We are nearly at the weekend (as we are writing this), and today at least it is a lovely autumn day; lets hope it lasts through the weekend. The details of the latest figures can be found here www.gov.uk/R rate but the rate is now 1.0 -1.2, which is a reduction on last week. The North West is again the lowest rate in the country and is close to being below 1.
Whilst we await details of when the mass testing will be rolled out in Wirral, no-one will have missed the developments regarding a potential vaccine. We know that some members may have reservations about vaccines, but most members will see this as a welcome development. Once it passes the final tests it appears that the vaccine will be rolled out based upon priorities drawn up by a scientific committee These are
- Older adults resident in a care home and care home workers
- All those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
- All those 75 years of age and over
- All those 70 years of age and over
- All those 65 years of age and over
- High-risk adults under 65 years of age
- Moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
- All those 60 years of age and over
- All those 55 years of age and over
- All those 50 years of age and over
- Rest of the population (priority to be determined)
We would broadly agree with priorities, although we will be making representations that education workers should be included in the list of priorities. Wirral Unison has also been clear that we believe the vaccine (unlike the flu jab) should be free for everyone. We would also hope that people with money, e.g. professional footballers and elite schools like Eton, are not allowed to queue jump. It is also welcome that it appears that the NHS will be responsible for delivering and administering the vaccine. After £billions in grant and failed track and trace maybe the government have woken up to the fact that private companies such as Serco etc are not fit for the role.
Test and Trace App in Schools
Wirral Unison is bemused that Wirral Public Health “are recommending that you advise any staff/pupils that have downloaded the NHS COVID-19 app to pause the contact-tracing function of that app while they are on the school premises.”
This seems to jar slightly with national advice that if a mobile phone is not with you for a prolonged period such as PE or if schools rules state phones must be left in lockers it should be switched off; otherwise it should be switched on. Of course it may be that schools may wish to consider relaxing rules about storing phones in lockers during this pandemic. Wirral Unison are calling on Wirral Public Health to revise their guidance so that it falls in line with the national guidance.
Woodchurch Road Primary School – Stop the Cuts
As previously reported Support Staff are facing a 20% pay cut at the school; with a knock on effect n pupils support and education. We are balloting members on Strike action and are very confident of receiving a positive response.
We held a very successful public meeting, attended by over 120 people at the time, and subsequently watched by 1700 people. This meeting showed the overwhelming support for Unison’s action and opposition to these cuts that there is amongst parents and the local community.
Speaking at the meeting local parent Amina Hussein said “I have two children who attend the school. The staff are fabulous but they cannot provide the same support in less time. I say to Wirral Council stop these cuts and give my children the support that they deserve”
Following on from the meeting Wirral Unison have launched a petition to oppose the cuts which can be accessed here. Please sign and share this petition.
Compass School Catering
We have been made aware that this Compass Catering is seeking to make a number of catering staff redundant in two Wirral High Schools.
They have stated that the significant reduction in school meals is the reason for the proposed redundancies. Whilst this is undoubtedly the case, there is every chance that this situation may improve in the future In the meantime they are not considering furlough for these staff – even though the staff meet the criteria. Furlough was designed to deal with precisely these situations, so why not use it?
These catering staff based at Bebington High and Weatherhead are some of our lowest paid members; why are they being unnecessarily sacked. Compass is a national company and we are not aware of them taking similar action elsewhere – are they treating Wirral as a pilot; our members as guinea pigs?
Wirral Unison will continue to apply pressure to protect our members. They are few in number, but every member’s job is vital and important to them.
Trans Awareness Week
November 13 – 19, a week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces. The trade union movement is built on solidarity among workers in an explicit acknowledgement that we are stronger together. This is why it’s important all working people, union members and trade union representatives are trans allies. For further information we direct you to the dedicated TUC Page https://www.tuc.org.uk/national/trans-awareness-week
That’s all for this week. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or require support. Please do note our temporary contact telephone numbers whilst we are homeworking in line with lockdown guidance.
As always, please do 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
We’ll be back in touch with further updates next week. Enjoy your weekend.
Your Wirral Unison Team
Central email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 07899715085 or 07899713498
Published on: November 16, 2020