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.

Vote YES! for action on #pay. Members working in Councils and schools are voting on #strike action.

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Members in the City Council and in schools will receive a letter and voting papers through the post from the 1st December and papers MUST be sent back so we receive them by the 14th January.

We are asking people to vote for strike action and we know that this is not something you do lightly; it is always our last resort. But, you have been offered a 1.75% pay increase, which in real terms is a pay cut – inflation is well above 3%. After years of declining pay, enough is enough – it’s time to take action.

This is your decision on pay. Use your vote and #VoteYes

For further information go to unison.org.uk/LGpay

Request a replacement ballot paper by 10th January by calling UNISONdirect on 0800 0857 857

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.

Message of Support to Protest against Immigration Reporting Requirements

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Coventry #UNISON wholeheartedly supports @caragcoventry and others protesting in Solihull today. Currently, anyone who is waiting for a final decision on their application to live in the UK can be required to regularly travel to “sign on” at an Immigration Reporting Centre. Every appointment carries the risk of being randomly taken to a detention centre. These conditions amount to unfair, unjust and unnecessary harassment of migrants, and it has to stop!

UNISON believes the Hostile Environment in the UK has led to a climate in which racism can grow and in which the government has encouraged people to scapegoat others as a distraction from the real cause of problems we face in our working and personal lives. As public service staff representatives we believe all those seeking to live in the UK should be able to participate fully.

We support the right to work and receive training for people seeking legal status and asylum. During the COVID pandemic we need the valuable skills and knowledge that people new to the UK can offer to help with the NHS, housing, education and other vital public services. We believe trade unionists can and should ensure we offer full solidarity to everyone at the sharp end of the hostile environment.

All our best wishes for today’s protest and do keep us in the loop about how we can continue to support your campaign activities.

Coventry City UNISON (trade union)

Mental Health Matters…#mentalhealthmatters

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The branch is concerned that members may be struggling with their mental health through this lockdown and who may have been struggling with other concerns for some time. 

We have seen increasing rates of sickness absence and members struggling with their anxieties.  We don’t want anyone to struggle alone and we are here to help where we can; we aren’t trained counsellors however and below are several ways you can access professional support.  

UNISON’s national charity There For You can be contacted to seek support on – 02071215620

As we said last week many employers may also have their own support services that staff can access to get support.

Here is a list of organisations in Coventry that may be able to help you or a family member:

Mental Health Support Organisations

Samaritans Call 116 123 free 24/7

Safe Havens Safe Havens in Coventry and Warwickshire provide out-of-hours mental health support for people who are feeling distressed and overwhelmed.  

PAPYRUS Free service for young people. Call 0800 068 4141 9am-10pm Mon-Fri /2pm-10pm weekends or visit www.papyrus-uk.org

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) Call 0300 111 5065 9am-9pm Monday to Friday or visit www.uksobs.org

MIND Coventry and WarwickshireHelp and support for mental health problems. Call 024 7655 2847 or visit www.cwmind.org.uk

Change Grow Live Coventry Free and confidential drug and alcohol service for adults, families and affected others. Call 02476 010241 9am-5pm Mon/ 9am – 8pm Tue/ 9am – 5pm Wed-Fri or email coventry.info@cgl.org.uk

Compass: Substance misuse service for children and young people in Warwickshire Call 01788 578 227 or email: compass.warksypsduty@nhs.net.  Office hours are Mon-Thurs 09:00 to 17:00 and Friday from 9am to 4.30pm. Visit: https://www.compass-uk.org/services/warwickshire-cypdas/ for more information

The Recovery and Wellbeing Academy: Free courses and workshops to help people in their recoveryCall 0300 303 2626 or visit www.recoveryandwellbeing.covwarkpt.nhs.uk

The KaleidoscopeSuicide Bereavement Support Services call 0121 565 5665 or visit www.kaleidoscopeplus.org.uk

Veterans’ Mental Health TIL Service Call 0300 323 0137 24/7

RISE: Emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young peopleCall 0300 200 2021 8am – 6pm Mon-Fri or visit www.cwrise.com


It Takes Balls To Talk: Campaign to encourage people to talk about mental health issues. Visit www.ittakesballstotalk.com

URGENT Schools Advice!

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This advice applies to all primary schools, special schools, SEND and early years settings in England.special schools, SEND and early years settings in England.

In UNISON’s view, it is unsafe for you to attend the workplace at present if your school is fully opened to all pupils.

Our advice is that you should decide to advise your head teacher or employer that you will not be attending the workplace but will be available to work remotely from home or only being in school supporting provision and the learning of key worker and vulnerable children if necessary.

Here is a letter for to send to your head teacher or employer:

Your model letter

When sending this letter, you will also be asserting your legal right to be protected against any detrimental action by your employer, including to your pay. This right is explained in full in the model letter.

Our advice applies for at least the first two weeks of term, the same period for which secondary schools and some primary schools have already been instructed by the government to move to remote learning.

UNISON is issuing this advice after careful consideration of the advice which was apparently given to the government by the SAGE advisory group and the current position on infection rates.

Safety in schools

We understand that SAGE has advised the Government that schools should move to remote learning in order to help reduce the rate of spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The advice given by SAGE has only been adopted in relation to secondary schools and to primary schools in some Tier 4 areas.  Given the overall increase in infection rates, however, we believe it is unsafe for schools to reopen in any area at present.

