The government must act immediately to protect Black workers from Covid-19 by closing gaps that create health inequalities and poverty and ensuring workplaces are safe, says UNISON today (Tuesday).
The union has written to the Prime Minister urging him to implement all Public Health England’s (PHE) recommendations such as developing comprehensive risk assessments for Black staff to reduce their chance of coronavirus exposure and infection.
It follows the publication last week of a PHE report which concluded that the risk of dying is higher among BAME people than in white ethnic groups – a finding that UNISON says needs urgent answers.
The letter from general secretary Dave Prentis calls on the Prime Minister to take action including closing ethnicity and disability pay gaps, bringing into force laws to ask public authorities to consider how their policies increase or decrease inequality, and to set up a race advisory board to inform government policy-making.
In the letter, Dave Prentis says: “Coronavirus is inextricably linked to inequality. Urgent action is needed to close the gaps in health inequalities and poverty that accelerate susceptibility to coronavirus and life expectancy.
“Poverty is a political choice. Ending deprivation and rising inequality must be a government priority as the UK deals with the economic, health and social challenges of the pandemic.
“Black workers and communities deserve to have the PHE report acted upon and their lives valued and protected as all others.”
Notes 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, voluntary and private sectors.
Sophie Goodchild M: 07767 325595 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: email@example.com