Rachael Maskell MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights Secretary, has written to the Prime Minister demanding protection from all workers, highlighting that “bad employment” worsens the risk of coronavirus spreading.
Maskell has received numerous examples of those working in non-essential industries such as in warehouses, factories, call centres and construction sites. Many are continuing to work due to concerns over the reach and timeliness of financial packages. Workers have reported unsafe working environments including no appropriate PPE, little or no hygiene facilities, and no social distances practices. Often it appears that employers are operating in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
In addition, many essential workers in public facing roles – such as NHS staff, community pharmacists, and food retail staff – are continuing to work without the necessary PPE.
The Shadow Employment Rights Secretary has highlighted in her letter the risks of coronavirus infection not only among workers but among commuters on crowded public transport and the risks of workers bringing the infection back to their homes and communities.
Labour calls for “strict and enforceable closure” of non-essential workplaces until businesses can resume with safe working practices.