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Risks is the TUC's weekly newsletter for safety reps and others, sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors.



Employers ‘massively under-reporting’ Covid deaths

The number of people who have died of work-related Covid-19 is being “massively under-reported” by employers, according to a new TUC report. ‘RIDDOR, Covid and under-reporting’ highlights a huge discrepancy between Covid work-related deaths reported by employers and data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Public Health England. The TUC says between April 2020 and April 2021 the ONS reported that 15,263 people of working age died from Covid.  But according to the legally-requird reports filed by employers just 387 (2.5 per cent) of these deaths came from workers contracting Covid at work. The union body says this under-reporting under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) duties has badly undermined health and safety enforcement during the pandemic. The TUC believes the true number of work-related deaths are much higher, “especially considering the high number of breaches of safety protocols seen during the pandemic and the high numbers of outbreaks.” It is also highly critical of the near absence of enforcement action. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Employers have massively under-reported Covid work-related deaths and infections. This has made it much harder for regulators to track where outbreaks are happening and allowed bad bosses to get away with flagrant labour rights abuses.” She added: “It’s staggering that not a single employer has been prosecuted for putting workers at risk of contracting Covid-19. The government must fix the deficiencies in how workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries are reported. The current system is letting bosses off the hook. And ministers must fund enforcement bodies properly so they can recruit and train qualified workplace inspectors, inspect more workplaces, and prosecute companies who don’t keep their workers safe.”
TUC news release. RIDDOR, Covid and under-reporting, TUC, 23 May 2021. The Observer. Morning Star.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Care staff are more likely to decline jab if threatened

Care staff are nearly twice as likely to turn down a Covid jab if they’ve been threatened or not given vaccination advice by their employer, according to a UNISON survey. The union says the findings – based on responses from over 4,000 workers across the UK, including those in care homes and in the community – suggest forcing care employees to get the jab is likely to backfire. Widespread take-up of the Covid vaccine across the care workforce is essential, says UNISON. But it believes government plans for mandatory vaccinations would be counterproductive and could trigger employee shortages in a sector it says is already in crisis. The union has detailed its concerns in evidence to a Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) consultation on proposals to make the jab compulsory for workers in care homes for the elderly in England. The majority (88 per cent) of care workers taking part in UNISON’s survey had received a jab, compared with just over one in ten (12 per cent) who had not. UNISON found care staff are far more likely to turn down a Covid jab if they have been threatened with penalties. One in five care workers (21 per cent) who had faced threats and had also not been given any support said they had not been vaccinated, compared with the 12 per cent of staff overall who said they did not get a jab. UNISON senior national officer for social care Gavin Edwards said: “Vaccinations are the way out of this pandemic. But forcing staff to get jabbed won’t work, nor will threats and bullying. The government should concentrate on persuasion and reassurance. The care sector is facing huge staff shortages. This already dire situation will only get worse if employees feel coerced and unsupported.”
UNISON news release and full submission to the DHSC.

UK government must support seafarer vaccination

The UK government must follow the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Special Tripartite Committee (STC) on vaccinations for seafarers, organisations representing workers and the shipping industry have said. Seafarers’ union Nautilus International and the UK Chamber of Shipping (UKCS) have written a joint letter to maritime minister Robert Courts urging action. In the letter, Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson and UKCS chief executive Bob Sanguinetti note the UK government's positive decision to recognise seafarers as key workers, but ask that it now follow the example of Belgium, the Netherlands and France by instigating seafarer-specific vaccination programmes. They also highlight the creation of seafarer vaccination hubs in the United States and plans for a global vaccination hub organised by the government of Gibraltar. The letter states: “We believe that the UK government should act and follow the examples set by the aforementioned. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) with wide industry support including that of the International Transport Workers' Federation on behalf of the world’s seafarers have released the ‘Coronavirus Roadmap for Vaccination of International Seafarers’, which can be used during the planning and roll-out stages of a seafarer specific vaccination programme. As such, providing this opportunity as a leading maritime nation is a viable and realistic solution to combat the global crew change crisis and facilitate global trade.”
Nautilus news release. Coronavirus Roadmap for Vaccination of International Seafarers, ICS, May 2021.

