Breaking News: Barnet UNISON ending Lockdown survey results

 

We asked our members (most of whom are working from home) one question.

“Do you feel that it is safe for you to go back to work?”

94% of our School UNISON members felt it was not safe.

85% of our Capita UNISON members felt it was not safe.

79% of our Barnet Council UNISON members felt it was not safe.

79% of our Barnet Homes members felt it was not safe

 

 

Capita refusing share COVID risk assessments with Barnet UNISON

Dear Members

Barnet UNISON as part of our efforts to ensure all of our members was safe contacted Capita in order that we could take part in the Risk Assessment consultation process.

Our branch has been busy for the last 8 weeks supporting and advising our members working and dealing with the COVID 19 risk in the workplace.

Whilst many staff are able to work from home there are staff who have to go out into the community to deal with the public.

It is important that all employers comply with Health and Safety Legislation in relation to Risk Assessments.

Now more than ever all employers should understand the importance of carrying out Risk Assessments for all of their staff in order they can provide assurances their workplace is safe.

It is important to note but as of Friday 22 May 2020, Barnet UNISON has not been consulted on any Risk Assessment for any job role being carried out by our members on both Capita contracts.

We have seen a Capita generic Risk Assessment which as soon as we challenged it Capita admitted it was out of date.

Barnet UNISON was informed that Capita compliance team issued 3 generic risk assessments (which have seen) which we were told would be a starting point for discussions around role specific Risk Assessments for staff working on the two Barnet contracts.

This was positive news.

Barnet UNISON requested the contact details for the manager responsible for coordinating the Risk Assessments on both Capita contracts in Barnet.

Capita responded stating they will not share or agree all risk assessments as requested as this is not something as an organisation that we do.

The health, safety and welfare of our members working for Capita is a serious matter and as such we have escalated this matter to UNISON National as the following legislation must be followed by the employer.

It is worrying that in this current COVID Pandemic where serious and fatal risks are being faced by workers every day that any employer would refuse to share or agree Risk Assessments with a Trade Union.

Relevant Legislation: Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Regulation 3 – employers must conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments

Regulation 4 – requires employer to control hazards at source

Regulation 7 – employer must appoint competent persons to conduct RA

Regulation 10 – workers must be given comprehensive and relevant information about risks

Regulation 13 – employers must ensure workers are capable and trained

Regulation 16/19 – RA must take account of women of child-bearing age and young people’s risks.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

Regulation 4 states:

Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.

If you have any concerns please email the branch on contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

End.

 

 

 

 

“COVID-19: How to make your workplace safe” Zoom meeting

Barnet UNISON as part of our Know Your Rights at Work campaign are hosting a

ZOOM meeting with NEU and GMB entitled:

“COVID-19: How to make your workplace safe”

Wednesday 27 May 6pm

Guest Speaker: Janet Newsham, Chair Hazards Campaign, sitting member of Employment Tribunal for past 25 years.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82640214991?pwd=cW01ZzhtTTJoeStjNWVVcGJSaEhqQT09

Meeting ID: 826 4021 4991

Password: 363400

 

URGENT: All Schools members please follow advice below.

Dear Members

URGENT: Please cut and paste the UNISON email to your Head Teacher immediately and copy in Barnet UNISON using contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

Dear head teacher/chair of governors

Government’s plans to increase number of pupils in schools from 1 June

I am writing to say how worried I am about the government’s plans to increase the numbers of pupils in some schools from 1 June and the potential threat they pose to the health and safety of pupils, parents and staff in our school community.

We all want to see schools up and running and our school community back together again, but only when it is safe to do so. Any plan to achieve this needs to be clear on issues such as social distancing, PPE, testing, tracing and isolation. The current government guidance is not.

My union, UNISON, is taking these issues up with government, calling on it to step back from an unsafe increase in pupil numbers on 1 June. Unions and the government need to work together to create the conditions for a safe return to schools, based on the principles and tests set out by education unions representing support staff, teachers and head teachers (see TUC statement).

I don’t believe that the current situation is the fault of the school or its leadership and I understand that the school has to plan for all eventualities. Therefore, my union has advised me to request that you urgently provide an update on the following issues:

  • Copy of school’s risk assessments for increasing pupil numbers
  • What the plans are for maintaining social distancing; with all pupils and staff to be kept 2 metres apart
  • What PPE will be supplied and under what circumstances
  • Arrangements for handwashing and sanitising
  • Arrangements for protecting vulnerable pupils and staff
  • How testing, tracing and isolating will work locally and how it will apply to our schools
  • Arrangements for screening out workers exhibiting symptoms of the virus
  • Plans for enhanced cleaning of workplaces,
  • Procedures for travel such as parking, using public transport, car sharing given the 2-metre rule

I think it is really important that we all stand together to ensure that everyone in the school and community is safe and that we meet health and safety laws. This means that we should only open up the school when is it safe to do so. My union and I do not believe that this is possible by 1 June.

