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Unite Legal Services: Weekly coronavirus COVID-19 latest news round-up – 07 June 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.

01 June 2021

TfL bailout cuts must not damage workers’ pay, pensions or safety

The announcement that Transport for London (TfL) has been forced to accept significant cost savings in order to receive a billion pound government bailout must not result in cuts to members pay, pensions, safety or wellbeing.

TfL has been forced to request a further bailout from the government as revenues are currently only at 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. The bailout will last until December this year.

The bailout comes with significant strings attached including requirements for TfL to: review its pension scheme, review demand and service levels, a plan for self-funding by 2023, identify new sources of income and develop a business plan for driverless trains.

02 June 2021

Dismissal notices for Banbury coffee workers over ‘fire and rehire’ plans branded as ‘corporate gangsterism’ by Unite

The decision by JDE (Jacobs Douwe Egberts) in Banbury to issue dismissal notices to workers refusing to sign new contracts, which could mean some of them losing up to £12,000 a year, has been branded ‘corporate gangsterism’ by Unite.

Unite said that it would be escalating industrial action with four new strike days at the Ruscote Avenue site after the company said those employees, who didn’t sign up by 17 May to the new contracts, will be issued with 12 weeks’ notice, effective from 7 June.

03 June 2021

Tackling low wages and zero hours’ contracts key to reviving London’s hospitality sector

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan needs to tackle the low pay and zero hours culture in the capital’s hospitality sector, if hotels, restaurants and pubs are to thrive post-pandemic.

Unite welcomed Sadiq Khan’s pledge to use all the powers at his disposal to deal with the major staffing shortages in the hospitality industry that threaten to undermine London’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

Unite said that it was keen to play its part in any task force set up - involving the mayor’s office, the employers and the unions – to jump start the sector, reeling from the thousands of hospitality workers made redundant since March 2020 and the aftermath of Brexit which makes the recruitment of foreign-born staff more difficult.

04 June 2021

Summer Weetabix shortages expected during Northamptonshire cereal workers’ strike

Shops are expected to run out of Weetabix this summer after workers at the company’s Northamptonshire factories voted to strike over ‘fire and rehire’ plans that would see pay slashed. 

Around 80 engineers who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, at the company’s factories in Kettering and Corby will take part in a series of one day strikes during June, July and August that are still to be scheduled. 

Weetabix has issued the engineers with new contracts and work patterns, which will result in major cuts in shift allowances. There will also be a move to require more day working than shift working, further contributing to the cut in pay.

Some of the affected engineers will lose up to £5,000 a year. There are also major concerns about health and safety of the workers at both plants due to the low number of engineers who will now be on duty at certain times.

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.