Barnet Trade Unions write to the Heads of all Barnet Schools about reopening safely.

The following email was sent to the Head of every Barnet School.

 

“Dear Head,

I hope that you are well and managing to cope under these extraordinary circumstances we all find ourselves in.

We, the Trade Union Leads, are writing to all Heads in response to the ongoing speculation as to when schools may be asked to open up again especially as a vaccine or cure is not likely to available in this calendar year and, therefore, it is likely that we will need to continue social distancing.

Our concerns are both for the children and the staff.

We want to ensure the schools are as safe as possible in terms of dealing with COVID 19.

Our members are very worried about schools re-opening before it is safe.  They have noted that the provision of PPE for NHS workers and Care workers has been a worrying and ongoing issue, being played out on national media on a daily basis. Whilst assurances have been made that supplies of PPE for the staff will be delivered day after day by senior members of the Government it is clear for all to see that this has not happened and it continues to be a serious issue for staff. Furthermore our members have watched with horror when news broke last week that PPE supplies were running out and that sadly Public Health England were revising their guidance down in response to supply rather than the level of risk to the workforce and patients.

It is with this back drop that we want to ensure that when schools open, the school is able to assure staff and parents that the workplace will be a safe place for all.

To this end we are asking all schools what measures they currently have in place in terms of the following:

  • Risk Assessment while open with just for keyworkers’ and vulnerable children
  • Risk Assessment when the school is re-opened
  • The daily cleaning regime.
  • PPE provision
  • Training in the use and disposal of PPE.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries or believe we may be able to support your school and staff during this national emergency.

Stay Safe

Regards

Barnet Trade Unions”

 

Barnet UNISON statement:

If you have any questions or concerns email the branch at

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

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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.

Housing Restructure Update

Dear member,

I hope you and all your loved ones are well.

See attached or below.

This is the latest update from management in regard to the ongoing Consultation in Leasehold, Neighbourhood, Rental Income and Customer Contact Centre.

I have not been able to consult with you on these proposals or call a meeting with you to discuss whether these proposals change the position agreed upon the last time we met on the 11 March 2020.

The position then was for a dispute to be lodged at JNCC and thereafter enable an indicative ballot of members effected by as to what industrial action you are prepared to take.

Obviously the Corona Virus has markedly changed priorities.

The next scheduled JNCC is on the 3 April 2020 – so given that management have moved their position, put some further risk mitigating measures in place and moved the interview dates for ‘at risk’ staff to the 1st of June

Should UNISON lodge the dispute?

Or wait and continue further dialogue?

Please reply to this email and indicate either 1 or 2.

  1. LODGE DISPUTE NOW
  2. DO NOT LODGE AT THIS TIME

Let me know your thoughts –

In solidarity

Stay safe

Patrick Hunter

UNISON Convenor for The Barnet Group

 

 

 

 

 

Who are the Key Workers who need to have child care provided by Schools?

See below
Key Workers:
· Health and social care – includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
· Education and childcare – includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
· Key public services – includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
· Local and national government – only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
· Food and other necessary goods – includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
· Public safety and national security – includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
· Transport – includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
· Utilities, communication and financial services – includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

Barnet UNISON members if you have any questions please email the branch at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Barnet UNISON submission to Barnet Council about #Coronavirus