Finally I would like it to be formally noted that my involvement in any meetings and discussions will be on the basis of a sharing of information only, and not my agreement to an unsafe reopening from 1 June.  I would further request that you enter into collective discussion with my union on the measures that need to be taken for a safe increase in pupil numbers, as stated by the DfE. I call on the school not to put pupils and staff at risk with an unsafe increase in numbers from 1 June.

Yours sincerely

 

“How To Reopen Schools Safely” : Barnet Joint Trade Unions zoom meeting

Barnet UNISON is hosting a Barnet Schools Zoom Meeting

Wednesday 20 May at 6 pm.

“How To Reopen Schools Safely”

Speakers: Jon Richards (UNISON), Kevin Courtney (Joint General Secretary NEU) GMLB speaker to be confirmed, NASUWT speaker to be confirmed

Joining details

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86557588815?pwd=WEZGaVVkaks2ZTI5SFppTHNzL04wdz09

Meeting ID: 865 5758 8815

Password: 328320

 

 

UNISON feedback on National Pay claim

*NJC Report from 1st May 2020

The NJC UNISON side met remotely on May day to take a position on the revised offer received from the national employers of 2.75% and an increase on the basic green book leave entitlement from 21 to 22 days but with no corresponding increase in the long service leave so effectively it meant bringing forward one of the days previously awarded at five years’ service. We are aware the majority of London Councils do not use the Green Book scheme having agreed more generous local provisions.

The meeting was held on a video-conference system which has been approved by Head Office as a tool that protects security and participation. London Region was fully represented with Sean Fox, Clara Mason and Mary Lancaster in attendance.

Prior to the meeting we had sought views from Branches via the regional office, apologies for the shortness of time and thanks to the 25 Branches who responded out of the 33 consulted. Of these 17 supported a recommendation to Reject and 8 supported a recommendation to accept the revised offer.

The meeting received an update from the negotiating team on our efforts to further engage the national employers in joint approaches to central government to source more funding to allow a greater increase. Particularly at the current time when workers in local government are performing vital roles to keep people safe and to provide key services. While the National Employers accepted this the view they had taken was that pursuance of such funding was a matter for the political leadership of the devolved nations rather than part of the negotiations, they also reiterated that the current offer was their final offer and that there had been no appetite to offer a reduction in the working week although they would be happy to enter into “without prejudice” discussions on this as part of the ongoing challenge to meet increased national living wage levels in future years.

We received feedback from the regions which was mixed almost unanimously they expressed a view that the offer was insufficient but there were differing views on whether members would have an appetite for action in the current climate. Some thought it would strengthen the feeling while others were concerned people would be frightened of another economic downturn leading to more cuts.

There was a lengthy discussion on whether consultation was feasible in the current lock-down and a consensus emerged that was reflected in the bulletin issued on 4th May 2020 to Branches. In short this meant that we would go back to the employers and would not accept their offer as being final until approaches had been made to government to seek additional funds. Our concern was to ensure we did not consult members on an offer that would weaken the argument for more money to reflect our contribution to the Covid 19 response.

The full statement can be found at https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2020/05/lg-pay-statement/ there is also a blog from Jon Richards at https://www.unison.org.uk/blogs/2020/05/blog-njc-pay/

The only other item discussed was the NJC Guidance on Covid 19 and we explored a number of areas where updated or further guidance might be developed. This included of course the need for robust advice on the eventual relaxation of the lock-down in order to keep members safe. Officers also highlighted they were running some press items on the inadequacy of the Public Health guidance on shielding particularly where workers were living with someone who was shielding. There were concerns that some authorities were adopting these weaker Public Health guidance in preference to the far clearer and safer NJC Circulars issued jointly.

See  https://southeast.unison.org.uk/news/article/2020/04/milton-keynes-council-criticised-risking-health-vulnerable-staff/ regarding one Council and https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2020/05/frightened-workers-self-isolating-protect-vulnerable-loved-ones-shouldnt-punished/ regarding UNISON’s National campaign for a more protective and supportive furlough scheme.

Branches having issues with regard to the non-adoption of the NJC provisions by employers who are part of the NJC were asked to make their Regional Office aware of these examples. Generally members of the NJC welcomed the circulars issued to date and the point was made that they demonstrated the role of the NJC being about more than simply pay.

Sean Fox, Clara Mason, Mary Lancaster

* National Joint Council

To view chronology of 2020 National Pay negotiations click on link below.

2020.04. 29. History of National Pay Claims

 

 

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