Received from: Unison
Congress notes the Covid-19 public inquiry hearings, which began in June, have revealed serious failings in the UK government’s preparedness and response to the pandemic and a systematic, long-term failure to address deep structural inequalities in society which resulted in poorer households, disabled people and Black people suffering disproportionately – 60 per cent of people who lost their lives to Covid-19 were disabled.
Congress applauds the important evidence that the TUC, with input from affiliates, has submitted to the Inquiry so far. This has demonstrated to the Inquiry that austerity seriously damaged the UK’s resilience. Safe staffing levels, public service capacity and resources, the social security system and health and safety protections at work were all subjected to funding cuts in the decade before the pandemic. This reduced capacity to respond. Congress agrees that it’s crucial that this evidence is reflected in the Inquiry’s conclusions and recommendations about preparedness for future pandemics (including devolved government experiences).
Congress agrees that the most fitting memorial to all the working people who died during the Covid-19 pandemic would be for the right lessons being learned and acted upon.
Congress agrees that the TUC should continue to:
i. raise the issues of direct relevance to union members, their families and communities
ii. support trade unionists to share their experiences with affiliates, so that these can be built into TUC evidence, and direct to the inquiry through the ‘Every Story Matters’ process
iii. highlight the equalities impact of the pandemic
iv. hold decision makers to account.
› In paragraph 1, after “address deep structural inequalities in society”, add: “and systemic labour market discrimination”.
› At the end of point iii. after “Congress agreed that the TUC should continue to”, add:
“, including the disproportionate impacts of long Covid.”
› In paragraph 2, line 2, after “Safe staffing levels, public service capacity and resources,”, insert:
“protections for pregnant workers,”
Royal College of Midwives
› After paragraph 2, add:
“Congress condemns the government’s failure to prepare for pandemics,
despite longstanding warnings in its own national risk register.
Congress commends the response of trade unions during the Covid-19 pandemic, by protecting our members, other workers and our communities through collective bargaining and collective action.”
Fire Brigades Union