Hello again everyone and Happy Friday! We hope you’re all keeping safe and well and are looking forward to the weekend. It continues to be a very busy time for many of us, with Covid-19 continuing to take up a lot of our time, but we are starting today’s update with information on the Council budget.
Wirral Council Budget
Wirral Council Policy and Resources Committee considered the Budget options on Wednesday night. Labour proposals were carried but only on the Chair’s casting vote. Labour have bowed to Unison and public pressure in a number of areas. Williamson Art Gallery will remain open, the Golf Review has been withdrawn, Public Toilets will not be closed and School Crossing Patrols have been saved. We welcome the fact that these cuts have been withdrawn, subject to full Council approval.
However, we are dismayed that Labour are to press ahead with the closure of the Fun Pool at Europa. Whilst we are pleased that the competition pool is to remain; closing the fun pool (permanently this is not a Covid related temporary measure) is a step too far. It will literally take the fun out of swimming for many young people just learning to feel safe and secure in water. We call on the Labour Group to amend this proposal; there is no financial imperative, this cut is not necessary. Additionally Woodchurch Leisure Centre is to close; temporarily but no date is fixed for re-opening, again this is not due to Covid measures. There are some measures we have some concerns on such as ending the maintenance of amenity spaces and the reduction in the culture budget.
The Labour Leader publicly committed to ‘No Compulsory Redundancies’; we welcome that and will ensure it is applied in practice. There is also a commitment for the Council to continue to ensure funding is available for the Real Living Wage to be paid to Care Workers. Virtually all Domiciliary Care Workers in Wirral receive this, but not enough Residential and Supported Living Care Workers are paid at this rate. This Council commitment is down to Wirral Unison pressure; to implement it and to make it a permanent commitment. We now need to campaign to ensure more workers receive it.
There is mention in the Labour proposal of further Workforce efficiencies of £150,000. There may be concern about this, but it has been confirmed that this relates to one post only. The Director of Children’s Services is retiring and the post is not being replaced. Instead responsibilities will be passed on interim basis to an Officer acting up.
The Meeting also noted the proposal of a Capitalisation Directive from the Government to cover additional Covid-19 expenditure. Despite many pronouncements of grants they have made to Local Authorities, the Government have actually only covered about 70-80% of the Covid related financial impact. This has meant the need for the Capitalisation Directive, in effect a loan. However this does come with strings attached, potentially concerning strings that allow a government appointee to ‘recommend’ further actions on the budget in the coming year.
Wirral Unison’s position remains that our members, many in frontline jobs, and our communities should not pay the price of this pandemic.
Wirral Unison Annual Report and AGM
Please find attached a copy of our annual report, detailing what the branch has done over the past year and our priorities for the future. We’d be grateful if you could take some time to read through the report before you the attend the AGM, where you will be able to ask any questions on the report. The financial report will be shared with members next week in advance of the AGM.
Please don’t forget to register to attend the AGM, here are the links to do so:
Tues 23 February 1pm until 2pm https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcsduygrD8uE9TC_n-UJVa10dTJsyAPGH6q
Wed 3 March 5:30pm until 6:30pm https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0uc-qorTspE9LL2CZYSI8hVjjQO9jSyHum
Schools Opening to All Pupils – Online meeting
This coming Monday 22 February the Prime Minister is due to announce the government’s roadmap to fully re-open schools in England - expected to be from 8 March. We know that time and again this government has held a confused, contradictory and even unsafe position on schools. The unions, notably Unison on behalf of Support Staff and the NEU on behalf of Teachers have been the ones leading the way. Therefore we await the forthcoming announcement with interest, and will be analysing closely the Government plans.
UNISON is planning to hold a national on-line meeting for all members to discuss this and any accompanying guidance from the Department for Education. It is planned for Wednesday evening 24 February at 5pm via Facebook. Here in the link https://www.facebook.com/events/1916600805138254/
Health and Safety Live!
This is an event open to all members with an interest in Health and Safety.
- A reminder to register for, and to promote, the Health & Safety Live event to be held between 9th & 12th March. This is a series of events on issues including health & safety both during and after COVID-19, homeworking, and the roles of the Health & Safety Executive, and of trade unions. Speaker will include UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea and Seema Malhotra, Shadow Minister (Work & Pensions) (Employment). Full details of the programme can be seen below. This event is open to all UNISON members.
To register please email us, no later than Thursday, 25 February, at firstname.lastname@example.org, providing as follows:
Your membership number:
Your branch name:
Any reasonable adjustments you may need to participate
- 9th March 10:30 – 12 pm Health & safety in the post-Covid world. Speakers UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea, Seema Malhotra, Shadow Minister (Work & Pensions) (Employment), Robert Baughan UNISON Acting National Officer for Health & Safety
- 10th March 11 am - 12:30 pm Health & safety in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic (including workshops)
- 11th March 11 am – 12:30 pm Homeworking during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond (including workshops)
- 12th March 11 am – 12:30 pm Health and safety enforcement and the role of trade unions in safe workplace: Speakers Philip White HSE’s Director of Regulation, Shelly Asquith TUC Health & Safety Policy Officer & Donna Rowe-Merriman UNISON National Secretary
That’s all for today everyone, we do hope you continue to find our email updates of use.
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 next week with further updates. We hope you are able to rest and enjoy your weekend.
Your Wirral Unison Team
Central email: email@example.com
Telephone: 07899713498 or 07899715085