Barnet UNISON “Keeping workers safe during the transition from Lockdown.”

Barnet UNISON has submitted the following report which sets out our list of demands for full Trade Union engagement in the transition from Lockdown.

“It is really important at this time that workers trust that their employer ensures the workplace is safe. COVID 19 has brought risks to our members’ lives in a way many of our members have never faced before. Therefore, it is important not just to say the workplace is safe, BUT to demonstrate that is safe by being transparent and open and ensuring risk assessments for every work place are easily available for the workforce to read. On Tuesday 5 May 2020, we submitted our report to Barnet Council Chief Executive as the first step to work to ensure all our members are safe at work. We will report back on the negotiations over the coming days and weeks.” (John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON)

Some of our proposals set out in the report are:

1. The Council to inform and consult with the Trade Unions in a full and timely manner on the transition from Lockdown. By engaging with the Trade Unions the Council can receive our support in the process, and help build workforce support for changed ways of working such as working from home, social distancing measures and deployment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

2. The Council to ensure that protective measures are in place for workers most vulnerable to Covid-19, pregnant women, new mothers and employees sharing households with people requiring shielding.

3. Covid-19 Risk Assessments to be in place relating to specific worksites and work tasks. The Council should consult and obtain agreement with the Trade Unions on these Risk Assessments. No worksites or tasks to be engaged until such Risk Assessments are in place following agreement with the Trade Unions.  Risk Assessments to be accessible to all Council employees.

4. Increased stringency and frequency of cleaning of workplaces and equipment during the transition from Lockdown.

5. Social distancing to be in place at work sites, with clear guidance given to workers. Buildings should not be open to the public without strict and enforceable social distancing measures in place, following consultation and agreement with the Trade Unions.

6. To reduce the risk of infection the Council should consider and implement changes to the layout of workplaces, adjusting working patterns, alternating sections of the workforce on sites, and staggering travelling times. The Trade Unions to be consulted with on any such changes.

7. In line with Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 the Council will not submit any worker refusing to work in an unsafe workplace to Disciplinary or other punitive measures. It recognises workers have the right to withdraw from and refuse to return to an unsafe workplace, and that they have legal protection from dismissal, disciplinary or any other detriment for raising a health and safety issue.

8. PPE must be provided where necessary, and no-one should be asked to re-use PPE inappropriately.

9. Employees to receive instruction on the safe use, maintenance and cleaning of PPE as necessary.

10. Equalities Impact Assessments to be in place for the transition from Lockdown. Across the UK Black and Ethnic Minority workers have suffered disproportionate harm from the impact of the virus. The Council must seek to prevent this disproportionate impact and comply with its public sector equality duty.

11. The Council to inform workers about the availability and criteria of Covid-19 testing and to support workers in obtaining such testing when criteria are met.

Click on link below to read the UNISON report.

2020.05.05.COVID 19 opening services report FINAL

How to use Zoom Guide

How to download Zoom: Zoom can be accessed by computer, tablet, or smart phone.

To access Zoom via smartphone or tablet, open the AppStore (Apple) or the Play Store (Android), search “Zoom Cloud Meetings”, select and install.

To access Zoom via computer, follow the link below and download the “Zoom Client for meetings” https://zoom.us/download#client_4meeting

How to join a meeting:

Open Zoom using your chosen electronic device. You should be given three options – join a meeting, sign up, or sign in.

You may wish to sign up, but you do not have to sign up to join the meeting.

Select “Join a meeting”, enter the “Meeting ID”. This should have already been provided to you. Alternatively, if you have been provided with a link, select this link and you should be automatically directed to the meeting.

If the meeting requires a password you should have been provided with this already.

How to change your name: We would like you to display your name so we can identify people properly.

On a phone, tap the screen, select “Participants”, select yourself (at the top of the list), select rename.

On a computer, hover over the main video/audio display area, select “Participants”, hover over yourself (at the top of the screen), select rename.

If you want to speak: You will need to raise your virtual hand. I will then select people in turn to speak. When it is your turn, I will unmute you.

On a phone, please tap your screen, select “More”, and select “Raise Hand”

On a computer, hover over the main display area, select “Participants”, at the bottom of the participants list there should be a “Raise Hand” button, select this button.

If you are hosting the meeting, ask people to practice putting their hands up here. Pause the meeting to ensure everybody knows how to use this feature.

Using the chatroom: Members can type messages to each other during the meeting using the “Chat” feature. You may wish to use this to ask questions.

On a phone, tap your screen, select “Participants”, select “Chats” in bottom left hand corner.

On a computer, hover over the main display area, select “Chats”.

Making decisions: If we need to take votes on decisions during the meeting, you will be asked to vote by raising your virtual hand. Votes will be taken by simple majority. See above “If you want to speak” for how to raise your virtual hand.

Branch ZOOM meeting “COVID19: Your Health and Safety Rights at Work”

Barnet UNISON Branch ZOOM meeting “COVID19: Your Health and Safety Rights at Work”

After five weeks of lockdown and ongoing media speculation about when lockdown will end Barnet UNISON has secured Simon Hester former Health and Safety Executive Inspector as our Guest Speaker for our first ZOOM Branch Meeting on Wednesday 6 May at 6pm. 

To join the Barnet UNISON Zoom meeting click on the link below.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88063991632?pwd=MjRnbUErVVp0MEsxNDFubWtRUzd6QT09

Meeting ID: 880 6399 1632

Password: 147747

 

Need help using ZOOM click on our guide below 

How to use Zoom Guide

Your Rights at Work: Forced to take annual leave during the lockdown?

