By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 22 February 2022 • 17:10
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said workers will be forced to make a terrible choice as Covid-19 rules are scrapped in England, the risk of infecting colleagues or losing income whilst self-isolating.
The union, which has around 5.5 million members, argues that lifting the rules would put two million workers who do not qualify for sick pay in a precarious position if the legal requirement to self-isolate is removed.
Kate Bell speaking for the TUC said: “If they have got Covid, they want to be able to stay at home without facing a terrible choice about whether that means losing income for a week, and they want to keep their colleagues safe and the other people they work with safe too.”
The warning from the union came ahead of the expected update from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that saw him announce the scrapping of all remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England. The move removes the legal requirement for someone who contracts the virus to self-isolate, effectively giving them the choice to stay at home or to continue working thereby exposing colleagues and bystanders.
At the same time Johnson announced the government would stop providing free Covid tests in England from April, a move that has resulted in a shortage as people look to stock up. It was also condemned by the TUC’s General Secretary Frances O’Grady who said ahead of its confirmation that the government was preparing to “gamble” on people’s health.
Business Minister Paul Scully told the BBC’s Today program that the move was required to save money that “could be spent on other priorities,” as Covid case numbers fall.
England is not the only country to have scrapped its Covid-19 rules with Denmark having made the decision weeks ago, a country that has handed their residents the choice.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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