Commenting on the second report published today (Tuesday) by Public Health England (PHE) on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black communities, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
“The government must act now. Words and promises to do something in the future won’t cut it any longer.
“The pandemic has brought home just how many frontline care and health employees are from Black communities. They’ve suffered a heavy toll and need better protecting now, before the almost inevitable second Covid spike.
“The government’s failure to release the PHE data and recommendations together was a huge mistake. It’s caused further mistrust and damage to the Black community at a time when people need reassurance, not dither, delay and excuses.
“More thorough risk assessments, targeted testing and moving vulnerable workers out of reach of the virus are paramount. That means recommending the use of masks and face coverings in care homes and schools too.
“People will also want to see exactly how structural and institutional racism in all areas of employment, housing, education and every other aspect of life in the UK are to be eradicated.”
Note to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, private and voluntary sectors.