As soon as a heatwave was on the horizon, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) turned up the temperature by spouting a load of hot air about “cooling measures” that firms need to take to protect their workforce.The TUC has been campaigning for a change in safety regulations to introduce a maximum temperature of 30 degrees centigrade, or 27 degrees for those doing strenuous work – with employers forced to adopt these so-called cooling measures when temperatures in the workplace reach 24 degrees. Of course, there’s something in what the TUC is saying, but it’s about a common sense relationship between employer and employee and not something can become a trigger for a unionised workforce to down tools and head for the picket line. Although I do wonder, if that was the case, would the TUC stump up for plenty sunscreen and cold drinks for members while they wave their placards? The TUC’s advice to business is a veiled criticism that suggests that we don’t care about our workers and perpetuates the myth that we’re 19th century, whip-cracking taskmasters getting our pound of sweating flesh from our staff. The world is a much different place than the 1970s-obsessed unions seem to inhabit and modern business owners react better to these kinds of situations than they’re usually given credit for. My column in Real Business last week highlighted the importance of looking after your employees’ wellbeing to support productivity through simple and common-sense activities. The same applies when the temperature is more akin to Marbella than Macclesfield.
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