GMB union welcome all-party report on Covid

All-party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus which was highly critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic

22 March 2021

The GMB union welcomed the publishing of the recent report from the All-party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus which was highly critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic. They listed over 70 failings and made 44 recommendations for improvement. The Health Minister has also come under fire for the shambles and non-compliance of the PPE scandal, where millions of pounds worth of contracts were given out to some companies who could be classified as his pals.

These are just a few examples of serious breaches in government responsibility and due diligence, where they have failed to do the right thing. Of course, that sends out a message to anyone else in power or authority, that they can get away with not behaving in the correct manner. Whether it is a form of corruption or simply not following simple rules and guidelines as laid down in law.

From my point of view as the union’s Health & Safety officer for the GMB trade union in this area, I am regularly surprised and disappointed by the actions or lack of action by managements in private and public organisations. Companies refusing to acknowledge covid outbreaks in their factories or warehouses. Organisations trying to play down similar transmissions including high sickness and absence levels through covid and even deaths in some cases.

Outside the Covid safety issue, it is also quite amusing for me and the GMB union reps when I turn up to carry out a site visit and we see the cleaners have been out in force. It is not quite like the Queen arriving to the smell of fresh paint but it is the same idea. This week I visited the Stretton Way site which hosts the Knowsley Council fleet of bin lorries, Between the announcement of my visit and my arrival a manager had been in and had dozens of broken wheelie bins removed, creating a bit more space for wagons to manouevre and park.

Who do they think they are kidding? We have photos. And they still never ensured there was sufficiently safe space between wagons

Why can’t they just do the right thing? Every day get up, go to work and ensure a safe working environment for staff contractors and the public. That is their job. They have a legal duty of care towards the health, safety, and welfare of those people who come into contact with their workplaces and services. Fortunately, we have good union reps who can hold them to account, but we need a culture change in this country to a more caring society with government at all levels playing their part as good examples.

Paul Holleran

GMB trade union

Regional Health & Safety Officer

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