Many of you are now starting to return to your workplaces and this email is to assure you that as your trade union, we are doing what we can to monitor how this is working, to ensure your safety is being properly considered, and to act on issues you are highlighting.
One concern that has been raised with us through our monthly Branch Committee meeting of workplace stewards is air quality and ventilation. It is recognised that work has been undertaken by employers, to address these issues but we felt it was appropriate for the union to be more directly involved and so, following a helpful discussion with relevant council officers on Tuesday morning, we are now able to involve workplace stewards in not only discussions about air quality, but also the monitoring of CO2 levels and decisions around further steps that may need to be taken to ensure our members feel safe at work. A request has gone out for volunteers to support this work and we hope to get involvement from across multiple sites. If this is something you are interested in, whether you are currently a steward or not, please let us know. This can only work with the involvement of people on the ground.
The opening up of workplaces also presents other challenges, particularly for those who do not feel comfortable returning to a workplace or attending in person meetings. We know that many of our members welcome face to face contact with colleagues and the public, but others are understandably nervous. If you feel you are being placed under unreasonable pressure to attend the workplace, or are concerned that this could have a negative impact on your health or the health of those you live with – particularly if you or they have conditions covered by the Equalities Act – please seek support from your local union representative or if you don’t have one, come to us directly. Equally, if you are able to continue working from home, but do not feel you have the appropriate equipment or support – or feel you are at risk of isolation from your team – and this is not something you feel your manager is addressing, please let us know.
As difficult as lockdown was, it provided a level of certainty about what we could expect from our employers and what they could expect from us. The period we have now moved into allows for greater opportunity, but also greater uncertainty and what feels right for one person will not feel right for someone else. There are some basic fundamentals that need to be adhered to, such as effective ventilation and workplace safety measures, but beyond that there is no one size fits all approach, which means that as your union we are more reliant than ever on members making us aware of challenges and difficulties that arise.
Please engage with us and in turn we will do what we can to support you.