Great Britain

Brits face holiday chaos as union bosses wage war against government’s plans to ease pingdemic for key workers

BRITS face a summer of holiday chaos as unions step-up opposition to a Government plans aimed at ending the pingdemic by exempting key workers.

The transport workers union is threatening a strike while the union representing immigration staff said they could refuse to take part in testing aimed at keeping public services running.

There have been fears the number of employees being forced to quarantine by the pingdemic could see public services grind to a halt and even spark food shortages.

The government has announced that key workers are to be exempt from crippling pingdemic self-isolation rules with a list of essential jobs being drawn up.

But Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the RMT transport union, threatened to launch strike action over the exemption scheme.

“Why should our people be infected with Covid?,” he told the Telegraph.

“They are panicking and trying to force our workers back to work, where it’s not safe.

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“We have discussed the possibility of taking action at a senior level, and I can say that nothing has been ruled out.”

The ISU union which represents Border Force staff suggested the government’s plan was "unworkable” and members were reluctant to take part.

When officers had the option to take part in an earlier pilot to avoid self-isolation, they had not done so, said Lucy Moreton, professional officer for the union.

“I am not sure how you would enforce it,” she said.

“You cannot compel them to test. Equally, I am not convinced Border Force can compel employees to say if they are double vaccinated.”

Ms Moreton claimed Border Force officers could refuse to travel to testing sites on their days off without being paid.

“Border Force staff count their time very carefully because they are used to accounting for it in chunks,” she said.

A Government source said: "We want to ensure there are as few queues at the border as possible and that means people doing the right thing and getting tested to protect public health."

So far only NHS and social care staff have been exempted from the need to self-isolate after being 'pinged' for contact with a positive case.

Instead they can return to work so long as they show a negative PCR test and then take daily Lateral Flow swabs.

There has been a clamour for the scheme to be extended to other key workers involved in essential services and supply chains such as shop staff.

George Eustice says the pingdemic will effect travel and food infrastructure

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