Coventry City #UNISON Branch Committee Motion on the Tragic Incident in the English Channel on Wednesday 24th November.

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This Branch Notes 

1.     At least 27 people drowned in the English Channel in Wednesday as they tried to reach Britain.  

2. That Enver Solomon, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, said ‘Every day, people are forced to flee their home through no fault of their own. Now is the time to end the cruel and ineffective tactic of seeking to punish or push away those who try to find safety in our country’.

This Branch Believes 

  1. Politicians, the media and state forces have demonised desperate people fleeing war, poverty and environmental destruction. They have blood on their hands 

This Branch  

1. Agrees to support, nominate a speaker (if appropriate to the organisers) and invite all Members to attend the Vigil called by Stand Up to Racism, Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group and supported by Coventry TUC in Broadgate, 1pm this Saturday, 27th November, 2021.

2. Calls on Coventry City Council to organise a Minutes Silence for all staff and local residents to commemorate those who have died and remind ourselves that Coventry is a city that Welcomes Refugees.

#Council & #School Staff deserve a Pay Rise.

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Council staff who kept local services and schools running deserve a real pay rise…Staff working for councils and in schools are worth more than the 1.75% pay offer put forward by employers after working through the worst of times

The consultation…
Nationally, members in local government were asked to vote on the employers’ pay offer of 1.75%, and 79% voted to reject it.

As a Branch, 91.2% of the members who voted, rejected the offer.

Disappointingly, our turnout figures meant that if this consultation was a formal Industrial Action Ballot, we would not have met the threshold for action even though the number of people rejecting it was clear.

We really need everyone to have their say on pay and are encouraging everyone to vote in the upcoming Industrial Action Ballot.

Thank you…
As a Branch, we would like to thank everyone who voted in the consultation but we encourage many more of you to do so in the Industrial Ballot coming out soon. It really is important as every single vote makes a massive difference.

What is happening next…
UNISON’s NJC Committee, representing 400,000 members in local government in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, has agreed to ballot members for industrial action over pay.


Council and school workers have been the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, working tirelessly and often at risk to our own safety to serve their communities.

Meanwhile, since 2010 the value of our pay has fallen in real terms by 25%. The 1.75% pay offer is completely inadequate and UNISON members have made their feelings about it clear.

Work will now begin on preparing for the industrial action ballot, in which UNISON will ask members to vote ‘YES’ to taking action in support of the campaign for better pay.

Keep looking out for more information

Are your details up to date?
It is now vital that the details we hold for you are correct. We especially need to know if your job, workplace, or your postal address has changed. It is also crucial for us to be able to contact you either by phone or more importantly, by email.

If you would like to check your details, please contact UNISONdirect on 0800 0857 857, call the branch on 02476 550 829 or visit www.unison.org.uk/my-unison where you can check and amend your details online.

Coventry City #UNISON Members – Why not become a health and safety rep for the union?

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Become a Safety Rep…
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted why workplace safety is so important. But we can’t make workplaces across the public sector safe without YOU.

The words #Health and #Safety may conjure up visions of clipboards, regulations and paperwork, but it’s really not like that.

Being a Safety rep means you will be playing a crucial role in making sure your workplace is safe, secure, and clean for all your colleagues and service users.

Call us today for more information. Phone 02476 550829 or email office@unisoncoventry.co.uk

You’ll also gain new skills and meet others who are passionate about workplace safety.

#StaySafe

Schools update…

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Most schools have opted to break for the summer rather than continue with catch-up. A reminder for all TTO employees that you can be asked to work over the summer break but cannot be forced to. If you agree, you should be paid for these extra hours.

Schools will have been planning staffing for next year.  Any member on a temporary contract for more than two years should contact us for support in getting their contract made permanent.

The local authority has advised schools to continue with their current risk management arrangements unchanged up to the end of the term.  If your school is not following this advice, let us know.  There is a snag as NHS test and trace will not be supporting schools with contact tracing.  This is being queried with the DfE.

It’s too early to say what the position will be in September, but we intend to continue talking to LA about this over the Summer.
UNISON’s national Schools Committee agreed in late June that the government needs to: 

• Re-introduce previous rules on face coverings and reduce bubble sizes to prevent further disruption
• Give schools the funding and logistical support to implement stronger preventative measures, including improved ventilation and smaller bubbles to stop further transmission of the virus in September  
• Keep current measures on bubbles and self-isolation for close contacts in place for at the least the first half of the autumn term until there is clear evidence that there is not another transmission spike in schools. 
• Increase testing capacity at school so that pupils can be tested on-site. Ongoing concerns about the accuracy of the rapid lateral flow tests, mean they should not be used as a ‘green light’ for close contacts or as an alternative to self-isolation.

UNISON is saying this because cases are rising rapidly, hospitals are near to capacity and admissions are rising, the risk of long COVID particularly for younger workers who aren’t fully vaccinated, and the risk to those who are still clinically vulnerable.

