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"Fair work charter" planned for severe weather job rights protection

7 March 2018

A "fair work charter" to protect the rights of Scottish workers affected by severe weather is to be drawn up, STV news has reported.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Trades Union Congress have agreed to collaborate on the proposal, which follows last week's extreme conditions caused by the "beast from the east".

A survey by the STUC found hundreds of respondents claiming they were required to travel to work as normal during the snow storm period, and just over 40% said they were compelled to travel during the red weather warning when people were warned against any form of travel.

The survey also revealed a lack of clarity among workers on what constitutes an essential service in adverse weather conditions, and a lack of knowledge about both employers' responsibilities and workers' rights in relation to time off for childcare, being paid and having to take annual leave.

In a joint statement, the First Minister and STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said: "We are grateful to the people of Scotland who have coped tremendously well with the red weather warning and who heeded the advice not to travel.

"However, the Scottish Government and the STUC share a real concern that some workers were placed at unnecessary risk through being compelled to travel to work or placed under threat of lost pay if they did not make it into work.

"We are committed to doing everything within our current powers to encourage employers to be fair and flexible. That is why we have agreed to collaboratively develop a fair work charter focusing on the treatment of workers affected by severe weather or other emergencies."

The statement concluded: "It is our view that legislation should be in place to protect the rights of workers during severe weather.

"As employment law is a reserved area, we will make this case to the UK Government."

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