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Unite Legal Services: Weekly coronavirus COVID-19 latest news round-up – 10 January 2022

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.

05 January 2022

Government’s latest plan to extend lorry driver hours is not solving problem and is dangerous

Unite has reacted with dismay to the news that the government is intent on further relaxing regulations governing how long lorry drivers can work.

The government is currently undertaking a snap consultation exercise on extending the relaxation on the driving regulations from Sunday 9 January until 6 February, as a result of the Omicron variant and an increase in sickness absence.

The government has continually been operating a relaxation of the driving hour regulations since July last year, due to a chronic shortage of drivers and the effect of the pandemic. Since the COVID pandemic began in March 2020, the regulations have been relaxed for the majority of the time.

Unite has strongly argued that the extended driving hours is increasing the levels of fatigue experienced by drivers and the cumulative effect of this could have potentially tragic consequences.

06 January 2022

Turkish/Kurdish community call for more NHS funding at North London hospital demo

The Turkish/Kurdish community organisation Day-Mer organised a demo at the North Middlesex University Hospital in Edmonton on Saturday (8 January), to call for more NHS funding.

The North London protest was joined by members of the new Unite migrant, food retail and services branch, which seeks to organise Turkish/Kurdish workers and improve their employment conditions.

Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, said: “The involvement of Day-Mer in organising this protest is a magnificent show of solidarity. The NHS is under intense pressure as the Omicron rate of infections soars – and yet the government, two years into this global pandemic, has failed to get to grips with the crisis facing the NHS.

“There are already an estimated 90,000 vacancies in the NHS in England, so if the NHS has to face a large percentage of its workforce self-isolating this will make the strain on the service unbearable. Already we are seeing cancelled operations, clinics and appointments as more NHS trusts declare ‘critical incidents’.”

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.