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Councils 'not doing enough to protect care workers'

COUNCILS were accused today of not doing enough to protect care workers from coronavirus after many failed to sign a pledge to guarantee sick pay and safety at work.

Unison said that local authorities in the north-west are failing to take adequate measures even though more than half of new deaths from Covid-19 are now happening in care homes.

The union has written to 14 councils in the region urging them to take action by signing the Care Workers vs Covid-19 pledge, which guarantees sick pay for local care staff and their safety at work.

The councils that have yet to sign are Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Cheshire East, Cumbria, Lancashire, Oldham, Rochdale, St Helens, Stockport, Tameside, Warrington and Wigan.

A Bolton-based care worker said: “Care workers with underlying health conditions are not being given the option to shield and I’ve heard of some companies even using disciplinary action to force people back into work.”

A carer in St Helens said: “I haven’t got enough essential personal protective equipment at work.

“I’m struggling mentally as my children are at home looking after each other whilst I work.

“I’m a single parent and I’m really worried about paying the bills if I do have to go off due to Covid-19 and only receive statutory sick pay.”

Warrington’s Labour MP Charlotte Nichols said: “I cannot commend our care workers enough for the vital job they do in the most trying of circumstances.

“It has been heart-warming to see people up and down the country pay tribute to our care workers every Thursday evening, but these vital public servants deserve so much more than applause.

“I call on all north-west councils, including my own, to protect care workers by signing up to the Care Workers vs Covid-19 pledge.”

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