GMB union says government is failing

Their most obvious failing has been anything and everything they do that is associated with the Coronavirus

5 October 2020

Neil Smith, GMB union Political Officer says ''Government is obviously failing, on Covid 19 and BAME commmunity''

Let’s be honest we could not have a worse Prime Minister and government - maybe other than Donald Trump - in charge of our future.

They are guilty of so many failings, either through incompetence or their lack of care for the majority of people in this country. Their racism is obvious. - Just look at the Home Office approach to immigration and the Windrush scandal.

Their most obvious failing has been anything and everything they do that is associated with the Coronavirus

The disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black Asian and Minority Ethnic workers became apparent after early research, when official statistics showed that Black Britons are four times more likely to die of coronavirus.Yes I did say Four times. That is a political and national scandal.

Instead of taking immediate action the government set up an inquiry which delivered a report by Public Health England, essential details of which were initially withheld on publication.

Politically we joined with the ”We Need Answers” body in a successful campaign calling for the Fenton report to be made public or a new independent public inquiry after the Fenton Report was to all effects censored with recommendations and remedies absent because it was so heavily redacted.

  • The report from Dr Kevin Fenton - once it was eventually released - said racism and social and economic inequalities were among the factors impacting on the communities.

  • We now welcome the findings that we already knew, that BAME people face excess mortality rates and are highly at risk.

  • And that much more specific work is done and lots more support put in place by this government to support communities at risk.

  • Either black and minority lives matter or they don't and this government with Hancock and Johnson running the shambles, have placed obstacles in the way of tackling the facts that BAME people are disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

  • This is something particularly damaging and dangerous to our heroes, - the workers in the front line of the NHS and caring services with the great majority of doctors who have died being of BAME backgrounds.

  • Whether it is BAME People on low incomes or in higher at risk jobs, people have died and are still dying, while this government have been too slow to be transparent, proactive and protect lives. 

  • But take that In for a moment, - the majority of doctors who have died this year from Coronavirus are BAME. That is a shocking statistic and a human tragedy that is unacceptable and shouldn’t have happened.

  • The reality is that this government have completely failed to undertake a proper impact assessment into how Covid-19 has affected BAME groups.

  • I'm not complacent but I am proud to say - At the same time that the GMB created a BAME Covid Risk Indicator Tool - to provide information and protection. We have provided specific surveys directly to help members and their employers understand what needs to be done to make sure they’re properly protected.

  • The GMB are proud of our health and safety work and our campaigns and I would encourage our BAME members to engage with our work in this field.

  • However I have to say we are angry to see what is happening in respect to illness and deaths and also what is not happening to prevent the second wave which appears to have arrived.

  • As a leading trade union we say loudly that health and safety is a matter of life and death…

  • and we demand this government deals with this crisis urgently and efficiently as a second wave arrives and our hospitals are swamped with new cases and our economy faces devastation.

  • This is a massive problem for our society, when we are facing what is a deadly pandemic - and it is exacerbated for our BAME colleagues and neighbours by the racism and bullying and exclusion that goes with it. 

  • The issue of unfairness and trust or lack of trust in this government who appear incompetent and uncaring is something that needs to be challenged and to the very front of our campaigning for a new government.

  • We cannot trust the current Prime Minister and his cronies and we need to step up our opposition and demand a future - and a better future at that.

GMB North West & Irish Region