It has also released its letter to Alok Sharma raising serious concerns about UK approach to workplace guidance.
STUC’s red lines
- Capacity for greater testing and a return to contact tracing
- Capacity to supply PPE to non-essential workplaces
- Sectoral Guidance needs to be agreed between unions and employers
- Effective enforcement measures must be in place.
- A continuation of the job retention scheme and other support for those who cannot work.
In its letter to Sharma, the STUC criticises the UK Government for a failure to properly consult, for sending mixed messages ahead of Sunday’s announcement and for producing weak workplace guidance to date which will likely cause safety issues and problems within a workplace context and may even put lives at risk. The STUC will only support a four-nation approach if the UK Government puts safety of workers and the general public first.
It is calling on the Scottish Government to maintain and strengthen its safety-first approach and to continue to work closely with the STUC to prepare detailed safety guidance for different industrial sectors.
The STUC also pledged support for any workers who collectively refuse to return to work because of legitimate safety fears.
STUC General Secretary Designate Rozanne Foyer says:
“Ahead of the Prime Minister’s much trailed announcement on Sunday, there have been a series of mixed messages and confusing briefings emanating from Number 10.
“Any move towards lifting restrictions on workplaces re-opening must be evidenced based, open and transparent and be for the four nations of the UK if possible. However, the four-nation approach is only possible insofar as the UK Government prioritises safety over profit and takes into account the levels of infection across each part of the UK. We will not support a four-nation approach if it puts additional lives at risk.
“Equally, there must be no weakening of the Scottish Government’s resolve. That is why we have published our five key principles which outline the measures which must be in place before return to work commences in any non-essential workplace.
“We need to be far further ahead in testing, have a proper contact tracing system in place, have ready supplies of PPE for any workplaces that is to re-open, and have enforcement measures in place. Each work sector must be treated according to its distinct characteristics and governed by guidelines agreed with unions. And there must be no implied threat of loss of income for workers not able to return to work. The job retention scheme must stay in place with no further reductions in levels of pay support.
“And we have a very clear message to employers and to all levels of government. If workers have legitimate safety fears, unions will use all means at their disposal to keep them safe and the STUC will support any action aimed to protect workers in Scotland.”
Further details: Dave Moxham 07891 026870