Issue date
The Wales Trades Union Congress has set out its five principles for easing the lockdown, ahead of a meeting between social partners this afternoon.

The Wales TUC – which represents 48 trade unions with a combined membership of around 400,000 workers – says Welsh Government, unions and employers must work together every step of the way to ensure that workers are confident that they’ll be able to go back to their jobs safely once lockdown measures are eased.

Their five principles for easing lockdown are: 

  1. Sectoral guidance needs to be agreed with trade unions and employers, and issued under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 
  2. There needs to be confirmation of sufficient PPE supply for sectors before they reopen
  3. Capacity for testing must increase, along with a comprehensive testing strategy and a return to contact tracing    
  4. Coordinated and proactive enforcement activity must be in place 
  5. Opportunities stemming from the Job Retention Scheme must be maximised

Shavanah Taj, Acting General Secretary of Wales TUC said: “Workers must feel confident that their employer will not put them at risk once lockdown measures are eased.

“Clear, statutory guidance for different sectors is essential, and we need to make sure that those who may be at greater risk are sufficiently protected by this. This includes people who have been advised to shield and those they live with, pregnant workers, BAME and disabled workers. Any guidance we are working on in Wales needs to ensure that workers and employers are very clear on their rights and responsibilities.

“We need to be sure that PPE supplies will be available as more and more workplaces reopen, that the testing and tracing measures are in place and that proactive enforcement activity is keeping all workers safe. We also need to make the most of the job retention scheme by maximising uptake and providing training opportunities to furloughed workers.

“The First Minister’s decision to not lift the lockdown last weekend gives us the time we need to secure a safe return to work in social partnership. By working together, we can protect workers and make sure that employers understand their responsibilities once the lockdown measures are eased.”