‘Vital’ data on Covid in schools must be released

Teaching union NASUWT is calling on Public Health England (PHE) to publish all data it has on the growth and spread of the B.1.617.2 coronavirus variant in schools, amid accusations it is withholding crucial information from the public. Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said: “Teachers, schools leaders and parents will want to know why Public Health England is withholding crucial information on the spread of the Coronavirus ‘Indian variant’, known as B.1.617.2 in schools. The latest data that has been released shows the variant becoming dominant in more regions of England and more transmissible than the previous ‘Kent variant’. Because of this deeply concerning situation safety measures in schools are vitally important and schools and colleges must do everything they can to make sure all essential and appropriate mitigations are in place.” He added: “Where vital information regarding the spread in schools of variants is not being shared, school and college risk assessments will not be worth the paper they are printed on and pupils and staff will potentially be placed at unnecessary risk. The government has said that it is committed to transparency. Ministers need to answer whether this information will be shared immediately with local employers and school workforce unions and if not, why not.” The UK government faced criticism after imposing restrictions in eight areas in England worst-hit by the Indian coronavirus variant. In a hasty u-turn, the advice was amended on 25 May, with the government saying it was not imposing the local restrictions, which were only advisory. Local authorities in affected areas said they had not been consulted on the measures.
NASUWT news release. Amended government advice for ‘areas where the new Covid-19 variant is spreading’. BBC News Online.

GMB win on Heathrow ‘red list’ risks

Workers at Heathrow are to be better protected after the union GMB raised serious infection concerns and won safer procedures. GMB praised Heathrow Airport for ‘doing the right thing’ and provided a dedicated terminal for arrivals from ‘red list’ countries. The move came a day after the union called publicly for the move, following claims by workers the situation had gone 'ballistic’ as soon as the UK opened its borders to India. Before its concerns were addressed, GMB said travellers from different lists were stuck in a bottleneck before immigration, mixing without perspex screens and forced to drink from the same communal water fountain. The union is now seeking assurances from the UK government that it has a plan in place should the number of red list countries rise further, with the recent explosion of cases of the Indian variant of Covid. Nadine Houghton, GMB’s national aviation officer, said the improved procedures came after the union highlighted the risk at Heathrow as red list passengers mixed with amber and green list travellers. She commented: “Heathrow has done the right thing and provided a dedicated arrivals area at T3 for red list travellers. Ministers still need to explain how infrastructure will cope if more countries are added to the red list and we will be seeking assurances from the government on this.”
GMB news release and earlier news release.

Targeted strike action at DVLA over Covid safety

PCS this week served notice of further strike action at the vehicle licensing office DVLA, whose Swansea offices have been hit with hundreds of Covid-19 infections (Risks 995). The targeted action has been called to press DVLA management into an agreement and to end the dispute over health and safety (Risks 997). The civil service union said it is calling its contact centre members, whether working on site or from home, to take strike action from Monday 7 June to Saturday 12 June. This is in addition to broader strike action at DVLA due to take place from 2-5 June. PCS says its members in the contact centre are under huge pressure from backlogs and call volume. It adds members report high levels of burnout and work-related stress. The union says it is concerned about staff wellbeing and has fought for respite for these members who have been on site throughout the pandemic. It notes the contact centre had a Covid outbreak in December 2020 and “the nature of the work means that this area of the site is susceptible to a rapid rise in cases.” The union concludes: “Sustained action in the contact centre is the most effective way to win this dispute for all members at the DVLA. Taking fewer members on strike in a targeted way will allow for more sustained action.”
PCS news release.

Post Covid push for civil service flexible working

Civil service union PCS has said flexible working should be the norm after the Covid-19 pandemic concludes. The union’s call followed the announcement that the 63,500 tax office workers employed by HMRC will be able to work from home two days a week, under a new flexible working policy due come into operation from 1 June. Earlier in May, prime minister Boris Johnson was insisting that the government’s work from home advice is set to be dropped on 21 June, telling MPs that UK cities depend on “people having the confidence of going to work”. But HMRC said it wanted to “recognise the benefits of smarter ways of working” in its new pay and working reforms. In response to a freedom of information (FOI) request by the PA news agency, HMRC said: “Where the role is suitable, employees will have the opportunity (though not a contractual entitlement) to work from home for two days per week, or more where the business agrees.” It added it was “committed to supporting as many employees as possible to work from home where this works for their personal circumstances and the role they do”. PCS said it has a default position that civil servants work from home where they can and insists five tests for safe working must be passed where going into the workplace is essential.  The union said “once it is safe to return to the workplace, PCS will be demanding the civil service takes a flexible approach to office work and liaises with staff and union representatives to decide what is best for both safety and the individual needs of workers.”
PCS news release and five tests for safe working. ITV News.


