IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Boris Johnson’s leadership ‘alarming workers’

Unions, whose members include council staff and ambulance drivers, slam the Prime Minister’s handling of the coronavirus crisis

20 March, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

PM Boris Johnson has been criticised for flip-flopping his advice during the coronavirus crisis

TWO of the borough’s biggest trade unions have levelled stinging criticisms against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Unison and GMB, whose members include council staff, ambulance drivers, care workers and many other public service workers, say advice coming out of Downing Street is endangering them.

Jane Doolan, branch secretary of Islington Unison, told the Tribune: “There is no leadership from the government and it is trickling right the way through the system. That is the view of our members in Unison. I have been glued to my phone with people complaining.

“The lack of leadership which is filtering all the way through is alarming.”

Jane Doolan, branch secretary of Islington Unison

Boris Johnson has been criticised for not being transparent and flip-flopping his advice. The Prime Minister has called for the public not to undertake “unnecessary travel” while not forcing them to work from home as many other European countries have done so.

On Wednesday, rumours that London was going to be imminently “locked down” raced around the Islington social media groups which had been set up to support vulnerable neighbours, after several national papers were briefed that this may happen.

It is believed to have sparked further panic buying from supermarkets yesterday (Thursday) morning. But in the afternoon a government spokesman insisted there was “zero prospect” of transport in and out of the capital being blocked.

Gary Harris, branch president of GMB Islington, said: “There is sway and power in the unions. We are trying to relay clear and precise communication to our members.

“Once you get mixed communications you get panic. We say to the government and the local authorities, if we are more involved the better it is for you. Our members are more likely to turn to us than to management.”

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