#TUC21: Unions to campaign for Covid and Long Covid to be recognised as industrial diseases

Many of the Covid patients that physiotherapy staff treated during the pandemic were exposed to the disease at their workplace, CSP steward Jill Taylor told delegates to the Trades Union Congress (TUC)’s online Congress.

Watch Jill Taylor at TUC Congress, or see the whole delegation in our #TUC21 playlist

Taylor was speaking on 13 September at Congress, the annual policy-making conference of the British trade union movement, where the TUC’s 48 member unions put forward motions for debate. Taylor told Congress:

Workers were left to pay the human costs of the actions – or rather inactions - of employers putting profits before health protections.

Recognising Covid and Long Covid as industrial diseases would strengthen the hand of those workers in obtaining recognition and  compensation, alleviating in some small way the financial, as well as health-hardships they experienced.

This year the CSP submitted motions and amendments on a wide range of issues. Taylor was speaking in support of a motion which also called on the TUC to campaign for a ‘right to rehabilitation’ for those requiring rehabilitation after Covid-19.

The CSP also spoke in support of the TUC:

All of the CSP's motions were carried unanimously.  They will now form the basis of the TUC's work next year, and influence the support that is made available to TUC-affiliated unions which represent over 5.5 million workers.

CSP Health and Safety rep wins national award

Katrina Humphreys, and other #TUC21 award winners, discuss their trade union work.

This year at Congress, CSP health and safety (H&S) rep Katrina Humphreys was awarded the TUC’s 2021 H&S Rep Award in recognition of her steadfast commitment to staff safety.

Nationwide around 100,000 trade union safety representatives advise and represent their members on all matters relating to their health, safety and welfare at work; and make sure employers fulfil their legal and contractual obligations towards their employees.

The TUC makes an annual award to the trade union H&S representative whose work has best represented the importance of this role. As no congress awards were made last year, Humphreys’ award covers the period from September 2019 to 2021, and was based on her role in the workplace throughout the pandemic.

Receiving the award, Humphreys challenged more CSP members to put themselves forward to become a H&S rep:

There has never been a more important time to step up. With more decisions about working conditions being made locally, the CSP needs a strong H&S presence in all workplaces to improve the environment and working life of our members.

H&S reps will never work alone, and can draw on the support of the wider team of stewards, equality reps and officers when advocating for members’ safety. Job-shares can also be arranged, making the role more accessible than ever.

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