That amount of notice from Boris was not helpful anyway, particularly for those who have people on furlough and suddenly were being told to bring them back to reopen with 12 hours’ notice.It also meant that they wouldn’t have been able to put the safety measures in place in time. Naturally, this has opened the doors for the unions to throw their two-pennies-worth into the debate. The GMB Union claims the new rules will take at least a fortnight to work through and has told its 600,000 members they should withdraw their labour if they feel unsafe. Trust the unions to hang the threat of strikes over the head of employers. While we might feel we are in the economic equivalent of the early 1970s, or worse, there is no need for outdated union action. While the unions might want to paint us as sweat shop operators or Victorian mill owners, modern employers actually know that the health and wellbeing of their workforce is the priority. In these unprecedented times a whole new approach is being taken to how we live our lives and that includes where we work. The guidance from the Government is pretty straightforward and contains quite a bit of common sense. On one particular point the unions might be right, it’ll take a couple of weeks for larger SMEs to get everything sorted, but for others it will take less. That said, even in two weeks it may be too early for some office-based businesses to reopen completely anyway so they can be using this time to get everything in order. It is frustrating though that the noises off from the unions play into the age-old ‘them and us’ story between employers and their workforces. There has been a lot written in the last couple of days since the chancellor extended the furlough scheme that workers are happy to sit at home on less wages. I haven’t seen that myself and some research carried out by law firm DWF discovered that half of British workers are ready to go back to work post-lockdown with a further 25% saying they may be ready to return. The phrase ‘we are all in this together’ has been banded around a lot in recent weeks, but in this case, it is definitely true. Many workers have continued the hard graft from home to support their employers and a large number on furlough will be keen to get back to the coal face, because I still believe we are hard-working nation. Restarting or increasing business activity is the next big challenge in overcoming the fallout of the pandemic. I am confident that entrepreneurs and take it in their stride and make sure that their businesses will be safe for their employees and customers. Stay safe and stay in business.
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