Commenting on London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire being placed into Tier 3 restrictions, Unite secretary for the London and Eastern region, Pete Kavanagh, said:

“Unite supports these measures as the health and safety of the public in London and other impacted areas in the South East must come first. Further restrictions will, however, cause greater misery for millions in London and the south who have already suffered so much this year, as well as bring even more devastation to the economy.

“Ministers must do all they can to allay that suffering and economic damage. That include raising the UK’s pitiable rate of statutory sick pay and rowing back on the government’s stubborn refusal to help those on low wages cover the costs of self-isolating. Ministers must stop forcing people who want to protect the public health into having to choose between self-isolating or putting food on the table.  

“Support for hospitality businesses in Tier 3 areas has also been utterly inadequate, especially in comparison with that offered to those in France and Germany, and London will now be hit particularly hard. While the heavy hand of restrictions is a necessary evil at the current time, the government must provide the support needed to prevent hospitality venues closing their doors permanently. There must also be adequate support for other vulnerable workers and businesses, as well as public services, now caught up in Tier 3.

“The arrival of a vaccine shows there is light at the end of tunnel, however, we will also be reliant on test and trace for months to come if lives are to be saved and the NHS is to be kept above water. Ministers must ensure the continuing and severe problems with test and trace – which are of their own making – are urgently resolved so that it can be used effectively in conjunction with the tiered system.”   


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.