Infection rates are far higher than at the end of last term. This increase has been promoted by the new variant of the COVID-19 virus which was not properly understood at that time.  These developments mean, in our view, that the risk assessments in place in schools at the end of last term cannot now be relied on by employers to demonstrate that workplaces are safe in these changed circumstances. We are calling on all employers in all schools, whatever age group they serve and whatever the local tier of restrictions, to review their risk assessments and safety measures before asking employees to return to the workplace.

Face to face provision

We accept that schools may need to provide face to face provision for vulnerable students and the children of key workers and are also expected to open for some exam groups.

This should happen after risk assessments have been reviewed and appropriate measures taken to ensure safety, including for necessary social distancing and limits on group sizes.

We are advising members that they should agree to make themselves available to attend the workplace to support these students on a rota basis. The model letter you can send to your headteacher/employer makes clear you are making yourself available to work from home or to support with this limited in-school provision.

Petition to make schools safe and protect communities

Along with the teachers’ union, the NEU, we have launched a public petition calling on the government to use this period of remote learning to establish how quickly the new variant of the virus is transmitted, and to establish measures to keep schools more “COVID secure”.

Sign the petition

Next steps

UNISON’s national schools committee meets on Monday 4 January to decide next steps and we will keep you updated via email. Please also follow our Facebook page for the latest information.

In the meantime, please use the model letter to notify your head teacher or principal of your position.



UNISON Coventry City Branch

Call us on 02476 550829
email us at office@unisoncoventry.co.uk

No to Trade Union Victimisation. Coventry City UNISON Stands in #Solidarity with Louise Lewis and demands her Reinstatement!

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Coventry City UNISON notes with complete dismay and anger the suspension of Louise Lewis, NEU representative at North Huddersfield Trust School and also Vice President of Kirklees NEU.

Louise has been following union advice and government guidelines in trying to secure proper and timely risk assessments from the school in relation to Covid. On 1st October, she was escorted from the school building, having been told the school had lost all confidence in her and she now faces disciplinary action.

This was on the day of a spot check visit by the Health and Safety Executive. We believe Louise has been targeted for legitimate trade union activity which included raising questions about safety during the current pandemic.


This branch recognises that this action is a direct attack on union organisation, as well as basic health and safety requirements, at a time of acute crisis. This branch reaffirms its solidarity with Kirklees NEU and Louise and agrees to do whatever it can to support her immediate reinstatement and dropping of all charges

Please sign the following petitions!

https://www.change.org/p/kirklees-council-workplace-bullying-at-nhts

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/reinstate-neu-rep-louise-lewis-north-huddersfield-trust

UNISON – We Won’t Look the Other Way!

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UNISON is aware that the COVID crisis and restrictions have played a part in the increased incidents of domestic abuse.

Whilst the majority of people experiencing domestic abuse are women we are aware that men can be in need of support too.

We are sharing the experience of one of our members who, with help, has changed her life and left her abusive partner.

Your branch welfare officer, Chris Burrow, can also be reached on 02476 521126.  He would like to remind you of UNISON’s ThereForYou charity, which can support members with domestic abuse issues including providing financial assistance.

 
My Story…A real-life experience of domestic abuse from one of our members.
My marriage was abusive and the majority of that abuse was coercive control.  He has both physical and mental health problems and I was his carer as well as being primary carer to our children and the only earner in the household. 

For many years I made excuses for his behaviour but over time his treatment of me just got worse.  I spent much of my time at home feeling like I was walking on eggshells just waiting for the accusations and blame that were sure to come.  As the children got older and didn’t need me to take them to friends’ houses or to the park anymore then my reasons for leaving the house reduced to going to work, doing the shopping and any errands my husband wanted me to do for him.  I would cling onto the little moments of happiness, the fact that I loved him and he needed me, and not think too far ahead and so the days, months and years passed.

Family gatherings (including Christmas) could quickly switch from being wonderful to traumatic because of how unpredictable he could be and I was always on high alert to subtle changes in his mood.

I remember going to see my GP (during a period of sick leave from work due to home life stress) and being told that my husband was being abusive.  At the time I just thought “that’s not helpful because I still have to live this life” but it was helpful because it acknowledged what was happening and contributed to me recognising the abusive behaviour.  What would have helped even more would have been signposting me to services like Coventry Haven who gave me considerable support later on.  It took me a long time to accept the reality that I was living with an abuser but once I did it was a stepping stone to being able to leave.  Although, to begin with, I wasn’t sure that leaving would ever be possible I did begin to dream of a life of my own. 

Eventually, with the help of family and friends I was able to leave and we now have our own home where we feel safe.  One of the people who supported me was my line manager.  She helped me to process what had happened and to make decisions about how to change my life.  I have now, two years on, found belief in myself and am enjoying a life where I make the choices I want to make.

UNISON recognise the impact that domestic abuse has on our members’ lives. Support and understanding from your employer can make all the difference if you are a survivor, or if you are trying to escape.

We take the lead in negotiating workplace policies to support and assist staff experiencing domestic abuse, in a confidential and safe way.

If you need help, we are here for you; please get in touch with us confidentially so we can help. 

UNISON Coventry City Branch
 
Call us on 02476 550829
email us at office@unisoncoventry.co.uk

Save Union Learning!

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The government has decided to scrap Union Learning Fund from March 2021. In 2019–20, the ULF was worth £12m. It supported more than 200,000 learners in workplaces across England – both union members and non-members.

This decision will effectively end union-brokered skills training and will undermine key government skills and retraining priorities at a crucial moment for our economy. UNISON and her sister unions believe this decision is counterproductive and must be reversed.  

Please sign the petition to stop the government attack on our education.

https://covunisonlearning.wordpress.com/

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.