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Debates and questions

S5W-29648: Fulton MacGregor (Coatbridge and Chryston)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 4 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the University of Strathclyde Department of Work, Employment and Organisation paper, Covid-19 and Call/Contact Centre Workers: Intermediate Report.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 12 June 2020

The Scottish Government notes the concerns raised in the report and the conclusions reached.

All employers have a duty to ensure that employees are able to work safely. All workplaces are covered by provisions under the Health and Safety and Work Act 1974 and under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

Local authorities have, through the emergency regulations, powers to tackle failure to maintain safe distancing in the workplace. Workers can raise enquiries about working safely with the Health and Safety Executive and with Local Authority Environmental Health Officers. If workers think their working conditions are unsafe, they also have rights under Section 44 of the Employment Regulations Act (1996). For workers who are members of trade unions, they may wish to speak to their trade union representative.

The Scottish Government has issued a joint statement with the STUC General Secretary on COVID-19 Fair Work Principles that underpin shared commitment to fair work practices in Scotland. This calls on employers, trades unions and workers to work together to reach the right decisions on all workplace issues that arise throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure workers are treated fairly.

We are taking a partnership approach to developing sectoral guidance in order to create the conditions for business, trades unions and regulators to share expertise and work together to create safer workplaces. As part of this process a working group will be established to take forward the development of call/contact centre workplace guidance.