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Unite Legal Services: Weekly coronavirus COVID-19 latest news round-up – 25 October 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.

20 October 2021

Return to mask wearing needed on public transport as COVID rates rise

Unite has called for the return of mandatory face mask wearing on public transport after a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Unite is also becoming increasingly alarmed about the lack of dignity and respect that its hospitality workers are experiencing in the workplace due to the way members of the public react to social distancing measures set by venues.

The union believes that a return to compulsory mask wearing on all public transport, which the government ended in July, would be a simple and common sense method to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission when travelling.

21 October 2021

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham calls for tighter COVID measures to protect the NHS and workers this winter

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “The government must not repeat the complacency of last autumn.

“The NHS is already at breaking point and its staff are exhausted.

“The government needs to do everything in its power to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed this autumn and winter and to keep working people safe. 

“Dozens of Unite members who worked on the frontline have already lost their lives to this disease and we will not stand for a single worker being put at risk again.  This union will not hesitate to act to protect our members.

“Unite has already called for mask wearing to be mandatory on public transport and has highlighted the abuse its hospitality members have received trying to enforce voluntary mask wearing.

“We expect the government to act responsibly and to do it today, not tomorrow, next week or next month.”

'No more empty words' - Unite urges support for Barry Gardiner’s bill to tackle fire and rehire as it receives its second reading in Parliament

Unite has thrown its weight behind a new law to place heavy restrictions on employers using fire and rehire tactics.

Unite has faced down a range of employers seeking to inflict fire and rehire on their workers this year, including at JDE and Go North West, and the union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, has pledged consistently to build industrial strength to defeat employers using fire and rehire.

Barry Gardiner MP’s Private Member's Bill was an opportunity for MPs to signal that they too are supporting working people against `bully boy' practices. The bill was debated and voted on by MPs in its second reading in the House of Commons on 22 October under the title of Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill.

22 October 2021

Unite leader brands Tory ‘fire and rehire’ tactics a 'disgrace' but warns their blocking will not affect the battle on the ground

Commenting on the failure of Barry Gardiner's Bill on' fire and rehire', Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: "The antics of the Conservative party today have been a disgrace. They have colluded to stand on the side of bullying bosses and against the interests of workers, showing their real colours. So the hypocrisy of the Tory party was on full display for all to see. They say one thing but do another.

“But their lamentable filibustering in the Gardiner debate will not affect our resolve in any way. They can say what they like in parliament. On the ground Unite will fight every employer’s attempt to ‘fire and rehire’ relentlessly.”

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.