The union for catering staff working in the House of Commons, GMB’s London Region, is calling on catering management in the House of Commons to act responsibly and adhere to the regulations and government’s guidance on Covid-19.
GMB union have five tests that need to be complied with before they can agree that a workplace – or an activity- can be agreed as safe. If these are not complied with, they will consider the workplace unsafe for that activity and inform the staff that they have the right to leave the workplace.
At present GMB London Region consider that those tests have not been passed. This means that in practice, serving alcohol in a bar environment presents a high risk of Covid-19 exposure to the workers present. As a result the workforce reserve the right to leave the place of work where this is being carried out if protective measures are not introduced as a matter of urgency.
Will Conway, GMB House of Commons Branch Secretary said: “The unions represented in HOC were not told about the decision or the risk assessment until after it had happened. We were told that a PCS Rep had been informed. This does not appear to be true. There is no evidence, on either side, of contact with the GMB, and the assessment and walkthrough happened on the local reps day off.
What is clear is that the government’s own guidelines are being breached by management. The serving of alcohol is not an essential service and to open a bar service now will only lead to our members being more exposed to the risk of Covid-19. Our members in the House of Commons will be advised on this position.”
Reopening: Measure twice cut once
Covid-19 Government guidelines – 7 July 2020 – Covid-19 Government guidelines