Protecting workers during coronavirus outbreak

Joint statement from Scottish Government and STUC.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop and STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith have issued a joint statement outlining the shared commitment to fair work practices in Scotland.

The statement calls on employers, trades unions and workers to work together to reach the right decisions on all workplace issues that arise throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and ensure workers are treated fairly.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“Partnership with workers and trades unions is crucial to making the right decisions to protect workers and ensure public safety while also helping businesses to stay open, where permitted under latest guidance, and keep people in employment. 

“Employers must allow their staff to follow medical advice to self-isolate or isolate with their households. Workers should never feel pressured to breach that advice. Fundamentally, employers should look to maintain jobs and pay their workers throughout this crisis, and to make use of Government support to achieve this.

“Scotland’s success as an economy is built on a shared endeavour between workers, unions and employers and this approach will help us get through this outbreak. It is now more important than ever that Scotland adopts Fair Work principles and practice to get through the COVID-19 health and economic crises and support businesses and their staff to get through this together with co-operation. Many companies are doing this and I thank them for it.

STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:

“This statement rightly sets out the high expectations that the Scottish Government and the STUC has that fair work principles will be fully applied by employers during the crisis to address the many concerns that workers are experiencing on the ground.

“Fundamental in all of this, is the need for unions and workers to be fully involved in making the key decisions. What constitutes fair work is not in the gift of employers. We’ve seen already that some employers can’t be trusted to take decisions that respect the health and safety, the welfare and the incomes of workers. Unions can be trusted and have been demonstrating this throughout the crisis, working day and night to support workers, defending incomes and job security and ensuring that everyone can work safely when necessary or is empowered to stay at home. 

“We welcome the commitment from the Scottish Government that it will use all of its influence to ensure that employers act in line with the principles set out in the statement.”


View the statement in full.



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