The Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, has said that workers will be asked to work from home to combat the growth in cases of COVID-19.
Mr Gove described this latest change of direction as a ‘shift in emphasis’. He went on to say that with the rate of infection increasing, the government ‘needed to act.’
However, those in the ‘COVID secure’ workplaces will still be encouraged to go to work.
The news comes against a backdrop of a steep increase in infections, with 4,368 cases recorded daily – an increase of 1,747 on last week.
The Workers Union says
We are delighted that the government has listened to us and made a U-turn on returning to the office. The tragedy is that they took so long. For months we’ve been saying workers needed additional protections. For months we’ve been arguing that ‘COVID-secure’ means nothing without oversight. Our country’s resources are already stretched to the limit. Putting people under pressure to get back to the workplace just offered this terrible virus more opportunities to spread.
What need to see now is leadership and a willingness to take decisive action. We understand that the government is unlikely to order another total lockdown. If that’s the case, clear, unambiguous messaging and a roadmap of the next steps are essential. With hospitality giants Whitbread slashing 6,000 jobs and other companies planning further lay offs, it’s more important than ever.
Working people are suffering terrible uncertainty, and any more pressure on their jobs and living-standards will prove disastrous. So we’re calling for clear-eyed, uncomplicated instructions that help everybody to understand the rules and reduce the rate of infection. In doing this, we’ll stand a chance of dodging another shutdown of our economy.
Like everyone else, we want to see this country return to normal as soon as possible. But this will only happen if the government delivers the right messaging, with the right support, at the right time.
If we see evidence of this, we’ll be amongst the first to get behind Boris. Until then, we have one obligation and obligation only: to protect working people.
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union