You will be aware that from Friday last week, the Scottish Government has announced a limited easing of lockdown. The government publications website (https://www.gov.scot/publications/) contains the detail of the plans along with guidance for employers in some sectors. Unions have been involved in the negotiation of the guidance although this does not mean that in all cases we have reached a satisfactory conclusion. In some areas we continue to press for additions or amendments to the guidance and all guidance will be reviewed in the light of practical experience of implementation.
The STUC has been represented in the discussions taken forward by these bodies. You will note the following paragraph in the guidance.
It is essential that employers also carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment. These should be developed where possible together with union health and safety representatives. For workplaces, without union representation, union health and safety representatives will be available upon request to support the development of workplace risk assessments and contact details are included at the end of this statement.
The STUC's understanding of this is that where workplaces do not represent unions, employers or workers may request that a union representative from outside the workplace can become involved in the process of creating, evaluating or monitoring the special COVID 19 risk assessment.
There are three routes whereby this could take place.
In all cases the priorities are two-fold. To ensure workers’ safety; and to increase levels of membership and worker power through organising.
The STUC today plan to issue a guidance sheet for unions on the appointment and deployment of roving union health and safety reps; a guide for reps; and a schedule for a series of short sharp webinar events for the purposes of updating and sharing of skills and tactics.
They also expect to launch an STUC safety web portal at the beginning of the week, which will hold key information and guidance which should be of use to union reps as well as more basic information and organising guidance for non-unionised workers.