COVID-19: Push to get staff back to offices amid warning of UK’s ‘ghost towns’ – The Guardian UK

Labour criticises ‘unconscionable’ plans as ministers would warn employees vulnerable to being sacked

Financial districts like London’s Canary Wharf have become ‘ghost towns’ amid the pandemic. 

Press Association = Fri 28 Aug 2020  – THE GUARDIAN UK

The television and newspaper messages will promote the government’s aim to reduce the number of employees working from home amid fears that town and city centres are becoming ghost areas as workers stay away.         


A report in the Telegraph said the campaign would push the emotional and mental health benefits of mixing with colleagues but also said that ministers would warn that those working from home could be more vulnerable to being sacked.

Labour has criticised the plans as being “unconscionable” while the CBI said any return to work push should involve a “hybrid” approach that did not force people to return.

Labour’s shadow business minister, Lucy Powell, said: “It beggars belief that the government are threatening people like this during a pandemic. Forcing people to choose between their health and their job is unconscionable.

“No 10 should condemn this briefing and categorically rule out any such campaign.”

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the director-general of the CBI, said a hybrid approach with home and office working was the best way forward.

Speaking to Times Radio on Thursday, Fairbairn said: “This is not about compulsion. I couldn’t say that more strongly.

“This is about creating the opportunity and the confidence to get to a hybrid that gets the best of both worlds. We’re certainly not there yet.

“Our offices are at risk of dying. And we would regret that very much if we allowed that to happen.”

A government spokesperson said: “We are working closely with employers across the country to help them make workplaces Covid-secure and give people confidence to go back to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Next week we will showcase the benefits of returning safely to work and raise awareness of companies getting this right.

“We’ll also provide practical steps businesses are taking to ensure offices are Covid-secure as well as alternative ways of travelling to work.”

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  • kamtanblog  On 08/31/2020 at 4:48 am

    Office workers can continue to work from
    Home ! Essential workers should return.
    Treatment of CorV has improved significantly
    as we learn more about it and how to treat.
    Prevention is of less importance than cure.
    Those who died in jan/Feb could have been
    saved. Hindsight teaches fools !
    Fools forget !


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