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Parents have been kept in the dark about asbestos risks for too long. We want every school in the UK to have to produce an annual report about the type and condition of any asbestos on the premises and share this with all parents and staff. Every child's potential exposure to asbestos at school must be recorded and shared with parents. This has been happening in the USA for the last 30 years.
AND
The Government must introduce and implement a policy for the phased removal of all asbestos from schools to be completed by 2028, starting with the most dangerous asbestos. MP's recommended this in 2012 but no action has been taken.

Sign the peitition here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-our-children-and-teachers-from-asbestos-exposure-in-schools


Dec 1, 2020

Up to 20th November 683 calls have been made with a total of 73 hits, consistently maintaining a 10% positive hit rate.

Progress so far:
  • 22 new health and safety reps have now completed the training to become accredited since August
  • 7 of the 22 were recruited through the MCT
  • 17 health and safety reps are registered to attend the November training
  • 5 of the 17 were recruited through the MCT
  • 42 are either awaiting a webinar, or did not turn up for the webinar. These members will all be followed up by email next week.
  • 5 cannot attend webinars in the day and have requested evening sessions (we are still waiting to have a date from the national team)
  • 5 are already Health and Safety reps
  • 5 mentors have been requested and are waiting to progress onto training
  • 8 no longer wish to progress
  • 2 unsure of status

 

Health & Safety Training

The next health and safety course is running from 14th January to 11th February 2021. 10 am - 12 pm for 5 Thursday Mornings.

Webinars

Tuesday 8 December at 2:00 pm to 3:00pm Please click here to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4056437454687166219


Nov 25, 2020

Please see our new joint unions' safety checklist. UNISON is calling on schools to introduce this locally to keep pupils and staff safe. Use our model letter and the checklist to send to your school.

Model letter

New joint unions' safety checklist


Nov 25, 2020

This year has been unlike any other. School staff have truly gone above and beyond to keep schools running as smoothly and safely as possible and to support pupils through such challenging times.

UNISON's annual celebration of school support staff – the Stars in our Schools – is this Friday 27 November.

To keep everyone safe, our celebrations this year will be a little different, but the pandemic won't stop your union from telling the world how vital you are to children's learning and wellbeing.

And you can join in, too. Our popular prize draw is ready and waiting for you to nominate a fantastic colleague and get the chance to win a £25 M&S voucher for them (and for yourself!) in time for Christmas.

Nominate a colleague


Nov 25, 2020

Please find below the latest edition of the LFA - UNISON Money Talk Newsletter 2020 - The Personal Finance Newsletter for members of UNISON


Nov 23, 2020

Dear Chief Executive

As you are no doubt aware, the Council is required by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation Act)1992 and the local Trade Union Recognition Agreement to negotiate with accredited Trade Union representatives and consult through the recognised framework on matters covered by the agreement, including health, safety, welfare and other issues relating to the working environment.

Millions of frontline staff across our public services have kept the country running while facing risks to their own and their families’ health.  More than ever, the Council must put in place measures to protect these employees during any return to workplaces, and a key principle for a safe return to work outside the home is that trade unions and employers must work together to agree how the return is managed.

It is crucial that unions be consulted and involved in discussions alongside employer representatives.  This means the Council negotiating return-to-work policies and agreeing Covid-19 risk assessments with their staff unions.  Whilst Covid-19 is a threat to all workers, Black and ethnic minority workers are particularly at risk and any return to work strategy should seek to prevent this disproportionate impact and ensure that it complies with the public sector equality duty.  Unfortunately, we don’t believe the Council’s actions are adequate in this regard.

We are in a new environment, with a new threat to health and safety.  Before they are agreed, Covid-19 risk assessments should be approved either by an accredited union health and safety rep, or by a Health and Safety Executive inspector.  In cases where there is no health and safety rep able to sign off a risk assessment, an employer must seek approval for it from an HSE inspector.  Once agreed, risk assessments and action plans must be sent or otherwise effectively communicated to the whole workforce.

Since lockdown began on 23rd March 2020, UNISON have been excluded from involvement in the Task and Finish Group meetings set up by the employer.   The only information that has been shared with UNISON in respect of this new threat to health and safety has been ‘briefings’ shared from the Covid-19 Meetings set up in June.  This is wholly inappropriate and is in no way compliant with regulation or the Trade Union Recognition Agreement.

While management has allowed more staff to work from home during the lockdown period, it has also allowed employees to work from offices without Covid-19 Risk Assessments.  Justifications of “there’s only ever been 5 members of staff on each floor at any one time” are totally unacceptable when the risks of transmission had not been properly identified and assessed in line with government guidance.

In addition, staff within frontline services are now being forced back to work without the appropriate Risk Assessments have been carried out and signed off.

Employees have the right to withdraw from and to refuse to return to an unsafe workplace.  They also have legal protection from dismissal, disciplinary or any other detriment for raising a health and safety issue.  UNISON will not hesitate to support our members in using this legislation where we believe the Council has not fulfilled its obligations. If the employer doesn’t consult the workforce properly, under the Information and Consultation Employee Regulations 2004, the Trade Union can also complain to the industrial court. 

