26 September 2023

SCOTLAND: Governments clash over lockdown

Start the conversation

A COVID-19 row has broken out between the United Kingdom (UK) and Scottish Governments after the head of the UK Public Service sent guidance on easing the lockdown north of the border in direct contravention of the position taken by Edinburgh.

Bottom of Form

Sir Mark Sedwill (pictured) failed to mention the Scottish Government’s separate lockdown rules urging workers to stay home.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We’ve emailed our staff today to confirm there has been no change to working arrangements for Scottish Government employees, as outlined by the First Minister in her briefings.”

Tensions over the Coronavirus lockdown erupted after UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson eased controls, fuelling fears of a rise in infections.

Mr Johnson’s Government said garden centres in England would reopen and gave the green light to sun-bath, while urging some people to end their work from home arrangements.

These changes led to criticism that people in Scotland would be confused about which Government they should listen to.

Around 5,000 people work for the Scottish Government and other Public Servants are employed by UK Government Agencies north of the border.

National Officer of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Cat Boyd said the union’s message was clear.

“All employers, including UK Civil Service Departments with staff based in Scotland, must follow the Scottish Government’s advice for staff living and working in Scotland,” Ms Boyd said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we believe that all Civil Servants based in Scotland, whether they work as part of the Scottish Government, its related bodies, or for the UK Civil Service, should remain working from home,” she said.

She said that if staff were not yet working from home, their employer should find a solution that allows staff to do so.

“If you are being forced back to the workplace to do non-essential work, then you should contact your trade union urgently,” Ms Boyd said.

Edinburgh, 13 May 2020

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.