TUC critical of government's draft workplace guidance

The Government’s draft guidance on how the UK can return to work following the COVID-19 lockdown has received criticism from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), with the union demanding “clear guidance”.

The draft guidelines that were sent to business groups on the 04/05/20 includes reduced hot-desking and alternatives to social distancing where impossible to implement.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC said that unions would tell their members that the guidelines do not protect workers and need to be improved.

As the draft states, “employers should consider” Ms O’Grady holds the opinion that this “leaves far too much to employer discretion”.

Ms O’Grady said:

Throughout this crisis the TUC has sought to engage constructively with ministers. But we cannot support the Government’s back-to-work plans as they stand.

We want new binding rules for employers to publish their risk assessment and action plan. We want clear guidance to set out the minimum standards that employers must meet in order to protect public safety. And we want ministers to outline a new tough approach to enforcement.

Unless the Government significantly strengthens its plans, safe working will not be guaranteed. The current proposals fail to provide clear direction to those employers who want to act responsibly. And they are an open goal for rogue employers, who will cut corners and put their workers – and the wider community – at risk.

Unions have issued worry regarding personal protective equipment (PPE), that there may not be enough of it which could lead to different businesses asking for PPE in direct competition with the NHS.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK is expected to deliver a “roadmap” where he will explain how he intends to reopen different parts of the UK economy on the 10/04/20.

The draft states that employers should urge their staff to stop using shared equipment, to alter shift times and to use remote working as much as possible.