The new lockdown comes into effect from tomorrow. Our unions must fight for reinforced safety measures.
LU has said workers in the "Clinically Extremely Vulnerable" (CEV) category will not be expected to be in the workplace, and those whose jobs mean they can't work from home are likely to be put on the extended furlough scheme. If that scheme is not re-extended beyond 2 December, we must demand LU gives special paid leave to those workers rather than compelling them to be in work.
Currently, LU says "Clinically Vulnerable" (CV) staff are expected to be in work. We must push back on this, and demand the widest-possible use of furlough to protect vulnerable workers.
Safety measures implemented during the first wave which may have started to fray must now be reinforced. For example, some station Area Managers have imposed a return to full pre-pandemic working, ripping up revised rosters aimed at minimising staff presence in the workplace and breaching a negotiated agreement in the process. There must now be a new drive to enforce that agreement again. Workers should not be in the workplace for longer than strictly necessary.
The precise safety demands we fight for will vary between workplaces and functions, but the underlying principle must be to fight for the maximum degree of workers' control over safety measures, to ensure it's us who has oversight over their design and implementation. Safety is too important to be left to the bosses, for whom budgetary concerns will be a constant counter-pressure against the need to protect workers.
RMT should update its Covid Charter and organise a renewed drive to ensure it is implemented.