One sentence from Matt Hancock shows he’s clueless about reality for most working Brits
On 24 November, health secretary Matt Hancock addressed a joint session of the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee.
But one sentence from Hancock showed just how clueless he is about the reality for most workers in the UK. Hancock stated:
We are peculiarly unusual and outliers in soldiering on and still going to work, and it kind of being the culture that ‘as long as you can get out of bed you still should get into work.
What’s really peculiar?
Financial Times journalist Sarah O’Connor didn’t pull any punches in her analysis of what’s really peculiar about this country:
I see @MattHancock has noticed Brits are "peculiarly unusual" in going to work when sick. We're also "peculiarly unusual" in having the lowest sick pay in the OECD. Coincidence? It's hard to watch govt blaming people for working when sick, rather than fixing the reasons for it. pic.twitter.com/GmFmyyvW3g
— Sarah O'Connor (@sarahoconnor_) November 24, 2020
David Schneider also highlighted one of the crucial reasons why people work when ill:
"Why do people keep working when ill?" says man whose party pays £13 a day in sick pay and allows zero hours contracts where people get nothing when ill.https://t.co/TNgxHYwjab
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) November 24, 2020
Stop going to work
According to the health secretary, Brits should stop “soldiering on” and going to work when they are sick, potentially making colleagues ill:
Why in Britain do we think it’s acceptable to soldier on and go into work if you have flu symptoms or a runny nose, thus making your colleagues ill?
I think that’s something that is going to have to change.
If you have, in future, flu-like symptoms, you should get a test for it and find out what’s wrong with you, and if you need to stay at home to protect others, then you should stay at home.
Hancock did, inadvertently, get one thing right, though. Things do have to change. No-one wants to work when they’re ill. But when it’s a choice of going to work with a runny nose or not being able to pay the rent or feed your kids, there aren’t many options left.
No-one wants to put friends and colleagues at risk by ‘soldering on’. But unless the government steps up and guarantees a decent level of sick pay that includes covering people on zero-hours contracts, this isn’t going to happen.
Additional reporting by PA
Featured image via screengrab
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.
Leave a ReplyYou must be logged in to leave a comment.Join the conversation
Please read our comment moderation policy here.