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Unite Legal Services: Weekly coronavirus COVID-19 latest news round-up – 06 December 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.

29 November 2021

Unite calls for mandatory mask wearing in pubs, cafes and restaurants

Unite members in the hospitality industry are angry that they are being left to enforce the wearing of face masks which causes disputes with customers. These frequently result in threats of physical abuse, which have included death threats, by customers to staff.

In the passenger transport sector, compulsory facemasks have been imposed by DfT, in consultation with the unions. This has ensured that transport workers are free from the responsibility of having to enforce the wearing of facemasks. But, there has been no such engagement from the Digital Culture Media and Sport Department.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “We must ask why hospitality is the only area in the public arena where facemasks are not compulsory. Does the government consider the health and safety of hospitality workers less of a priority than that of workers in other sectors?

"It is outrageous that hospitality workers are being left to police the wearing of facemasks due to the lack of proper mandatory rules or effective legislation. My union is pledged to fight to defend the jobs pay and conditions of our members and the health and safety of our hospitality members is high on that list."

01 December 2021

Unite drivers and assistants taking disabled children to school voted unanimously to strike over Hackney council ‘brush off’

Drivers and passenger assistants, who take disabled children to and from school in Hackney, have voted unanimously for strike action over the continuing failure of council bosses to recognise their efforts as key workers during the pandemic.

Crunch talks are due to be held between Unite and Hackney council bosses on Tuesday (7 December) over what the union says is the authority’s repeated ‘brush offs’ over attempts to gain recognition for its members’ role as key workers during the continuing COVID crisis. Dates for strike action will depend on the outcome of the forthcoming negotiations.

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.