Solidarity today submitted proposals requesting that all employees who can work in a healthy way, be able to return to work where possible.
“We are at risk of damaging the economy irreparably through a clumsy lockdown, which seriously impedes our ability to fight the battle against Covid-19. Therefore, it is critical that we handle the lockdown in a clever way – that we encourage and allow healthy work environments as far as possible,” said Dr Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive of Solidarity.
Solidarity asks for a shift in the onus of restricting companies from above to companies who can prove that they can work in a healthy way and keep their clients healthy.
“There should rather be a strong bias for work – with all businesses that can work healthily being allowed to work. Regulations can then rather highlight the exceptions that cannot work, instead of highlighting those exceptions that are allowed to work. It is unthinkable to believe that a Minister can effectively decide who meets the requirements and who does not. A trust agreement is needed between the government and its citizens. We are together in this battle and therefore government should trust that its citizens will not only make the necessary sacrifices, but that they will also use the necessary caution to address the crisis,” explained Hermann.
According to Solidarity, all businesses should meet the strict health regulations to manage the risk of Covid-19. If they are able to meet the regulations, then they should be allowed to continue with their activities.
Solidarity has drafted a comprehensive code of good practice for working in a healthy way that outlines exactly how virtually all businesses can reopen given adequate health measures. Some of the proposals include extending business hours and allowing companies to hit full capacity while limiting the number of people on site.
“This code of good practice should form the basis for the regulations for healthy work, healthy workplaces and a healthy economy. The focus must now shift to the balance between economy and health – we can address both by working healthy,” Hermann said further.
These proposals of Solidarity are part of the input that government has requested about the lockdown, which closed today at 12:00.
Solidarity furthermore suggests that the restriction of people’s movement should be much more decentralised.
“From the government’s data, it is clear that not all districts in the country are equally affected by the virus – a smart lockdown that allows citizens to move freely and work in low-risk districts, and to rather restrict movement in higher-risk districts is now needed,” said Hermann.
“This is an unprecedented crisis and our response to this must be unprecedentedly flexible and dynamic. A clumsy lockdown that does not allow people to work healthy will do more harm than good,” concluded Hermann.