0151 666 3040 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Coronavirus update 27.08.20

Dear Member

Hi again everyone! We hope you’re all having a good week so far and are looking forward to a long weekend coming up.

Local Government Pay 2020/21

As we reported on Monday, the NJC committee agreed to accept the pay offer as the result of a 2:1 vote to accept amongst Union members nationally. We know this may disappoint many of our members, who voted overwhelmingly to reject. We can confirm that following discussions with the GMB and Unite, the three Unions have written to the employers confirming acceptance. Consequently, we have written to Wirral Council asking them to confirm details of implementation. However, we would expect implementation including back pay (to April 2020) to be no later than the October pay date.

Union’s NJC committee agreed to start work now on next year’s claim and called on employers to work with the unions to secure additional funding from central government so that workers get the decent reward they deserve.

We can also confirm that Unisons chief officers committee accepted the employers offer for chief officers (also 2.75%).

We are currently still consulting on the pay offer for youth workers. Please vote if you have not yet done so and contact us if you believe you have not received a ballot paper.


Wirral schools support staff will be returning to work next week, no doubt with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety. We have been working over recent weeks to ensure safety in schools and have been assessing and challenging risk assessments as appropriate. However, we are aware that staff working in schools will be the experts in how plans work (or perhaps don’t work) in practice and this may not become apparent until pupils have returned to schools. Therefore if you work in a school and you have any concerns about your personal or general safety either prior to returning or in the days following your return to school, please get in touch with either the Unison steward in your school or the branch office. We will ensure that your concerns are taken seriously.

The issue of face coverings in schools for staff and pupils has been prevalent in the media in recent days and yet again the Government have stirred up confusion before doing a partial U-turn, which has still avoided any clarity on the subject. Unison’s view is that staff should be allowed to wear face coverings in school if they wish to do so. We are also concerned about the situation in communal areas such as corridors and we know our members would welcome further clarity.

Youth Workers

The National Youth Agency, the professional statutory and regulatory body for youth work in England, have previously published a series of guidance documents and tools to support youth service providers during COVID-19. 
These documents have now been updated to reflect government changes to social distancing and face covering regulations. The various COVID-19 guidance and toolkits have also been brought together into one document:
Managing youth sector activities and spaces during COVID-19: https://nya.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2020/08/NYA-Guidance-version-2.pdf    

We would also direct our members to our own guidance on COVID-19, which can be found on our website: https://www.unison.org.uk/coronavirus-rights-work/

We are particularly concerned that the needs of Black youth and community workers are considered. Please also refer to the latest UNISON guidance for Black members during COVID-19 for more information:


The latest newsletter from Unison North West Retired Members Committee has been published and can be accessed through our website here

However, we also highlight within this email, an article by the Chair of the Retired Members Committee, Roger Bannister on the threat to the triple lock on the state retirement pension, which may be of interest both to our members who are retired or are approaching retirement. Please see the article below:

The Triple Lock is a mechanism used by the Government to determine the annual rise in the State Retirement Pension, (commonly known as the ‘Old Age Pension’) Under the triple lock the rate of inflation, the annual rise in earnings across the economy and 2.5% are compared, and the greater of these three figures determines the rise applied to pensions, meaning that the rise is never less than 2.5%.  

The Tory Government have been unhappy with this formula for a while, as it regularly produces rises in excess of price inflation and annual earnings rises, and government spokespersons have raised the idea of scrapping the Triple Lock formula on a number of occasions. What has to be understood is that the State Retirement Pension in the UK is low, and is only 24.2% of National Average Earnings, normally it would take until 2038 to even reach 26% of national average earnings!  (26% is the peak level, which was achieved as long ago as 1979).   But the situation is also complicated by the fact that people who retired before April 2016 receive a substantially lower pension than those retiring after that date.  

Our pension is also low by comparison with other similar countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, being around 29% of our working income, compared with the OECD average of 63%, whilst in Italy and the Netherlands the figure is more than 80%!   But the Coronavirus crisis has created an unusual situation, because workers who were furloughed on 80% of their usual earnings, and who will return to their usual earnings when they return to work will statistically create a rise in earnings across the economy of around 18%, and this is panicking the Government because of the impact on the Triple Lock.

The National Pensioners Convention have called for urgent talks with the Government in an attempt to retain the Triple Lock, which we hope are successful, but the fundamental issue of bringing the UK pension up to a comparable level with similar countries is crucial, and if that takes a one off rise of 18% then so be it!

That’s all for today everyone. As always, please feel free to pass our updates on to colleagues and encourage them to join Unison if they haven’t already. Here’s the link to join up! JOIN UNISON

Enjoy your evening and we will be back in touch with further updates soon.

In solidarity!

Lois and Dave

Branch Office: 0151 666 3040

Central email: unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Published on: August 28, 2020