An emerging issue being raised by some of our members across a number of employers is the issue of forced annual leave.

It has come to our attention that staff are being asked to take annual leave during the current lockdown.

Workers have a statutory right to take annual Leave.

For many workers during the current national crisis their home has become their workplace.

It is important for the mental health and well being of all workers that they have time away from their workplace.

During the lockdown workers are unable to go away on holidays

Barnet UNISON position is that unless a worker requests to take annual leave during the lock down the employer should not be using this crisis to force workers to take annual leave.

What does the Government say?

“Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years.”

“There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.

The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.

This will mean staff can continue working in the national effort against the coronavirus without losing out on annual leave entitlement.

The changes will also ensure all employers affected by COVID-19 have the flexibility to allow workers to carry over leave at a time when granting annual leave could leave them short-staffed in some of Britain’s key industries, such as food and healthcare.”

Read more here
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rules-on-carrying-over-annual-leave-to-be-relaxed-to-support-key-industries-during-covid-19

Barnet UNISON advice

If you are having any annual leave issues with your employer please contact the union at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or you can leave a message speaking slowly and clearly please include your name and telephone number on 020 8359 2088. We will respond as soon as we can.

Barnet UNISON COVID19 Update: Support for your Mental Health

Dear Barnet UNISON members,

The lockdown is clearly having an impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

Below is a service called Able Futures who provide some excellent services for staff, some of our Barnet UNISON members are already using and providing some positive feedback.

Able Futures delivers the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service which can give nine months support from a mental health professional at no cost.

If staff are experiencing issues such as anxiety, depression, grief or stress, or are struggling to deal with problems such as debt, disrupted sleep or relationship breakdowns that may be affecting mental health, Able Futures can help you build resilience, tackle issues, feel better and learn new ways to manage your mental health throughout the ups and downs of life.

There’s no waiting list and you can apply online or by calling 0800 321 3137.

Below are some Able Futures resources and information from other agencies.

https://able-futures.co.uk/covid-19-coronavirus/coronavirus-and-anxiety/

Able Futures continue to offer a service, adapted to offer all telephone and online support now to avoid contact.

If you are furloughed, you are still entitled to support, as well as any family members that may be eligible.

Signing up is just a few clicks and only takes a few minutes via the Able Futures website:

https://able-futures.co.uk/covid-19-coronavirus/

You may also find excellent resources and advice on the following websites:

https://www.stress.org.uk/

Young Minds for the younger people in our communities:

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/

This organisation can offer training and awareness:

https://actiontopreventsuicide.org/

Mental Health Foundation, some excellent information:

https://mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus

 

 

Barnet UNISON COVID Update: PPE for care workers.

Recommended PPE for primary, outpatient, community and social care by setting, NHS and independent sector

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878750/T2_poster_Recommended_PPE_for_primary__outpatient__community_and_social_care_by_setting.pdf

Date: 14 April 2020.

The PPE guidance takes you to a table showing the types of PPE you need depending on your workplace.

For staff working in care homes you need to read to look at the fourth column down on the left entitled:

“Community and social care, care home, mental health inpatients and other overnight care facilities e.g. learning disability, hospices, prison healthcare.”

If you look at the guidance it states:

  1. Disposable gloves : Single use

 

  1. Disposable plastic apron: Single use.

 

  1. Fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical mask: Sessional use.

 

  1. Eye/face protection: Risk assess sessional use.

What do they mean by eye/face protection?

  1. This may be single or reusable face/eye protection/full face visor or goggles

What do they mean by Single Use?

“4.Single use refers to disposal of PPE or decontamination of reusable items e.g. eye protection or respirator, after each patient and/or following completion of a procedure, task, or session; dispose or decontaminate reusable items after each patient contact as per Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs).”

What do they mean by Sessional use?

“5.A single session refers to a period of time where a health care worker is undertaking duties in a specific care setting/exposure environment e.g. on a ward round; providing ongoing care for inpatients. A session ends when the health care worker leaves the care setting/exposure environment. Sessional use should always be risk assessed and considered where there are high rates of hospital cases. PPE should be disposed of after each session or earlier if damaged, soiled, or uncomfortable.”

What do they mean by risk assess?

“8. Risk assessed use refers to utilising PPE when there is an anticipated/likely risk of contamination with splashes, droplets or blood or body fluids.”

For more details click on link to Government web site below

(Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878750/T2_poster_Recommended_PPE_for_primary__outpatient__community_and_social_care_by_setting.pdf )

 

COVID-19 Update: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Training.

It is really important that all staff have training as to how to put on PPE and to take it off.

This is a training video produced by Public Health England as to how to put on and take off your PPE. It is less than 7 minutes long. Watching it and following the guidance will keep you and the people you are caring for safe.

Please watch COVID-19: Donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment in Health and Social Care Settings

https://youtu.be/-GncQ_ed-9w

 

If you have not had training please speak to your manager. If you do not get training please contact Barnet UNISON 0208 359 2088 or email us at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

What happens if I take a break e.g. to have a drink of tea or water or go to the toilet?

You need to remove and dispose of your PPE safely, including the face mask. When you start work again you need to put on your fresh PPE for when you are carrying out personal care. You must not continue to use the same mask, apron or gloves.

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