PRESS RELEASE Sunday, 21 February 2021
After 7 weeks of lockdown, why are new infections still so high?
Workplaces are a growing cause of COVID transmission says important TUC report
On Monday 22nd February the Prime Minister tells the nation our route out of COVID lockdown restrictions. “A damming TUC report shows workers are still catching COVID in unsafe workplaces, and passing it on to their families and friends and the wider community” said Martin Mayer. “The rate of new infections may have been falling nationally but far too slowly, and the reason is clear – the Government’s cavalier attitude towards workplace COVID safety”
“Right form the start of the pandemic, trade unions have been calling for tighter regulations to protect workers. We demanded employers publish their risk assessments and that trade union health and safety shop stewards have access to all workplaces – this was ignored by the Government. We called for workplace inspections and tough sanctions against unsafe employers – the Government ignored this too. We have demanded clear and concise guidelines on appropriate PPE and social distancing, and the right of workers to use Section 44 to stop work if they feel it is unsafe – again this was ignored. We called for workers to be paid full pay if self-isolating so they wouldn’t be forced to go back to work to survive – this was ignored too”” said Martin Mayer.
An important TUC report just released says “The number of Covid reports made to workplace safety regulators hit a record high in January, newly released official statistics have revealed. The figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show January 2021 had the three highest numbers of weekly workplace Covid reports since the start of the pandemic.” What’s more regulating these workplaces is almost non-existent. The report continues: “The government’s health and safety watchdog has failed to shut down any workplaces that put employees at risk of coronavirus even though there have been over 3,500 outbreaks at work since the start of the pandemic. An analysis of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) enforcement database reveals there have been no Covid-related prohibition notices, which allow inspectors to immediately halt activity in workplaces deemed injurious or damaging to health, since last March.
Read the full report here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-union-health-and-safety-news-number-985-17-february-2021(Risks is the TUC’s weekly newsletter for safety reps and others, sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors).
See the following links for further alarming reports of workplace dangers from COVID that have bene ignored by the Government
- Covid reports hit a record workplace high
- HSE refuses to close Covid-risk workplaces
- Covid rule-breakers face jail – except employers
- Campaign raises ‘extreme concern’ over HSE role
- Covid work death serial law breaker not prosecuted
- Health board blames work outbreaks for Covid spike
“One thing is clear- you have much higher chance of staying safe at work if you are a member of a trade union”, said Martin Mayer. “Our trade union Health and Safety reps have done a brilliant job during this pandemic, pressurising bosses to introduce safe working practices to minimise the chance of COVID transmission. But we are most concerned about low-cost workers in non-union workplaces where COVID protections are a joke”.
“Workers should join us to stand up for justice, whatever the issues” said Martin Mayer “Join a trade union today!” Any workers who want to discuss how to do this and get help organising should get in touch with Sheffield TUC in the first instance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending a message on our Sheffield TUC Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Sheffield-TUC-136443963099901/
For more information, please contact Martin Mayer Secretary on 0776 1078482