Socialist Worker

Parents denied furlough payments by the bosses

Issue No. 2738

Working class mothers in particular who are paying the price for Tory failures

Working class mothers in particular who are paying the price for Tory failures


A majority of parents who have asked for furlough to take care of their children while schools are shut have been refused by bosses.

New research from the TUC shows that some 71 percent of women and 75 percent of men were denied the request.

Evidence points to the latest lockdown and school closures as a crisis that is falling predominantly on women’s shoulders.

Some 93 percent of respondents were women, despite the survey being aimed at mothers and fathers.

It is an insight into the desperate situations that many parents have been plunged into by the Tories’ mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Just like in the first lockdown, mums are shouldering the majority of childcare,” said Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC union federation.

“Tens of thousands of mums have told us they are despairing.

It’s neither possible nor sustainable for them to work as normal, while looking after their children and supervising schoolwork.”

But even under the Tories’ insufficient furlough scheme, where 80 percent of wages are subsidised by the state, parents should be eligible to qualify.

Workers can be furloughed if they are “caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing”.

It is working class women in particular who are paying the highest price for the government’s failures.

The Tories must be held to account for the horror they are inflicting on people’s lives.


School testing plans failed

The Tories are under pressure over their plans to reopen schools later this year. They hoped to get children back to school with the help of rapid virus tests.

But the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has not approved the tests to be used in this way.

The government wanted children and workers identified as close contacts of confirmed cases to have daily tests to keep them in schools.

But in trials, the lateral flow tests have failed to identify many positive Covid-19 cases.

The MHRA “continues to advise that close contacts of positive cases continue to self‑isolate”.

Closed

And several councils have closed nurseries despite Tory advice that they should remain open during the lockdown.

Brighton and Hove council has closed its nurseries to all except vulnerable children and those with key worker parents.

Salford council has done the same.

Workers elsewhere are demanding the government closes nurseries to stop the spread of the virus.

They also want financial support to make sure that early years settings are not forced to close permanently as a result.


Tory plans risk care homes

The Tories are repeating mistakes from the murderous regime inflicted on older people during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Health and Social Care wants to discharge Covid-19 positive patients into care homes, despite the risk that poses to residents and workers.

It said if residents infected with the virus had been in isolation for 14 days during their hospital stay, they could be sent directly to care homes.

The guidance comes after coronavirus ripped through care home facilities in the first wave and slaughtered over 25,000 older and vulnerable people. And the crisis is not over. Some 1,200 care home residents died from Covid-19 in England in the first week of January.

It’s estimated some 400,000 care home residents in England are waiting for their first vaccine dose.

The Tories’ policies continue to show their disdain for human life.


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