Politics

Iain Dale baffled at Welsh Labour’s threat to workers to stop Omicron ‘Step too far!’

Welsh fine on not working from home is 'outrageous' says Dale

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LBC Radio host Iain Dale criticised the Welsh Government’s Coronavirus restrictions as he discussed the confusion surrounding the latest Labour government-imposed rule to work from home. Welsh citizens not adhering to the work from home rule could be fined a fixed penalty of £60 daily, and companies who ignore the rule could be hit with fines of up to £1,000 every time they break this rule. Mr Dale expressed his shock at the lack of outrage the new rules have not caused. 

Mr Dale said: “I’m disappointed by the lack of reaction to the Welsh Government’s £60 fine if you don’t work from home.

“I would have thought you would have been outraged by that, it seems not, I am.

“I just cant understand the mentality of a government, whatever political colour that would introduce a measure like that.

“Fine! have guidelines, urge people to work from home,  say why you think they should work from home and the effect that it would have.

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Mr Dale added: “But to fine people, for not working from home, I think that it one step too far.

“Because what happens if your employer says to you, I don’t care what the legislation says.

“If you don’t come in you’re going to be sacked, what do you do in those circumstances? I don’t know the answer to that question.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced more Covid restrictions from December 27. The new measures include a 2m distance rule, one-way systems, physical barriers to be erected in public places like shops and, the closure of nightclubs.

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Unlike Mr Drakeford, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that there will be no new measures before Christmas in England, but after the festive season he could not rule out adding more.

Both have asked all citizens to take extra precautions over the holiday season to prevent a surge in cases of Omicron.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “Additional measures have been introduced to limit the spread of the virus and protect public health,” a spokesman said.

“Further to our long-standing advice for people to work from home wherever possible, from Monday, this will now be a legal requirement to work from home unless there is a reasonable excuse not to.

“We expect employers to take all reasonable steps to facilitate home working and provide employees with the support they need.” 

The GMB Union has criticised the Welsh Government’s latest measures.

Speaking about her fears around staff working from home GMB senior organiser, Kelly Andrews, said: “We think this strikes the wrong chord.

“We have major worries that this could lead to bad employers pressuring their workers to work from home without a paper trail and place any financial risk on them.

“Those workers are also the most vulnerable and can least afford to take the financial hit.

“But the truth is for a lot of families a £60 fine over Christmas will have a severe financial impact.”

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