Unite the union
 
21 March 2020
 
 
Issue 1
 
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. 
 
A message from the general secretary Len McCluskey
 
Dear members

These are worrying times for you and your family, for all of us. You not only have concerns about your health, but also about what the future holds for your jobs and communities

Indeed, most of us have seen nothing as challenging in our lifetimes.

As an employer, as well as your trade union, Unite has had to take decisions about how we work differently during this time.

Our priority is to support you through this crisis every step of the way.
 
Chancellor's measures 'historic, bold and very much necessary' says Unite general secretary​
 
Following the announcement by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak of measures to direct state money to millions of UK workers in order to fend off economic collapse, Len McCluskey has described the measures as 'historic, bold and very much necessary'.

He said: "This is the package of measures that trade unions like Unite have been pressing for as the most effective way to stave off mass hardship and the conditions for a depression.
 
 
Unite launches coronavirus crisis helpline for vulnerable members
 
Dear members, if you are calling our helpline set up as part of our #coronavirus support for you, please bear with us. Call volume is extremely high. We’re working hard to get you the help you need but please be patient with us. Stay safe.

Call for retired nurses and student nurses to join
the fight against coronavirus
 
Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, strongly supports the call for retired nurses, those who have left the register and students in the last stages of their undergraduate training, to volunteer for the fight against the #coronavirus.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), chief nursing officers of the four UK countries, and the Council of Deans of Health as well as health trade unions issued the call today

Read more
 
Energy and utility staff should be classed as ‘key workers’ in battle against coronavirus, says Unite
 
Thousands of energy and utility employees should be classed as ‘key workers’ so that they can keep energy and water supplies running without interruption during the #coronavirus emergency.

Unite, which has tens of thousands of members in the sector, is asking business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) secretary Alok Sharma to guarantee that energy and utility workers are included in the ‘key worker’ category.
 
  
UK must emulate France’s promise that no business will collapse due to coronavirus shutdowns
 
Following the announcements of temporary manufacturing closures and the expected shutdown of much of the UK’s automotive sector in the coming days, Unite has called on ministers to introduce measures that will ensure that no business goes to the wall due to the coronavirus crisis.

The government must ensure that the entire manufacturing sector is ready to ‘leap out of the gates’ when car plants and other firms that have temporarily closed due to the coronavirus reopen, Unite says.

Read more
 
Unite in Action
 
Negotiations with employers
Unite officers are working tirelessly in discussions with employers to protect members' jobs and wages. We're now compiling a central database of good and bad practice among companies, to help inform our negotiations with them on issues arising from the pandemic. For example, we're working closely and constructively with the food and drinks industry, in which thousands of Unite members work.
 
 
Examples of good and bad practice include employers guaranteeing no loss of pay for workers told to self-isolate, while others are only paying statutory sick pay. We’ll be highlighting many of these across our social media channels and in future editions of this newsletter.

For now, we’ll give a shout out to Stagecoach Wales for trying their best to ensure workers don’t bear the financial brunt of the #coronavirus emergency. Unlike some other companies in the sector, they've agreed to pay their bus drivers their contracted hours even if the worker has to go into self-isolation or the company is unable to provide the hours stated on employment contracts.
 
Compare that to Kingspan Group at Holywell, who've stunned staff by announcing, without notice, that their pay will be cut by 40 per cent.
 
 
Unite Community members mobilise amid epidemic to support those in need.
 
Abusive customers in supermarkets told to ‘curb their tongues’.
 
Whatever It Takes
 
We’ve launched a #WhateverItTakes social media campaign. Here’s a couple of our memes (right click and save). Look out for them and share them on Facebook, Twitter and like them on Instagram:
 
 
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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