The TUC has criticised the Prime Minister’s announcement today (Tuesday) for not guaranteeing Covid tests to nearly enough key workers.
The scheme will guarantee daily tests for 100,000 'critical workers’ from 10 January. However, under the government’s own definition of a key worker, 10.6 million of those employed (33% of the total workforce) are in key worker occupations and industries. The scheme will therefore guarantee daily Covid tests for only 1% of key workers.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“This scheme will only reach one in every hundred key workers. It’s hopelessly inadequate.
“Key workers do their vital work in teams. Surgeons and nurses need cleaners and porters. Food supply needs producers, warehouse staff, drivers, and retailers. Ministers must explain who is left out, and what they should do if they can’t get tested.
“The Prime Minister has known about the shortage of tests for weeks. It beggars belief that he is doing so little, so late.”
- Number of key workers: Figures for the number of keyworkers come from analysis by the Office for National Statistics of the UK workforce in 2019: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/articles/coronavirusandkeyworkersintheuk/2020-05-15
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