Responding to the announcement, STUC General Secretary Designate Roz Foyer said:
“The Prime Minister’s management of this crisis has been so woeful that few will have any confidence in what he has laid out this evening. This is a three-month road map in the hands of a government that doesn’t even seem to know what it is doing from one day to the next.
“Boris Johnson has apparently announced the return to work of hundreds of thousands of non-essential workers in areas such as construction and manufacturing. In so doing he in endangering people’s lives. The Government hasn’t even published guidance on how workers will be kept safe.
“His statement that all workers who cannot work from home should go to work will cause incredible confusion and massive concern. We urgently need clarity on how workers who cannot work from home and cannot safely attend their workplace will be treated.
“And at no point did he make it clear that he was talking about England only, rather than the whole of the UK. The strain on the delivery of a four-nation approach now seems intolerable.
“Our five red lines for relaxing lockdown remain the same and apply just as much for the Scottish Government as they do Westminster.
“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.
“As we have made clear, we believe the Scottish Government’s more safety-first approach is broadly the right one, particularly as doubts about the R value in Scotland persist. We have also welcomed their willingness to negotiate the sector by sector guidance with unions. However as ongoing failures on PPE, testing and guidance for care homes show, there is not an ounce of room for complacency. Unions will test the strategy of the Scottish Government every step of the way and fight to ensure that the safety of workers and of the wider public remains that number one concern.”
For further details contact Dave Moxham 07891 026870