Speaking in response to the Health Secretary’s Coronavirus statement today (Tuesday) to the Scottish Government, Lilian Macer, UNISON Scotland Convenor, said workers must not be forced to choose between self-isolating or paying the bills. She said:
“As the largest health union in the country, UNISON Scotland is already liaising with the NHS over what action is being taken to deal with the spread of Coronavirus in Scotland.
“I know that NHS workers – and all of UNISON’s members providing vital public services – will want to do everything they can to minimise the impact. But it is imperative that employers and the Scottish government play their part, because good working practices can help slow down the spread of contagious illness.
“For example, those on zero hours or precarious contracts simply can’t afford to self-isolate unless they receive sick pay. Low-paid workers – including those caring for some of the most vulnerable in our society – could be forced to choose between isolating themselves or paying their bills. In our shared interest – caring for each other and keeping each other safe – Scotland is striving to be a Fair Work nation, so the Scottish government should be ensuring that no-one is forced to make that choice.
“We would like to pay tribute to all our members across all our services who are working flat out to contain this virus and who will be caring for those affected.”