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Stuc Urges Continuing Caution Amid Concerns From Workers As Fm Announces The Move ‘beyond Level Zero'

4th September 2021

Scottish Trades Union Congress General Secretary Roz Foyer said:
"There is a long way to go before this virus is behind us. Vaccination does not provide total security from infection and we know that long COVID can affect people of all ages. Using terminology such as beyond level zero is confusing. This along with some parts of the media's irresponsible use of the term ‘Freedom Day' risks sending messages that all caution can be put to one side whereas in reality there are a whole range of mitigations and safety measures that remain in place.

"We recognise that the First Minister has tried to remain cautious despite some significant moves to open up Scotland socially and economically. We are supportive of keeping mitigation measures such as face coverings and social distancing. Many workers particularly in areas such as health and social care remain concerned at the lifting of self-isolation restrictions for the double vaccinated - both workers and the wider public. We know that the asymptomatic can still transmit the virus.

“As we move away from legal requirements to recommended approaches the duty on employers to keep staff and the general public safe will increase. There is a clear steer from the First Minister that there should be no rush back to office working. This is particularly important in larger offices with poor ventilation and high staff numbers. We cannot overestimate the importance of requiring decent ventilation in schools, colleges, universities and other places of work. We still need rigorous risk assessments and urge all employers to consult with unions and workers and to be sensitive of the very genuine fears some workers will have. In this, both governments have a role to play.

Ongoing support for workers and businesses is vital to persuade employers not to become less cautious and open up too quickly. We support the First Ministers call for an extended and more generous furlough scheme and for the Scottish Government to intervene to continue business support."