New Amazon safety tech is a dangerous admission

Amazon has finally admitted it has a workplace safety problem after introducing new health and safety technology to one of its warehouses, GMB has said. A site in Yorkshire has been chosen by the online giant to trial technology in its UK operations which it says will support safer ways of working - including automated guided vehicles and robot sorters. GMB investigations have revealed hundreds of ambulance call outs to Amazon warehouses and hundreds more serious injuries or near misses, but the company had denied repeatedly there is a problem. Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said: “The pace and schedule of work delivered by Amazon’s algorithms dehumanise work. They damage worker wellbeing and have caused literally hundreds of ambulance call outs to Amazon warehouses.”  He added: “Amazon denies its workplaces are unsafe despite a mountain of evidence that contradicted them. Now, it appears Amazon finally admits it has a problem and has introduced technology to make warehouses safer. Imposing new technology from above isn’t enough. If Amazon is serious about addressing its health and safety problems then it should recognise an independent workers’ voice and get round the table with GMB Union to agree safer ways of working.” The union Unite this week urged Amazon shareholders to intervene over the “shocking” treatment of the company’s supply chain workers. To coincide with the delivery giant’s shareholders’ meeting on 26 May, activists protested outside Amazon’s Fashion Studio in London’s East End to highlight the corporation’s poor treatment of workers and its use of anti-union tactics around the world (Risks 992). The move came in the wake of the company’s announcement that it plans a large increase in its operations in Britain.
GMB news release. Morning Star. Hackney Gazette.

Bus win means walk out on remote sign-on is off

Planned London bus strikes slated for 25 May were called off after the operator Metroline agreed to halt a remote sign-on process Unite warned would lead to fatigue, lack of access to welfare facilities and other hazards (Risks 996). The dispute involving more than 4,000 bus drivers was prompted by Metroline’s plans to introduce the controversial system, in which drivers do not report to a depot but meet a bus along a route, such as at a bus stop. Following the threat of industrial action, the company this week agreed not to proceed. Instead, Metroline has guaranteed that the measure will not be introduced on current or new routes until 31 December 2022. Unite’s members, who had recorded over a 95 per cent ‘yes’ vote in favour of industrial action in opposition to remote sign-on, voted by over 80 per cent to accept the new proposal. Unite regional officer Mary Summers said: “This is an excellent result for our members at Metroline who were rightly fearful of how remote sign-on would affect their pay, health and wellbeing. By standing together in solidarity, our members have forced Metroline to return to the negotiating table think again and drop their remote sign-on plans for now.” She added: “The level of anger expressed by Metroline workers demonstrates how deeply unpopular and potentially dangerous remote sign-on is among London bus drivers.” Unite is participating in research into remote sign-on launched by Transport for London (TfL).
Unite news release.

MP gets ‘slap on the wrist’ for sexual misconduct

In any normal employment setting the “inappropriate and predatory” behaviour of MP Rob Roberts would probably have been classed as gross misconduct and seen him fired, the civil service union Prospect has said. The union was commenting after the Conservative MP for Delyn, Rob Roberts, was found by an independent panel to be guilty of sexual misconduct and suspended from parliament for six weeks. The finding by the panel does not subject Mr Robert to the Recall Act, where a sitting MP can face losing their seat if enough people in their constituency sign a petition effectively calling for a new vote. Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of Prospect, said: “It is disappointing that the level of sanction that has been imposed on Rob Roberts is little more than a slap on the wrist. In any normal employment setting the facts established in the report would likely amount to gross misconduct and the perpetrator of those actions be dismissed.” He said the suspension “will do little to reassure Prospect members in parliament that they will be protected from inappropriate and predatory behaviour. The Committee on Standards should now consider using the terms of the Recall Act to allow the people of Delyn the opportunity to determine whether or not Rob Roberts should remain as their MP. In light of his behaviour there needs to be sufficient sanction for a recall petition to be submitted – that is after all why the Recall Act was implemented.”
Prospect news release. Independent Excerpt Panel report, 25 May 2021. BBC News Online.

