Joint Trade Union Zoom meeting
“Preparing for September “
Wednesday 8 July 6-7pm
Meeting ID: 820 5357 1709
Meeting ID: 820 5357 1709
Meeting ID: 828 3784 7503
The following extracts including the Recommendations are from the Executive Summary of “Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups.”(Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/892376/COVID_stakeholder_engagement_synthesis_beyond_the_data.pdf )
“Stakeholders expressed deep dismay, anger, loss and fear in their communities about the emerging data and realities of BAME groups being harder hit by the COVID-19 Beyond the Data: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on BAME Communities pandemic than others, exacerbating existing inequalities. Many had lost colleagues or family members to the disease, and nearly all are experiencing the impact of the disease on their communities with the significant social, physical and mental health impacts and complications.”
“Stakeholders pointed to racism and discrimination experienced by communities and more specifically by BAME key workers as a root cause affecting health, and exposure risk and disease progression risk.”
“Strategies to create healthy and supportive workplaces (within and outside the health service) that have zero tolerance for discrimination and empower BAME staff to raise concerns about occupational risk and safety are essential.”
“The unequal impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities may be explained by a number of factors ranging from social and economic inequalities, racism, discrimination and stigma, occupational risk, inequalities in the prevalence of conditions that increase the severity of disease including obesity, diabetes, CVD and asthma.”
“The engagement sessions highlighted the BAME groups deep concern and anxiety that if lessons are not learnt from this initial phase of the epidemic, future waves of the disease could again have severe and disproportionate impacts. All were united in the commitment that urgent, collaborative and decisive action is required to avoid a repeat of this in the future.”
1. Mandate comprehensive and quality ethnicity data collection and recording as part of routine NHS and social care data collection systems, including the mandatory collection of ethnicity data at death certification, and ensure that data are readily available to local health and care partners to inform actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities.
2.Support community participatory research, in which researchers and community stakeholders engage as equal partners in all steps of the research process, to understand the social, cultural, structural, economic, religious, and commercial determinants of COVID-19 in BAME communities, and to develop readily implementable and scalable programmes to reduce risk and improve health outcomes.
3. Improve access, experiences and outcomes of NHS, local government and integrated care systems commissioned services by BAME communities including: regular equity audits; use of health impact assessments; integration of equality into quality systems; good representation of black and minority ethnic communities among staff at all levels; sustained workforce development and employment practices; trust-building dialogue with service users.
4. Accelerate the development of culturally competent occupational risk assessment tools that can be employed in a variety of occupational settings and used to reduce the risk of employee’s exposure to and acquisition of COVID-19, especially for key workers working with a large cross section of the general public or in contact with those infected with COVID-19.
5. Fund, develop and implement culturally competent COVID-19 education and prevention campaigns, working in partnership with local BAME and faith communities to reinforce individual and household risk reduction strategies; rebuild trust with and uptake of routine clinical services; reinforce messages on early identification, testing and diagnosis; and prepare communities to take full advantage of interventions including contact tracing, antibody testing and ultimately vaccine availability.
6. Accelerate efforts to target culturally competent health promotion and disease prevention programmes for non-communicable diseases promoting healthy weight, physical activity, smoking cessation, mental wellbeing and effective management of chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
7. Ensure that COVID-19 recovery strategies actively reduce inequalities caused by the wider determinants of health to create long term sustainable change. Fully funded, sustained and meaningful approaches to tackling ethnic inequalities must be prioritised.”
To view the full report click on the link below.
Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups.
Dear Care Provider,
I hope this email finds you and your care setting well. The last weeks have been particularly gruelling for the social care sector and we recognise you have had to cope with extremely challenging and distressing situations. We believe this has been unacceptable and going forward it needs to change for the better.
You along with our members are undoubtedly aware of the Governments infection control fund which is an attempt to address the risks of infection to residents in care home settings.
UNISON fully supports this initiative both locally and nationally.
UNISON notes that London Borough of Barnet has been allocated £3,564,514 for infection control by the Government.
The Government guidance is clear that this funding should be used to pay the “normal wages” of social care workers that are absent due to COVID-19 as a measure to help reduce transmissions, so they do not feel pressured into going into work out of financial necessity. Its intention is also to top up the wages of those doing shifts at several care homes by encouraging them to reduce the number of workplaces they visit.
To that end we are writing to as many care providers in Barnet as we can to ask them to provide the following information:
Wages and Sick Pay arrangements
The infection control funding is a much needed positive boost for a workforce that has been on the frontline dealing with a deadly infection that they could have never imagined they would face in a care home setting.
Please note we are widely publicising our communication to all care homes settings with our members and we will be updating them on the responses we receive through our usual social media communication platforms.
Can you please respond by close of play this Friday 19 June 2020? If you intend to respond but cannot meet the deadline of Friday could you give us an alternative date we can expect your response?
Many thanks in advance,
If you are a care worker you will shortly be receiving this email from us (if we have your email address). If you are the friend or know someone who is a care worker or support worker – let them know about this and encourage them to join UNISON!
The Government has given funding to local authorities to ensure that you will be paid as if you were working normally if you go off sick with suspected COVID19 or have to isolate because you came into close contact with someone who has COVID19. London Borough of Barnet has been allocated £3,564,514
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5ec2717de90e071e30d09844/allocation-table-for-the-infection-control-fund-for-adult-social-.pdf. This is for infection control purposes.
Government guidance is clear that this funding should be used to pay the “normal wages” of social care workers that are absent due to COVID-19 as a measure to help reduce transmissions, so they do not feel pressured into going into work out of financial necessity. Its intention is also to top up the wages of those doing shifts at several care homes by encouraging them to reduce the number of workplaces they visit.
