Unite Scotland has tonight (3 April) demanded that the Scottish government follows the intention of the Welsh government to legislate over social distancing.
The Welsh government will introduce legislation compelling all employers to make sure their workers keep two metres apart from early next week. Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, stated at a press conference today the new law was in response to people fearing their health was being compromised or in danger in the workplace.
Unite Scotland wrote to Scotland’s first minister on 1 April to warn of the inconsistencies being applied for essential workers in relation to social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) across all 32 local authorities in Scotland, in particular those working in refuse collection, home care and social care. The country’s leading trade union has also raised numerous examples of construction workers involved in non-essential works turning up for work at the request of their employer where social distancing is also being breached.
Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said: “It’s an imperative that the Scottish government acts swiftly to follow the lead shown by the Welsh government. Unite has repeatedly raised its concerns that social distancing is not being adhered to and the fact that personal protective equipment is not getting into the hands of people who are delivering essential services. There are no longer any excuses but peoples’ lives are still being put at risk in the workplace, and when those workers go home to their loved ones. We have called for tougher measures and that’s why the first minister must bring forward emergency legislation to deal with this effectively because the reality is that it’s not.”