Essential Workers Deserve Covid-19 Recognition Payment

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“Essential workers have played a heroic role throughout the pandemic response. It’s time they’re treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

All Councillors in the Derry and Strabane Council – except the DUP – agreed to support our People Before Profit’s proposal to call on the office of FMDFM to release financial funding towards a recognition payment for all frontline workers in the public, private, community and voluntary sectors. Council officers confirmed there has been as yet no response from OFMDFM to this request.

Many frontline workers are low paid. This includes far too many in the health service, in care homes, in domiciliary care and in retail. A recognition payment shouldn’t be necessary but so many essential jobs have be devalued in recent decades. Big employers, especially those who have profited during the crisis, should step up to fund a recognition payment.

The Tories and others who have slashed essential worker pay in recent years have joined the Thursday night ‘claps’ for NHS workers. Already we are hearing from voices in establishment parties that further pay freezes and ‘hard decisions’ will be necessary. We should fight this all the way. 

A recognition payment is a means to demonstrate a meaningful appreciation of NHS workers and all frontline workers. And it shouldn’t stop there. All essential workers deserve a pay raise, better terms and conditions and unobstructed access to trade union representation. We shouldn’t let the political establishment and bosses forget the sacrifices workers have made during this crisis. We shouldn’t accept the massive inequalities they have imposed.”