Kirklees UNISON E-bulletin

Dear Member

Please see below some updates from Kirklees UNISON Branch:

STAY SAFE THIS WEEKEND

This weekend, on 4 July, pubs, restaurants, and a range of other businesses and services that were previously closed will be allowed to re-open again. UNISON members have worked so hard keeping public services going through the last few months and the branch would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your efforts on behalf of the residents of Kirklees.

Whilst everyone wants the country to start to return to some level of normality it would be disastrous if all the hard work that has been done is lost. The virus is still very much out there and, as a ‘new normal’ starts to emerge, it remains important to be on guard against the virus. People can still have the virus and infect others even if they are not themselves showing symptoms. Please remember to follow official guidance at all times including to wash hands with soap and water frequently and to maintain social distancing (ideally at least 2 metres away from people who are not members of your household).

UNISON understands that members may wish to enjoy the opportunity to do things they have not been able to do for many months; however, if you do decide to go out or meet up with others in line with the new guidance then please be extremely careful and bear in mind that many places may well be very busy. If you are likely to be in a situation where you cannot maintain a 2 metre distance from others then the advice is to wear a face covering. Better still is to avoid such situations at all, if possible.

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) then you and your household/support bubble must self-isolate at home, not have visitors and follow official guidance in relation to obtaining testing

Once again, thank you for playing your part in helping to get Kirklees through these past few months. We are going to have to live with this virus for the foreseeable future so please remember that, whatever feeling of normality this weekend might bring, it is definitely not the ‘old normal’.

STAYING SAFE AT WORK

Branch reps have been extremely busy over the past few months looking over risk assessments that have been shared with the union. They are doing their utmost to ensure that employers are putting in place appropriate measures to keep you safe if you are currently (or soon will be) carrying out your duties in a workplace. For those able to work from home the advice remains that you should do so and we expect employers to continue to facilitate this. We also expect them to take into account individual risk factors such as age, ethnicity and underlying health conditions for those who cannot do their duties from home. UNISON’s position remains that, if you are clinically vulnerable to Covid-19, you should not be forced to attend the workplace. If your employer is insisting on this then please contact the branch for support. Even if you want to return to work (and are not in the extremely clinically vulnerable ‘shielding’ group who should certainly not be expected in the workplace at the present time) then the employer should conduct a full risk assessment to ensure that you are safe.

Although UNISON has been consulted on a number of risk assessments, we encourage all staff to makes themselves familiar with those that apply to their roles and to request to see these if you have not already. Please bear in mind that if you work for an employer outside the public sector such as a private care provider, they are very unlikely to have directly shared their risk assessments with the union so it is particularly important that you have sight of these and contact the branch if you have any concerns.

Finally, UNISON has had reports that, in some schools, staff have been asked to cross between the “bubbles” that are supposed to limit the spread of infection and allow for limited ‘shut downs’/self-isolation in the event that an individual in a bubble tests positive for Covid-19. If you have any concerns about this please call us. Likewise, if you work in any other area where you are expected to remain working alongside the same group of colleagues but are being asked to breach these arrangements, please let us know so we can offer you support.

NJC PAY CONSULTATION

For those members covered by NJC national pay bargaining arrangements (i.e. nearly all Council, KNH, WYFRS and LA-maintained school workers – along with some members in academies and other types of school) you will soon be receiving a ‘Survey Gizmo’ ballot via email on the employers’ pay offer. Please watch out for this over the next couple of weeks, take the time to read through the information provided and decide whether the pay offer should be accepted or rejected. It is really important that we hear your views on the pay offer before the deadline of 10th August so please make every effort to take part.

ONLINE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Online micro courses

In providing educational opportunities for our members, UNISON in Yorkshire & Humberside works closely with Northern College who are currently offering a range of online micro courses. This includes ‘Covid-19 and safer workplaces – a guide for UNISON members’. Full details are available via the Northern College website:

Staff Skills Academy

The union has formed a partnership with the Staff Skills Academy to give members access to over 550 free online courses, from time priority management to how to manage virtual teams to remote workers’ security. All the courses are CPD certified, allowing members to show proof of their learning to their employers. Full details are available via the UNISON Learning website:

COVID-19 INFORMATION AND UPDATES

Please remember that the UNISON national website has lots of information on Covid-19, your rights, health and safety etc. Please see this link for further information:

You can also visit the branch Facebook page and website:

The branch office remains closed at the present time but we are still answering telephone and email enquiries and will continue to offer support, advice and representation to members as necessary. Please call 01484 511826 or email branch@kirklees-unison.org.uk

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS BULLETIN AND PLEASE STAY SAFE.

Best wishes
Kirklees UNISON