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Four in five workers worried returning to work will put family at risk

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23 May 2020
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Four in five workers are think returning to work will put their family at risk, a GMB survey has revealed. 

The poll which was completed by a sample of almost 3,500 workers across a wide range of sectors showed 60% are worried about being pressured into returning to work, with 95% worried about catching coronavirus. 

Some of the key findings of the new GMB survey of thousands of members were: 

  • More than 60% uncomfortable about being pressured to return to workplace 

  • Almost 95% worried about catching coronavirus 

  • Under a fifth (18%) of respondents say that returning to their workplace will be safe 

  • ‘Terrified’ workers being bullied into returning, suffering panic attacks with worry, husbands and parents of cancer patients being pressured into going back 

The survey also revealed 80% of workers found that the return to work advice unclear - less than 8% found it clear. 

We need a safe and managed return to normal working but that isn’t happening yet. It’s on Ministers to get this right – they need to be led by the evidence and provide clear plans.

John Phillips, Acting GMB General Secretary

Disturbing personal testimony from members included ‘terrified’ workers being bullied into returning, to ‘dangerous environments’ and suffering panic attacks with worry.

Husbands, wives and parents of people with cancer also feel forced back into the work place and are terrified of brining the deadly virus home with them.

John Phillips, Acting GMB General Secretary, said: 

“We need a safe and managed return to normal working but that isn’t happening yet.  

“Those facing going back to work need reassurance their welfare and those of their families is being put first but too many are living in fear of the danger they and their loved ones are now facing. 

“The Government’s unclear advice and failure to enforce workplace standards means risky behaviour by some employers could see all of us punished with a resurgence of the virus that could destabilise our country’s recovery. 

“It’s on Ministers to get this right – they need to be led by the evidence and provide clear plans for the safe return to work.  

“Their responses to this crisis would be an international laughing-stock if the consequences of their failures were not so deadly serious.” 

Contact GMB press office for full data tables or worker testimonies from the survey

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