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Unite Legal Services: Weekly coronavirus COVID-19 latest news round-up – 04 October 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 September 2021

Unite welcomes Labour backing for ending brutal fire and rehire

The Labour party conference overwhelmingly supported a motion moved by Unite, condemning the practice of fire and rehire.

Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a huge growth in companies seeking to cut the pay and conditions of workers, by making workers redundant and then re-employing them on greatly reduced terms.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, describes fire and rehire’ as ‘one of the scandals of our age’. She believes a growing number of employers think that ‘now is the time' to take advantage of the pandemic and attack workers’ wages and conditions. She says that Unite will defend the jobs pay and conditions of its members wherever they come under attack.

Unite Wales NHS members reject three per cent pay increase and vote in favour of industrial action

Unite Wales NHS members have voted to reject their three per cent pay increase. 64 per cent said they were prepared to take strike action and 80 per cent said that they would take action short of a strike.

Unite represents over 6,000 NHS staff in Wales and balloted all of its NHS members in Wales through a consultative ballot. Members were asked if they accepted the three per cent pay increase and whether they were prepared to take part in strike action or action short of a strike. Unite’s NHS membership work in almost every profession in the Welsh NHS including health visiting, estates and maintenance, healthcare science, mental health and speech and language therapy.

Richard Munn, lead officer for NHS in Unite Wales, commented: “After working for 18 months in the most challenging conditions imaginable, they are being offered a pay increase that does not even keep pace with inflation. ‘Taken for granted’, ‘undervalued’ and ‘ignored’ are words frequently used by our members in the NHS to describe how they are feeling. The incredible pressures of COVID combined with 11 years of sub inflation pay increases have led to our members saying enough is enough.”

30 September 2021

Crisis-hit UK: this is not the time to stop furlough

With a fuel supply crisis, a mounting cost of living crisis, and parts of the economy still operating under COVID-19 restrictions, the general secretary of Unite says that ‘this is not the time’ to end the furlough scheme.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Working people need more than platitudes from politicians. They need money in their pockets and jobs secured. Despite its faults, furlough has helped many through the crisis. This is not the time to stop furlough.

"As general secretary of Unite, I issue a warning to any bad boss who might seek to use the crisis as an opportunity to make workers’ pay for this pandemic: I will not stand by and allow you to cut the pay, terms and conditions of my members.”

The coronavirus jobs retention scheme ended on 30 September, even though over one million workers were still being paid in some form by the scheme, including thousands in aviation where the union has been urging the government to bring in fresh support measures.

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.