Teachers 'struggle to deal with classroom sexual abuse'

Teachers say they do not feel equipped to deal with peer-on-peer sexual abuse because they have had no training. More than 1,500 UK teachers replied to a questionnaire from BBC Radio 4's File on 4 programme and teachers’ union the NASUWT. More than half said they did not think adequate procedures were in place in their schools to deal with abuse. Of the teachers surveyed, almost a third said they had witnessed peer-on-peer sexual harassment or abuse and almost one in 10 said they saw it on a weekly basis. The UK government has now launched a dedicated hotline with the NSPCC for young people who feel they have been harassed and abused. Since the helpline launched at the beginning of April, it has received more than 350 calls, and 65 referrals have been made to agencies including social services and the police.
BBC News Online. File on 4, 25 May 2021.

Violence in schools is ‘becoming normal’

Teaching union NASUWT is demanding action as concerns grow that workplace violence is becoming the norm in Scotland’s schools. The union has claimed that in “too many schools, verbal and physical abuse against teachers is going unchallenged.” General secretary Patrick Roach wants the Scottish government to make “strong and unequivocal statements about the rights of teachers to a safe working environment.” Speaking ahead of a debate on the issue at its Scottish conference he said that the restorative behaviour policies used to deal with some incidents — which see the pupils responsible required to discuss their actions with staff — are “becoming synonymous in too many cases with no punishment or sanctions for unacceptable behaviour.” He called for clear guidelines to be introduced for all schools to support teachers. “Schools need to be absolutely clear about the kind of behaviour expectations that they have both for pupils, but also for parents. The response of too many schools when teachers report inappropriate contact or behaviour from parents is to shrug their shoulders and tell teachers to get on with it,” he said. “Regardless of whether abuse or harassment takes place online or physically on school premises, we expect that schools will take seriously their duty of care to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and make clear to parents the expectations for acceptable parental contact and engagement. National guidance is also needed to help reinforce to schools and parents the expectations on appropriate conduct and to ensure that teachers are protected from harassment and abuse.”
NASUWT news release. Morning Star.

More proof of soaring abuse against retail staff

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is joining with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in calling for UK government action to stem a ‘growing tide’ of violence and abuse against shopworkers.  The BRC Annual Retail Crime Survey, released this week, shows that violence and abuse against shopworkers is now occurring at a rate of 455 incidents every day, a 7 per cent increase on the previous year. It reported only 6 per cent of incidents of violence and abuse in retail result in prosecution. Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, commented: “This BRC survey is further confirmation of the scale of the problem retail staff face on a daily basis and backs up the findings in Usdaw’s latest research. It has been a terrible time for our members, with almost 90 per cent of shopworkers suffering abuse, two-thirds threatened and nearly one in ten assaulted. Retail workers, their friends, family and loved ones, are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job.” Referring to the UK government’s position in England, he added: “Despite this overwhelming evidence the government continues to refuse to support a specific law to protect shopworkers, which is backed by the BRC and many retailers. So we are pleased that the Labour frontbench has tabled a protection of shopworkers amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which we hope will be supported in the bill committee.”
BRC news release and BRC Crime Survey 2021. Usdaw news release and Freedom from Fear report. House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry.  Sarah Jones MP: NC45 amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, “Offence of assaulting etc. retail worker”. BBC News Online.

Nuclear base safety fears over fire crew cuts

Workers at the Coulport and Faslane nuclear bases say the cutting of specialist fire crews by a privatised fire response company is “an accident waiting to happen.” The union Unite said Capita management has reduced the specialist fire safety crew at the Clyde nuclear bases by eight, representing a cut of 15 per cent. Capita won the contract in 2020 for fire response services from the Ministry of Defence. Unite said it understands Capita are set to seek local authority support from nearby fire stations, in an effort to 'back fill' the specialist safety response despite these fire crews lacking the specialist training required at the naval bases. The union said the cuts seriously impair the abilities of the onsite fire crews to do their jobs properly, particularly in relation to incidents that would involve wearing breathing apparatus. Unite industrial officer Debbie Hutchings said: “Capita's cuts are an accident waiting to happen make no mistake about that and it is not scaremongering on our part. This private company is effectively jeopardising the safety response capabilities at the Clyde’s nuclear naval bases as part of a cost saving exercise. We really have to ask ourselves whether this country is content to leave the nation’s fire response capabilities to a company hell bent on saving money through cuts which compromises safety.” She added: “Unite’s members on the Clyde have voiced their despair over the job cuts through a consultative ballot and we now intend to move forward with an industrial action ballot in order to bring Capita back to its senses, which it seems to have completely lost.”

