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SNP MP: TESCO’S FIRE AND REHIRE OF WAREHOUSE WORKERS “A BETRAYAL”

UK GOV URGED TO BACK SNP BILL TO PROTECT WORKERS’ INCOMES

SNP MP, Marion Fellows, has called for the UK Government to back the SNP’s Bill to ban fire and rehire as Tesco looks to slash Scottish workers’ wages.

Around 290 workers at Tesco’s Livingston distribution centre are being threatened with pay cuts between £4,000 and £13,000 by forcing workers to sign a new contract under fire and rehire practices.

The Livingston depot is one of five sites across the UK that Tesco are targeting with workers having until the 13th of February to accept the cuts or face redundancy.

SNP MP, Gavin Newlands, has submitted two Bills to Parliament to end fire and rehire practices. They have received the backing of cross-party MP and unions, however the UK government has so far refused to back the Bills.

Tesco’s profits soared by 29% in the first half of last year as pre-tax profit reached £551million. Tesco’s revenue increased by 0.7% to £28.7 billion, and sales in the UK and Ireland were up more than 8%.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“Any business considering betraying their workers through fire and rehire should be utterly ashamed. Especially during a pandemic and especially a business such as Tesco which has reported soaring profits. The UK government needs to protect workers by backing the SNP’s Bill to ban fire and rehire practices.

“The use of fire and rehire at Tesco is just one of the many cases emerging. Incomes and security are under threat. By allowing it to continue, the Tory government is putting itself firmly on the side of millionaires rather than the essential workers making the profits and serving communities.

“I have joined the calls of unions UsDaw and Unite for Tesco to withdraw their threats and get round the negotiating table. These workers have been absolutely essential during the pandemic. They deserve respect and a pay rise – not a pay cut. If Tesco does not, they are forcing unions into a corner with no other option than to strike putting supply chains at risk.”

Willie Thomson, Unite regional industrial officer, added:

“Unite’s members are shocked, angry and feel betrayed by Tesco. The workforce has been deemed essential workers throughout this pandemic and they have worked tirelessly to keep families across Scotland working as best as they can during this crisis. To be told that they are facing significant pay cuts and an ultimatum of ‘fire and re-hire’ in relation to their employment contracts is disgusting.

“Tesco’s actions are not only wrong but it’s an opportunist attack on our members. As a result of our members’ hard work Tesco’s profits have boomed during the pandemic alongside government rates relief which has further cushioned the company’s profits. Tesco must withdraw this ultimatum and come to the negotiating table, or we will have to explore all options if the company doesn’t willingly come to its senses.”

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Covid-19 Latest News

OVER 50,000 IN NL RISK LOSING INCOMES IF CORONAVIRUS SUPPORT ENDS

MP MARION CALLS FOR EXTENSION OF CORONAVIRUS INCOME SUPPORT SCHEMES AND INTRODUCTION OF UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME

Figures from the UK Government have this week revealed that 50,300 people in North Lanarkshire have benefited from schemes to protect employed and self-employed workers’ incomes during the Coronavirus crisis.

In North Lanarkshire, 41,800 people have been supported through the Job Retention Scheme (JRS), and 8,500 through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

North Lanarkshire was the third biggest beneficiary of the JRS, and the fifth for the SEISS in Scotland.

Up to 31st May 2020, 10,600 people in the Motherwell and Wishaw constituency were furloughed and 2,100 claims were made to the SEISS.

Mrs Fellows has called on the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend Coronavirus schemes for as long as lockdown continues in Scotland otherwise workers could be forced back to work in unsafe conditions leading to a second spike. She also warns that ending the scheme could also lead to firms taking on unmanageable debt or being unable to afford salaries which could lead to Thatcher-level unemployment.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The UK Government must extend Coronavirus support schemes to protect incomes in North Lanarkshire and across Scotland. The Tories cannot force people to return to work in unsafe conditions and risk a second spike or risk Thatcher-level unemployment.

“Without full powers, the Scottish Government cannot continue the schemes to protect incomes. Ending the scheme prematurely is undermining the Scottish Government’s authority in protecting public health.

“Too many people have been left without help because of the serious gaps in support. The UK government must look again at introducing a Universal Basic Income and strengthened welfare protections – so no one is left behind.

“If the UK government is not going to extend the schemes or introduce a Universal Basic Income, they should devolve the powers to ensure Scotland can.”

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UK BUDGET TODAY

Scotland – our people, communities and services – have suffered under a decade of Tory austerity. With today’s budget, it is expected that it will continue. The Scottish Government Budget 2020-21 is still 2.8% (£840 million) lower in real terms compared to 2010-11. The £1.2bn extra next financial year will not reverse the £13.9bn of cumulative cuts.

