As the current government advice is to go back to work if you can, from today, we’d encourage you to do the following if you're working while studying...
1. Join a Union - it’s never been more important to be a member - find one that fits you at tuc.org.uk.
2. If you don’t feel safe, read some advice from a Union about work refusal, like this from the United Voice of the World - you have rights not to work in unsafe conditions, but seek support from your Union before you take action!
3. For anybody who feels it’s unsafe to go back to work, you can use Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act. Section 44 'provides employees with the means to contest the adequacy and/or suitability of safety arrangements without fear of recriminations (eg. getting sacked or transferred) or suffering detriment (eg. loss of wages). Section 44 also provides employees with the ‘right’ to withdraw from and to refuse to return to a workplace. Read more here.
4. If you’re Unionised, ask your Union some questions: what resources have you developed to support workers who face being forced back into an unsafe workplace? Do you have template letters ready and available online? Are reps briefed and ready to defend people who cannot come in? Is the Union researching and proposing effective social distancing measures at work? Has the Union set up online training resources for reps and workers? Are the Union lawyers ready to defend people who face disciplinary action?