Responding to the prime minister's statement in the House of Commons today (Tuesday) announcing further measures in the efforts to tackle the coronavirus, the leader of Unite the union has repeated his call for urgent action to save jobs.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "It is now veering on the irresponsible for the government to remain silent and stubborn on the prospect of assistance for jobs and the economy.  

"The prime minister was also flat out wrong about the UK government doing more to protect jobs than its opposite numbers in France and Germany. 

“Weeks ago, those governments extended their jobs protection programmes, giving their workers relief from the fear of redundancy. Disgracefully, this government has given no such security to the workers of the UK. 

"Boris Johnson is looking increasingly isolated on this vital issue.  Calls for action are raining down on him from all parties and from right across industry. When the governor of the Bank of England and the Treasury select committee both call for action to protect jobs, it is the duty of the government to act.

"The prime minister has made it clear to the country that new restrictions on our lives are with us until next spring. These measures must surely then be accompanied by the support that sectors of the economy facing ruin are crying out for.

"It must now extend the jobs retention scheme and financial support, targeting sectors such as aerospace, aviation and hospitality.

"Without such assistance, and delivered within days not weeks, then this government will be the architect of the community destruction and human despair that will surely follow.

 "It is also now vital for the health of the nation and the economy that nationwide testing facilities are in place for all workers and those who are vulnerable.

"The time for excuses has run out.  The government's confused messaging has created a crisis in public confidence, making it harder to get this virus under control and our economy back on its feet."


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.


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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.