Unite news release. BBC News Online.

Firm fined after allergic reaction to metalworking fluid

A Berkshire firm has been fined after a worker was splashed with metalworking fluid and had a serious allergic reaction. The worker at automotive company Xtrac Ltd, based in Thatcham, experienced a painful burning sensation, and broken, oozing skin, the Health Safety Executive (HSE) said. The firm pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of health and safety regulations at Reading Magistrates' Court. It was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £639.59. Metalworking fluid is used during the machining and shaping of metals to provide lubrication and cooling. On 24 April 2019, the employee was splashed in the face and on the upper body with the fluid whilst cleaning out grinding machines at the firm's manufacturing site. Following an allergic reaction, where he developed broken, oozing skin, the worker was diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis - a permanent allergy which means even small quantities of the substance could result in another serious reaction. The now ‘sensitised’ employee, who had a history of dermatitis, later received medical advice that they could no longer continue in their job as it was a risk to their health, HSE said. An investigation found Xtrac failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment to identify the potential exposure to hazardous chemicals, and had not implemented controls to prevent skin contact despite the company knowing the employee’s medical history. HSE inspector Ashley Hall said: “This serious health condition could have been prevented if the company had carried out the required risk assessment and implemented the necessary control measures, including suitable personal protective equipment, particularly gloves. All of these risks and controls are described in HSE and industry guidance, which is widely available.”
HSE news release and metalworking fluids webpages. BBC News Online. Reading Chronicle.

Firm fined after painter plunged to his death

A plant hire firm has been fined £200,000 after a Scottish worker plunged to his death from a shipping container. Patrick Gallagher, 70, was painting the roof of one of the huge containers at a yard in Blantyre, Lanarkshire. He began helping other employees place chains to the metal containers to move them. But a ladder he was using to clamber on top of the structures was not properly secured and slipped, sending Mr Gallagher plunging to the ground below. An investigation revealed flaws in the safety procedures at the yard when the accident occurred in August 2017. Mr Gallagher was not wearing a harness and no other barriers were in place when he fell from the ladders. JMS Plant Hire Ltd admitted a criminal health and safety offence at Hamilton Sheriff Court and was fined. Sheriff Thomas Millar said: “I express the condolences of the court to the loved ones of Mr Gallagher. He was a man who worked well beyond retirement age and was personally known to the directors of the company and is also a loss to them. There were regulations in place for working at height but it would appear they were not being fully complied with.”
Daily Record.


Australia: ‘Huge step forward’ on workplace mental health

Australia is to introduce a new law to tackle hazards to mental health at work, in what unions have described as a ‘huge step forward’. Federal and state workplace health and safety ministers last week agreed the need for the new law. National union federation ACTU welcomed the decision to regulate psychosocial hazards, saying it will have a significant impact in preventing mental illness, sexual harassment and gendered violence in the workplace. The regulation on psychosocial hazards will place a positive obligation on employers to minimise and eliminate hazards to mental health from the workplace – just as they are required to in relation to physical hazards. ACTU assistant secretary Liam O’Brien: “Up to 45 per cent of mental health issues are attributable to work – requiring employers to take preventative action on this is a massive step forward. This will include tackling the causes of sexual harassment at work, a key step in making work safe for women.” He added: “Years of campaigning from working people and their unions, along with the support of mental health and gender equality organisations have gone into winning this regulation – it will make Australian workplaces safer for future generations of workers.” O’Brien said a failure to agree the need for nationwide industrial manslaughter law was a disappointment, with laws already in place in some states, but added: “We will continue to fight for industrial manslaughter legislation. Workplaces in Tasmania, SA and NSW would be safer for workers if employers could be held accountable for preventable deaths. It should not matter what postcode your loved one dies in as to whether you receive justice."
ACTU news release. We Are Union.

