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Sacked for poor internet connectivity

24 February 2021

TSSA is today (Wednesday) calling for Dingwall employer NSL to reinstate one of their members after she was sacked for poor internet connectivity which affected her ability to work from home during lockdown.

Invergordon resident Baylee Morrison was fired after being called to a meeting to discuss the problems she was having getting online at home to carry out her work for outsource company NSL. But Baylee, whose mother is a keyworker on a Covid ward, says the company, who carry out work for Westminster council at their site in Dingwall, refused to furlough her or find her other work less dependent on internet connectivity. The young customer services worker was required to work from home during lockdown conditions as so many thousands of workers have done during the coronavirus pandemic.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Like many Highlands residents, Baylee lives in an area with poor internet connectivity, through no fault of her own. And, like many other people in their first full-time job, she’s unable to move away, for financial reasons. It’s totally unfair that NSL are sacking her rather than exploring other options to keep her in work.

“Baylee has gone the extra mile, offering to spend her own money to buy a wireless extender or mesh wifi system which will improve her connectivity – something NSL didn’t even raise as an option in their meeting. She’s also willing to go back to work in the offices in Dingwall if they were reopened, or to carry out work that doesn’t rely on internet connectivity.

“NSL have jumped the gun by firing Baylee before they’ve fully explored all other options. Ferries & Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse needs to intervene and tell NSL to reconsider. Other highland residents are similarly disadvantaged by poor internet speeds and it would set a dangerous precedent for a company to get away with firing staff unable to access the same superfast internet speeds as those in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, who is Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Minister for Justice, said: “Since the SNP came to power in 2007, myself and my former MSP colleague, Peter Peacock, have campaigned vigorously for improvement to broadband connections in the Highlands and Islands. Of course, this hasn’t happened, despite it being a manifesto pledge in 2016, in 2017 and in 2019, and we’ve heard nothing but excuses from the SNP. And now, as this shocking story would illuminate, this is costing people their jobs during the pandemic. The Scottish Government need to step in and sort this out and this Dingwall employer NSL should be showing some compassion. I strongly echo calls for them to reinstate Baylee Morrison without further delay. An apology is the least that she is owed and I really feel for her. This must have been a terrible time. No-one should be sacked for poor internet connectivity.”
 

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