Despite these pressures, the Scottish Government has delivered record public investment. For the first time, the NHS in Scotland will have a budget of £15bn. £800 million will be invested to deliver 50,000 new homes this parliament. The £10 weekly Scottish Child Payment, which when fully rolled out from this year, will help 30,000 children out of poverty as part of £3.4 billion in social security.

This shows what Scotland can do with one hand tied behind our back. Imagine what we can do with all the powers over our economy and society. Scotland has demanded to choose its future. We can either continue with tax cuts for the richest and under investment, or we can be independent and invest in our people.

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VISIT: ROUTES TO WORK

On Friday afternoon I visited Routes to Work’s office in Craigneuk. I had some very productive discussions with staff and saw some of the excellent work they do with my constituents first hand.

You can find more details of the work they carry out and how to contact them should you need their assistance on their website at www.routestowork.co.uk.

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THIS WEEK: 18-24 JANUARY

Boris Johnson’s Brexit Bill has received Royal Assent. Scotland will now be dragged from the EU against our will on the 31st of January. Our jobs, services and rights will be stripped. Trade will be harder. Workers’ Rights and environmental protections will be put on the Brexit bonfire. And it will be harder for our public services and businesses to access the talent they need to run them.

The SNP will continue to fight for Scotland’s will. If Boris Johnson will continue to ignore it, we must decide our own future through an independence referendum – not have it decided for us.

I asked local people to nominate which charities they believe should be considered for the Scottish Charity Awards so they can be thanked for the work they do to serve our communities. There has been a lot of suggestions and a lot of worthy candidates. I’ll be announcing my nominations next week.

On Friday, I met with Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire’s Chief Executive, Maddy Halliday, to discuss how our local charities can be supported. As the Tories continue to force austerity on our economy, services and communities, charities have often moved to the frontline to help people in need.

The same day, I met with Clare Adamson, MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw, to discuss how Team SNP can continue working together on shared issues that matter to local people.

I questioned Women and Equalities Ministers on Thursday about expanding the UK Government’s Access to Work scheme.

If the UK Government is serious about reducing the disability employment gap, then there must be clear and concrete proposals to do so and targets to measure performance. They cannot continue paying lip service with no action.

Increasing the Access to Work fund, lifting the cap, lowering waiting times and raising awareness are just a few small steps which can make a big difference to peoples’ lives. We must see improved access to the scheme.

There is no shortage of ideas which could help people with disabilities get into and stay in work. It only requires the political will which so far, the UK Government has been lacking. The Tories’ austerity regime has specifically targeted people with disabilities and has trodden them down, rather than lifting them up.

This is in sharp contrast to the Scottish Government’s Action Plan which seeks to half the disability employment gap by 2038 and creation of a new social security system based on fairness dignity and respect.

Thankfully, the Disabilities Minister has requested a meeting with me and I’ll be putting forward the concrete proposals needed to close the disability employment gap.

This week, I was able to meet with disabilities group Scope to discuss what more can be done. It’s essential that policy related to people with disabilities is led by them and their experiences. As I go forward as the Disabilities spokesperson, this will underpin my work.

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SNP CALL FOR “CONCRETE PROPOSALS” TO REDUCE DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT GAP

Today in Parliament, the SNP’s Westminster Disabilities spokesperson, Marion Fellows, called on the UK Government to produce concrete proposals to close the disability employment gap.

Speaking at Women and Equalities question time, Mrs Fellows said the Tories’ manifesto commitment to reduce the disability employment gap was “another vague commitment with no target and no detail.”

Mrs Fellows has requested a meeting with UK Ministers to discuss what clear steps can be taken to close the gap, including changes to the Department for Work and Pension’s Access to Work scheme.

Access to Work offers support based on peoples’ needs, which may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace including special equipment and help getting to and from work.

Mrs Fellows backed calls from Inclusion Scotland to increase the budget and lift the cap on how much each applicant can be granted; and calls from Leonard Cheshire to reduce waiting times so as not to jeopardise job offers.

Figures from Leonard Cheshire show that only 14% of people with disabilities in Scotland have accessed the scheme.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“If the UK Government is serious about reducing the disability employment gap, then there must be clear and concrete proposals to do so and targets to measure performance. They cannot continue paying lip service with no action.

“Increasing the Access to Work fund, lifting the cap, lowering waiting times and raising awareness are just a few small steps which can make a big difference to peoples’ lives. We must see improved access to the scheme.

“There is no shortage of ideas which could help people with disabilities get into and stay in work. It only requires the political will which so far, the UK Government has been lacking. The Tories’ austerity regime has specifically targeted people with disabilities and has trodden them down, rather than lifting them up.

“This is in sharp contrast to the Scottish Government’s Action Plan which seeks to half the disability employment gap by 2038 and creation of a new social security system based on fairness dignity and respect.”

