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Electricity and water employees should be classified as ‘key workers’, Unite says

Energy and utility staff should be considered ‘key workers’ by the government one of Britain’s largest unions has said.

Unite, which represents over 1.2 million people, said people working for electricity and water firms should be protected in the same way that medical staff and police are in order to ensure uninterrupted supplies.

The key worker designation would allow them to have access to schools even though the majority remain shut for an indefinite period.

Unite national officer for energy and utilities Peter McIntosh said: “Our members are 100 per cent committed to do whatever it takes to maintain energy and water supplies to UK consumers and businesses at this time of national emergency. This is especially true of vital public services, such as the NHS.

“But we believe that workers in the energy and utility sectors deserve reassurance that, while they are working 24/7 to keep energy and water supplies running smoothly, their children are being well-looked-after in a school setting, so they don’t have that extra worry.

“We don’t believe that’s an unreasonable request – and we will be pressing the business secretary Alok Sharma to guarantee this as soon as possible.

“In the meantime, Unite is proactively in contact with energy producers and suppliers, as well as with the water industry, to ensure that the lights remain on and the water continues to flow.

“It goes without saying that all essential services, including the NHS, rely on energy and utilities to function – we are firmly committed to seeing that continues to happen in the weeks ahead.” 

The UK currently has 2,626 confirmed cases of Covid-19, although the true figure is expected to much higher than that. 103 people have died from the virus in the UK so far.

Yesterday the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) urged employers to ramp up their cyber-security protections as people increasingly work from home due to the virus.

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