Barnet UNISON seek Hazard Payment for frontline workers

TESCOs announced a few days ago that they are giving frontline staff a 10% bonus to recognise their invaluable effort to help feed the nation.

The majority of key workers being asked to go into work and face the risks of contracting COVID 19 are often the lowest paid workers such as:

  • Care workers
  • Cleaners
  • Street Scene workers, Bin workers, street cleansing, drivers etc.
  • School Support staff

In recognition of the risks they are taking every day whilst having to cope with the stress and anxiety of trying to cope at home with all the restrictions COVID 19 is bringing into their lives, Barnet UNISON has taken the following action:

Barnet UNISON have formally requested Barnet Council to adopt a similar bonus payment for key workers for the duration of this crisis.

The Council are considering our request.

Watch this space…………..

 

Barnet UNISON statement:

Please let the branch know what is going on with your employer by emailing

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarnetUNISON/

Twitter https://twitter.com/barnet_unison

 

What is happening in your workplace: Please read

If your employer is not listening to the government following the lock down announcement as a worker you do have some legal rights to protect your health and safety.

If you are a Barnet UNISON member please let us know immediately by emailing the branch at

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Already some workers have walked out by using this legislation

Employment Rights Act 1996 Section 44 (Health and safety cases).

(1) An employee has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his employer done on the ground that—

(d) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he left (or proposed to leave) or (while the danger persisted) refused to return to his place of work or any dangerous part of his place of work, or

(e) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent, he took (or proposed to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or other persons from the danger.

Barnet UNISON statement:

Please let the branch know what is going on with your employer by sending an email to

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarnetUNISON/

Twitter https://twitter.com/barnet_unison

Barnet UNISON: Public Health guidance for Social Care workers

Dear Members

If you work in social care we want to make sure that you are being kept safe.

Below are links to Public Health England guidance for workers in Residential, Supported Living and Home Care.

Please read the information carefully. If you are not getting Personal Protective

COVID-19: guidance on residential care provision

Updated 19 March 2020

“Care home providers will routinely be procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and aprons. In addition, there will be a free issue of PPE to support adult social care providers to support compliance with the updated advice. This will be issued from the pandemic influenza stockpile. Arrangements will be put in place for adult social care providers to access further PPE as necessary.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-residential-care-provision

 

COVID-19: guidance for supported living provision

Updated 19 March 2020

“Personal protective equipment

The risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures. Care workers should use personal protective equipment for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.

Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations.

In particular cases, if there is a risk of splashing then eye protection will minimise risk.

New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.

These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin for disposal.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living-provision

 

COVID-19: guidance on home care provision

Updated 19 March 2020

“Personal protective equipment

Care workers should use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.

Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.

New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.

These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-home-care-provision

 

Barnet UNISON statement:

Please let the branch know if you are not being provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

by sending an email to

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarnetUNISON/

Twitter https://twitter.com/barnet_unison

 

A Public Voice about Private Fears : Poem by Flower Samuels

There were no bombs or guns, but sirens of fear
The threat of death
The smell of despair
No smoke, but the air held panic.
Laws which previously held goodness crumbled.
It was smiles and kind words
That were the shields
It was the simple act of giving which kept the fear at bay.
Our concern for others was the armour
As people stood and heard the silence
Waiting for the footsteps of terror to come closer
Closing their doors and locking their hearts
Others were called to act
Kindness could penetrate walls
Bring life where there was darkness.
It could open up a universe of truth.

 

written by Flower Samuels Barnet UNISON member.

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

UNISON in relation to Coronavirus, all workplaces including schools.

Dear Member

I thought I would share the latest update from UNISON in relation to Coronavirus, all workplaces including schools.  

“What is UNISON nationally is doing now?

We are seeking to work with national government, local government and education employers to draw up additional guidance. We have raised a range of issues with them including:

  • Which workers we believe should be defined as essential staff and have access to education facilities;
  • Closures and full pay – the need for reassurance around full pay for all staff including contractors (catering, cleaning etc), agency staff and sessional workers;
  • Health and safety – need for risk assessments, protective equipment, schools fully stocked with all necessary cleaning products and testing;
  • Postponement of redundancies/restructures/TUPE transfers/ disciplinary hearings etc during this period;
  • Joint working with unions and employers locally and nationally to help schools and pupils and staff through crisis with employers and unions recognising the need for flexibility. Asking for volunteers first when employers are seeking to re-deploy staff;”

More details here.

https://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/education-services/key-issues/covid-19-closures/

I have submitted the above to Barnet Council and requested that I need a response which I can share to all of our members.

Please note:

If you have any questions please email

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

Coronavirus Update “underlying medical conditions”. 17 March 2020

“I have been told that I have an underlying medical condition and I must leave work and self-isolate for 12 weeks.”

“What do they mean by self-isolation?”

  • Those who are vulnerable* should stay off work for 12 weeks (not in self isolation but to avoid risk of infection)
  • Self-isolation means staying indoors and not even shopping for food or essentials. Further details are here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
  • All unnecessary social contact and travel should be avoided by everyone, including pubs, restaurants, theatres etc.

 “What do they mean by underlying conditions?”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
  • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • those who are pregnant

Some clinical conditions put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.

People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:

  • people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)

Barnet UNISON advice:

If you have any of the above conditions please contact your employer. Barnet Council have confirmed that all of their staff and agency workers who are at risk and will need to self-isolate will receive full pay. If you have any problems please contact the Barnet UNISON office at

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Breaking News: Barnet UNISON writes to Norse the Cleaning contractor for Barnet Council

Norse won the Barnet Council Cleaning contract last year. They provide cleaning services in many schools and Council buildings including the new £55 million new Colindale office.

Barnet Council quite rightly have recognised the need to increase the cleaning regime in Council buildings and schools in order to try to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus amongst staff and the public.

However the main risk identified by Barnet UNISON was that the cleaners do not receive sick pay and many are on zero hours contracts. This means it is highly likely that any cleaners exhibiting symptoms of the virus will still attend work as they could not afford to lose pay.

Barnet UNISON asked the Council to make contact with Norse to ask if they will ensure all staff will receive full pay if they need to self-isolate or exhibit symptoms of the virus. To date the Council has not had a reply.

Today, Monday 16 March 2020 Barnet UNISON has written to Norse asking them for clarification about sick pay for their staff working on the Council corporate cleaning contract.

We will report their response as soon as we have had a response.

Breaking News: ISS will be pay full pay to their Barnet Catering staff if off sick with Coronavirus

At a union meeting last week ISS issued a statement in relation to sickness absence and Coronavirus.

Barnet UNISON who had raised the issued with Barnet Council a few weeks ago welcomes the news that ISS the contractor which provides catering services in Barnet Schools will pay full pay if any worker has to self-isolate or are displaying symptoms of the Coronavirus.

“This is sensible pragmatic news and provides some confidence that the Council and ISS recognise the need to ensure the spread of the virus is limited. ISS do not pay company sick pay. There was a real risk that staff would come into work even if they had symptoms, simply because they can’t afford to lose money. The same must be applied to the Corporate Cleaning contractor who provide services in Council office and schools.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON

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.
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