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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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MP MARION BACKS LOCAL AVIATION WORKERS

BA AND ROLLS-ROYCE ANNOUNCE REDUNDANCIES AND ‘FIRE AND RE-HIRE’ WITH REDUCED RIGHTS

This week, Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, has defended workers of British Airways (BA) and Rolls-Royce (RR) and condemned the decision to sack hundreds at RR, and fire and re-hire thousands on contracts with reduced terms and conditions at BA.

BA have taken the decision to dismiss 12,556 of its workers and ‘fire and re-hire’ the remaining 42,000 on reduced contracts.

Likewise, RR have announced that 700 jobs will be cut by bosses at their Inchinnan plant.

Both have blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for a loss in business, but Mrs Fellows has written to BA and RR CEOs to call for bosses to engage with trade unions to minimise hardship.

Mrs Fellows, who is backing Unite the Union’s aviation campaign, has also written to the Prime Minister and UK Transport Secretary to call for them to intervene to protect the sector, jobs and incomes.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The announcement from BA and Rolls-Royce to sack workers and reduce rights will unfairly hit their workers hard – especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bosses must engage with trade unions and the UK Government must intervene to support the aviation sector and jobs.

“BA is betraying its workforce. Their decision to fire and re-hire workers on reduced contracts is predatory and utterly despicable. BA bosses are putting profits before the welfare of its workers.

“The Scottish Government has invited RR to discuss how the plant and workers can be supported. RR must engage with the Scottish Government and trade unions to find a way forward to minimise hardship.

“The UK Government must roll up its sleeves and intervene to protect jobs by issuing the aviation sector deal they promised in March and follow the Scottish Government’s lead in giving the industry 100% business rates relief for a year.”

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Covid-19 Latest News

HOW SAFE IS YOUR WORKPLACE?

I have been writing to a number of employers regarding covid-19 and the safety of their workers. Some cases have been shocking. Help the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) gather info on employer practices by completing the survey below. #SaveJobsSaveLives

The STUC has also been producing a range of advice as the COVID-19 crisis has been unfolding, such as this advice on what the job retentions scheme might mean for different workers: www.stuc.org.uk/fair-work-organis…/coronavirus-pay-guarantee

Link to the survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XRJFZ6X?fbclid=IwAR3wZMKqoZZ59gAIsdIB52POJ4rAAEWlF8rLx6Lx_qax2HRnv8xipM78gGs

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Covid-19 Latest News

PMQs: CORONAVIRUS AND SICK PAY

With Coronavirus cases in the UK rising, workers are understandably worried about being able to take time off work. In the UK, only those who are eligible for statutory sick pay will receive it and they will receive a meagre £94.25 per week. Self-employed workers and those on zero hour contracts are being left to fend for themselves.

🇮🇪 Ireland has recently raised SSP to £266 per week – for employed and self-employed workers.

Other EU states are outperforming the UK on SSP:
🇩🇪 Germany – £287
🇸🇪 Sweden – £230
🇳🇱 Netherlands – £201
🇪🇸 Spain – £121
🇦🇹 Austria – £287

🇬🇧 The UK is one of the richest countries in the world, yet the UK Government is forcing people to choose between working while ill or surviving on £94 per week.

This Tory UK Government is a government of the rich and of big business. Hardworking people deserve respect and dignity. This is now also a matter of public health. The UK Government must bring SSP in line with AT LEAST the EU average.

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Covid-19 Latest News

SNP CALL ON BORIS JOHNSON TO EXTEND STATUTORY SICK PAY POLICY

Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on statutory sick pay at Prime Minister’s questions, SNP MP Marion Fellows has urged the UK government to go further and extend the policy.

Today Boris Johnson announced that workers who are forced to take sick leave will get statutory sick pay from the first day of their absence, instead of after four days under the current rules, as part of emergency Coronavirus measures.

However, the SNP’s Disabilities spokesperson has said this does not go far enough and that the policy should be extended to be set at an hourly rate and living wage, available to everyone regardless of earnings, working hours or contract, and available for 52 weeks instead of 28.

Commenting, Marion Fellows, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw said:

“I am pleased that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will now begin from the first day of a worker’s absence instead of after four but the UK government must extend the policy further to ensure that sick pay is set at an hourly rate and available for everyone for 52 weeks instead of 28.