Rather than take these courses of action we believe that recognised unions should be represented on the Task and Finish Group to ensure that risks are assessed in employees’ interest.  We cannot wait for workers to be infected before action is taken.

We are therefore are requesting the following:

  • That union representatives be involved in all planning discussions with management in respect of Health and Safety including the Task and Finish Group Meetings;
  • That all employer-union meetings held related to Health and Safety and to Covid-19 are formally constituted and minuted;
  • That unions are consulted on the appointment of competent persons before any risk assessments are carried out.

 

We believe the safety of the workforce has to be paramount above anything else in the council, and a higher priority than hitting any productivity targets.

I look forward to working with you to ensure our workplace is safe for all employees.

We have copied this letter to our members in Dudley Council.

Your sincerely

Joanne Prescott
UNISON Branch Secretary


Nov 16, 2020

All social workers in England must renew their professional registration with Social Work England (SWE) by 30 November 2020 or risk losing their protected title.

To renew registration with SWE and to continue to practise as a social worker, you must:

  • Create an online account at www.socialworkengland.org.uk and make sure your contact details are up to date. This can be done by following the instructions to transfer from the Health and Care Professionals Council (HSPC) during the online set up.
  • Once logged into your account, you must record one piece of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This evidence shows that you uphold professional standards and continue to remain fit to practise. 

How to record CPD

SWE have published guidance on how and what to record at www.socialworkengland.org.uk/cpd
SWE top tips for recording CPD is here https://www.socialworkengland.org.uk/news/top-tips-for-recording-cpd/
If a social worker does not record any CPD in their online account by 30 November 2020, they will be reminded and given a further 21 days to do so. If they fail to record any CPD they risk being removed from the register and will need to apply to restore. The current restoration fee is £135.


Oct 23, 2020

Despite the opposition of UNISON and other unions, the Government voted in favour to cap public sector payments to £95,000. We believe this is punitive and unfair, but now the Government has begun consultation on reforms that will go even further, including a lower limit on discretionary severance payments. They have set a deadline of 9 November, which UNISON considers totally unacceptable for such a crucial consultation affecting our members. 

A model letter to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, is attached. It makes clear our opposition to the proposals, and demands an extension to the consultation period. We urge all members to sign and forward to robert.jenrick@communities.gov.uk


Oct 23, 2020


Thousands of key workers died during the pandemic looking after us.

In the public services nurses, care workers, cleaners and more made the ultimate sacrifice to help others. This was all the more heart-breaking because for years before COVID-19, these public service workers have been undervalued, underpaid and mainly invisible.

Years of neglect made the effect of the pandemic so much worse.  One example of that neglect was the PPE shortage that emerged when the pandemic hit. Another is the fragmented nature of care services for the elderly and vulnerable – where staff frequently experience low pay, insecure employment and impossible workloads to manage.

In our NHS a shortage of nurses and other key staff means there are fewer people to look after patients. This is the result of more than 10 years of spending cuts and austerity. The damage to all the vital services that make our communities strong and resilient, including schools, policing and local government, is plain to see.  

Despite all this, key workers in our public services pulled through for all of us. As we begin to return to normal, it’s crucial for all of us that the same mistakes aren’t made again and we don’t return to undervaluing our public services and the people who provide them. 

This autumn, politicians in Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont will be making important decisions about the future funding of our public services

Early signs suggest the UK government wants to pitch the public sector against private sector and will ignore long term structural problems that got us to where we are now.  

That’s why we’re calling for measures now to:

REBUILD…

Rebuild all our public services, by securing long term investment and making money available to employ and train the number of staff that are needed to ensure our services are there when you need them.

CREATE…

Create fairer and safer work places with proper risk assessments.  Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.  Disabled workers need to have the right to work from home if they want to. 

PAY…

Give public sector workers a decent pay rise because the pandemic has shown how important they are. This would also help the lowest paid out of in-work poverty.

BUILD…

Build a fairer and greener post COVID-19 society, in which the inequalities that have become so evident during the crisis are addressed as a matter of urgency.

ADD YOUR NAME TO OUR LETTER AND TELL THE GOVERNMENT THERE’S NO GOING BACK TO NORMAL.


Oct 5, 2020

We know many UNISON members are suffering financially due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our West Midlands Regional Welfare Committee has set up a voucher scheme to help members in the West Midlands.

To be eligible, you will need to have been a member for 4 weeks or more and you will need to show a reduction in income, such as from your payslip or by bank statements etc. 
 
To apply, you will need to fill out both forms and send directly to  m.price@unison.co.uk. It is important that both forms are completed and sent as separate documents due to data protection.

It is also possible to send the forms by post, but we strongly discourage this because it will delay your application. The postal address is Private & Confidential, M Price, Secretary to the West Midlands Regional Welfare Committee, UNISON West Midlands Regional Office, 24 Livery Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 2PA.
  
Please note the fund is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. We therefore encourage applications to be submitted as soon as possible.

 
With the kindest of regards,
 
THE WEST  MIDLANDS REGIONAL WELFARE COMMITTEE
Sep 14, 2020
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