Unite the union
 
28 May 2020
 
 
Issue 10
 
Furlough changes must not lead to jobs tsunami this summer
 
With the chancellor Rishi Sunak due to announce changes to the Jobs Retention Scheme, Unite has warned that great care must be taken to ensure they do not result in millions of job losses.

In discussions with Treasury officials, Unite has been examining a variety of alternatives open to the chancellor that avoid simply making employers responsible for a contribution of up to 25 percent of the scheme's guaranteed pay. These could include more flexible working arrangements and a lowering of the monthly cap.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey set out our proposals in an article in the Guardian.
 
Read it here
 
Safety
 
Be Safe, Join a Union
 
We’ve produced new Travel Safe, Work Safe, Join Unite posters and stickers for workplaces. Unite reps can download them from our online publications library. Or contact your local Unite office to order copies for your workplace. We also have a short film about safe work. Watch it here
 
 
Your legal right to a safe place of work
 
We’ve updated our advice for members on the legal right to a safe place of work, to reflect the change of government advice and guidance in England.

Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary for political and legal affairs, makes it clear in the document that if any member suffers a detriment or dismissal because they remove themselves from risk of serious or imminent danger then the union will support them.
 
Read it here
 
Coronavirus advice pages
 
Our dedicated coronavirus advice web page is updated regularly. It includes a list of frequently asked questions tailored by Unite's legal department to quickly access a broad range of information and resources, including support measures provided by the union and advice on employment rights.
 
 
Union blueprint for NHS reopening
 
Unite is one of 16 health service trade unions to contribute to a nine-point blueprint designed to make the NHS the safest possible environment for patients, staff and visitors as the lockdown is eased and out-patient clinics and operations resume.

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, national officer for health, described the blueprint as “a rocket booster” for ministers to tackle the lack of PPE and the shambolic testing regime.
 
 
Government action needed to allow safety inspections of key COVID-19 workplaces
 
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail has written to Alok Sharma, the business secretary, and Therese Coffey, the secretary of state for work and pensions, asking for measures that prevent the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities undertaking spot check inspections in many sectors and workplaces, to be immediately rescinded.

Areas excluded since 2012 from proactive inspections because they are deemed low risk include social care, health, the transport sector, agriculture, shops, offices, pubs, clubs, postal services and light manufacturing.
 
 
Jobs
 
Unite pressure brings 450 new jobs at Honeywell to manufacture PPE
 
Pressure from Unite on the Westminster and Scottish governments to identify domestically based firms to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) has resulted in Motherwell based firm Honeywell being contracted by the UK government to produced more than 70 million face masks for frontline workers, creating 450 jobs.

Unite has held meetings with the government’s PPE and testing Tsar Paul Deighton, providing him with the information we have previously given to ministers about manufacturers capable of quickly switching to bulk production and it is hoped he will now act on this to award further, similar contracts.
 
 
Crisis leverage campaign launched against British Airways’ corporate greed and Project Fire and Rehire’
 
BA has used Covid-19 as cover to deliver an appalling ultimatum to its own workforce. Be sacked or agree to come back on vastly inferior terms and conditions. On top of this, senior management has also threatened to permanently get rid of 12,000 employees. Every one of our bargaining units, covering over 40,000 BA workers, is affected.
 
BA would have people believe that their scheme is vital to deal with the crisis. The reality though is different. Investigation of their finances shows that BA would likely weather the storm without resorting to drastic cuts. The company has a healthy balance sheet, sizeable reserves and access to more loans should they need them. This is just deplorable cover for a long term plan to cut costs.
 
Crisis leverage, led by executive officer Sharon Graham, has now been deployed to deliver a comprehensive campaign in defence of our members. The campaign began with huge public projections of #BAbetrayal at key landmarks throughout the UK, including onto the Angel of the North. But this is only the beginning as we look to engage all of BA’s stakeholders including their customers and business partners, to expose the reality of the company’s actions.
 
Unite Is also leading the legal push back and Howard Beckett continues to drive home that the S188 is unlawful and we will challenge this in the international and national courts.
 
Whatever the situation, it remains the absolute priority of this union to defend our members from naked aggression and rank opportunism. British Airways and their owners IAG are not only betraying their own workforce, they are betraying Britain at a time of national crisis.
 
Visit the campaign website here
 
 
Aviation campaign
 
We're launching a campaign to secure urgent government support for the the aviation sector which puts people and planet before profit, and preserves regional connectivity and the economic welfare of the regions reliant on airports.

Last week over 100 MPs from all political parties joined Unite in an online briefing on the state of the aviation sector and our calls for urgent government intervention, including a furlough extension for the industry. There was solid cross-party support for our proposals and lots of MPs have been in touch since with positive feedback. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine a more diverse set of MPs on a call with Unite.

We’re asking Unite members to email their MPs asking them to support our new deal for aviation and put pressure on the government to adopt the blueprint. Use the form at the bottom of this page
 
Wages
 
Unite secures lockdown pay victory for agency refuse workers
 
Employment agency workers contracted to provide refuse collection services in the West Midlands, are being paid 100 per cent of their wages during lockdown, after Unite intervened to prevent them being left penniless during the pandemic.

Around 40 refuse workers faced being left without wages after the lockdown began in March, but Sandwell council agreed they would receive all their wages for the duration of the lockdown even if it could not offer them suitable alternative work.
 
 
More full pay furlough deals won
 
Unite members at Victoria Coach Station and Leeds Bradford Airport have negotiated 100 per cent pay furlough agreements. There have also been deals secured for those still in work to protect them later on, including Woolwich Ferry workers who will receive full pay if they are furloughed while there is a reduced service due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 100 workers at 12 libraries in Greenwich, London, are also furloughed on full pay after negotiating an agreement with Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL).
 
Unite in the community
 
Unite Rolls Royce branches in Derby were thanked by Sajud Mohammed, a branch secretary in Nottingham, for their donation to the Himmah Food Bank, which he runs.
 
 
And thanks too to the Cardiff taxi drivers branch for their donation of £1,050 to the family of their friend and colleague Bob Harries, who sadly died with Covid-19.
 
 
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
 
Please do not reply to this email as the address is not monitored if you need advice or have a query please contact your regional office through the Unite website or visit the Unite coronavirus information page.
 
 
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