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  • Evidence heard during Sajid Javid’s witness appearance at the Covid Inquiry reveals that Boris Johnson refused to consult with trade unions during the pandemic. 
  • Excerpt from Patrick Vallance’s diary shows the then prime minister said, “they need to all come back to work. All the malingering, workshy people.”  

The TUC has today (Wednesday) slammed ministers for “putting politics before people” during the pandemic, as evidence in the Covid Public Inquiry emerged from Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance’s diary quoting the former prime minister. 


According to Vallance’s diary extract, then prime minister Boris Johnson refused to consult with trade unions and called working people “work shy” and “malingering”. 


TUC Assistant General Secretary Kate Bell said:    

“While Covid cases increased, Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson pushed for people to return to workplaces – without consulting with workers and their unions to make sure people would be safe. 


“Trade union leaders rightly raised concerns about the need to protect people in the workplace. But these warnings were dismissed due to vindictiveness towards unions.  


“This reckless attitude contributed to the UK having some of the highest numbers of Covid-related deaths in Europe. 


“In a time of national crisis, the Conservatives put politics before people.   


“The people Boris Johnson calls 'workshy’ and ‘malingering’ were the workers who kept this country going through the pandemic. 


“We cannot have leaders with such open contempt for ordinary working people.” 



Editors note
  • About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 


  • Excerpt from Vallance’s diary: “He said [he] wants everyone back at work “We can't have the b*llocks of consulting with employees + trade unions. They need to all come back to work” “All the malingering, workshy people”    
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