'Dangers as well as opportunities' for home workers

Unite: rise in homeworking requires negotiation and agreement not imposition

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Unite says employers should reach homeworking agreements to avoid an industrial minefield when turning workers’ homes into a place of work.

The explosion in home-working, caused by Covid-19, means trade unions will have an increasingly important role to play in minimising the dangers and maximising the advantages of working from home according to Unite.

Unite has produced a new framework homeworking agreement to assist Unite workplace representatives in their negotiations with employers.

The number of people working from home is expected to double following the coronavirus pandemic, new research suggests. A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that employers believe 37 per cent of staff will regularly avoid the journey into the office following Covid-19, up from 18 per cent before the pandemic. The number of people expected to make their work-from-home arrangements a permanent fixture stands at 22 per cent, up from 9 per cent pre-lockdown.

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said, “Covid-19 is leading to an explosion in homeworking. There are dangers as well as opportunities for workers and it is in everyone’s interest to ensure homeworking is introduced properly and fairly. Unite has produced a set of minimum standards that we expect all employers to adhere to as part of negotiations.

“It is important to remember that homeworking done badly can lead to more work for the same pay. It can also lead to stress and depression, as well as health and safety risks from working in an unsuitable environment,” she added. “It is vital that employers now recognise that homeworking is an issue for negotiation not imposition and that we will be demanding adequate protection for our members.”

Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values: Secure Work – fighting for jobs and job security; Strong Voice – a union which is a respected voice at work; and Decent Pay – a union focused on pay and conditions. You can find out more about Work Voice Pay here.

By Ciaran Naidoo

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