Len McCluskey has said that “there can be no going back to business as usual” as he called for a new deal for the workers who have “kept the nation moving, fed and clothed, safe and cared for” during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video message released on May Day, the general secretary of Unite declared that although the usual marches are not going ahead, the contribution of workers to the nation’s wellbeing has “never been more evident”.
McCluskey said that the people who have kept the country moving deserve more than gratitude and admiration, called for a “decent wage, secure and safe work” and said that it is “time for a new deal”.
Union leaders are calling for a pay rise for key workers performing vital tasks across the country throughout the health crisis. The TUC has launched its #ThankAWorker campaign urging members of the public to thank a member of frontline staff.
At least 85 members of the NHS workforce have died after contracting Covid-19, while 23 people in the care sector are known to have died from the virus. The unions have highlighted that seven in 10 care workers earn less than £10 an hour while the average wage for a nurse in the UK is £11.63.
There have now been a total of 171,253 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, but with low levels of testing the true figure is expected to be much higher. The recorded number of deaths currently stands at 26,771.