaces are safe
We need firm rules, including inspections and tough sanctions against employers who don’t comply
Draft Post-Lockdown Workplace Rules has “Huge Gaps” says TUC
We say DON’T END THE LOCKDOWN TILL IT’S SAFE TO DO SO! Sheffield TUC CV-19 Council of Action is supporting SHEFFIELD NEEDS A PAY RISE!
10 demands on employers – including risk assessments -before workers go back. (see here for print-at-home list of 10 demands) : Work and COVID-19 Demand Safety and Respect
“As the Government and employers increasingly talk about easing the lockdown and getting the economy running again, workers are fearful for their safety” says Martin Mayer. “How will employers ensure social distancing? What PPE will they need and will it be available? Will shift times be staggered to minimise contact with other workers? These are all questions that must be answered. Enforcement must be in place with sanctions against employers who put their workers at risk”.
Thorough risk assessments should be carried out with the full involvement of Trade Union Health and Safety reps. Sheffield TUC is demanding access to non-union workplaces to inspect/carry out risk assessments where employers cannot or will not do it themselves.
“In unionised workplaces, risk assessments are carried out with the involvement of the trade union. We are very concerned about non-unionised workplaces where low pay and precarious conditions prevail, for instance in fast food, retail and hospitality sectors – often because the boss is anti-union. We need to satisfy ourselves that workers will not be put at risk” says Martin Mayer.
What will the policy be on Self-Isolation? In too many low-paid workplaces, those self-isolating are just on £94.25p per week SSP. Poverty is driving people back to work when it’s not safe to do so. We demand full-pay for those self-isolating. The Government must act now to enforce this.
We support the Teachers Trade Union NEU in their demand to the Government that schools should not re-open until there is the scientific evidence that is safe. Social distancing in schools is simply not possible, says the NEU.
You can see the letter from NEU Joint General Secretaries to the Government here: https://neu.org.uk/press-releases/school-opening
Before we go back to work let’s:
- ensure that all returning workers requiring PPE receive it
- ensure that comprehensive testing for Covid-19 is rolled out nationwide
- see conclusive evidence taking into consideration all of the factors inherent in a workplace that says it is as safe as it can be to return.
- ensure that trade unions have been fully consulted nationally and at local level to enable the necessary adaptations.
We want to return to our jobs but won’t compromise on our health or that of those who interact with us. The economy is important but not worth sacrificing lives of working class people unnecessarily.
Note for editors
Sheffield Trade Union Council has led a call for trades unions, health professionals, campaign groups and others to come together in collaboration to form the Sheffield TUC CV-19 Council of Action.
For comment/interview would editors please initially contact:
- Martin Mayer, Secretary Sheffield Trades Council on 07761078482
- Bob Jeffery President Sheffield Trades Council on 07714 760672
We can provide contact details for others for specialist comment e.g. health professionals, emergency services, schools etc.
A Facebook page has been launched: Sheffield TUC CV-19 Council of Action.
A comprehensive statement of our aims and a list of demands has been drawn up
We shall be issuing frequent press statements with comment and analysis and launching social media campaigns on key issues
Our top demand is TEST TEST TEST! And then trace, isolate and treat. This is the only proven way to get on top of the virus and protect our communities
NO END TO LOCKDOWN WITHOUT COMPREHENSIVE TESTING AND TRACING, CONTACTING AND ISOLATION