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DALZELL STEEL JOBS PROTECTED

I have received the reassuring news that following the loss of 355 jobs at Liberty Steel UK’s Stocksbridge, Rotherham and Newport sites, that there will be no job losses at the Dalzell site in Motherwell.

The Scottish Steel Task Force saved the plant from closure and Scottish Ministers – in sharp contrast to their counterparts in London – are doing everything they can to forge a future for steel in Scotland.

This includes lowering trade barriers so our steel sector can compete in the global market; the Scottish Steel Roundtable; and the new Action-Group.

My sympathies and solidarity go to those communities affected. We in Lanarkshire know all too well the effects of a Tory government on our steel sector.

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SNP WILL BRING DOWN TORIES TO RAISE INCOMES

The SNP will lock the Tories out raise incomes across Scotland says the SNP candidate for Motherwell and Wishaw, Marion Fellows, who is seeking re-election on the 12th of December.

Mrs Fellows says SNP MPs will use their votes to lock the Tories out of government and will never form a deal with them – bringing an end to austerity.

SNP MPs will vote for a minimum wage equal to the Living Wage of £9.30 an hour and end austerity to invest in well paid, high skilled jobs.

SNP MPs will halt roll-out of Universal Credit and the five week waiting time for payments will be ended.

Incomes will be raised for families and the disabled with the scrapping of the draconian two-child cap and ‘rape clause’ on tax credits and an end to “rigged” disability assessment.

SNP MPs will seek dignity for the elderly opposing an increase to the age of retirement, a reversal of cuts to Pension credits, and justice for the WASPI women denied their pension rights.

The SNP Scottish Government has already delivered its Carer’s Allowance Supplement giving £452.40 to carers per year. Its new Scottish Child Payment will lift 30,000 Scottish children out of poverty by 2023.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“Tory austerity has attacked peoples’ incomes in Motherwell, Wishaw, Bellshill – and across Scotland forcing families in and out of work to foodbanks. The SNP will lock the Tories out of power, bringing an end to austerity so we can invest in creating well paid jobs, and raise incomes and employment.

“With our new social security system, the SNP hasn’t just been promising change – we’re delivering it. But we can do so much more.

“We will ensure work pays with a new Living Wage of £9.30. For the most vulnerable – especially children, the disabled and the elderly – we will ensure they get the support they need by ending the disgraceful and punishing policies of the Tory welfare regime.

“We must futureproof our economy and incomes by ensuring Scotland remains in the EU single market. Thousands of jobs are on the line. We cannot allow Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn to drag us from the EU against our will.”

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MARION READY TO HIT CAMPAIGN TRAIL

JOBS, PUBLIC SERVICES AND SCOTLAND’S WILL KEY PRIORITIES

The SNP’s candidate for Motherwell and Wishaw, Marion Fellows, has said she is ready to fight the December General Election and will put jobs, public services and Scotland’s sovereignty first.

Elected as the Member of Parliament in 2015, Mrs Fellows acts as the SNP’s Small Business spokesperson at Westminster and has fought against Tory austerity policies such unfair disability assessments, unpaid child maintenance, low pay and precarious work, and the managed decline of the public Post Office network locally and nationally.

Locally, Marion has fought to protect libraries and bin collections from the Labour-Tory Council Coalition cuts, the Autism One-Stop Shop, Overtown village status; and called for action by the council on rat infestations, improvements to the railway bridge in Cleland and the Shieldmuir station park and ride, and litter and chip vans.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“I am ready to fight this election for communities in Motherwell, Wishaw and Bellshill. A vote for the SNP is a vote to protect Scotland’s jobs, public services and the democratic will of the Scottish people. I will fight Scotland’s corner against any UK Government and protect our right to decide our EU membership with a peoples’ vote. Scotland must have the right to choose its own future.

“If Labour aren’t fighting each other, they’re cosying up to the Tories by voting for Johnson’s damaging Brexit deal or being in coalition with them in North Lanarkshire Council. Labour are all over the place. But the SNP are clear: we want to stop the Tories and protect Scotland’s sovereignty.

“I am fighting for the disabled denied Personal Independence Payments; families pushed into poverty by Universal Credit; workers earning poverty wages on zero-hours contracts; the small businesses put to the bottom of the pile; the WASPI women denied their pensions; the children living in poverty who have been denied the support to secure them a promising future.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working for and representing communities over the past four years. I want to keep fighting for them.”

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DEVRO JOB LOSSES

I am absolutely devastated of this morning’s news that Devro in Bellshill will close down with 90 job losses. While not in my constituency, I’d urge any constituents who are employees at the factory to get in touch if they need assistance.

Devro have said they will try to ensure a good transition by advertising internal vacancies, co-ordinating with other local employers to identify external vacancies and engagement with the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) programme run by Skills Development Scotland.