Since the news of this funding was made we have been writing to the local authority trying to gain an assurance this money will make its way into your pockets should you need it. Some companies, such as YCB (Your Choice Barnet) have already been paying colleagues their full salary whilst they’ve been isolating but far too many have not made this commitment. This is unfair and dangerous.
Today we received confirmation that the local authority has passed this money on to the care providers in Barnet. There should now be no excuse for you not getting the pay you need to stay away from work when you need to. We are in the process of writing to all care providers – starting with those where we have members – asking them these questions:
Wages and Sick Pay arrangements
I want to thank all of you for the contributions you have made, not just in terms of going to work during this difficult time, but for speaking to us about the issues you are facing. To be honest we should not have to be working so hard to get these changes – it should be understood as obvious. Yet without your feedback absolutely nothing would have changed. Trade Union organisation has helped us organise this feedback and delivered it to the right places. Many of your colleagues are not members of a trade union – imagine how much more we could achieve if we had more members. Even better if we had reps who could be that vital link between you and your colleagues in workplace and the branch. It would help you overcome that sense of isolation and help you network with more people. Please recruit your colleagues, keep the feedback going and think about becoming a rep.
We will keep you updated with the responses of the employers as they come back to us.
As part of the growing #BlackLivesMatter movement Barnet UNISON is encouraging all of our members to send in pictures of themselves “Taking The Knee” to email@example.com in order we can share on our Barnet UNISON social media sites. #TakeTheKneeWednesday #BlackLivesMatter
COVID has raised awareness of the need for PPE into the minds of millions of workers. Over the last three months Barnet UNISON has heard from our members lots of issues about the lack of PPE, the rationing of PPE, the absence of PPE and poorly fitting PPE.
John Hendy QC speaking at our “Employment Rights in the COVID workplace” Zoom meeting on 3 June 2020 (see link to his talk about 14 minutes 26 seconds into the video https://youtu.be/tA2r16cqXd8) refers workers to The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, UK Statutory Instruments1992 No. 2966 Regulation 4
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, UK Statutory Instruments1992 No. 2966 Regulation 4
Provision of personal protective equipment
4.—(1) 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.
(2) Every self-employed person shall ensure that he is provided with suitable personal protective equipment where he may be exposed to a risk to his 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.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) and (2), personal protective equipment shall not be suitable unless—
(a) it is appropriate for the risk or risks involved and the conditions at the place where exposure to the risk may occur;
(b) it takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the person or persons who may wear it;
(c) it is capable of fitting the wearer correctly, if necessary, after adjustments within the range for which it is designed;
(d)so far as is practicable, it is effective to prevent or adequately control the risk or risks involved without increasing overall risk;
(e)it complies with any enactment (whether in an Act or instrument) which implements in Great Britain any provision on design or manufacture with respect to health or safety in any relevant Community directive listed in Schedule 1 which is applicable to that item of personal protective equipment.
John Hendy makes it clear that this is a key piece of legislation. If the PPE being provided by your employer does not fit or causes an allergic reaction to the point you cannot wear it then they need to secure PPE that you can wear.
Dear Barnet UNISON Members
UNISON HQ have sent an email to all of our members working in Schools.
This is an extract from the email sent on 28 May 2020.
“However, many staff will still be expected to go in and we have all been inundated with requests by members asking for advice on whether they can refuse to go in on 1 June. Following discussion with NEU, other unions and our legal team the email to members includes a model letter for members who have serious concerns about their health and safety and face the prospect of being forced into the workplace under unsafe conditions from 1 June. We have asked members to specify these concerns in their letter by highlighting where the school is not meeting the joint unions risk assessment checklist. They can also include scenarios where they have not been consulted on risk assessment.”
Here is the link to UNISON email message below.
If you have serious concerns about health and safety in your workplace then please use the EMAIL Template below to send to your School and remember to copy in Barnet UNISON at firstname.lastname@example.org
re: Health and Safety
I am writing to inform you that, in order to protect myself and/or other persons from danger, I will not be attending [name of school/college] to work there at present. I will continue to be available to work from home.
Since the government announced its decision to extend the opening of schools, the impact that has in terms of the health and safety of pupils, staff and the community has been widely discussed. The mere fact of an increase in the number of pupils and staff attending school poses an increased risk.
UNISON and the other TUC education unions have outlined a set of tests to be met nationally and locally before it could be deemed safe for schools to open more widely. These tests have been set with a view to safely increasing pupil numbers. UNISON does not believe these tests have been met in full. In particular the new test, track and trace system has only just been introduced and it is too early to know if this is effective. Independent scientific advice concurs with UNISON’s view that wider opening on 1 June is not safe.
I believe that not attending work in the current circumstances is an appropriate step for me to take for the following reasons:
1. The dangers that are preventing me from attending work are the risk of contracting coronavirus and or spreading coronavirus to others.
2. The person(s)I am seeking to protect are myself, my family, our pupils, their families, my colleagues, their families and members of the public.
3. I believe that this danger is serious because coronavirus infection is potentially fatal and has already resulted in more than 37,000 deaths in the UK and there are additional circumstances in my situation because: –
4. I believe that, if I were to attend work, the danger would be imminent because
[add here the specific elements where the school has not complied with the checklist and what your specific concerns are]
In addition: –
5. I will be happy to return to the workplace when confirmed that it is safe to do so, for example if the following measures have been put into place:
In the meantime, I am of course willing to carry out any of my duties, or other alternative duties at my current grade, that can reasonably be undertaken from my home.
Cc Barnet UNISON email@example.com