07899715085 or 07899713498 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Coronavirus update 05.11.20


Dear Members

We hope you are keeping safe in these difficult times. Many of you will have seen that a mass testing pilot is being conducted in Liverpool, and if it is successful it will hopefully be extended across the City Region.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (or Shielding)

The Government realised further guidance yesterday for those people who fall into this category. The full guidance can be found here  Full Shielding Guidance. There are differences from last time and we will highlight some of the more significant points.

This guidance applies if you have one or more of the conditions listed in the guidance above, or if our hospital clinician or GP has added you to the Shielded patients list because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem you to be at higher risk of serious illness if you catch the virus. If you think there are good clinical reasons why you should be added to the Shielded Patient List, discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.

Firstly the government has stated that the guidance does not apply those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable instead the general guidance should be followed. We know that this will cause a great deal of anxiety for some of our members; and we can find no clear rationale for this approach from the Government. If you are in this position and are anxious about the implications, please do contact us and we will endeavour to work with the employer to reach a solution.

The Government strongly advises that you should work from home. If you cannot work from home, you should not attend work for this period of restrictions. The Government has suggested that this can be covered by SSP or furlough, but this is simply not good enough. We cannot accept that people are financially punished for doing the right thing. 

Unison will be pressing that employers pay full for anyone who falls in this category; the Council has confirmed they will but some employers may be more resistant. We will be contacting the Council, as commissioners of social care to ensure adequate provision is made for care workers. We will report further on this in coming days.  

For those who are not shielding, but who are still classed as clinically vulnerable, which includes anyone over the age of 60, you should have an individual risk assessment in place. If not we recommend that you now request one.


The government has stated that “Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect” but what does that look like in practice.

The government guidance on how this will operate in practice has not been clear. We have asked Wirral Council for their proposals around how they intend to operate the library service. We expect the Risk Assessments for the service will be reviewed and fully consulted on, as a minimium. We are now waiting on feedback. There is a question posed as to whether libraries should be open, but if they are, at the very least, there needs to be special consideration of protecting those in the vulnerable group including the over 60’s.

If you work in the libraries service and are concerned please do get in touch.

Wirral Met College

We have been informed of restructures taking place within certain departments with the college.  Wirral Unison is actively engaged in the consultation process and is subjecting the proposals to detailed scrutiny. We have also been supporting members through one to ones. Wu urge any members with concern to please get in touch.

UNISON National Schools Committee Statement

Following the government announcement that in England schools and nurseries will remain open during the lockdown, UNISON’s National Schools Committee met on 2 November and agreed the following statement:  
UNISON’s National Schools Committee wants the best education possible for children and young people and for schools and nurseries to open in a safe environment. School and nursery staff delivered education, support, food and safe and clean schools for the children of key workers and at-risk children during the first lockdown and worked hard to extend this to all pupils when schools fully re-opened. 
We are now very concerned at increasing infections in schools and the risk to pupils and staff. We note the growing calls from scientists (including some on SAGE) that schools should be included in the new lockdown. We also note that areas already under stricter measures, but where schools remain open, have not seen the rapid decline in infections that were hoped for and that ad hoc closures of classes, bubbles or whole schools are taking place across the country. 
Therefore, during the new lockdown – to ensure the safety of pupils, staff and the community – schools and nurseries should move back to the arrangements implemented during the first lockdown earlier this year. This would mean keeping schools and nurseries open for children of key workers and vulnerable children, ensuring that they maintain their education and get a hot meal. Online learning should be put in place for all other children – with government providing IT equipment for disadvantaged pupils, so that they can learn from home effectively. However, as the government intends to push the new measures through parliament on Wednesday, urgent steps are needed now to protect staff and pupils in schools that are open: These should include: 

  • Reduce risks by maximising social distancing and implement existing contingency plans for reduced class sizes and home learning (schools already have these plans in plans in place). 
  • Reduce bubble sizes and introduce rotas to reduce risks.
  • Staff remaining within one bubble; so reducing the risk of spread across the school.
  • Moving whole bubbles to home learning where a pupil or member of staff develops coronavirus symptoms or receives a positive test.
  • Ensure that all school staff have priority access to the test and trace system.
  • Require all pupils and staff to wear face coverings while at school (including classrooms) as is policy in other countries e.g. France. Clear face masks to
  • be made available so that pupils and staff who need to read lips are not disadvantaged. There should be exemptions for pupils and staff who cannot wear face coverings. 
  • Move all clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), clinically vulnerable (CV), staff over 60 and pregnant staff (3rd trimester) to home working as they are at the highest risk from becoming seriously ill if they catch the virus. CEV and CV staff who cannot work from home to stay at home on full pay.
  • Individual risk assessments for staff in other higher risk groups, such as Black staff, older male staff and those with weight issues, who are at increased risk of adverse outcomes if they contract the virus. Staff identified as being at particular risk should also be allowed to work from home. 
  • Permit and encourage staff (and pupils aged 16 and over) to use the NHS COVID app in school, including classrooms, as per DfE guidance
  • Stronger measures on school transport and at the school gates to stop mixing, ensure social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.
  • Increase funding to schools to cover the increased costs of cleaning.

Managing Workplace Aggression, Tuesday 10th November, 2020 5 - 7pm

This interactive 2 hour webinar explores how to handle escalating aggression in the workplace. In the session you will:

  • Understand how to appropriately and effectively respond to anger and aggression
  • Identify how to effectively plan for managing angry and aggressive people
  • Recognise the different stages of conflict escalation
  • Utilise strategies to diffuse and calm anxious and aggressive people
  • Remain calm and composed to ensure the most positive outcome
  • Interpret body language and be more aware of the signals that you are projecting
  • Maintain physical ‘safe’ distance and demonstrate Positive Defensive Standing (PDS)

The session is run by Jez Brigham from 2Resolve training. Jez has worked with children and adults with emotional and behavioural issues and is an accredited trainer on conflict resolution, handling aggression and de-escalating aggression.

This event is a webinar, run online. Please RSVP to the event and we will email you a link to our course paperwork. Once we have received this back from you, we will send you out a link that will allow you to access the webinar. To make this webinar effective we have capped the number of places on the webinar. Please do not RSVP to the event unless you are committed to attending.

That’s all for today, we will be back tomorrow. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or require support.

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

In solidarity!

Your Wirral Unison Team

Central email: unison1@wirral.gov.uk


Published on: November 6, 2020