One minute’s silence for those who have lost their lives at work and renewed calls for protections as coronavirus death toll continues among workers
Brighton and Hove Greens have called for both remembrance and action to support all workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, many of whom have already lost their lives.
Greens will join with trade union movements around the world to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day, Tuesday 28th April, observing a minute’s silence at 11am to pay tribute to workers who have lost their lives during the pandemic.
More than 90 front-line NHS workers are confirmed to have died in the UK since 25th March, with global figures for employee deaths related to covid19 much higher. Greens say that without proper personal protective equipment (PPE), many more people could lose their lives, reiterating a call for PPE to all staff who need it – not only those identified by government as ‘front line.’ Pointing to concerns from care home staff across the city, Greens say there are fears that PPE is still not reaching all those who need it. The council has also made ‘urgent appeals’ for PPE through its press and media centre.
Greens say failures to establish appropriate supply chains through central Government could be contributing to PPE delays, including the Government’s ‘Clipper’ system that was designed to provide a central hub for supply. The Local Government Association has this week reported that the ‘Clipper’ distribution system is yet to be fully operational, despite promises it would ‘rapidly mobilise’ to support local councils and health care facilities in urgent need of more PPE supplies.
Convenor of the Green Group, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty commented:
“As we stand together to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day, we remember all those who have died as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and our thoughts are with their loved ones. It is a disgrace that despite having been in lockdown for well over a month, there are still so few guarantees on testing, protective equipment and support for workers – from cleaners and porters to NHS staff and shop assistants.
“We have repeatedly condemned the fact that personal protective equipment (PPE) is still not with all those who need it. From the start of the pandemic, Greens have been calling for transparency and clarity over the issue of PPE. We have been repeatedly pushing for more supplies to get to frontline workers. From our 10 questions to public health officials to repeated warnings about our city’s care homes, we maintain that more can and must be done.
“Our concerns are also expressed in a cross party letter to ministers last week calling on the Government to massively improve the reliability of ‘Clipper,’ the distribution system that is miserably failing councils across the country.
“We know that the Government were warned months ago about the consequences of not taking action to protect workers during the pandemic. The Health Secretary dismissed claims about Covid19 on 24th January and the Prime Minister repeatedly failed to attend key meetings. Workers in our city and across the world have once again, at the height of a crisis, gone above and beyond to help those in need. From NHS and social care workers to those in our food supply chain- many of them migrant workers or on dismal pay and working in poor conditions- through the course of their essential jobs are being put in harm’s way.
“So while we stand in solidarity, observe silence and remembrance, Greens repeat our call for action for worker safety and for protective equipment for every worker who needs it. ”