COVID-19 has affected work in all sectors and industries; adjusting the way many people work and highlighting practice that may not translate to a post-lockdown world. Our recent Supporters’ Network Event explored how we can ‘Build Back Better’ following lockdown, using this as an opportunity to ensure that the Good Employment Charter can be used to deliver stronger, fairer working standards for all. The full recording of the webinar can be viewed below.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, explained the ‘Build Back Better’ campaign, which aims to help restore the economy and create better opportunity for successful recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown. A key issue highlighted by the pandemic is a lack of secure work and payment of a Real Living Wage in essential industries, and these are things that need to be resolved in the coming months. Furthermore, a revaluation of the typical 9-5 working day may allow staff greater flexibility and would reduce the strain on public transport networks during peak travel times. Read more about the campaign here.
Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the specific difficulties that will be faced by workers who commute on public transport. A system with limited capacity on trams, trains and buses will mean that workplaces may struggle to have their staff come into the office even past lockdown. Clive emphasized that greater flexibility and consideration of employees’ individual needs and anxieties must be part of our recovery, as going back to normal straight away will not be structurally possible.
Sam Clark, Director of Dispute Resolution at Acas, explored the strains on mental health that this lockdown period has highlighted. Whilst remote working has many advantages that need to be considered when building back better, we cannot lose sight of employees’ mental and physical wellbeing. The first Acas webinar on mental health had over 1000 registrants, emphasizing that there is a clear demand for clarity on how to support and manage it at such a time of unease. For more information on how to sustain a mentally healthy working environment, watch the Acas webinars here.
The Q&A section of the Webinar covered the government guidance regarding workplaces opening, the challenges of digital poverty in maintaining a diverse workforce, the potential for redundancies and reductions in salary following the furlough scheme, and the particular values of Greater Manchester that will help the approach to building back better. Find the full video recording below for the discussions related to these questions.