“Current rules around SSP are not flexible enough to meet real life needs, and fall far short of meeting a dignified standard of living – even with this new change. We must have a sick pay system fit for the 21st century which does not force people to choose between working while ill and hardship.

“Disability groups have been especially vocal in calling for an overhaul of the sick pay system. Their concerns must be factored into the UK government’s response to their sick pay consultation.

“If the UK government will not make these crucial changes then it should devolve the powers to Holyrood so it can – to meet people’s needs in Scotland and ensure their standard of living is not disadvantaged by Coronavirus or any other illness that they have contracted through no fault of their own.”

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Covid-19 Latest News

PMQS: Sick Pay and Coronavirus

I am glad that statutory sick pay will be available from day one – not day four – so people do not present at work and risk spreading coronavirus.

I hope this policy will remain permanent so that workers with all illnesses are able to take the time off they need to recover. This will especially benefit disabled people.

People should not have to choose between working while ill and hardship. We need a modern sick pay system fit for the 21st century. Sick pay must be set at an hourly rate and living wage; available to everyone regardless of earnings, working hours or contract; and available for 52 weeks instead of 28.

For people who are self-employed and on zero hours contracts, Boris Johnson has said Universal Credit is available from day one. It is not. It is available after a gruelling five week wait forcing people to foodbanks.

People deserve dignity and support. There is no need for people to endure hardship. The lack of support from the UK Government risks the unnecessary spreading of coronavirus.

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ASDA CONTINUING TO THREATEN WORKERS

Following my letter to Asda CEO – Roger Burnley – regarding the forceful changing of workers’ contracts, I have received a response refusing a meeting.

Many workers are refusing to sign new contracts as they would lose out on an average of £500 per year and struggle with care responsibilities. Those who don’t sign will face the sack this weekend. This is outrageous and a disgusting abuse of power.

I stand with the workers in Asda in Motherwell and all those across the UK. Asda’s response is not good enough. They must get around the negotiating table. Show your support by signing and sharing this petition.

The Tories have undermined employment law so that it’s easier for employers to get away with whatever they want. The SNP supports the repeal of the Tories’ Trade Union Act to replace it with proper rights so that workers won’t have to tolerate this treatment.

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BREXIT DELAY NEEDED FOR DEVOLVED DEBATE

‘Scottish and Welsh First Ministers press EU for Brexit delay’

If Johnson’s Tories want to prove that they care about Scotland’s voice in the UK, they would afford adequate time for the Scottish Parliament to be able to properly scrutinise Johnson’s deal.

The magnitude of this decision will affect Scotland and the rest of the UK for decades to come. Devolved institutions must be allowed to carry out their constitutional and democratic functions.

Johnson’s deal will undoubtedly be more damaging than Theresa May’s as workers’ rights and environmental protections have been chopped off.

More concerned with protecting their party and careers, Scottish Tory MPs have announced they will all vote for Johnson’s deal.

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SNP CONFERENCE CALLS FOR ACTION TO SAVE OUR POST OFFICE

MP LEADS CALLS TO STOP PRIVATISATION THROUGH “MANAGED DECLINE”

Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, led calls at SNP Conference on Sunday (13 October) to ensure the longevity in the Post Office network

The motion proposed by Mrs Fellows was passed unanimously and called for the proper remuneration of sub-Postmasters as many are resigning and thousands are threatening to leave due to low pay leaving communities without vital services.

In addition, the motion called for the protection of Crown Post Office branches after Post Office Ltd closed hundreds like the Brandon branch in central Motherwell.

There were also calls to re-nationalise Royal Mail; ensure trade union representation on the Post Office Ltd executive board; and for Post Office branches to become central hubs for banking and Government services over fears that communities are losing access to cash.

Mrs Fellows also co-signed a joint letter to Barclay’s CEO this week after the bank announced it will withdraw from the Post Office banking framework preventing customers from making cash withdrawals from Post Office branches.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The Post Office network is at crisis point. It must remain in public hands and receive proper support from the UK Government which has adopted a policy of managed decline so they can justify privatising it like they did to Royal Mail. Post Offices are a key part of our communities. They must be protected.

“By protecting and re-opening larger, Crown branches and ensuring the provision of banking and Government services, the Post Office network can improve sub-Postmaster pay – keeping smaller branches open – and continue to provide the vital services communities rely on – like access to cash.

“Instead of turning a blind eye to communities and Post Office workers, Post Office Ltd and the UK Government must listen and act.”E