Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure GB-2020-27/1524 – measures in United Kingdom
|Country||United Kingdom , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 01 July 2020|
Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Changes of working hours or work arrangements
|Author||Claire Evans (Warwick University) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||01 December 2020 (updated 04 February 2021)|
BAE Systems is a defence, aerospace and security firm, which employs more than 34,000 people across 62 sites in the UK. Its work includes designing and manufacturing a variety of military platforms and products. BAE Systems carried on some operations during the coronavirus pandemic albeit but with safer working measures in place. Where possible, staff did work from home. However, following the lifting of the first lockdown restrictions in July, the firm worked on ensuring it was safe for large numbers of staff to return to work on their sites.
Although around a quarter of UK employees continued to work from home, the organisation began to incrementally increase the number of employees returning to their normal place of work from July onwards.
The firm implemented a phased return to onsite working for those employees who needed to be present for critical activities, underpinned by a return to work induction process.
Some of the measures BAE Systems introduced include:
The company introduced two shift-working patterns for many of its employees at Portsmouth Naval Base to allow them to continue delivering essential warship support to the Royal Navy. It also moved to 24/7 working in some areas of its submarine business. At its Typhoon Training Facility at RAF bases, the company created a remote viewing facility, which uses cameras to allow staff to review tasks that require supervision or inspection by a second or third party.
In all these changes, the company states that it worked closely with its employees, trade unions and customers to make significant workplace changes in line with government guidelines to enable employees to work safely.
It covers workers at a number of its production sites. Precise numbers are unknown but the firm employs 34,000 people in the UK.
Employees in standard employment
||Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The company has recognised trade unions and thus, it consulted with these unions at workplace level through its company-specific fora. It is assumed that these unions will have had input on design and implementation, although there is no detail in the public domain, given that this is at the workplace level.
As the measures are aimed at safe working and maintaining the health of the workforce, it can be assumed that views will be supportive although none are recorded/available.
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|C - Manufacturing||C32 Other manufacturing|
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2020), BAE Systems: Social distancing measures help staff return to work safely, measure GB-2020-27/1524 (measures in United Kingdom), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/GB-2020-27_1524.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.