Joint statement by the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, Health and Safety Executive and local authorities on safe workplaces advises the use of Union Roving Health and Safety Reps who will now be on call for workers and employers in non-unionised workplaces.
STUC welcomes guidance on contact tracing but reminds government and employers that no workplace should be re-opening until effective tracing is actually in place.
It also raises concerns over elements of the transport guidance which must be right before any further relaxation of lockdown. The STUC will take the Cabinet Secretary up on his pledge to further work with unions to fix these issues.
The STUC gives strong welcome to manufacturing and retail guidance taken forward with unions. The guidance clearly states the need for employers to formally engage with workers through unions and to take into account track and trace and transport restrictions when assessing the risks of return to work.
It also strongly welcomes the support from Scottish Government, Police Scotland, Health and Safety Executive and local authorities for the role of roving health and safety reps for workers in non-unionised workplaces
STUC General Secretary Designate Roz Foyer says:
“We now have in place some good guidance for manufacturing and retail which has been developed in full consultation with unions. The guidance makes clear the steps that are required of employers in creating special risk assessments with unions and fully taking into account our key red lines including contact tracing and travel to work issues.
“Employers in all sectors need to note that the red light for a return to work is still on until contact tracing and effective transport guidance is in place along with full risk assessments.
“On transport we still think there is further progress to be made.
“Unions’ response to the current transport guidance has been lukewarm and we are urging further clarity to protect passengers and staff. In Parliament today, the Cabinet Secretary appeared to acknowledge that there are some issues still to be resolved and we intend to take him up on that offer. This will include more clarity on exceptions to the 2-metre social distancing requirement and further clarity on safety measures such as the mandatory use of facemasks in all but exceptional circumstances, mandatory provision of hand-sanitisers, cashless payment facilities, and shields for drivers and other face to face staff.
“I strongly welcome the joint letter issued today from Government, police and enforcement bodies. It makes crystal clear that no employer, unionised or not, is at liberty to ignore their workers or fail to engage with unions when that is their employees wish. Later this week we will announce how unions intend to organise, support and resource an army of organisers and roving reps who will be tasked with ensuring workers are fully empowered and supported over coming months.”