STUC says First Ministers’ cautionary approach, including a pause on office and call-centre re-opening and continued presumption in favour of homeworking, is difficult, but correct decision.

September 10th 2020

STUC says First Ministers’ cautionary approach, including a pause on office and call-centre re-opening and continued presumption in favour of homeworking, is difficult, but correct decision.

September 10th 2020

• Postponing office and call centre re-opening is the lesser of two evils in order to protect public health and limit the economic impact of major rise in new cases.

• Employers must recognise that home-working can have a negative impact on workers and redouble efforts to support workers. Workers need assurance that home-working is temporary and that full consultation with unions will take place before any permanent changes to working practice are implemented.

• In recognition of the potential negative impact of homeworking, the STUC urges workers to respond to key home working survey from Strathclyde University professor Phil Taylor.

• With tighter restrictions on social gatherings but pubs and restaurants remaining opening there is a real risk of people concluding that their family lives are being treated as less important than their status as customers.

Rozanne Foyer STUC General Secretary said:

“We know that for many workers continuing to work from home is causing real difficulty. Many are working long hours to keep businesses and services running, often in very difficult circumstances. However continued homeworking it is the lesser of two evils as we continue the fight against the virus and seek to avoid a more protracted lock-down which will surely follow if infections continue to rise sharply.

“It is absolutely essential that employers engage with those working from home to ensure that everything possible is being done to mitigate risks to their safety and mental health. From long-term musculoskeletal damage to mental ill-heath including loneliness, and the blurring of family and working life, homeworking can have serious negative impacts. We are sending out a very strong message, that whilst necessary, these measures should be temporary. No permanent changes to working environments should be made without full consultation with unions and the agreement of workers.

Predicting that a second shut down of hospitality was becoming increasingly likely, Foyer added:

“As restrictions increase on social gatherings, many people are becoming frustrated that it seems acceptable to gather in enclosed spaces as customers, but not in non-commercial spaces such as their homes. If people are to be expected to adhere to new rules, it is vital that there is full transparency about the source of new cases, and that consistency is applied.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary, on 07891026870.

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