Below is an email that was sent out to all members by Steve North, Branch Secretary on Friday 27th March 2020:
Dear UNISON Member,
We had hoped to get an email out to you all today confirming that the situation in social care had been resolved and that providers now understood that any frontline worker who must be absent as a result of Government guidance will not be out of pocket. Unfortunately, while we are being assured that this is under active resolution, we haven’t had any update as of yet. Our advice to care workers who must be absent is to keep a record of any detriment, as we will do everything we can to support you to get your money back.
Another area of focus for us today has been to secure assurances from all employers – particularly those with which we have a bargaining agreement – that any person who lives with shielded person (somebody who receives one of the Government letters), and who cannot go to work without being able to observe social distancing, must either be allowed to work from home or be paid in full for that period. So far, we have received this assurance from Salford City Council.
I will be working when I can over the weekend – and the office phone will be diverted to my mobile – so if there are any updates on these two incredibly urgent issues, I will be sure to let members know.
We held a successful Branch Committee meeting over Zoom earlier and I want to thank the stewards and officers who participated. It is clear that a big issue within those employers who have staff working from home, is how expectations are managed. We have contacted employers to stress the importance of only asking staff to do what they can, and not expecting that everybody will be able to deliver the same hours, or even the same outcomes.
The last thing I wanted to refer to in this update was PPE. Understandably, we are receiving a lot of questions about this and I have just sent out an email to all stewards with some guidance for them.
There are three links that it might be useful for members to look at (depending on what you do) and those are:
Healthcare workers https://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/health-care/big-issues/covid-19-advice-health-workers/
Social care workers https://www.unison.org.uk/care-workers-your-rights/coronavirus-advice-social-care-workers/
Local government workers: https://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/local-government/coronavirus-guidance-local-government-workers/
This weekend is not going to be a typical one for many of us – for our key worker members the shift pattern may be the same, but the demands will no doubt be harder.
I hope you will get some time to rest.
Lastly – and we always make this point – if you don’t yet have a rep, it would be a good for idea for you and your colleagues to elect somebody. That somebody could be you!