07899715085 or 07899713498 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Coronavirus update 23.11.20

Dear Member

We have been slightly delayed in the sending of this email. We know therefore some members will not pick this email up until Monday morning. So we hope you have had, or are having a good weekend.

As we are halfway through the second national lockdown, we all await with interest what impact it is having and what will follow. Whilst in some parts of the country infection rates remain high, there is a continued steady, albeit small, fall in rates in the North West. Further detail are here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

No Going Back to Normal.

At the end of summer Unison launched a “No Going Back to Normal Campaign”. This had had a significant impact, and the public has overwhelmingly backed the UNISON campaign that argues public service workers can’t return to the ‘normal’ they experienced before the COVID-19 pandemic. UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis has again written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor ahead of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) on 25 November, which will decide government spending priorities for the next year.

The No Going Back to Normal campaign with a social media film and a series of billboard and press adverts featuring real public service workers. Over 1.3 million people watched the campaign film and a number of celebrities shared the film and showed their support for public service workers, including Olympic swimmers and well-known writers. More than 100,000 people visited the campaign website and over 37,000 members of the public put their name to the open letter to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – joining UNISON’s 1.4 million members in calling for sustained investment in public services and support for those that provide them.

Bullying- Never Acceptable

This past week has been ‘Anti- Bullying Week’ a national campaign that seeks to send the message that bullying should be neither acceptable nor inevitable. It is with a sad irony therefore that this Government, and Boris Johnson in particular, has chosen this week to send a message that bullies will be tolerated.! This after an investigation into Priti Patel, Home Secretary, found that her behaviour towards her staff constituted bullying.
“The definition of bullying adopted by the civil service accepts that legitimate, reasonable and constructive criticism of a worker’s performance will not amount to bullying. It defines bullying as intimidating or insulting behaviour that makes an individual feel uncomfortable, frightened, less respected or put down. Instances of the behaviour reported to the Cabinet Office would meet such a definition”

However the Prime Minister has stood by the Home Secretary, with messages coming from government defending her as being forceful, determined to get the job done etc. Sending a message to the country at large that at senior levels at least, bullying can be tolerated if you get the job done. This message will be a kick in the teeth for many people subject to bullying who are worried they will never be believed.

Wirral Unison does not accept this approach from the government.  There should be no place for bullying: not in Government, not in schools, not in the workplace place. Whether intentional or unintentional bullying behaviour should not be tolerated.

Unison will stand with any member subject to bullying. We will support any member who is accused of being a bully – that is only right. The allegation may not be true, or it may be unintentional. But we make no apology for saying clearly we do not, will not tolerate bullying. If you are a victim of bullying, do not suffer in silence – speak to your unison rep.

Public Sector Pay Freeze and Unison pay consultation

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is preparing to announce a renewed squeeze on public sector pay in next week’s government spending review in response to the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic. An announcement on pay restraint is expected to be part of the mini-budget on Wednesday, as part of plans to launch a Whitehall austerity drive to tackle record levels of government borrowing incurred during the crisis. Whilst the government have splashed the cash to their friends in big business, and had an inflation busting rise themselves, once again they are now expecting us to foot the bill.

This follows on a 20% pay cut for the public sector in real terms since 2010. Sunak attempted to justify a further pay freeze by saying the public sector needs to fall in line with the private sector. We know Care Workers in the private sector are on poverty pay, with many not even receiving the real living wage. But the answer is to raise the pay of the lowest, not to lower the pay of the slightly better pay. As Paul Novak said from the TUC said “there is no dignity in the equality of misery”.

We know that any pay rise from this government will not be won without a struggle. Unison is preparing its pay claim for 2021 for Council staff
Thank you to those who participated in our survey on UNISON’s claim for the 2021-22 NJC Local Government pay aw
The levels of support for the three options were as follows:

OPTION A (5% or a £10 an hour pay rate, whichever is greater) – 12.53% of the vote
OPTION B (8% or a £10 an hour pay rate, whichever is greater) – 12.5% of the vote
OPTION C: 10% - 75% of the vote

This outcome has been echoed across the North West. We will keep you updated of progress

Woodchurch Road School - Sign the petition!

Just a reminder – our members at the school face between a 16% and 20% pay cut, and we know this will also affect the education the children receciebe.

Please sign our petition here : Woodchurch Rd School Petition

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 with further updates next week. Enjoy your weekend.

In solidarity!

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


Published on: November 23, 2020