0151 666 3040 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Coronavirus update 14.05.20

Dear Member

Hello again! We hope you’re all okay, it’s a relatively short update from us this evening with a longer, more detailed correspondence to come tomorrow.


Unions with members in the education sector are today (Wednesday) publishing a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools.

Today’s statement follows a longer statement to the Secretary of State on Friday (8 May), which set out in full detail the principles and tests necessary for the safe reopening of schools. It is signed by AEP, GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, NSEAD, Prospect, UNISON and Unite.

“We all want schools to re-open, but that should only happen when it is safe to do so. The government is showing a lack of understanding about the dangers of the spread of coronavirus within schools, and outwards from schools to parents, sibling and relatives, and to the wider community.

Uniquely, it appears, school staff will not be protected by social distancing rules. 15 children in a class, combined with their very young age, means that classrooms of 4 and 5-year olds could become sources of Covid-19 transmission and spread. While we know that children generally have mild symptoms, we do not know enough about whether they can transmit the disease to adults. We do not think that the government should be posing this level of risk to our society.

We call on the government to step back from the 1st June and work with us to create the conditions for a safe return to schools based on the principles and tests we have set out.

The principles and tests include (see full statement from Friday 8 May, linked to below):

  • Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle
  • No increase in pupil numbers until full rollout of a national test and trace scheme
  • A national Covid-19 education taskforce with government, unions and education stakeholders to agree statutory guidance for safe reopening of schools
  • Consideration of the specific needs of vulnerable students and families facing economic disadvantage
  • Additional resources for enhanced school cleaning, PPE and risk assessments
  • Local autonomy to close schools where testing indicates clusters of new covid-19 cases”

Wirral Council staff survey

Another reminder form us that 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. We attach the link here for you here

Care Workers- Sick Pay and the Real Living Wage

We have 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. Equally you may recall that in April we secured agreement that the Real Living Wage would be paid to all Care Workers working on behalf of Wirral Council. We are meeting with the Council on Friday to discuss the implementation of both increase in pay and sick pay. We would urge ANY CARE WORKERS OFF WORK BECAUSE THEY ARE SICK, SYMPTOMATIC, VULNERABLE, VERY VULNERABLE OR LIVING WITH SOMEONE WHO IS  AND IS NOT IN RECEIPT OF FULL SICK PAY contact us immediately.

Job Opportunity- Wirral Unison

As shown above by our campaigns to achieve the Real Living Wage and Sick Pay for Care Workers, we are committed to achieving better terms and conditions for all care workers. We know this can be best achieved where we have a higher density of union members. As part of our commitment to this sector we have agreed to fund a part time paid organiser to help our campaigns in this area. Please see details below of the role and how to apply.

“Vacancy: Wirral UNISON:  Union Organiser
Fixed Term initially until 31 December 2020
Hours: 21 – may involve weekend and evening work
Pay: £27905 (pro rata) plus travel expenses and Essential Car User Allowance

This is an exciting role to lead in the recruitment and organisation of workers in (primarily) unrecognised workplaces, with an emphasis initially on the social care sector within Wirral. 
The role will involve running campaigns and organising recruitment initiatives. This will involve increasing membership levels, but also and crucially identifying, supporting, and developing activists, and seeking recognition deals with employers. Alongside these tasks the role will be involved in the general campaigning work of the Branch to raise the union’s profile and improve pay, terms and conditions for members.
Wirral UNISON is a Branch of UNISON which nationally has in excess of 1.3 million members. We are organised in Local Government and associated sectors and currently have in excess of 5,000 members with a growing number of members and activists. A dynamic, outward looking and proactive Branch, we have achieved some notable successes recently in opposing compulsory redundancies and the implementation of the Real Living Wage and Sick Pay for Care workers
We are looking for an energetic campaigner, who can hit the ground running and has a track record of delivering positive outcomes. Candidates will need effective communication skills (including online) and the ability to inspire, inform and win the confidence and trust of the workers we are seeking to unionise. The successful candidate will have a passion for social justice with a developed understanding of the history, and purpose of trade unions. We want someone who can demonstrate a determination to make a positive difference for workers.

•            Strong campaigning skills
•            Excellent communications skills, including the use of online media
•            Negotiating and Industrial Relations experience
•            Design and production of publicity materials
•            Good administrative and IT skills
•            The ability to work as part of a team, but with drive, initiative and self-motivation
•            Adaptable and flexible in approach
•            A sound knowledge of trade union and health & safety legislation and how to apply it
Submit your CV to unison1@wirral.gov.uk by 27 May 2020
In submitting your CV please take account of the above Job Description and Criteria against which applications will be judged.

UNISON is a dynamic, progressive union, committed to equality. We encourage men and women of all ages, Black and minority ethnic groups, disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to work with us.”

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.

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.

In solidarity!

Lois and Dave

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

Published on: May 14, 2020