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Unite Legal Services: Weekly coronavirus COVID-19 latest news round-up – 20 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.

14 December 2021

Unite opposes mandatory COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of deployment in the NHS in England

As a health trade union representing over 100,000 workers in the NHS, Unite has strongly encouraged members to be vaccinated through the “Get a jab campaign”. Despite this, Unite believes the vaccination programme should not be mandatory in order to be deployed in the NHS for patient-facing employees.

There are many reasons why we believe this is an unnecessary step and rather than bringing safety and reassurance to the public, it could place NHS services under greater strain and uncertainty.

15 December 2021

As CPI reaches 5.1 per cent, Unite leader says wage rises must at least match RPI inflation

Sharon Graham says below inflation rises are a wage cut with workers paying the price of the pandemic.

Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, says the union will continue to base claims on the RPI figure rather than CPI because it better reflects the actual price rise experienced by Unite members.

Speaking on the rising inflation figures, Sharon Graham said: “Today’s figures mean our members must fight for wage rises above the current rate of inflation, as measured by the RPI. Otherwise, they will be facing a calamitous drop in their standard of living. Current estimates suggest that costs for the typical UK family will jump by £1,700 in 2022*. Workers did not create this cost-of-living crisis so why should they pay for it?”

With the government determined to abandon RPI altogether by the end of the decade for the lesser measure of CPI, Unite is working with economists to develop the Unite Bargaining Index. The Unite BI, which will track all real living costs, will be the union's benchmark measure in all wage and pension negotiations.

16 December 2021

Unite demands hospitality support package be brought forward

Unite is calling for a hospitality support package to be brought forward urgently amid a skyrocketing increase in Omicron cases, which has abruptly precipitated mass cancellations in bookings.

Businesses in the sector typically make 50 per cent of their entire income in December alone. One hospitality industry body reported they expect December takings to be down by an astonishing 40 per cent – and likely double this figure in London.

Unite's hospitality sector highlighted that the previous furlough scheme kept workers on 80 per cent of their wages, leaving millions of mostly minimum and low-wage earners in hospitality short. Any new wage support package must keep workers on 100 per cent of their wages.

17 December 2021

Government making Londoners pay for pandemic as TfL faces death by a thousand cuts

Unions representing London transport workers have described the government’s latest short-term funding package for Transport for London (TfL) as effectively forcing the capital’s population to pay for the pandemic.

TfL’s income collapsed at the beginning of the pandemic and has not yet recovered - as a result, the organisation has had to rely on short-term funding packages from the Department for Transport (DfT) to continue to operate.

Once again the money that TfL has been offered is far below what is needed to keep London’s transport network operating. This latest funding package amounts to death by a thousand cuts.

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.