Home carers in Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) will launch a consultative ballot today (Tuesday 8 December) to demand immediate workplace testing for COVID-19 amid anger at being “put to the back of queue” in the Scottish Government’s roll-out programme.
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday 23rd October that priority testing would be extended to home care workers, only for the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to announce on Wednesday 25th November that testing would be rolled-out for home care from mid-January.
Since then, under government instruction temporary testing centres have been set-up by Glasgow City Council in Dalmarnock and Pollokshields, students have been offered tests to return home for Christmas, and pilot projects have been launched to test care home visitors.
The ballot, where over 1,400 GMB members will be asked if they are prepared to take industrial action to secure immediate and regular testing at work for COVID-19, will run until 12.00 hours, Thursday 17th December.
Rhea Wolfson of the GMB Scotland Women’s Campaign Unit said:
“There is no excuse for leaving home carers waiting until next year for COVID-19 testing at work. The First Minister said home carers would get priority testing, but this isn’t what a priority looks like, this is how it feels to be put to the back of the queue.
“If testing centres can be set-up in high risk communities within a matter of days, and if students can get a test to return home to their families for Christmas, then why are home carers, who will work in these communities throughout the festive period, being left to wait?
“We’ve asked the council to intervene, the council say they are waiting on more guidance from government, but there is no trust left in the government’s promises and timelines. From PPE to testing these workers have been consistently failed over the last ten months.
“Our members believe the only people who will stand-up for their safety and value are themselves, campaigning together under the banner of their trade union, and they have been left with no choice but to ballot.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447077.
Notes to Editors:
“GMB slams “shameful” Scottish Government update on home care testing, Wednesday 25th November 2020, access at: << GMB Scotland |>>
First Minister’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Friday 23rd October 2020, access at: <<Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister's speech 23 October - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)>>