Unite the union
 
25 March 2020
 
 
Issue 2
 
Unite wants to ensure that all members know what their union is doing to support them during these unprecedented times. Our priority is protecting you, so we’ve launched this regular newsletter to keep you updated on what actions we are taking to do that. Look out for it in your inbox every few days.

If you can help us to win our campaigns to get the government to act to stop an economic catastrophe for working people, then please do. Share our social media posts, send them to your MPs and try to take any actions we ask of you.
 
Unite launches dedicated Coronavirus advice pages, for members and reps
 
We’ve launched dedicated web pages to help members and reps during the continually evolving COVID-19 pandemic. For members, the information is designed to provide information about your legal rights at work, as well as details of and links to latest health, benefits and other support measures, including our employment law advice line.

The pages will be updated regularly and according to all new government announcements. They also contain a list of frequently asked questions, including support measures provided by Unite.
 
 
NHS Isolation notes
 
Told to stay at home because of #coronavirus and need a note for your employer?

Go to the NHS 111 get an isolation note site and follow the steps here
 
Covid-19: Confusion for workers and lack of financial support at odds with national emergency, McCluskey tells PM
 
Len McCluskey has appealed to the prime minister to act swiftly to clear up the confusion about who can be at work and how insecure and self-employed workers will be supported economically.
 
 
Warning that the lack of clarity and absence of financial support for insecure workers are at odds with the national emergency, the appeal follows images from London, the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, of packed construction sites and tube trains.
 
 
Government must act immediately as construction sites
face health emergency due to coronavirus crisis

Construction workers and their families are facing a public health emergency as the government has failed to ensure their safety at work, Unite has warned.

Alongside urgent contingencies to enforce safety on sites, the government must introduce immediate measures to ensure that the self-employed (which comprises over 50 per cent of the construction industry) are covered by its wage assistance scheme, to the equivalent already announced for employees, ministers have been told.
 
 
McCluskey: PM's lockdown needs measures to support workers
to observe national emergency
 
Responding to the announcement from the prime minister on Tuesday (23 March) that the UK is going into `lockdown' in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:

"The prime minister's statement illustrates the gravity of the situation. This is a national health emergency and every resource, business and community in the country must be laser-focused, pulling together to do what needs to be done to protect public health.

Read more
 
Bexley workers secure sick pay guarantee amid coronavirus outbreak
 
Waste collection workers for the London borough of Bexley have won guaranteed sick pay from their employer Serco after rock solid strike action.

The 150 Serco employees forced the company and council to concede full sick pay for those isolating after potentially being exposed to coronavirus.
 
Leisure chain G1 Group halts plans to lay off
a "significant number of workers” after Unite organises a
 
Swift action from Unite hospitality members in Scotland forced leisure chain GI Group into a U-turn over plans to lay off workers. The company published a statement shortly after the prime minister told pubs and restaurants to close, saying it had given notice to a “significant number” of workers and implemented short-term lay offs.

But after staff organised with the help of Unite and the Better Than Zero campaign and accused their employer of sacking them “en masse by message and without notice”, the group announced on its website that it had stopped all its proposed action.

Unite Hospitality swiftly tweeted: 
 
 
Unite in Action
 
Negotiations with employers
 
Tower Transit hardship fund
 
London bus operator Tower Transit has put £100,000 into a hardship fund to assist its workers that are struggling with the unprecedented response to the Covid-19 virus.

The move came after negotiations with Unite and included an agreement that a team of two union officials and two managers would make the decisions on whether a payment is made.

Unite thanked Tower Transit on social media for this commitment and guaranteed sum of money.
 
London bus operator Tower Transit has put £100,000 into a hardship fund to assist its workers that are struggling with the unprecedented response to the Covid-19 virus.

The move came after negotiations with Unite and included an agreement that a team of two union officials and two managers would make the decisions on whether a payment is made.

Unite thanked Tower Transit on social media for this commitment and guaranteed sum of money.
 
Transport for Wales Rail show the way
 
TFW Rail has agreed that any worker who has to go into self-isolation or take time off to care for family members will not be penalised financially.

They also agreed that new starters who have worked for the company for less than six month and wouldn’t usually qualify for company sick pay will be entitled to it. This is a huge change in company policy achieved through talks with Unite.

Alan McCarthy, Unite regional officer, said: “Out of all employers in Wales, TFW Rail are standing out during the #coronavirus crisis. They are encouraging staff to do the right thing by self-isolating and taking care of their loved ones by confirming they won’t be penalised when it comes to wages and sickness records.”
 
 
Assurances sought for Sports Direct workers
 
Unite East Midlands moved fast to contact Mike Ashley's lawyers after he announced his stores would stay open and claimed his staff were key workers. We called for assurances that he would follow government instructions around non-essential work, adding to the pressure on the Sports Direct owner that soon had him perform a U-turn.
 
We also demanded answers about arrangements for pay to be communicated clearly to Sports Direct workers, whether directly employed or through one of the employment agencies operating at the Shirebrook site.
 
 

Unite continues to compile a central database of good and bad practice among employers, to help inform our negotiations with them on issues arising from the pandemic.

We’ll be highlighting more of the good, the bad and the plain ugly across our social media and in future editions of this newsletter.
 
 
Meet Unite nurse member, Emily Parvin from Leighton Hospital, who is undaunted on the front line.
 
 
UniteLive highlights the heroes and zeroes of the #coronavirus crisis
 
Unite member launches community support group
 
Unite member Emma has launched a #COVID19 support group in Poole to help elderly and vulnerable people survive the #coronavirus pandemic
 
 
To catch up with all Unite’s statements, stories and actions on #coronavirus go to our News and Events page HERE

And to UNITELive HERE
 
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