People urged to join a trade union before pandemic ends

People are being urged to join a trade union.

People are being urged to join a trade union. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A trades council is urging people to join a trade union to ensure workers ‘do not have to pay with our welfare, safety and potentially our lives’.

Weston and North Somerset Trades Council said ‘unions have never been more important’.

Secretary Richard Capps said: “The last few months have been extraordinary times for workers, with some people going above and beyond to carry on with their job whilst many others have been trying to work from home whilst juggling childcare and other responsibilities. The uncertainties caused by the pandemic have made many of us fear for our futures.

“The situation is now fast-changing and many employers have asked staff to return or are starting to plan for the return to a more ‘normal’ working situation.

“What the new normal will look like will vary greatly depending upon people’s jobs.

“All employers have a duty, enshrined in law, to ensure that workplaces are safe, and Trade Unions have a key and important role in ensuring this.

“As part of our role in protecting working people we ensure that there are trained health and safety reps who can answer members’ fears and negotiate with employers to ensure their wellbeing. We are the best placed people to help workers with other workplace issues and are involved in risk assessments, amongst other measures, which are key to this.”

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HM Revenue & Customs figures revealed that across North Somerset, of the 51,500 people employed, 11,600 were furloughed under the coronavirus job retention scheme, which equates to 23 per cent.

Mr Capps added: “We would urge everyone to join a union. You are then able to raise any concerns about your job and your safety at work and be supported by trained representatives.

“At the end of the pandemic someone will have to pay and, if we let this government get away with their plans, it will be working people, and notably the key workers who pay the price.

“Clearly unions have never been more important to ensure that those who can afford it will pay, and to ensure that we don’t have to pay with our welfare, our safety and potentially our lives. We all need the support of a union so join for protection.”

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