As Scotland has opened up, we are getting used to more freedoms than we have had in the past year, including with the travel industry. With holidays abroad remaining challenging due to the traffic light system; many are opting for ‘staycations’ and choosing to have their holiday in Scotland.
How Trade Unionists Organise around social issues:We can’t picket the patriarchy.
This is not a moment, it’s a movement…. One of my favourite lines from the musical Hamilton – which I may have dedicated a bit too much time to over lockdown. We all have our coping mechanisms and I’ve come to realise that I found a lot of strength from that musical in the last year. The underdogs fighting for what is right, at times letting passion get the better of them in a ruthless world but maintaining strength and a sense of what is right throughout it all.
When COVID 19 hit us in March 2020 my role as a Staff Nurse and Staff Side Representative took my level of training to a whole new level. Suddenly the meaning of being One Team had never been so apparent. Staff were put under a huge amount of pressure both mentally and physically. With services stopping, staff shielding and being re-deployed to work in other areas out with their normal remit. The impact of COVID and what it meant to for key workers was enormous.
March 2020, we were on an emergency footing and bracing ourselves for the worst, so my role as a Pain Nurse Specialist was no longer a priority. Supporting people’s failing organs, namely their lungs was everyone’s priority. Almost two years after my last shift as a Staff Nurse in a High Dependency Unit I found myself rapidly up-skilling to work in a Covid Intensive Care Unit. The normal rules no longer applied, the onus to be deemed as competent at providing intensive care was on me not the clinical educator nor education coordinator. There was a sense of urgency and a sense of uncertainty for sure!
This week saw the first set of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.From yesterday (Thursday 1 July) the level of grant given to employers for employees on furlough is reducing and will continue to gradually reduce through July through to September as per the following table from the Government website
Over the past twelve months the problems with the need to protect one’s health and the need to put food on the table while carrying out a job has become glaringly apparent in the UK. Those in secure roles, for example managerial or professional roles, with the ability to work at home safely, along with the security of sick pay, have experienced a different pandemic reality compared to those who are on zero hours temporary contracts that require them to leave home every morning, no matter what. This has brought forward the uncomfortable truth which has now been revealed by the recent Trade Union Congress research. Those who work in insecure roles are twice as likely to die from Covid- 19.
The past year has led to a significant rise in employees working from home. Whilst businesses and workers have adapted to this challenging change of scenery, it is important to keep in mind the duties owed by employers to their employees. Where an employee may now be working from home, the health and safety responsibilities incumbent on the employer remain unchanged.