Huge support for action in home care services as workers demand COVID-19 testing for Christmas
“Forgotten” home carers in Glasgow and South Lanarkshire have warned the Scottish Government “don’t leave us at the back of the queue” in the roll-out of COVID-19 testing.
The call comes after consultative ballots of GMB Scotland members in both councils revealed huge support for industrial action against the Scottish Government’s proposed date of mid-January for the beginning of workplace testing in home care services across Scotland.
93 per cent of GMB members in Glasgow HSCP and 72 per cent in South Lanarkshire HSCP voted in favour of moving to a full industrial action ballot to defend their workplace safety, and councillors in South Lanarkshire are now calling on the Health Secretary to bring forward the start date.
Over 14,000 home carers across Scotland are due to work throughout the festive period with only PPE to protect their safety, despite mass testing programmes now available for groups such as high-risk communities and students.
Rhea Wolfson of GMB Scotland’s Women’s Campaign Unit said: “The message from our members to the Scottish Government is loud and clear: ‘Don’t leave us at the back of the queue’ in the roll-out of COVID-19 testing.
“The prospect of leaving Scotland’s home carers without a workplace testing regime over the festive period is negligent – there will be no respite for our members while swathes of the country wind-down and form their Christmas bubbles with family and friends.
“There is no excuse for this when testing centres for high-risk communities can be opened in days and students can access testing to return home for Christmas, so it’s just not credible for the Minister to argue the delay is because home carers don’t all work in the same place.
“Our challenge now to the Scottish Government and local authority employers is simple: Find a way to give these forgotten key workers the support they need for Christmas by accelerating the introduction of workplace testing for home care across Scotland.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447077.