07899715085 or 07899713498 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Coronavirus Update 26.03.20

Hello again! We hope that you’re all keeping well, staying safe and looking after yourselves. As we all begin to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of social distancing measures and all that that entails, its become clear to us that this situation is a challenge for everyone. This said as some organisations and employers have struggled with the changes, our members have adapted to the new ways of working whilst continuing to deliver valuable services to the residents of Wirral, in their many and varied roles. We wanted to update you on a number of points today and hopefully this will be of use. As always please get in touch with individual queries if you need. We are trying to get through as many of your queries as we can. Remember that as of this week the office is no longer staffed and therefore calls to our branch office will not be answered. All Covid-19 enquiries should be directed to either Lois or Dave, our contact details are at the bottom of this page.

We know that the Government is developing testing for coronavirus but Boris Johnson’s unhelpful remarks that tests would be available in the coming days have led to confusion. This said we are clear that when tests are available our front line and key workers need to be tested as a priority. We are also clear that no worker should have to pay for their own test. Employers should be meeting their duty of care to employees and funding the provision of tests for all workers.

Agency workers in the council
We have had confirmation that agency staff in the council will be retained even if they are engaged in stringent social distancing measures and are currently home based as a result. Wirral Unison have pressed for this and we are pleased that the Council have agreed with our position as we feel strongly that no worker, no matter their status of employment should lose out through this crisis. We are pressing for this provision to be extended to anyone working under contract and anyone who is providing care to children or adults under the direct payments scheme.

Casual workers with the council
We have also agreed in principle with the Council that no casual worker should be financially disadvantaged during this crisis. Therefore their pay will be calculated based on previous months earnings and paid accordingly.

The government has issued guidance making it clear that all contractors (including catering, cleaning, IT and other suppliers of goods and services) will continue to be paid in full by public bodies during the period of school closures. Therefore we expect all of our members to be paid in full throughout this period and we will contact contractors accordingly.

Annual leave
If you have been unable to take your annual leave due to the current crisis either because work priorities have taken priority or because you have been in social isolation or engaged in stringent social distancing measures whilst you were on leave you should ask for your leave to be reinstated and carried over. Wirral Unison have made clear that no worker should lose out through this crisis and this includes their annual leave. Equally if you have booked annual leave but no longer wish to take this as you will be unable to enjoy time off due to social distancing and travel bans, again you should request that this leave is cancelled.

Sick pay
We expect that no member should be subject to sickness monitoring or sickness absence procedures as a result of Covid-19 related absence. Where there is an occupational sick pay scheme in place we would expect that discretion would be used to extend the provision of this so that no one is financially disadvantaged.

Trade union work during the crisis
You may have seen in the media during this crisis that Wetherspoons refused to pay their staff and Wilkinson’s looked to significantly worsen their sick pay scheme. Effectively using a global pandemic as a way to save money; a shameful attack on workers! Immediate campaigns were launched by the relevant Trade Unions which in a short space of time have been successful and both companies have now backed down from these outrageous measures. These are yet more examples of the positive impact membership of a Trade Union can have.

Wirral Unison communications
Our communications officer Joel has been hard at work overhauling our website and updating Facebook and twitter. This work will continue over the coming days and we are hopeful that all daily updates will be online by the end of the week. We will also be posting regular updates on Facebook and twitter and we hope that you will find these useful.

As ever please take care of yourself and each other.

In Solidarity!

Lois and Dave

Dave: davidnjones@wirral.gov.uk 07880199539
Lois: loisfounds1@wirral.gov.uk  07384512521

Published on: March 27, 2020