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Unite Legal Services: Weekly coronavirus COVID-19 latest news round-up – 08 November 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 November 2021

Strike days double at Weetabix Northamptonshire factories as fire and rehire taints company’s reputation

Strikes over fire and rehire attacks at Weetabix’s Kettering and Corby factories will double from two days a week to four.

Around 80 Weetabix engineers have been on strike every Tuesday and Wednesday since September over cuts to their pay, terms and conditions that will cost some workers more than £5,000 a year.

From 8 November, strikes will take place every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Increasing the strike action, which has already closed production lines and put orders several days behind schedule, will cause further disruption to Weetabix’s operations.

03 November 2021

Strike ballot at Barts Health NHS Trust over Serco's two-tier workforce and 1 per cent pay offer

Hundreds of key NHS workers, employed by the outsourcing privateer Serco, are preparing for an industrial action ballot across Barts Health NHS Trust in a "battle against exploitation and low pay”. Unite is calling for Barts Health NHS Trust to bring these workers back in-house into NHS employment.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: "The pandemic has shone a grim light on the injustice of a two-tier workforce. These workers, employed by Serco not the NHS, are exposed to the same risks as NHS-employed staff but they are paid significantly worse and treated disgracefully.”

The mainly Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAEM) staff, which include cleaners and porters, are paid up to 15 per cent less than directly employed NHS staff. The workers are rightly demanding a significant pay increase. They are also fed up with management bullying and exploitation. The staff are fighting back against the draconian use of the company's sickness and disciplinary policies, bullying by management and unmanageable workloads.

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.