From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 24 June 2020:
With US infections running at 28,000 every day Donald Trump is easily mocked for his ignorance and idiocy in the face of US infectious disease supremo Dr Anthony Fauci’s warning that the coming weeks will be critical in clamping down on coronavirus hot spots across the United States. Fauci said: “We’ve been hit badly,” and “the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges.”
Our government is barely less idiotic in its posturing but the key issue is its subversion of the science and its wilful evasion of the conclusions the independent Sage experts have reached concerning the dangers of a premature easing of the lockdown.
Former chief scientific adviser Sir David King said: “If we take the long view we know that the winter is a likely period when the virus takes off again. We must, therefore, aim to completely get rid of the virus from this country before the winter.”
By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 24 June 2020:
A LACK of social distancing measures and adequate health & safety adjustments are making fast-food workplaces unsafe, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) warned today.
It came after a Doncaster KFC worker collapsed with Covid-19 during a shift, according to her colleagues.
The fast-food chain has admitted that the Sprotbrough Road branch worker tested positive for the virus, but claimed it was an “isolated incident” and did not confirm whether the employee had collapsed at work.
Workers, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that paramedics were called to the restaurant after their colleague’s collapse on June 13.
The branch remains open as KFC claims it has taken “all necessary steps to maintain a safe, clean environment.”
But employees say they are still concerned about their own health and safety as they claim that no self-isolation measures have been implemented since the diagnosis.
BFAWU national president Ian Hodson expressed the union’s concern over the incident. He also said it appears not to be an isolated case amid reports of similar issues nationwide.
“We believe the combination of a lack of social distancing measures and lack of adequate health and safety adjustments are making fast-food workplaces unsafe.
“We urge any fast-food worker that has concerns about the safety of their workplace to reach out or fill out [our online] form.”
“This is more concerning with Tuesday’s [Conservative government] announcement to reduce [social distancing] from two metres to the confusing one-metre-plus,” he added.
By Bethany Rielly in Britain, 25 June 2020:
Government advisory to continue to target migrants in key worker roles despite their ‘essential’ role during Covid-19 pandemic
THE head of a committee advising ministers on the new immigration system said today that proposals to shut the door on many key workers should not change in light of the pandemic.
But care-workers’ union Unison condemned the remarks, saying they betrayed little understanding of the sector’s requirements.
Migration advisory committee (MAC) chairman Brian Bell told MPs that plans to remove immigration routes for low-paid foreign workers should not be changed despite many of those roles having been recognised as “essential” during the Covid-19 crisis.
Giving evidence to a home-affairs select committee on the Immigration Bill today morning, Mr Bell said that the government should stick to its plans given the current “uncertainty” in the labour market and economy.
The Kings’ College economics professor was confirmed chairman of the MAC, an independent body that gives advice to the government on immigration, earlier this week.
The committee has been given the job of reviewing the Home Office’s new immigration system, which is intended to come into effect on January 1 2021, when free movement ends.
The new system seeks to introduce a points-based system along with minimum-salary requirements. The plans have been widely condemned by industries, trade unions and politicians.
When pressed on how the social-care sector, which has a workforce made up of 17 per cent of non-British staff, would fill huge shortages under the new system, Mr Bell suggested vacancies could be filled by the growing number of unemployed Britons.
But Unison condemned the chairman’s comments, saying that rising unemployment “won’t magically fill up gaps.”
“Sadly these remarks indicate little understanding of the significant skills needed to deliver quality care,” the union’s assistant general secretary, Christina McAnea, said. “The pandemic has shown care may be low-paid but it’s anything but low-skilled.
“This is no time to stop migrant care staff from coming here, especially with a likely second spike looming. Without them, the sector would have collapsed long ago.”
Care England chief executive Martin Green warned again today that the new legislation will severely hit the sector and urged the government to take the “valuable contribution of overseas nationals” into account when planning the future immigration system.
Labour MP Diane Abbott told Mr Bell today that she was “disappointed” that he was “sticking to the line that your salary level is a signifier of the value of your role to society.”
Mr Bell dismissed the remarks, responding: “That is not what I believe. I believe salaries are a signifier of skill.”