A Nottingham union chair has slated the government’s coronavirus strategy, accusing them of having a “total disregard for human life”.
Alex Nowicki, the 27-year-old interim chair of the Nottingham branch of ACORN, has called for an inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 crisis by Downing Street.
The nursing student from Wollaton said: “We need to have a complete thorough inquiry where individuals are held responsible for the unnecessary deaths that are a direct consequence of the incompetence and neglect that the people running this country have shown towards communities.
“It’s already too late – they should have done something, and it shouldn’t be as bad as it is.
The union which Alex represents, ACORN, is a member defence union which focuses on guarding the interests of their members, not only at work, but also in their communities.
According to ACORN, they have extended help to more than 1,500 homes across the country through their “Coronavirus Community Support Network”.
Alex said: “We thought lockdown was going to stop us in our tracks, but it’s been overwhelming how we’ve all rallied together.
“We want to get as many members on board as possible to spread the word and raise awareness of mutual aid.”
One area of focus for the union is housing, and the organisation has attracted criticism from landlords for their tactics of direct action, which have included preventing evictions by blocking bailiffs from accessing the property.
Sam Harris, a 20-year-old Politics & International Relations student at Nottingham Trent University, defended ACORN’s tactics.
He said: “Direct action always works, it’s case of saying that this needs to change and we will disrupt your business until it changes.
“We want to build a network of people in Nottingham that we can depend on to defend members in the community.”
Alex echoed Sam’s sentiments.
She added: “Direct action is at our core, without it we are nothing.
“If a disadvantaged or vulnerable person is being taken advantage of then we have to step in and show our support to stop that injustice from happening.”
Alex also works in a care home, an experience which has given her first-hand insight into the state of social care.
She said: “The social care system was already struggling [before coronavirus].
“An already struggling system has become even more chaotic.”