07899715085 or 07899713498 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Coronavirus update 30.06.20

Dear Member
 
Hello! We hope you all had a lovely, restful weekend, despite the unsettled weather! As advised last week, we intend to continue to write to you all regularly and as of this week, we will write to all members on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday and send more specific updates to members also.
 
Cheshire Lines Building
 
We are pleased to hear from both members and the Council that the opening up of Cheshire Lines building as a ‘hub’ has been largely positive. One of our Health and Safety Reps, Debbie McCourt inspected the building prior to its re-opening and reported positively on the measures taken to ensure staff safety, however if you have any concerns about the building or indeed any other, please do not hesitate to contact us. Equally if you plan to access any Council building, there is an online training course available through ‘We Learn’ on the Intranet, on how to work safely from a building and we urge members to complete this training.
 
Remobilisation of Council Services
 
We have previously reported the agreed position we have with the council on the consultation process of re-opening some council services. The process is now up and running and we have been able to review and contribute to plans and risk assessments shared with us. We are aware of a number of service areas looking to remobilise and will contact our members in those areas in the coming days to ensure you are aware of plans and have all of the information you need to enable a safe return to work. If you are concerned about any plans to re-open the service you work in, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 
Become a Health and Safety Rep
 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted why workplace safety is so important. But we can’t make workplaces across the public sector safe without a Health and Safety Rep in every workplace. For more information on becoming a Unison Health and Safety Rep, please follow the link https://www.unison.org.uk/unison-health-and-safety/become-safety-rep/

Mental health support needed for Health and Care workers

Our members will be aware by now of our commitment to achieve the Real Living Wage and full sick pay for our Care Worker members in Wirral. We have made real progress with this campaign over the past few weeks and months and will continue to press providers to ensure that our Care Worker members are paid properly. Recognising the enormous strain of both health and social care workers during the pandemic Unison nationally have issued the following statement in relation to Labour’s plans for a mental health package for NHS and care staff.

Commenting on Labour’s plans published today (Monday) for a mental health package for NHS and care staff, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Health and care staff have been working under huge pressures over the past few months, while most of us have been safe at home. Fears about falling ill, passing the virus on to loved ones or those they care for, and working without adequate safety kit have only added to the stress. Even before the pandemic hit, overworked staff were suffering with their mental health. The Covid crisis will only have heightened these problems. Health and care workers who’ve been up against it since March, need time off to recharge their batteries and support to help them cope with what they’ve been through. A one-size-fits-all approach of occupational health assistance won’t work. Support must be much more tailored to suit individual needs than is currently the case. The government needs to get much better at looking after all of those who do so much to look after all of us.”

Coronavirus- challenges for our retired members
 
Sadly, we know that older people are one of the groups who have been disproportionately impacted by Coronavirus, Rosie MacGregor, the chair of UNISON’s national retired members’ committee highlights the issues in her blog https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2020/06/blog-retired-members-facing-raft-covid-problems/
 
Paul Wiggins – In memory
 
As we mentioned last week, we were saddened to here that our Retired Members Secretary Paul Wiggins passed away on 21 June 2020.
 
Paul worked for many years in the Finance Department at Wirral Council, and for much of this time he played a leading role in Unison as a Steward and Health and Safety Rep. In fact Paul’s involvement as a union activist predates the creation of Unison in 1993, having been active in one of our predecessor unions, NALGO. He was also for many years our Social Secretary, and many will remember with a smile the many quizzes (and other activities) that he regularly arranged with such success.
 
Of course retirement did not dim Paul’s enthusiasm for activity, and from 2015 he was our Retired Members Secretary, a role that he took to with a happy zeal. In retirement, and in his working life Paul had a detailed knowledge and commitment to all things pension related. This led to his role in relation to the Merseyside Pension Fund, and the expertise he brought to it was a real asset to the union and our members. He remained fully involved in Retired Members activity at a Regional and National level, and many in those bodies will remember him with great fondness.
 
Paul was very approachable and friendly; he was always available to any other stewards to offer advice and share his knowledge. He will be very much missed by all at Wirral Unison.
 
That’s all for today everyone. We will have more on Wednesday, please pass our updates on to colleagues and urge them to join Unison if they haven’t done already. Here’s the link to join up! JOIN UNISON

Take care of yourselves and each other.

In solidarity!

Lois and Dave

Dave: davidnjones@wirral.gov.uk  07880199539
Lois: loisfounds1@wirral.gov.uk   07384512521
Branch Office:0151 666 304


Published on: June 30, 2020