Keep in touch during the break as we expect further developments.

Update for #Coventry City #UNISON members on #Pay claim 2021 / 2022

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The pandemic has exposed to even more people who the real key workers are in society. Ordinary people, across the public and private sector, have kept society functioning.

#UNISON, alongside the other trade unions, submitted a pay claim of 10% in local government. To put that into context – our pay has dropped by up to 18% in real terms since 2010. So 10% would go towards the money that we have lost out on.

The employers have come back with a measly 1.5% pay offer. This is at a time when the Retail Price Index measure of inflation for May 2021 3.3%, so another real term pay cut!

UNISON correctly rejected this offer as being an insult and far below what we are worth. Today the employers have come back with an increased offer – of an extra 0.25%, taking it to 1.75%. This is an absolute disgrace and nowhere near what our members need. It is in reality a pay cut in real terms.

After everything that has happened – we are worth more than this. Some may ask, is the money there? The facts speak for themselves – £37 billion on the track and trace system and £2 billion in Covid contracts for Tory donors just for starters.

Council workers deserve a proper pay rise. Its as simple as that. It is not just council workers though – teachers and health workers to name just two other groups of workers are not getting what they need or deserve. We just co-ordinate our campaigning with other sectors who are also under attack. Keep an eye out for further updates, or visit the local government section on the UNISON website.

Update for Coventry City UNISON @coventryunison Members & Stewards – #Learning & #Education

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As your union learning reps [ULRs] our role is to support and encourage members to engage in learning. Improving your skills & training will help you move on to a better job and cope with change at work. Continuing with your education is a productive way to keep your mind active and your spirits up. It is important that we keep well and look after our mental health.

 

UNISON learning offers free and discounted online courses to all members. We regularly promote and update information about learning, funding and educational opportunities on our branch learning website. Follow the link for the latest posts; https://covunisonlearning.wordpress.com/2021/07/21/courses-for-stewards-and-activists/

 

If you have any queries about workplace training, learning, further education or are interested in becoming a workplace ULR, contact branch ULRs at the branch office on 02476 550829 : email us at office@unisoncoventry.co.uk

Letter from #Coventry City #UNISON to the Leader & Chief Exec @coventrycc ref Working Arrangements for Council Staff.

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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.

Yours sincerely

Sarah

Sarah Feeney (she/her)
Branch Secretary
UNISON Coventry City Branch

Commission on Race and Ethics Disparities – Coventry City #UNISON Branch Committee – 13/04/21

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The Commission on Race and Ethics Disparities government report came out 31st March 2021 in response to the protests at the murder of George Floyd and the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The report covers health, education, crime and policing and employment and was chaired by Tony Sewell. 

It concludes, institutionalised and structural racism does not exist in the UK because things have moved on and improved–we are in [quote] “the era of participation” .

It recognises that racism does exist in various forms but there was no evidence that it is to blame. Sewell argues that inequalities are due to other factors such as, socio-economic, cultural, religious, family influence, geographical, individual responsibility and attitude – and that the root of disadvantages suffered by black communities is “broken families” and “father absence”.

The disproportionate number of deaths from Covid amongst Black communities/workers is largely due to low paid, high-risk jobs, most of which are public facing, on zero, part-time contracts and workers and their families living in over- crowded poorly maintained housing. We know that Black workers are stuck in these jobs and living conditions, unable to move on, because of institutionalised and structural racism. The report denies there is a direct link between over-crowded housing, the deaths of Black workers on the frontline during the pandemic, the Grenfell fire, the Windrush scandal and racial discrimination because, “outcomes such as these do not come by design, and are certainly not deliberately targeted”.

The report claims there is no evidence to suggest that Black communities suffering systematic racism has a negative effect on mental or physical health, on housing, employment, income or education because otherwise this would be reflected in overall mortality figures which in these communities is lower.

Sewell argues, we should not focus on race and racism because poverty and poor education because it also affects white people.

Academics, organisations named as contributors have claimed they were not contacted by the Commission, unaware and horrified to discover they were listed. Others have said they have been misinterpreted, it is based on outdated research and distanced themselves from the report.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/07/uk-public-health-expert-michael-marmot-criticises-no-10-race-report-shortcomings

Report introduction and recommendations 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-report-of-the-commission-on-race-and-ethnic-disparities/foreword-introduction-and-full-recommendations

National #UNISON Members Meeting – #Schools Reopening…

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This coming Monday 22nd February the Prime Minister is due to announce the government’s roadmap to fully re-open schools in England – expected to be from 8th March.

UNISON is to hold an on-line meeting to discuss this and any accompanying guidance from the Department for Education. See below for more informaton.

Wednesday 24th February @ 5pm

Schools opening to all pupils – online meeting for members