Hello. We hope you all had a lovely, long weekend if you were off work and managed to enjoy some of the sunshine. The crisis continues to present challenges for us all and anxieties for many of us, not least in terms of situations at work. To this end, we have a few updates for you today and we plan to give more detailed updates in tomorrow’s email.
Prime Minister’s announcement
Many of us will have watched Boris Johnson give his statement to the country yesterday which, in our view posed more questions than it provided answers. Further announcements and details are being released on Monday afternoon as we write this email, therefore by tomorrow we hope that there will be some clarity. In the immediate wake of Johnson’s statement Unison general secretary issued this public statement
“Getting the UK working again, while stopping the spread of the virus, saving lives and keeping us all safe is paramount.
“Clarity, not confusion, is essential if this is to happen. But the danger is that people are now more bewildered than they are reassured. This is made worse now that England is out of step with the rest of the UK.
“The UK has got to get back to work and school, but it must be a safe return for workers and their families. Otherwise all the benefits of the lockdown will be squandered, and a second wave could prove too much for the NHS and other frontline services.
“Many people will now be trying to get their hands on masks to cover their faces on public transport and in supermarkets. The government must ensure surgical standard PPE supplies aren’t disrupted for the NHS and social care. And ministers must put in place a comprehensive test, track and trace strategy at the earliest opportunity.”
We are clear as a branch that the health, safety and wellbeing of our members and the community must be paramount. We are therefore liaising with employers to discuss arrangements for safe returns to the workplace whether that be in the next few days or in the longer term.
The issue of the wider re-opening of schools will be a key consideration and of particular interest to many of our members. Our members need to be assured that schools are a safe working environment and similarly parents should have confidence that it is safe for their children to return to school.
We will be working with the council over the next couple of weeks to ensure that safe arrangements are in place for all of our members in schools.
There is clear and long established health and safety legislation to protect employees in their workplace and this legislation clearly sets out the duty of care an employer owes to their employees. No worker can be expected to work in an environment that is known to be unsafe.
Sick pay for care workers
As we have previously described we have now agreed a position with the council that as a result of the extra investment they have made in the care sector there is an expectation that any care worker absent from work as a result of corona virus reasons should receive full sick pay. Therefore we would urge any care workers who are off work because they are sick, symptomatic, vulnerable or very vulnerable or living with someone who is and is not in receipt of full sick pay to contact us immediately. We will take this up with the provider and the council.
Wirral Council has issued a questionnaire to staff to help in assessing the impact this crisis is having on your work life and wellbeing. We would encourage all members in the council to complete the questionnaire. The questionnaire is accessible through the intranet.
That’s all for today but as above, we will be writing to members with a more detailed update tomorrow. We hope that members continue to find our updates of use.
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Take care of yourselves and each other.
Lois and Dave
Dave: firstname.lastname@example.org 07880199539
Lois: email@example.com 07384512521
Published on: May 12, 2020