Commenting on Monday 25th January 2021 figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which show a higher rate of Covid-19 deaths among workers in low-paid and insecure jobs, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Everyone should be safe at work. But this pandemic has exposed huge inequalities in our labour market.
“People working in low-paid and insecure jobs have been forced to shoulder much higher risk, with too many losing their lives.
“The government urgently needs to beef up its workplace safety guidance and get tough on employers who put their workers in harm’s way.
“Ministers must stop turning a blind eye to unsafe workplaces. It beggar’s belief that not one employer has been prosecuted and fined for breaking Covid safety rules.”
The TUC says that workplace-related Covid-19 deaths are vastly under-reported, with very few reports of occupational exposure to Covid-19 having been made.
This is despite legislation requiring employers to report work-related infections and deaths to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The TUC is calling on the government to:
- Require employers to formally report instances of Covid-19 infection and deaths where they are linked to an outbreak.
- Toughen up workplace safety rules so they are in line with the latest science and do more to curb outbreaks.
- Clamp down much harder on rule-breaking bosses, including those who are still not meeting the legal requirement of conducting a risk assessment.
- Urgently boost sick pay to the real living wage so that people can afford to self-isolate when they need to. And they must make sick pay available to all workers.