Message for #Coventry City UNISON members – Make sure you vote now in the Pay consultation!

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We have been receiving many responses to the consultation on the pay offer – we want to hear the views of all members, so don’t delay in getting yours in as soon as possible. 

Some FAQs – 

Q: What was our claim and what is the offer?

A: Our claim was 10%. This is in the context of our pay dropping in real terms by 20% in the last decade! So this was about starting to claw back some of what we have lost. The 2.75% barely scratches the surface and is not the pay our members deserve and that is why your branch is recommending that the offer is rejected. Whatever your view, make sure you vote to ensure your voice is heard.

Q: All well and good, but is the money there?

A: Public sector workers up and down the country have literally kept people alive during Covid-19 and as we face a huge economic crisis our services are going to become even more vital. Politicians clapped us – why won’t they reward us properly for the work we do? We are the 6th richest country in the world, this is about the work that we do being truly valued, or not.  Councils have had their money cut by central government and that is why UNISON has argued that their needs to be a big injection of funds for our services, and that includes our pay.

Q: Aren’t some public sector workers being offered 3.1%?

A: Yes, that is true! Teachers and some other public sector workers are being offered this. To be clear this is still not enough. But to the government, we aren’t even worth the same as others!

Q: Is this an industrial action ballot? 

A: No, this is over whether you think the offer is acceptable or not. 

Q: How long have I got left to vote?

A: The deadline is fast approaching, you have until 4pm on Friday 7th August. 

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

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.

#Coventry #City #UNISON Update for members working for Non-Council Employers

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Non-Council Employers…Whilst formal arrangements may not be in place for your employer to consult with UNISON, they are still obliged to share their risk assessment of work practices and buildings with you.  If your employer has over 50 staff they are also obliged to publish those risk assessments.  

Please get in touch with us if you have any concerns with the risk assessments or your safety. Phone 02476 550829 or email office@unisoncoventry.co.uk

#Coventry City #UNISON update for Coventry City Council Staff

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Coventry City Council is beginning to review buildings and services that run from them in light of the easing of some aspects of lockdown.

At the moment they are very broad discussions, not focussing on specific services.  We will ensure that risk assessment are in place before any decisions are made.

If your service area is proposing changes to the way you currently work, please contact the branch to help you review the risk assessments and for further guidance and support. Email office@unisoncoventry.co.uk or phone 02476 550829.

Update for Coventry City #UNISON Members in Schools

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The branch has sent a letter to all headteachers requesting the risk assessments drafted for the increase in pupil numbers that was suggested for 1st June.  Trade union consultation on risk assessments is set in legislation.

We have sent specific advice to local reps about this, particularly if they are asked to be involved. Reps have met with the Local Authority a number of times this week and discussed their guidance to schools.

UNISON is clear that any safe increase in pupil numbers on 1st June or after is based on the Governments National Tests being met alongside the agreed joint trade union tests. Individual schools will need a robust agreed risk assessment in place to safeguard staff and pupils

We are having regular meetings with the Local Authority. Each school and academy has been emailed by the branch and UNISON nationally to engage in a dialogue about risk assessments. Prior to any increase in pupil numbers,  schools must share risk assessments with the branch and employees. 

If you have any concerns or questions about a safe increase in pupil numbers, or if your school has indicated an increase in provision but you have not seen risk assessments, then please contact the branch office as soon as possible. Email office@unisoncoventry.co.uk or phone 02476 550829.

We have requested that the Local Authority provide us with a list of which schools they have had risk assessments from and proposed opening dates.

It is our intention that where we do receive risk assessments from schools, we will be contacting members at those schools to inform them of our response.

We understand that UNISON Nationally will be issuing further guidance to members following the government announcement on the 28th and we will ensure that gets communicated to our members here in Coventry.