Hazards Campaign calls for Zero-Covid strategy by all the Governments in the UK

News release, 27 November 2020
Covid day of action 5 December, across the UK and online

News bulletin for immediate release 

The Hazards Campaign accuses the belligerent UK Government of driving up workplace infections and deaths  and calls on all its members to demonstrate safely  in favour of a Zero-Covid strategy by all the Governments in the UK on  5th December.  There will be socially distanced demonstrations, and other actions including online events held across the UK to demand that the Nation Governments follow a Zero-Covid strategy to protect the health of the people of all nations. (1)(2)

Next week the UK Government change the National Lockdown criteria in England to local tier groups.  Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also implementing varying tiers and controls to limit individual movement and contacts.  This has left the UK in chaos. With different standards depending on the country, county and even city you live in, but for many workers there has been no reduction in the  risks that they face at work.

Workplaces like schools, public transport, construction sites, food processing plants, offices etc where transmission risks  continue to be ignored by their employers, the enforcement authorities and the Government.  With a rising incidents of workplace Covid-19 clusters, Janet Newsham the chair of the Hazards Campaign  demands that workplace risks of infections are properly controlled.

his means properly assessing and then preventing or controlling all the risks, from when the worker leaves their house to attending their workplace, to navigating safe places to have their lunch breaks, to returning home afterwards.

Janet says:  ‘This daily risk roulette makes workers anxious.  Many are contracting the virus because their workplaces simply are not controlling all the risks of transmission especially from airborne aerosols in poorly ventilated buildings.  Infected workers then take the virus back to their homes, to their families and into their communities.  Through no fault of their own, simply because their employer is not ensuring all risks are controlled, workers and their families are at great risk .’  (3)(4)

Two weeks ago, the HSE released figures about the number of people who have died in incidents that are reported to the RIDDOR system which Janet says:  ‘is a fraction of the actual numbers of people who had died over the previous year because of their work.

‘More than 50,000 have died because they had been exposed to dangerous substances, toxic chemicals, stressful working conditions and other life shortening working conditions that affect their health and leaves them with chronic conditions.  Workers are dying in their thousands because of all these and the additional fatalities not recorded on the RIDDOR system which includes workers who die at sea, in air crashes, on the railways, in road incidents and by suicide because of uncontrolled pressures at work.  This year there have been thousands killed because they were exposed to Covid-19.

‘Many working on the frontline, many essential workers have died because PPE wasn’t at the right standard or wasn’t available for them.  Black workers have been disproportionally affected and the inequalities they face in society means that they were overrepresented in some of the most dangerous jobs and in the fatalities.’ (5)

‘Many workers will be left with Long-Covid which encompasses many different chronic  physical and mental health conditions that will impact on their quality of life and life expectancy. ’ (6)

‘The Prime Minister is under pressure from his back benchers and business owners to ease all restrictions on businesses in England, just as other nation Governments have been keen to prioritise business interests above public health.  This constant battle of wills serves no purpose in establishing a strategy for reducing the transmission of the virus, especially when private companies have been bequeathed lucrative deals on services and support, which they had no or little experience of before the pandemic.  Deals which have given them £ms but left thousands dead because they couldn’t and haven’t delivered what was needed to combat the virus.

‘Any easing of the lockdown before other controls are working properly will land us all back in enforced lockdown after Christmas and a prolonged state of anxiety and risk of becoming infected.  If the Governments don’t respond with stricter measures, many more people will die.  People have already said they would rather have a quiet Christmas than following their parents and Grandparents to the crematorium in January.  We need a different approach.’

On December 5th the Hazards Campaign joins others in putting pressure on the Governments across the UK to follow a Zero-Covid strategy.  This includes only relaxing Lockdown when:

  • Employers can  ensure  they are only open for business if they are certified are Covid-safe from all methods of transmission by enforcement authorities,
  • Find Track, Trace Isolate with Support system is funded under local control, working effectively with a high contact level and financial support, to ensure everyone is able to isolate and is financially supported when they are sick.
  • Support and resources, more space and improved ventilation is provided in our schools, colleges and universities.
  • Governments are prepared to work with the collective voice of workers in different sectors, to work with trade unions to control the risks to their members health.
  • The UK is made up of islands and therefore restrictions on entry into the islands must be controlled to stop importing new cases and this can easily be achieved through quarantine and testing.

‘Finally, we call on  the UK Governments to follow the Zero-Covid strategy, communicate clearly with the public and introduce transparency and simple messaging so that everyone understands what needs to happen and why, to ensure the health of the people in all its nations until a vaccine is available for everyone.’

For further information relevant to the speakers and subject:

  1. Zero Covid Campaign
  2. A Better Way To Go: towards to a Zero COVID UK,   Independent Sage Zero-Covid Strategy
  3. Hazards Campaign and Independent SAGE call for no workers to return to workplaces unless Covid safety plans are in place
  4. The COVID-19 Safe Workplace Charter and briefing document on ending work lockdowns in GB, Joint Independent Sage and Hazards Charter and document
  5. http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/thewholestory.pdf
  6. https://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/blog/hazards-campaign-thursday-talk-the-challenges-of-long-covid-2

Hazards Campaign News Releases

Hazards Campaign details
website www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
twitter @hazardscampaign
facebook www.facebook.com/groups/123746101003963
If you need more information please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk
or call Janet 07734 317 158

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

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