Canada: Union workers get Covid protection

Essential workers report feeling unsafe, stressed and overworked and some also believe their employers are using the pandemic to justify negative changes to working conditions. But a study by McMaster University has established the experience of unionised workers in Ontario is substantially better than their non-union counterparts. The Covid Economic and Social Effects Study (CESES) found unions helped blunt the negative impacts by providing critical information, advocating for safer working conditions, and helping to avoid job loss. Over 800 respondents from across Ontario, recruited on social media, completed an anonymous online survey between August and December 2020. The study found unionised workers were more likely to report protective workplace measures were in place during the Covid pandemic, including: being allowed to work from home (75.8 per cent union vs 64.7 per cent non-union); getting access to personal protective equipment (63.4 per cent union vs 53.8 per cent non-union); and employer-provided enhanced cleaning staff (30.7 per cent union vs 22 per cent non-union). Alarmingly, 6 per cent of non-unionised workers reported having no safety measures in their workplace. The researchers conclude: “Covid-19 is changing many aspects of our lives. Our study shows that in the short run, it’s changed workplace dynamics, mostly to the detriment of workers. The extent to which these changes become permanent will depend in part on the ability of workers to have a meaningful voice in their workplaces — and to influence what happens next.”
Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Ontario Workers, Workplaces and Families, A research project by Mohammad Ferdosi, Peter Graefe, Wayne Lewchuk and Stephanie Ross, co-investigators in the COVID Economic and Social Effects Study (CESES) at McMaster University, May 2021. McMaster University news report. NUPGE news release. The Conversation.

Global: Union role in combatting vaccine hesitancy

As Covid-19 rages through India, ravages Turkey and continues to kill thousands in Brazil, it has become clearer than ever that none of us is safe until all of us are safe, the global union ITUC has said. Writing in the online publication Equal Times, ITUC deputy general secretary Owen Tudor said unions “have a key role in combatting what some call vaccine hesitancy, especially among those communities most likely to be worried about whether to get the vaccine.” He points to a recent study conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) which found that “health and social care workers who felt under greater pressure from their employers to receive Covid-19 vaccination were more likely to decline it” (Risks 996). Tudor noted: Trade union leaders, whether national or in the workplace, therefore have a key role to play,” adding: “We need to mobilise our millions of workplace representatives to ensure that worried workers get the message from someone just like them, as Unite the Union in Britain and Ireland has done, getting the message out through what the union calls its ‘standing army’ of 30,000 workplace reps. And unions need to ensure that – rather than employers or governments compelling workers to get vaccinated, because as the LSHTM study shows, nothing promotes hesitancy like compulsion by people workers have learned not to trust with their health, welfare or livelihood – workers are encouraged and enabled to get vaccinated when it is offered, not forced.”
Equal Times.
Sadie Bell, Richard M Clarke, Sharif A Ismail, Oyinkansola Ojo-Aromokudu, Habib Naqvi, Yvonne Coghill, Helen Donovan, Louise Letley, Pauline Paterson, Sandra Mounier-Jack. COVID-19 vaccination beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours among health and social care workers in the UK: a mixed-methods study, MedRxiv pre-print, 2021.

India: Tata Steel will pay salaries to Covid victims' families

Tata Steel has said it will compensate the families of its workers in India that die of Covid-19. The firm said it will pay deceased employees’ salaries, housing and medical benefits until what would have been their retirement at the age of 60. It also pledged to cover the education costs of the children of dead frontline workers until they graduate. “Tata Steel stands together with a deep sense of loss at the sad demise of its beloved employees during this dreadful pandemic,” the company said in a statement. The firm is the latest major employer in India to announce financial support plans for the families of its workers that have lost their lives to Covid-19. A second wave of the virus has ravaged the country's healthcare system in recent weeks. Hospitals filled to capacity have been forced to turn away patients. Critical medicines and oxygen have run out in several areas. This week India became only the third country in the world to record more than 300,000 deaths - behind the US and Brazil. It has recorded 26 million cases - second only to the US - and is now the epicentre of the global pandemic.
BBC News Online.


TUC Hazards at Work 6th Edition

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