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Government Must Recognise Value Of Low-Paid Key Workers

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Government Must Recognise Value Of Low-Paid Key Workers As New COVID Measures Introduced

Responding to the First Minister’s statement to the Scottish parliament this afternoon (Tuesday 22 September), confirming new restrictions to help tackle the rising levels of COVID across Scotland, GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said:

“While workers that can do will work from home our key workers will go the extra mile once again – the least Ministers can do is maximise their safety at work and recognise their incredible value to our communities and country.  

“And it’s a fact that the bulk of the frontline response will continue to be delivered on the backs of low paid and often exploited workers, many of whom are women or from BME backgrounds, and earn just under or just over £10 an hour.

“We support the Scottish Government’s calls for an extension of the UK Government’s furlough scheme, welcome the support grant plan for low-income households that must self-isolate, and we would reiterate again the urgent need to bring forward a jobs plan for Scotland to aid our post-COVID recovery.

“But the reality of asking the lowest paid to again shoulder the greatest risk without recognition of their value should make anyone who wants Scotland to be a fair work nation extremely uncomfortable. That’s why we are urging the Scottish Government to ensure:

  • The guaranteed provision of full and proper PPE and workplace testing regimes;
  • The enhanced role of Trade Union Health and Safety reps in our workplaces;
  • The extension of the Social Care Welfare Fund support package for carers; and
  • The delivery of a key worker payment for staff on the frontline of public service.

“After the applause of the first lockdown, many workers have been left to get on with it, and in some cases the working practices put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID are being eroded by employers who want to get “back to normal”.  

“What’s needed now is cooperation, safety and value for the people who deliver care, collect our rubbish, clean our schools and keep the economy turning, and they need to be confident that government and employers recognise their continued sacrifice as we tackle this pandemic.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447077