TUC is concerned about more job losses as government encourages residents to work from home over the holidays.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — In light of Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraging residents to work from home as much as possible over the holidays, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has expressed concern about whether that decision will lead to the loss of jobs this holiday season.
The union organisation is calling for the government to re-implement furlough to address their concerns and help provide relief to those employees who might be more strongly impacted by the Plan B restrictions recently implemented.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady noted, “Requiring people to work from home over the busy Christmas period will hit jobs — unless ministers bring back furlough.
“Cleaners, receptionists, conference and banqueting staff, and hospitality and retail workers will be short of work if people don’t come into offices.
“Ministers must reassure workers in hard-hit sectors like hospitality, leisure, and travel that their livelihoods are secure.”
O’Grady’s comments come as the British government is urging residents to work from home amid concerns surrounding Omicron, the latest COVID-19 “variant of concern” and which has killed at least seven people in the UK up to Saturday.
Announcing the government’s plan to move to “Plan B” of restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “We will introduce the guidance to work from home… From Monday (December 13), you should work from home if you can.
“Go to work if you must, but work from home if you can. I know this will be hard for many people, but by reducing your contacts in the workplace, you will help slow transmission.”
The mandate is expected to last until at least Wednesday, January 5, 2022, with the possibility of being extended.
However, O’Grady said concerns about Omicron demonstrate even further why more needs to be done to protect workers and their jobs during such tumultuous times.
“Furlough was the great success in the first response to the pandemic,” he asserted.
“The rise of the Omicron variant shows why the UK needs a permanent short-time working scheme — ready to go when a new crisis hits.
“If we’re serious about stopping Omicron, ministers must fix our broken sick pay system, so every worker gets a decent amount to live off if they are sick or have to self-isolate.
“That’s how we make sure people can follow the rules and stop the spread.”
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