Socialist Worker

Report finds links between class and Covid exposure

Issue No. 2755

Many workers simply werent able to work from home

Many workers simply weren't able to work from home (Pic: Virtualwolf/Flickr )

A new Office for National Statistics report this week underlined how class has largely determined how much you were exposed to Covid-19.

The survey asked whether people had worked from home in the week before the survery, and if they had ever worked from home. at any point.

The results showed that in 2020 only 25.9 percent of people had worked at home in the week before they responded.

For many people “stay at home” would have meant the sack, or at the very least a significant loss of income. In London 46.4 percent of people said they worked at home at some point in 2020, with the highest proportion in richer neighbourhoods.


Some 71 percent of workers in Richmond upon Thames had worked from home before.

But in rural Scotland and the northern English towns of Burnley and Middlesbrough, less than 14 percent of workers had ever worked from home.

During the lockdown, more than half of managers, directors and senior officials worked from home. But fewer than 10 percent of cleaners, factory workers and drivers did. Most were left fully exposed to high risks.

Home workers in their 40s were twice as likely to be working from home than those aged 20-24.

And black workers or those from Bangladesh or Pakistan were also less likely to do their jobs at home. Class ruled how much your life was at risk—even though working class people did the crucial jobs that kept society going throughout the pandemic.

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