0151 666 3040 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Coronavirus update 06.05.20

Dear Member

Hi All! We hope you are all okay and you and yours are keeping well. There are a number of updates for you today, with some links to further information as well, so we’ll get straight to it!

MUST READ for children’s SOCIAL WORKERS- Unison concerns about emergency legislation on the rights of children

A statutory instrument laid before Parliament on 23 April removed vital legal protections and safeguards from children in care. It came into force the next day, 24 April. Around 100 changes to children’s social care regulations were made. There was no public consultation and no time for Parliamentary scrutiny and debate.
The government says the measures are temporary – expiring on 25 September – to allow overstretched children’s services greater flexibility, but there are fears that the coronavirus crisis is being used as an excuse to relax children’s social care duties and the expiry date could be revoked.
UNISON has joined the campaign organised by Article 39 calling for: 

  • The withdrawal of the statutory instrument 
  •  Any proposed changes to the law affecting children genuinely connected to COVID-19 must be transparent about the reasons why and subject to open consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. We understand that timescales may have to be tighter than usual for these democratic processes. An Article 39 summary of the changes is here.  

The emergency legislation not only diminishes the rights of children and important safeguards, it also presents a danger to social workers. Sadly, we know that scapegoating frontline social workers when something goes wrong is not unusual and the emergency legislation would increase the risk of things going wrong and risk being missed. 

Wirral Unison are calling a meeting for all Social Workers to discuss these changes and what stance we should take. We will invite all of our social worker members to a meeting via Microsoft Teams, if you know of colleagues who may wish to attend but are not yet members of Unison, please ask them to email Lois or Dave and we will invite them via teams. The meeting will take place at 12pm on Thursday 7 May.

Youth Worker’s Pay

The trade unions representing youth and community workers have now submitted the pay claim for 2020. Details of the full claim can be seen here.
However, the headline demands are for a 10% increase to recoup losses over the last ten years, to move to a 35 hour working week without loss of pay and to formally define an evening session as any session that finishes after 6pm.  We will keep you updated with progress on this claim.

Care Worker Updates:

Sick Pay:
As we announced yesterday, Wirral Council has confirmed additional finding to the care sector which Unison of course welcomes. The Council were also clear in making this announcement that as a result of this extra funding Care Workers working on behalf of the Council who are absent as a result of Covid-19 related reasons should receive full sick pay. If you are sick, symptomatic, high risk, very high risk or living with someone who is and you are not receiving more than statutory sick pay (SSP) please get in touch with us.

Real Living Wage:
A few weeks ago, we were delighted to announce that the Council had agreed to support the Real Living Wage for Care Workers working on behalf of the Council for the next 6 months. Following Unison pressure we are pleased that this has now been extended for the next financial year and, we hope on a permanent basis. We are aware that some care providers are indicating that they do not intend to apply this increase, if this relates to your employer please get in touch and we will take this up on your behalf.

Keeping In Touch (Maternity leave)

We have been contacted by some members who are currently on maternity leave, who are concerned that they may suffer a financial detriment as they are unable to do keep in touch days as they had planned. The advice below is the position we have agreed with Wirral Council, and we would hope that other employers who operate KIT days would take a similar approach.

“If your job is suitable for homeworking you should continue to do the KIT days as planned.  Please speak with your manager to arrange this. It may be possible do some e-learning or catch up on policy changes. You could also try to plan your days to join team meetings and catch up with colleagues. You should submit your claim for payments via your manager in accordance with the normal process.
If your job is not suitable for homeworking, please submit your claim for payment for the days that you were due to work to your manager in accordance with the normal process.  The Council would not want to financially disadvantage you at this time if you had anticipated payment for doing this work. However, as you have not worked them, the KIT days should be ‘banked’  and where possible, we would ask that you undertake the work at a later date.”

Parks Meeting

Just a reminder, we have a meeting for our members in parks tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12pm. You should by now have received the invite via Microsoft Teams, if you haven’t and you are interested in attending the meeting, please contact Dave or Lois and we will ensure you can access the meeting.

Debt Advice

Sadly, we know that this crisis is exacerbating financial problems for some of our members. Even a small change in circumstances can turn a manageable situation into a debt problem that threatens your home or your family’s wellbeing. Whatever the amount, debt can feel stressful, overwhelming and all-consuming.
Peace of mind. It’s closer than you might think. Turn to UNISON Debtline, a debt advice service for members run by our trusted partners, PayPlan. We offer confidential, free advice to help you clear your debts and manage your money for the future.
UNISON Debtline can help you deal with all sorts of debt, from credit cards, to mortgage arrears, to county court judgment claims. We can help give you the best chance of keeping your home if you’re at risk of repossession. We offer:

  • immediate advice
  • a free and confidential service with no hidden charges
  • a personal case officer to advise you and negotiate with your creditors
  • a manageable debt plan to suit your circumstances

Take the first step: Call UNISON Debtline now on freephone 0800 389 3302.
You’ll have an initial chat with one of our dedicated advisors to get an accurate picture of your circumstances. You’ll be listened to and supported. And you’ll be well on your way to peace of mind.

We hope that you continue to find our updates helpful and for those members we have set meetings up for, we hope you are able to attend. We will be setting up further meetings in the coming weeks for different sections of our membership.

If you are reading this because it has been shared with you and you’re not a member, here’s the link to join up! Click here

Take care of yourselves and each other and we will be back with another update for you all tomorrow.

In solidarity!

Lois and Dave

Dave: davidnjones@wirral.gov.uk  07880199539
Lois: loisfounds1@wirral.gov.uk   07384512521

Published on: May 6, 2020