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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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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.

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WILLIAM HILL NON-UPDATE

Despite writing to William Hill CEO, Philip Bowcock, on 16 July and sending a chasing letter on 27 August regarding their announcement that they would close hundreds of branches, I have still received no response.

It’s only two months to Christmas. Staff do not need or deserve this level of uncertainty hanging over them. This is extremely neglectful from an employer.

I have invited Mr Bowcock to meet, but it’s unlikely that this will be responded to, never mind accepted.

In my letter, I sought answers on the following:
– On what basis will stores be chosen for closure?
– At what rate will branches close?
– If there is a timetable for closures?
– When the branch closure programme will begin and conclude?
– What consultation William Hill is carrying out with staff and, specifically, trade unions?
– Most importantly, what support is being offered to staff, including but not limited to, a smooth transition into new work?

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SNP PARLIAMENTARIANS TEAM UP TO BRING JOBS TO MOTHERWELL & WISHAW

MOTHERWELL & WISHAW MP AND MSP TO CO-HOST JOBS FAYRE

Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, and MSP, Clare Adamson, are co-hosting a Jobs Fayre from 10am to 1pm on Friday 4th October at the South Dalziel Historic Building in Motherwell.

The SNP Parliamentarians are bringing several local and national employers in a variety of fields to boost employment and opportunities for local people.

Employers include North Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Government’s new agency, Social Security Scotland, which is seeking hundreds of new staff for its new base in Glasgow.

Bodies to help people into work will also be in attendance to provide support for people returning to work after a break or looking for new opportunities, including Routes to Work and Dress for Success.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“A priority for the SNP at all levels is getting people into work and supporting our local economy. I’m confident the Fayre will provide an array of opportunities for people to get stuck into.

“People across the constituency have so much to offer. Our Jobs Fayre will be as great an advantage to employers as it will be to local people.

“I hope to see as many people there as possible. Let’s get North Lanarkshire working!”

Ms. Adamson said:

“I want to encourage all of my constituents who are out of work, or if you are thinking of a career change, to get along to the Jobs Fayre.

“This is an excellent chance to meet prospective employers and you never know where it might lead.  Hopefully, this event will facilitate new connections for residents as well as uncovering untapped talent for the organisations that attend. 

“It is a privilege for us to help our constituents in any way and I am confident the Fayre will be a tremendous success.”

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LOCAL JOBS FAYRE

Both Clare Adamson MSP – Motherwell & Wishaw and I are hosting a Jobs Fayre on 4 October.

Increasing employment and improving our local economy is one of my key priorities and I’m confident that with the talents of local people that many will be able to find new opportunities at the Fayre.

The event will be attended with local and national businesses and also organisations who can give you support in finding new work.

Click here to go to the facebook event.