The Workers Union has issued a stark warning to government leaders in the wake of the Corona virus outbreak. Chief spokesman for the Union, Johnathan Morgan, hit out at the ‘speed and quality’ of the measures put in place by senior ministers, calling the present situation a ‘travesty.’
The number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the UK currently stands at 456, but experts fear that that this is just the tip of the iceberg. And with markets spooked and many workers self-isolating, issues of economic growth, flexible working and sick pay are firmly back on the agenda.
Speaking this afternoon, Morgan said: ‘We urgently need a national taskforce to tackle this situation – both from a public health as well as economic perspective. We can talk all we like about isolation for infected people, but the cold reality is that a lot of damage is already being done up and down the country. Hard working people have been punished enough by years of government austerity and now they face the very real prospect of the company they work for collapsing thanks to fractured supply chains or lock downs in other countries.
‘We want to see a fund made available that supports businesses struggling to pay their staff. We think it should be backed up with an emergency review of the law that stops those on low incomes and statutory sick pay (SSP) from worrying about their financial situation. Under the current rules, workers who earn less than £118 a week are ineligible for SSP, which would mean that up to 2 million people would suffer financial hardship if they had the misfortune to contract the virus. That’s neither right nor fair and ministers should be doing everything in their power to ensure that the life prospects and livelihoods of innocent people are protected.’
In recent weeks The Workers Union has conducted its own research into employer responses to the outbreak. The results were startling:
- 70 percent of respondents told us that they have had no bulletins about the virus
- 80 percent of respondents who travel as part of their job said bans had only been issued on travel to China
- 85 percent of respondents said that their company could offer more guidance about hygiene, remote working policies and other ‘preventative measures’
Johnathan Morgan again: ‘We’re still working with our members and their employers to try come to a resolution regarding the best way forward. Businesses can do more in terms of planning and assistance for staff, but they can’t do it all on their own. All of us need central government to step up and deliver sensible policies that balance the needs of business and the economy with the very human story that’s unfolding by the hour.’
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union