Stand by your workers and we will stand by you, that is the message Prime Minister has urged firms to do to protect their staff despite many suffering immense losses because of the coronavirus pandemic.
At his daily Downing Street press conference earlier today Boris Johnson said: ‘Stand by your employees, stand by your workers, because we will stand by you.’ As people have been urged to stay at home and avoid socialising in pubs, clubs and restaurants, many businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry, are facing an existential threat. But in a plea to bosses, the PM said: ‘Think very carefully before you start laying off your staff we do want to stand behind good companies we want to make sure people recognise they should stand behind their staff.’ The PM thanked the British public for the ‘huge efforts’ they have taken in complying with social distancing advice to curb the spread of Covid-19. He added: ‘We’re asking students to put their education on hold, we’re asking people not to socialise in the normal way and already we can see the impact this is having on the UK economy and on business, on great, great companies.”
“So, it’s vital that we in Government stand behind them when what we are asking everyone to do is so crucial for saving literally thousands of lives by fighting this virus. ‘That knowledge of where the virus is will make a huge difference to our management of the disease and our ability to reduce disruption and economic difficulty.”
“It’s by this combination of ruthless, determined, collective action and scientific progress that we’re already seeing that we will succeed. ‘And I know how difficult it may be or it may seem right now, but if we do this together, we will save as I say many, many thousands of lives. ‘I say to business, stand by your employees, stand by your workers, because we will stand by you.’”
Facing the media the Prime Minister said Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be unveiling a package of measures to help the workforce cope with such unparalleled circumstances. He added: ‘This country is going to bounce back we’re going to need some fantastic companies remaining to bounce back as well.’ Johnson said the UK could ‘turn the tide of the outbreak’ in the next 12 weeks providing people stick to the guidance set out by the Government. He stressed that for the peak of infections to come down, people had to continue to self-distance. The PM added: ‘If enough people do go in for self distancing – and we don’t know if it’s enough – that will pull the peak down. If they don’t, that will be a big problem.’