While the nation has been getting behind the NHS and care workers, stepping onto doorsteps to ‘clap for carers’ battling with Covid-19; there has been a growing sentiment that we don’t appreciate enough the vital – and sometimes dangerous – work they do. But there has been greater appreciation for the many others not traditionally thought of as working on the ‘front line’: bus drivers, the shelf stackers and bar workers, the bin men and the many others doing what is perhaps only belatedly being recognised as ‘essential’ work.
But is the wartime rhetoric and applauding of ‘heroes’ overdone, and the list of key workers overlong? Will everything return to normal after the crisis is over, or will public support and gratitude lead to better pay and services, and a new appreciation of public service?
Introduced by Jon Bryan, trade union official and treasurer of The Great Debate and Dr Frankie Anderson, psychiatry trainee and co-founder of Sheffield Salon.
Watch the discussion
I’m an NHS doctor – and I’ve had enough of people clapping for me, Guardian, 21 May 2020
Let’s bake the right ingredients for social justice, John Bird, The Big Issue, 21 May 2020
Coronavirus and key workers in the UK, Office for National Statistics, 15 May 2020
Humans are not resources: Coronavirus shows why we must democratise work, Guardian, 15 May 2020
Don’t buy the lockdown lie – this is a government of business as usual, Caroline Molloy, Open Democracy, 1 May 2020
The effects of the Coronavirus crisis on workers, Resolution Foundation, 16 May 2020