Charging for Covid tests would be act of madness, warns TUC

It said the move would disproportionately hit frontline and low-paid workers.

21 February 2022

Charging for Covid tests would be “an act of madness” in the middle of a cost of living crisis, union leaders warn.

The TUC said the Prime Minister should put public health first when he publishes his “living with Covid” plans this week, rather than internal Conservative Party politics.

The union organisation urged the Government to commit to tackle the “broken” sick pay system by making it available to all workers and increasing it to at least the rate of the voluntary real living wage.

TUC comments on sick pay
General secretary of TUC Frances O’Grady (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The TUC said lateral flow and PCR tests should remain free for all who need access to them.

Introducing charges would disproportionately hit frontline and low-paid workers, it was claimed.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We are all looking forward to getting on with our lives, but the Prime Minister must put the country and public health first, not his backbenchers.

“That means fixing our broken sick pay system once and for all. Workers who are laid low by Covid must be paid sick pay while they can’t work, or people will have to come into work and that will spread infections.

“The ongoing failure to provide decent sick pay to everyone is leaving the country vulnerable to new variants and pandemics. It’s astonishing ministers cannot see this.

“Free tests must remain in place for all those who need them. This is crucial for workplace and public safety.”

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