Brixton Buzz fully agrees with MP for Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham, who today expressed concern over a “premature” return to work.
Boris Johnson’s confusing announcement yesterday saw tubes and buses packed this morning as workers are forced into their workplaces, raising fears for the safety of workers.
MP for Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham, voiced concerns about the government’s announcement yesterday, which seemed to mark the end of its coronavirus shutdown policy.
His criticism came on the same day that the ONS released professional statistics revealing the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on working class workers.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham, said:
“The Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday was dangerously confusing, but one thing was obvious: the government chose to give employers, not employees, the power to decide when it is safe to return to work.
“We need to be clear about who will be most affected by these confusing messages. Overwhelmingly, those forced to put their health at risk when returning to work early are employed in manual working-class jobs. These workers cannot do their jobs from their homes and were already disproportionately infected and affected by the coronavirus – as shown by current ONS occupational data.
“We are back in an all too familiar situation where people are asked to choose to protect their health or to experience financial difficulties. Without binding commitments to employers and without clear workplace enforcement measures, workers are forced to rely on the goodwill of their employers or risk losing their jobs.
“I would like to point out two things to Streatham workers who do not feel safe. First, you have the right to challenge a dangerous workplace under section 44 of the Employment Act 1996. Second, joining a union before you return to work will also allow you to benefit from their support. “
While social media can be very effective in times of crisis, it can also spread dangerous and confusing disinformation. There are particularly well-informed discussions on the dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19 forum on urban75.