Welcome to the middle of the week; we hope you are keeping well in these troubling times.
We have a few, relatively brief updates at this time, which we hope you will find useful.
We are all aware that the Liverpool City Region, which includes Wirral, is in a local lockdown. However many of us will be unsure of exactly what we should and should not be doing. Alongside the basics, (wash you hands, wear a mask where appropriate and maintain social distancing) there are restrictions on socialising with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.
The guidance can and does change to meet the demands of increasing transmission so please keep aware of the latest guidance. This is the link to the Government site with our local guidance, which will be updated as guidance changes: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/merseyside-halton-and-warrington-local-restrictions
Thirty million people will be offered the vaccine - the UK's largest flu-immunisation programme to date. This is being expanded this year to help in the struggle to contain Covid, as the fear is that the annual flu season will coincide with a coronavirus surge, which may place severe strain upon the NHS. Allied to the challenges that the flu brings every years, there is also the added pressure that there is some similarity in symptoms; notably fever, cough, tiredness.
We have been in touch with the employers we have recognition deals with to clarify the offer being made by employers. We can confirm that Autism Together Magenta Living (via a voucher scheme), Wirral Evolutions, Wirral Council (via pharmacy and claim back the cost) Wirral Met College (via OH Provider), are all offering flu jabs to staff. We welcome this offer and would encourage our members to take up this offer this year – even if you usually don’t.
If you’re employer does not offer the flu jab, many members may be eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS including:
- Adults aged 65 and over
- People with some medical conditions, including diabetes, heart failure and asthma
- People who were required to shield from coronavirus - and anyone they live with
- Pregnant women
- Children aged from two-11
- Health and social care workers
For more information on flu vaccines contact the NHS website
Test and Trace Support Payment
We have previously advised on this scheme, which will be welcomed by many low paid workers who need to self-isolate. Wirral Council’s scheme is now up and running. The scheme pays £500 for each period of self-isolation if you meet key criteria and are in receipt of one of a number of benefits. There is also a discretionary fund for anyone not in receipt of the stated benefits but meets other criteria and will face financial hardship due to self-isolation. Importantly this payment will be additional to any sick pay (unless equivalent to your normal pay) you may receive. It is however taxable. We know that many of our members in key roles, such as cleaners, care workers etc will benefit from this if they are required to self-isolate.
For more information see https://www.wirral.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/coronavirus-updates/test-and-trace-support-payment
Emergency Aid Package for Hospitality Sector
An emergency fund of up to £40million has been announced by the Metro Mayor and the 6 local authorities including Wirral, in a bid to rescue Liverpool City Region’s vital hospitality and leisure sector from economic collapse. Whilst we do not represent members in the hospitality sector (bars, restaurant etc) we know that over 50,000 workers in our area are employed in the sector, and their jobs are at risk with the local lockdown.
It is to the shame of this government that when announcing the lockdown they did not also provide a financial support package to protect workers in this precarious jobs. Wirral Unison applauds the Councils, including our own, for stepping in and finding the not insignificant funding to support these workers at this difficult time. We do not want see any worker forced out of their job and made redundant during these difficult times. Of course we expect Wirral Council will take the same approach, when setting their budget in the coming months, and commit to continue the policy of no compulsory redundancies.
Finally we end with some sad news. Wirral Unison learnt yesterday of the death of Raph Parkinson (Unison Regional Organiser) as a result of Covid. Raph was well known to Unison activists including many here in Wirral. For years he was a leading activist in Liverpool branch, and was also the first black person to sit on Unison’s NEC. Latterly he worked for Unison’s Case Unit. A committed socialist and trade unionist, he left a positive impression on all who knew him; we send our condolences to his partner and children.
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’ll be in touch soon with further updates.
Your Wirral Unison Team
Branch Office: 0151 666 3040
Central email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on: October 9, 2020