The Scottish Government has established a bi-weekly meeting between senior trades unionists and the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Fiona Hyslop, to address issues occurring during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Prospect raised two key issues for our members at a meeting of the COVID-19 group on 24 March.
Members in aviation are being asked to take large wage cuts while still working – even though the Westminster government is protecting 80% of the wages of staff who are furloughed.
Prospect also raised the the lack of basic income protection for our freelance members. This is causing immense additional stress and anxiety at what is already a very difficult time.
The Cabinet Secretary has asked government officials to investigate the behaviour of employers across a number of sectors who appear to be playing fast and loose with the wages protection arrangements.
On freelancers, Prospect asked the Scottish Government to bring in an income protection scheme if there is no action from Westminster within 48 hours.
The Cabinet Secretary said an announcement is expected shortly from the Westminster government and it was appropriate to wait for that. However, in the interim, self-employed members should operate from the premise that they will be eligible for the recently-announced grants to small and medium enterprises, details here.
Prospect reserved the right to return to the issue if Westminster delayed action further or the scheme it introduces does not meet members' needs. The Scottish Government has started work on what a system would look like if required.
The Cabinet Secretary thanked the Scottish TUC and its constituent unions for all the work they are doing for the citizens of Scotland.
The group will meet twice weekly. Prospect will continue to raise members' concerns and issues – and shows the value of your Prospect membership.