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Unite Legal Services: Weekly coronavirus COVID-19 latest news round-up – 02 August 2021

red rectangle on cream background with black text  CORONAVIRUS COVID-19

At Unite Legal Services, we’ve collated the latest news and information regarding employment matters and workers’ rights in relation to coronavirus COVID-19 developments.

27 July 2021

Unite calls for government to urgently rethink ‘pingdemic’ exemption amid fears of long-term damage to UK manufacturing

Steve Turner, Unite's assistant general secretary for manufacturing, called for the government to urgently rethink its decision not to exempt the automotive and steel sectors from self-isolation rules.

In light of the severe production problems of recent weeks it was largely expected that the sectors would be embraced by the guidance, but they were not included in the new list of critical workers.

With the summer shutdown now in place across much of the sector, Unite says that there is an opportunity for the government to rethink its list, but it must do so urgently as many plants operate 24/7 every day of the year, while others will re-open well before the planned removal of the requirement for those double jabbed and contacted by the app to isolate on 16 August.  If not, the union fears the problem will grow and the sector will be plunged straight back into the same workforce problems.

28 July 2021

Council staff who kept local services and schools running deserve a real pay rise

Staff working for councils and in schools are worth more than the 1.75 per cent pay offer put forward by employers after working though the worst of times, say unions representing local authority workers.

Unite, Unison and the GMB are urging local government employers to rethink their revised pay offer of a 1.75 per cent pay rise (with 2.75 per cent for those on the bottom pay point) for 2021/22 by awarding an increase that will properly and fairly reward council and school support staff.

The unions say the offer falls well short of the 10 per cent claim they put forward for this year.

31 July 2021

Don't end furlough, adapt it to avoid a bleak autumn and provide longer-term support for workers

On the eve of the government’s contribution to the furlough scheme reducing to 60 per cent of wage costs, Unite called for the government to rethink its plans to end the scheme altogether in September.

Around two million workers are still on the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (furlough) down from the peak of 11 million workers when the health crisis engulfed the UK economy last year.

Unite, which was central to negotiating the scheme, says that it has more than proved its value to the country, protecting jobs, keeping wages coming in to support families and preventing an unemployment crisis. Unite is now calling for it to be adapted into a short-time working scheme, such as the one which protects jobs and whole industries in Germany, from market vagaries.

Get more support

For more information on how we are fighting to protect the health and safety, and economic stability of our members during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, please visit the Unite the Union advice hub.

If you are in need of further advice on an employment law query during the crisis, you can visit the Unite Legal Services coronavirus COVID-19 page, or call Unite’s dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 Legal Advice Line on 0333 202 6557.

COVID-19 personal injury claims

Unite has set up a specialist legal team to advise and represent members who have suffered injury as a result of COVID-19

If you have suffered injury from developing COVID-19, or have tragically lost a family member to the condition, then please call Unite’s COVID-19 PI team on 020 8799 4023.