As 2022 dawns, we are entering the third calendar year of having to live with the Covid-19 virus.
The effects of the government’s response to this virus on British workers has been severe; workers in retail and hospitality especially have had a hard time with an early lockdown from last Christmas onwards and on-again and off-again directives and often contradictory advice from the Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay, and Stormont powers-that-be.
The furlough scheme that helped many workers has gone and is probably gone for good. During the pandemic, the adage of never letting a good crisis go to waste has not been lost on some unscrupulous employers. British Gas has been one of the most prominent companies in the Roll of Dishonour trying to ‘fire and rehire’ employees to drive down rates of pay and conditions.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always illegal, but we in Solidarity will continue to do all in our power to challenge and overturn any attempt to fire and rehire our members in the coming New Year.
Another disturbing trend is the growth of a ‘no jab-no job’ culture that threatens to sack workers who – for whatever reason – have decided not to take up the offer of Covid-19 vaccinations. We are disappointed that some other trade unions will not support those of their members who are so threatened.
Solidarity is opposed to discrimination on grounds of race, sex, sexuality, and disability. Our union defends the right of its members to take – or not to take – the various vaccines on offer. Using Employer’s Disciplinary Procedure’s, we will challenge those employers who seek to impose compulsory vaccinations on our members and defend them wherever possible against unfair dismissal.
As we enter the New Year, however, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are signs of hope in post-Brexit Britain.
People are seeking out and buying more British-made goods and services; those keeping fellow British workers in employment.
Solidarity will continue to campaign for its members and supporters to buy British where they can.
There may still be trouble ahead, but your union is optimistic, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst as we gear up to defend the rights of British workers in 2022.
On behalf of the National Executive Committee, I wish you all a happy, prosperous, and undramatic New Year.