Reply ref Schools Email

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My name is Sarah Feeney and I am the branch secretary for the Coventry City Branch of UNISON. I wanted to contact you personally following on from your tweet earlier today.  First of all, I would like to apologise if the tone of our latest schools email caused you upset, it was meant as a light hearted email to highlight, as we have previously, where received risk assessments have not been received from schools.  It is a legal requirement that the risk assessments are shared with Trades Unions and it is vitally important that we have the chance to read them and ask for any amendments on behalf of staff. It is also important that we communicate to members where schools have and have not provided their risk assessments so members know if their Trade Union has been see them or not. Keeping members safe is our top priority. 

We do not feel that we were suggesting your SLT had in any way failed to look after you during this time; it has been the case for some other schools where members of staff had copies of the risk assessments and were able to forward them on to us.  We have had no concerns raised about your school’s support during this time.  

I am more than happy to arrange to speak to you in person about this however, I genuinely wanted to tell you that we did not mean to cause any offence nor give any implication of failure to your SLT.

UNISON Welfare…Message to Members

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Lockdown might be relaxing, but financial pressures on our members are not.

UNISON has set up a fund to help those struggling because of the pandemic.

IF your household earnings have reduced, or have incurred extra work-related expenses, due to COVIV-19:
YOU might be eligible for a one-off grant of £250 to help with essential expenses.

Contact your branch for advice.  You will need your membership number to apply.  

The online application form can be found here: https://www.unison.org.uk/covid-19-response-fund/

Negotiations Update – Social Care

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Social Care…
Adult Social Care
 
We are currently working with management on the risk assessments for Gilbert Richards and Brandon Wood Farm’s partial re-openings in August.  Not all service users will be able to access the provision.
 
Other services such as respite and other day opportunities venues are under discussion with no dates yet set.
 
Children Services
 
All 8 hubs are currently under discussion for re-opening.  The risk assessments have been shared for these venues but Trades Unions including UNISON have asked for more detail on these plans.   
 
UNISON still believes that where people can work from home that should continue for those staff.  

Negotiations Update – Coventry City Council – @coventrycc

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UNISON has been pushing the employer – @coventrycc – on issues for members working at home.  The key issues that we have been raising is about flexi-time being denied to members and the provision of equipment due to working from home going to be longer term than was originally thought.

HR have now confirmed to UNISON that they are not advising that flexi cannot be accrued or used and that they met with all senior service managers last week to confirm that fact.  

If your manager is denying you the use of Flexi then please get in touch so that we can resolve this issue.

The issue of equipment is still not resolved with the employer – we continue to raise individually on behalf of members and collectively that people are struggling to work at home due to lack of proper equipment.

Strategic Management Board did confirm this week that they are looking into this matter now and hope to come back shortly with some responses on the issues we have been raising. 

UNISON believe that the employer needs to ensure that people have the same ability to work in proper surroundings whether they are at home or in the office and it is not acceptable that four months into this crisis people are not able to access equipment that they need.  If you have concerns about lack of equipment then please get in touch.

The other big issue is returning to work – it is clear that with social distancing in force not all staff will be able to return to their normal place of work full time.  We continue to work with service areas on risk assessments and proposals for this to happen safely where it can. 

Libraries have consulted on their risk assessments and UNISON have been very impressed with the work that they have done and the approach to joint working.   If your manager is starting to talk about a return to work then please get in touch and check that we are aware and included in those discussions.

UPDATE ON COVENTRY COLLEGE

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Kate McLeod, our Regional Officer, continues to attend meetings with the College.  She has been in contact with members directly about proposed changes to jobs and policies but if you have not received anything from her, please let us know so that we can ensure that your details are added to the list.

The College is currently working on safe return plans for September and Kate has been attending these discussions as well.  We are working closely with UCU to ensure that this is safe for members. 

PAY CLAIM – Important Update for UNISON members

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The Coventry City Branch of UNISON is asking all members to respond to the pay claim by voting on the offer. You should have received an email in with a link to allow you to respond and vote on the proposal. If you have not received this email please contact your local steward or branch office via the phone number or email address at the end of this message.

With a 20% loss in real pay since 2010 and with the effects of austerity on our workloads, we believe that our members deserve better than the employers offer.

