Dear Cllr Duggins and Martin
UNISON would like to raise our concerns with you about the email sent to all staff yesterday entitled ‘Returning to the Office’. There has been no discussion with trades unions on this and with the Director of HR being on leave this week we would question what the urgency of this to happen from next week would be?
The employer has not shared any updated risk assessments with us and our previous discussions with the employer had left us in the belief that the approach would be far more cautious than every team having a presence. Many teams have adapted perfectly well to working from home and many staff feel far more secure and safe working from home. Whilst appreciating that many frontline services have been working for several months in the workplace not all staff are required to do so. With the rising COVID rate and not all staff yet vaccinated we believe that the risks outweigh the benefit signficantly.
We believe that the arbitrary approach laid out in the communication to all staff is not productive and in fact we have received multiple emails and calls of concern. Further the discussion around more flexible working that are occurring, again without trade union input in staff panels, seemed to be of the consensus that a far more flexible approach to home working would be taken.
UNISON would therefore request an urgent meeting on this matter. We would also expect full risk assessments to be shared with us and a proper discussion about the rationale for all teams to have a presence clearly explained.
We would request that until this has happened, we do not proceed with plans to have all services in. We are sure that we do not need to remind anyone of the duties to consult around health and safety and the recent failure of COVID precautions in a city centre premises.
Sarah Feeney (she/her)
UNISON Coventry City Branch