07899715085 or 07899713498 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Coronavirus update 25.02.21

Dear Member
Hi Everyone! We’re more than half way through the working week already- we hope yours is going well. We’re staring today’s email with a further reminder about opportunities to have your voice heard in Unison.

Home working Survey- Final Reminder

Members will be aware from our previous correspondence that we continue to be in negotiations with many employers around both current working arrangements and crucially about what the world of work will look like in the future. To help us in negotiations we would be grateful if you have been working from home latterly (whichever employer) if you can take a few moments to answer our brief survey:

https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90313065/Homeworking

AGM

If you weren’t able to make our AGM on Tuesday there’s still an opportunity to participate, we have another AGM on Wednesday 3 March at 5:30pm. Our guest speaker will be Paula Carlyle from Unison’s National Executive Committee, Paula addressed our first AGM on Tuesday and gave a truly inspiring speech that members won’t want to miss. So follow the link to register for next weeks meeting.

Wed 3 March 5:30pm until 6:30pm https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0uc-qorTspE9LL2CZYSI8hVjjQO9jSyHum


Schools Re-opening

UNISON has questioned the Westminster government’s plan for the reopening of all schools in England, announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon (Monday) and has urged a more cautious phased return for pupils and staff.

UNISON’s head of education Jon Richards said: “UNISON wants schools and colleges to open as soon as soon as possible. But we need to make sure that reopening does not reverse the current drop in infections. Schools and colleges need to be safe places for children, young people, staff and parents. This is why along with other unions we continue to propose a phased return. We cannot understand why the Westminster government has chosen a ‘big bang’ full reopening when the governments of Scotland and Wales – using the same science – are proceeding cautiously with a phased return.”
UNISON, along with other unions, have pressed the government for  additional safety measures to be introduced for schools and colleges to ensure that children, young people, staff and their communities are safe. There is a particular need that vulnerable staff and pupils are not sent back into enclosed spaces and full classes given that the government has to date failed to introduce measures to protect pupils and staff from airborne transmission of COVID-19.

Jon Richards added: “If there are no serious changes we remain convinced that a ‘big bang’ full reopening is an unnecessary risk and a reckless act. Before the 8 March reopening date we will continue to work with our sister unions and put pressure on the Department for Education to try to get them to adopt the recommendations we have made that would make schools safe places for everyone.”

Care Sector Update

Some of the country’s largest care home operators appear to be moving towards a position of compulsory vaccination for workers. Care UK which runs 120 homes is suggesting that applicants for new jobs will be expected to have been vaccinated. Barchester which operates more than 220 care homes are warning that if current staff refuse vaccinations they will “make themselves unavailable for work”. This goes against the position of the National Care Association which represents independent providers, who said when asked about compulsory vaccination we “don’t think it is up to us to compel anyone to do it”.

Unison is concerned at any attempt at a hard line approach that moves us away from voluntary vaccinations. Intimidation and threats will not deliver a return to normal, instead we should be encouraging, reassuring and persuading. If care providers are concerned about transmission perhaps a first step should be the implementation of full sick pay for all care workers, in order to prevent staff being forced into the workplace with corona virus (or indeed other contagious conditions) for fear of financial hardship.

Meanwhile, a Unison backed report has shown that internationally owned care companies are failing to pay their fair share of taxes. The report, ‘Darkness at Sunrise: UK Care Homes Shifting Profits Offshore’ by an international team of specialist tax investigators looked at 3 international owners who use aggressive tax avoidance schemes. These companies which charge millions of pounds in fees whilst paying staff poverty wages and cutting costs to the bone, are using complex corporate structures to create artificial loses and avoid UK tax while siphoning huge sums of money abroad.

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 soon with further updates.

In solidarity!

Your Wirral Unison Team
Central email: unison1@wirral.gov.uk
Telephone: 07899713498 or 07899715085

 


Published on: February 25, 2021