Please watch our pay briefing if you didn’t see it on Monday evening and then take part in the ballot…

http://tinyurl.com/WatchAgain1307

Please let other members in your office know that we would like them to respond on this very important consultation and if you know people that are not Trade Union members then please encourage them to join UNISON and have their say.

Whilst there is no recommendation from the NJC committee about which way you should vote the branch believes that it is not a good deal for members.

VOTE NOW!

UNISON, Coventry City Branch
02476 550829
office@unisoncoventry.co.uk

Solidarity Message sent to Tower Hamlets UNISON this week

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Dear Tower Hamlets UNISON

We are writing on behalf of Coventry City UNISON branch to express our support and solidarity for your campaign against the imposition of Tower Rewards. It is an outrage that you are having to take industrial action to fight against this, when public sector workers have given so much to keep services going during the Covid-19 crisis.

It is even worse when you consider that this is a Labour council carrying out these attacks – we would like to see all Labour public representatives up and down the country, whether MPs, MEPs or Cllrs to publicly express their solidarity with Tower Hamlets UNISON members and to help the union defeat these plans.

We will publicise your campaign amongst our members to ensure they are kept up to date as no doubt other branches will be facing similar attacks in the future.

Black Lives Matter

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UNISON is proud to support and to have, in a small way, assisted the Black Lives Matter movement here in Coventry. 

The horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the reality of police brutality in both the US and UK and the continued hostility of some politicians, the far-right and sections of the media have demonstrated that the scourge of racism remains deeply engrained in our society and that a lot remains to be achieved. 

UNISON has supported, participated in, and spoken at the inspiring protests here Coventry. We stand in solidarity with them. We are keenly aware that black people have been disproportionately hit by COVID-19.

Locally we have witnessed the death of Darren Cumberbatch who died after police restrained him. As reported by the Coventry Telegraph ‘An inquest jury ruled last June that the actions of police officers – including baton strikes, other physical strikes, multiple punches, stamps, tasers, and handcuffs – were a contributing factor to his death’, yet only last week, a whole year later, did any review findings get released. 

We believe that there should be no complacency. It is great that Coventry City Council has made some strong statements in support of Black Lives Matter and that Council staff have been invited to include a positive statement on email signatures for example. Yet huge issues must be addressed. It is still too often the case that colleagues who are not white British origin end up in the lower-paid and/or temporary jobs, miss out on promotion, and are the first to be selected for redundancy or redeployment. This is institutional racism. It has not been resolved. It must stop. 

In our Trade Unions, too few non-white British origin people are stewards or officers, many do not join in the first place and many fundamental issues are yet to be addressed. This can and must change. In the US trade unionists organised solidarity with protests and built the mass campaign for Black Lives Matter. The fight against racism is a fight for every trade union activist and member, not a select few. 

Equality is a high priority in our negotiating and campaigning work. People have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at work, to do their job to the best of their ability, free from discrimination and harassment.

In these challenging times for all, we can take inspiration and hope from the growth of a new generation of anti-racist fighters who are now demanding action, not words or more enquiries.

As trade unionists, we also believe that a fight against racism will create more energy and enthusiasm for a fight against attempts to cut jobs and services to pay for the post COVID-19 economic crisis. Racism in our society comes from the top. Just look at the grim track record of Boris Johnson. Racism is engrained deeply in a history of rapacious greed by those who seek to govern us. We can unite to build solidarity between black and white people and build a better future for us all.

#BlacklivesMatter #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd

For more info on local campaigns visit Stand up to Racism Coventry on Facebook

SUTR Coventry Facebook

See the Coventry City UNISON statement on our website Statement

Vulnerable Person Risk Assessments (VERA)…

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Your reps have become aware that some employers are using a scoring system called VERA to inform decisions about staff returning to work.

Scores are attributed to individuals based on Age, Gender, ethnicity, and work-based factors.

We are concerned that this is rather a blunt instrument to deal with what could be sensitive considerations.

Any members who are concerned about a potential return to work, whether VERA has been referred to or not, are asked to get in touch with us for support.

Regardless of who your employer is, large or small organisation, they have a duty of care to ensure any identifiable risk is minimised.