Unions 'looking for excuses' to keep workers out of office: Former Cabinet Secretary

5 September 2020, 09:56 | Updated: 5 September 2020, 11:25

By Seán Hickey

A former Secretary of State argued that 'the negative approach' of some Trade Unions is slowing down the UK's push to get workers back to the office.

Lord Peter Lilley is former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and was speaking to Andrew Castle amid the debate to get workers back to the office as coronavirus restrictions ease.

"The reason people are not going to work, Lord Lilley is that it is dirty and expensive to commute," Andrew began.

"It is a foul experience which takes up a vast amount of day and this whole thing has perhaps led people to adjust, reappraise their lives and look at the balance - or lack of it, that they've got."

Lord Lilley argued that "a lot of people would like to get back to work but are scared of doing so," because of mixed messaging in the drive to get back to work.

He argued that if "we can show those fears are not justified, then they will go back to work," as many workers are missing out on the experience of working that they've lost during lockdown.

Lord Lilley insisted there must be an effort to get workers to return to the office
Lord Lilley insisted there must be an effort to get workers to return to the office. Picture: PA

The former Trade Secretary told Andrew that he is "sad about the union position," on returning to the office, which he branded as "the negative approach."

The former Conservative MP said we must be working to get people back to the office.

"Let's try and create maximum opportunity for people to get back to work, children to get back to schools, teachers get back to teaching."

Lord Lilley argued that some unions are "looking for excuses not to do that," which is detrimental to the effort.

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