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Public inquiry needed over BAME worker deaths

02 Jun 2020
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GMB, Britain’s general union, has spoken out following Public Health England’s delayed publication of its investigation into the discriminatory impact of the coronavirus outbreak. 

GMB represents tens of thousands of workers in occupations that Public Health England said today had the highest rates of excess deaths, including care, nursing, security, and professional driving.  

The review said that higher infection and mortality rates in BAME communities could be attributed to poor housing conditions, lower incomes, occupations with higher risk profiles, inadequate access to public services, and a greater risk of underlying health conditions

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: 

“Matt Hancock has lost valuable time by commissioning a report on facts that were already in the public domain.  

“Either Black and Minority Ethnic lives matter or they don’t, and Ministers have lost valuable time in commissioning a report that doesn't set out how working lives are to be protected.  

“This report confirms what we already knew – BAME workers have made a disproportionate sacrifice during this pandemic. 

“In the context of global events, with the spotlight on structural and institutional racism, the publication of this report which carries no recommendations is just going to heighten distrust of the claim that all lives matter to the government.  

“People are dying and Ministers have been too slow to protect lives.  

“They say that this virus doesn’t discriminate, but the response to this virus and the lives it has taken most definitely experienced a discrimination that ended in their deaths.  

“No plan is in place that gives confidence that the government is going to protect lives of people disproportionately impacted by this terrible disease. That’s why GMB has joined the call for an independent public inquiry into the government’s response.” 

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