Hi again all! We hope you had a good weekend if you had some time off and if not, we hope you get the chance to have good rest soon.
Rising Coronavirus Cases in Wirral
We reported last week that there had been an increase in the recorded cases of Covid-19 in Wirral, that has continued to rise in recent days and now stands at 35 cases per 100,000 people compared to the national average of 11 cases per 100,000 people. This rise however is not specific to Wirral and across the UK there have been almost 3,000 recorded cases for a second consecutive day; the highest daily total since May.
We know that the incidence of Covid-19 are often concentrated in poorer areas, this provides further evidence for a link between the infection rates and social deprivation. This is clearly an area that requires further consideration and echoes the evidence that health outcomes are negatively impacted by levels of poverty. Wirral Unison are clear that we reject any suggestion that working class people are less inclined to follow the guidance that is being issued. Of course the guidance itself may be part of the problem with the Government sending out conflicting messages on an almost daily basis!
We have seen in other areas, that when there have been concerning increases in infection rates, local lockdowns have been applied. Wirral is not currently in that position but we are aware that should the number of cases continue to rise we may be faced with that scenario.
On a related subject, members may have seen in the press today that 8 schools in Liverpool have seen positive Coronavirus cases, in five of these schools, including primary and secondary schools, pupils have been sent home to self-isolate. Again, this is a situation that appears to be mirrored across the country where many schools are reporting positive cases. As of yet, Wirral has avoided any positive cases, that we are aware of, in schools, nevertheless careful consideration needs to be given to ensuring that social distancing is maintained wherever possible.
Coronavirus Community Champions
Today Wirral Council has launched a 'Community Champions' network with the aim of developing an effective way to communicate the latest information regarding Covid-19 to residents, businesses and community groups. This network is intended to share the latest advice and support available and to work to stop the spread of Coronavirus. For more information about this initiative and to volunteer to become a community champion, please follow the links:
Pay Update 2020
As previously advised the Council and Schools NJC Pay Offer of 2.75% was accepted. Wirral Council have confirmed that Council and School staff will receive this pay rise in October, backdated to April 2020.
Youth and Community Workers Ballot Wirral’s consultative ballot on this pay offer has now closed. The Wirral members voted 75% to Reject this offer on a 50% Turnout. Thank you to all those members who voted. We will feed our results into the national committee and will advise members in due course of the outcome.
Magenta Living Wirral Unison will now be consulting members on the 2020 Pay Offer. Before the lockdown the Unions jointly made a pay claim for a 4.2% pay increase for one year. Magenta initially offered 2% for each of the next two years. This offer was rejected and following further negotiations (which were interrupted by lockdown) Magenta have now made an increased offer of 2.5% for one year. Further details will be emailed out to members as we commence our consultation later this week.
Many of our members are homeworking at the moment, and some for possibly a further 6 months at least. It is important that Wirral Unison has a considered and thorough approach to the issue. Obviously, the main motivation for the increase in homeworking is Covid-19. Initially this reflected Government Guidance to reduce transmission rates – ‘work from home if you can’. Latterly, social distancing has meant the capacity of office space has been reduced.
There is certainly a drive by the Government at the moment for people to return to the workplace. This is clearly motivated by economic reasons, with many businesses seeing profits cut, as city centres remain deserted. This also has an impact on many workers in support services/retail etc who may face job cuts. On the other hand there are some, including some unions opposing any move to return to the workplace and calling for sustained working from home. Some employers see sustained homeworking as a chance to reduce running costs, by closing offices.
However the picture is not simply black and white; there are many shades to be considered. There has been plenty of research published in the recent months. Last week a survey in the Liverpool Echo showed that only 16% of workers wanted to return to the workplace full time; meanwhile other studies have shown over 60% wanting to return to the workplace immediately.
We know that some of our members have found homeworking to be a positive experience, with time saved on travel and a better work life balance. Some members are understandably anxious about the safety implications of returning to the workplace. But that has not the case for everyone, and for many the experience has been more challenging. Childcare has been a significant issue, but perhaps this may recede as schools return. Social isolation and loneliness are issues that are being highlighted with increasing frequency in studies and surveys, and indeed by feedback from our members.
In this email we can barely scratch the surface of this significant issue, but we are developing our analysis and firming up our position. We will be discussing homeworking in detail at our Branch Committee on Wednesday, and following that we will be looking to consult with members before finalising our approach.
However there is one thing that we can assure you of. It is Wirral Unison, and only Wirral Unison, that will put the interests of our members firmly to the fore in any considerations and discussions. What you need will be our focus.
That’s all for today everyone. As always, please feel free to 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
Enjoy your evening and we’ll be back in touch soon with a further update for you all.
Your Wirral Unison Team
Branch Office: 0151 666 3040
Central email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on: September 8, 2020