Unite, the biggest union in Leicester, has today (Sunday 28 June) called for targeted lockdowns across the city in a concerted effort to tackle to surge in Covid-19 cases locally.

The union is also urging central government to assist with additional resources for the health and public services across the region, and for the furlough programme to continue at the full rate to prevent employers in the area laying workers off as they face an inevitable further delay in re-opening the economy.

Commenting, Unite's regional secretary for the East Midlands, Paresh Patel, said: "This spike in coronavirus cases across the city is extremely worrying.  Everyone needs to now play their part in getting this under control as rapidly as possible with localised lockdowns as necessary.

"There will be some factors causing this spike, such as over-crowded housing and the inequalities we know make Leicester's BAEM community especially vulnerable to this deadly virus.

"But combatting coronavirus is a national duty as well as a local one so I urge the government to step up and help with whatever additional funding is needed to ensure that the NHS has the resources that it needs, and to assist employers through what will inevitably be an extended period of economic inactivity.  

"Everything that can be done must be done to protect the public's health and to avoid layoffs and even more damage to an already badly damaged regional economy.

"Working people need to be able to stay home and isolate in order to get this virus under control but they can only do that if they know that they will have an income.  It is vital that then that the furlough scheme is extended as a matter of urgency but also where workers not on furlough are forced home sick that they get statutory sick pay from day one and on a rate that supports decent living.

"I urge the government at Westminster to learn the lessons from Leicester.  We are not out of this crisis and our communities and economies are extremely fragile.  You have promised to do `whatever it takes' to support people during these frightening times, so now is your chance to show the people of Leicester that you keep your promises."

ENDS

For media enquiries ONLY, contact Pauline Doyle on 07976 832 861