Press release

17 Yorkshire MPs slam telecomms companies as being ‘in breach of the spirit of the national lockdown ‘ and call for clearer guidance

Date: 26.03.20 | in: business, Health | Tags: ,

17 Yorkshire MPs have signed a letter to the Prime Minister demanding that the Government better define what is and is not an essential service after reports of major telecoms companies and banks still requiring staff to work from central offices.

The letter, lead by Alex Sobel MP believes that the action of these major companies is “in breach of the spirit of the national lockdown and a serious risk to public health during this crisis.”

The MPs acknowledge that some telephone services such as emergency services and those who are keeping our telecommunications online during lockdown are essential. It is unclear, however, why services cannot be run remotely and there have been several reports of staff being made to come in who do not fall into that category.

The letter request that “the Government clearly define who are and who are not key workers. We do not believe that those in the telecommunications industry, other than those who deal with emergency response, should be defined as key workers.”

They go onto say there should be “serious questions” raised with industry leaders abou “why they could not run operations and call centres remotely and why they had no systems in place to do so in the event of a national emergency.” “These organisations are some of the wealthiest in the United Kingdom. We have seen much smaller firms, creatively redesigning their systems to allow for home working.”

The letter says that it should be Government not organisations themselves that define who are and who are not essential staff.

Further Quotes
Alex Sobel said, “I have received several complaints from constituents who do not believe their work to be essential. They have worked for several organisations including Capita and Lloyds bank. We need every organisation large and small to do all they can to enact the social distancing measures set out by Government this week. I do not know why these organisations have not had contingency measures in place, long before this crisis.”

Karl Turner said:
“The Government needs to make it crystal clear exactly who should and shouldn’t be going to work. Despite the vast majority of businesses going above and beyond to do the right thing, a small number are unnecessarily putting lives at risk by falsely claiming key worker status. Vague advice creates a vacuum, which sadly some seem to be exploiting.”

The MPs to have signed are
Hilary Benn MP
Olivia Blake MP
Paul Blomfield MP
Tracy Brabin MP
Richard Burgon MP
Gill Furniss MP
Fabian Hamilton MP
Emma Hardy MP
Diana Johnson MP
Holly Lynch MP
Rachael Maskell MP
Ed Miliband MP
Stephanie Peacock MP
Rachel Reeves MP
Naz Shah MP
Alex Sobel MP
Karl Turner MP

Yorks MP Letter to PM re Telecomms PDF

Further Information:

Nik Rutherford

nik.rutherford@parliament.uk  07963280070

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