Islington Council urges workers to ‘join a union’ to promote safe return post coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 11:27 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:29 02 July 2020

Islington Council has launched a campaign, urging people to join a union so they can stay safe at work

Islington Council has launched a campaign, urging people to join a union so they can stay safe at work

islington council

Islington Council is urging people to join a union to keep them safe at work, as the country emerges from coronavirus lockdown.

Islington is the first local authority to join forces with the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which represents most trade unions in the UK, for its campaign, “Stay Safe at Work – Join a Union”.

It will feature on more than 500 noticeboards across Islington, and in print and online.

Employers must make the workplace as safe as possible for staff, customers and anyone else who visits during the pandemic by encouraging staff to work from home wherever possible and by doing a ‘risk assessment’ to identify what might cause harm and to take reasonable steps to prevent it. Cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures must all be implemented, and a 2m social distancing rule should be adhered to where possible. If that is not possible, the risk must be managed by measures like minimising any contact time, or using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.

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TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is in everyone’s interest. One employer playing fast and loose with the rules puts the whole community at risk of a second spike in infections.

“Re-opening the economy must go hand-in-hand with keeping people safe at work. It is great that Islington Council is working with unions to ensure that workers in the borough are protected. Unionised workplaces are safer workplaces.”

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council’s executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, said: “Our top priority is keeping people safe and supported during this pandemic. All workers have a right to be safe at work – wherever they work and whatever they do, and as more people return to work from lockdown, this is more important than ever.”

More than 6.5 million people in the UK are members of trade unions, and statistically, workplaces with trade unions have fewer cases of work-related illness, injury and fatalities.

Where trade unions are recognised, they have special rights to health and safety representatives, access to information from employers and involvement in risk assessment processes.

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