The GMB Union has hit back against the prospect of care home workers being forced to take Covid vaccines. Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, says the Government doesn’t have “the foggiest idea or concern about the impact their decisions make on a workforce already suffering from many of the worst political failures during the pandemic”. The union has warned that more than a third of its members in social care would consider quitting if vaccines are mandated.
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GMB said that the move, which is being considered by the Government, was an attempt to “strongarm” care workers into taking the jab.
Under the plans, care home staff in England who work with older people would be required to get the jab or risk losing their jobs. They will reportedly have 16 weeks to get vaccinated.
One in six care workers – around 52,000 – have not had the vaccine despite being eligible.
Rachel Harrison said: “Carers have been at the forefront of this pandemic, risking their lives to keep our loved ones safe, often enduring almost Victorian working standards in the process.
“The Government could do a lot to help them: address their pay, terms and conditions, increasing the rate of and access to contractual sick pay, banning zero hours, and ensuring more mobile NHS vaccination teams so those working night shifts can get the jab,” she said.
“Instead, ministers are ploughing ahead with plans to strongarm care workers into taking the vaccine without taking seriously the massive blocks these workers still face in getting jabbed.”
Unison General Secretary Christina McAnea said that “encouragement achieves better results with the nervous than threats or coercion”.
“The Government’s sledgehammer approach now runs the risk that some care staff may simply walk away from an already understaffed, undervalued and underpaid sector,” she said.
On Tuesday morning, Cabinet minister Liz Truss insisted that the Government had not yet committed to the plans, saying that officials were “currently consulting on this issue” but that a decision would be “very imminent”. The Government have refused to rule out the move.
However, Ms Truss said it was “incredibly important” for care home staff to be vaccinated. …
The Government is also planning a consultation on whether Covid jabs should be made compulsory for all NHS staff, alongside those in social care. According to official data, 151,000 NHS workers – just over one in 10 – have not have [sic] the vaccine.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that plans to force care home staff to get vaccinated against Covid will go ahead.