Dear Barnet UNISON members
The follow proposals have been submitted to Barnet Council today.
The following applies to all Barnet Council workers (Barnet Council workers includes all staff working in Barnet Community Schools.) during the period of the current #Coronavirus Pandemic.
• All sickness absence monitoring to cease.
• Full sick pay to be paid to all staff regardless of length of service or where their entitlement has reduced or expired.
• No reduction in pay for staff who are self-isolating or caring for someone who is at risk.
• No reduction in pay for any worker having to take time away to look after their children.
• No redundancy consultations.
• All restructures to go on hold.
• Disciplinaries where no risk to life and limb or others to be postponed.
• All other grievances/disciplinaries/capabilities/and Appeals to only go ahead on a case by case basis in agreement with the trade unions.
• For those workers who would be considered to be vulnerable to Coronavirus e.g. workers over 60 and those with underlying health conditions are to be allowed to self-isolate and/or work from home if they so wish.
• Barnet Council to seek information from their workforce as to what skills, expertise they can volunteer in order to assist the Council to be able to redirect resources to socially useful activities and offer training.
• Any worker volunteering to work at a higher grade will be paid at that rate.
• No worker will suffer a financial detriment from volunteering.
• Communication to go out on a daily basis giving clear guidance about what the Council is doing across all services. This communication should go out in a number of formats e.g. Email, flyers, Council website (not just intranet). This communication will be done in such a way as to demonstrate we understand the workforce will be the ones passing on information about the Council’s response and can play a useful role in carrying out and reinforcing these messages.
• Business continuity meetings to include representatives from the trade unions.
• Urgent reviews/risk assessments to be carried out with the involvement and collaboration of all staff to determine what work must be done and what can be done differently or postponed in order to reduce unneccesary contact with public e.g. telephone assessments instead of face to face meetings.
• Provision of counselling services for all staff to be promoted in all future communication in order to look after the mental wellbeing of the workforce
• To ensure adequate supplies for handwashing is provided for mobile workers.
• End hot desking.
• Where possible allow workers to vary working hours to reduce risk of infection on congested public transport.
• Bring the outsourced cleaning services back in-house.
Contractors
Barnet Council to seek confirmation from all contractors whose staff work alongside Barnet Council workers that they are also providing full pay for their staff who are off sick or self-isolating or needing to look after children.
Agency
Barnet Council to seek confirmation from all agency organisations supplying staff to work alongside Barnet Council workers that they are also providing full pay for their staff who are off sick or self-isolating or needing to look after children.

Good News: Street Scene service moving out of Harrow depot

Barnet UNISON will never understand how a major strategic decision like moving the Council depot was made without a viable option was available to the Council frontline services.

What happened was a classic fudge/ad hoc/make do. To put it simply it has been a disaster.

The Waste and Recycling and Street Cleansing services were split between the new depot in Oakleigh Road South and London Borough of Harrow depot.

Not only was it bad operationally it was expensive and the ongoing costs have been a constant strain on the service.

The Gritting service was also moved to Harrow and we all know what happened when we had a bad winter two years ago despite the heroic efforts of the workforce to try and make it work.

It was never going to work. The staff across all services have tried their best to make it work. The fact that staffing budgets were also cut simply added to the problem. .

What didn’t help and still doesn’t help is seeing that the Capita contracts have cashed in to the tune of £438 million since the contract started which is £165.6 million more than the contract value. Try explaining that to workers whose pay or pensions has been messed up by Capita or to the staff working at Oakleigh who have seen their branch new depot splitting like it has been hit by a minor earth quake.

What is the good news?

The good news is that the Brogans site which has been empty for a long time has been secured by Barnet Council.

This means the whole of the Waste and Recycling service is now running out of Oakleigh Depot. However we are still running Street Cleansing out of Harrow which means we are still paying rent on the Harrow site and now the Brogans site.

Depot Building works

The depot has some serious problems the subsidence has split the road and there appears to be real risk of a landslide which is something that has happened in the past. This risk was clearly sufficiently serious for the Council to arrange for buildings works to begin sometime in November this year.

Rounds changes.

As a result of the major building works at the depot there is an impact on the Bin collection service. Barnet Council has written to residents about the changes.

It is disappointing that the changes had not been run by the drivers. This mistake was made with the previous Bin collection changes.

There is nothing we can do now.

It remains to be seen if the proposed changes will work.

IMPORTANT NURSERY SCHOOLS Update from Barnet UNISON

Two joint trade union meetings have been agreed for members to discuss school budget cuts and the possible impact on members and the schools.

Tuesday 29th October at St Margaret’s at 4 pm

Thursday 31st October at Moss Hall at 4 pm

Please try to come along to one or both of the meetings

If you need advice please ring the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

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