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1 in 4 BAME workers not given necessary PPE, shock GMB survey shows

16 Oct 2020
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Figures come as new ONS estimates find black men are up to 3.8 times more likely to die from coronavirus than white men

More than 1 in 4 BAME workers has not been given the necessary person protective equipment, a GMB survey shows.

The shocking figures come as new ONS estimates, published today [16 October 2020], found that black men are up to 3.8 times more likely to die from coronavirus than white men.

Of the 516 respondents who were advised by their employer they needed PPE – a massive 141 did not have it fully provided.

Other disturbing figures from the 761 respondents include:

  • Two in three who raised health and safety concerns with their employer didn’t have them fully addressed
  • More than half of respondents said social distancing measures were not being adhered to in their workplaces
  • 54% of members have not had an individual risk assessment

GMB Union has called on the Government to take additional steps to protect Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority workers - including underwriting sick pay for vulnerable workers and making individual risk assessments mandatory.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said:

“Employers must do more to protect Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority workers from harm. Inaction costs lives.

“Nobody can deny hospital cleaners are doing one of the most important jobs right now, yet many of them are migrant workers on outsourced contracts with no sick pay.

“We need to be respecting and thanking these people, not ignoring their existence. Employers need to listen when concerns are raised.

“Today’s warning by the ONS that BAME workers are at a significantly greater risk of contracting and dying from coronavirus is yet more proof that fundamental change is needed.

“As an employer itself, the Government should be taking its public sector equality duty seriously and publishing equality impact assessments of covid-19 policies.

“Instead, they have hidden such reports from the public and ignored their legal duty to keep vulnerable ethnic minority workers safe.”

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