Labour Research November 2021


Covid rise needs urgent action

Unions have warned that the country risks “sleep-walking into a winter of chaos” unless urgent action is taken to curb the rise in Covid cases.

A joint statement by unions representing millions of public and customer-facing workers said ministers cannot afford a “laissez-faire approach to managing the pandemic”.

They called for urgent action, including mandatory face coverings on transport and in shops, and an increase to sick pay. “Dithering and delaying will only make the situation worse” said union heads representing the TUC, UNISON, Unite, GMB, Usdaw, RMT, TSSA and ASLEF.

Highlighting the need to keep workers safe, the union leaders called for a range of measures:

• make the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport mandatory;

• remind employers of their legal obligation to manage the risks of Covid-19;

• employers who fail to adequately control risks must receive “tough and decisive” enforcement action;

• there needs to be an urgent uplift in the rate of Statutory Sick Pay to the rate of the Real Living Wage, and for it to be available to all workers; and

• employers must support the roll-out of booster jabs by giving staff paid time off for vaccination.