Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed Keir Starmer’s victory on overseas health and care staff being exempted from the fee levied on migrants to pay for the NHS. Usdaw now calls on the Prime Minister to go further on his U-turn and extend the exemption to all key workers providing essential services through the Coronavirus emergency.

Labour leader Keir Starmer raised the issue in yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Question Time and following today’s reversal by the PM he said: “Boris Johnson is right to have U-turned and backed our proposal to remove the NHS charge for health professionals and care workers. This is a victory for common decency and the right thing to do. We cannot clap our carers one day and then charge them to use our NHS the next.”

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“The vast majority of Usdaw members are key workers in the food and pharmaceutical supply chains. They are on the frontline of
keeping our society going during this appalling Coronavirus emergency.

“For those who are migrant workers, we see no justification for them to be surcharged for accessing the NHS when they are working hard, providing essential services and paying their taxes. So as the Government rightly reviews this charge for health and care workers, we urge them to also exempt all the key workers that we clap for every Thursday.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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