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Frontline workers continue to face safety challenges

21st May 2020

The nation will once again #ClapForKeyWorkers this evening and the Community union says that the focus on ensuring frontline workers are safe is still a number one priority. The union continues to receive regular reports of safety concerns from its members on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis.

Community has members across a range of frontline services – including health, social care and education, as well as its justice, custodial and immigration services sector.

Community National Organiser, Ted Purcell, who is in constant contact with frontline workers, said:

“Safety absolutely remains the number one issue at the moment: whether it’s the continuing challenges for our members in social care, worries about returning to work, or the ongoing concerns about PPE.

“In particular, the debate with government about how to safely increase the number of kids attending schools is a big issue for members at the moment. It’s a complex challenge and it’s important that discussions continue. Community is fully on the side of our members and will continue to push employers and government to make sure it’s safe to work.”

Almost 1,500 people have signed Community’s petition calling for appropriate PPE for all workers.

Trade unions have set a number of tests to be met before the full re-opening of schools:

• Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle
• No increase in pupil numbers until full rollout of a national test and trace scheme
• A national Covid-19 education taskforce with government, unions and education stakeholders to agree statutory guidance for safe reopening of schools
• Consideration of the specific needs of vulnerable students and families facing economic disadvantage
• Additional resources for enhanced school cleaning, PPE and risk assessments
• Local autonomy to close schools where testing indicates clusters of new covid-19 cases

Community continues to engage with employers across frontline organisations in the best interests of its members, looking for constructive and practical solutions to ensure everyone is safe at work.

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