Lateral Flow Tests and Vaccinations…

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The number of people taking lateral flow tests over the past few weeks has started to drop significantly. We are clear that whilst lateral flow tests are a secondary part of risk management, they are important for identifying those who may be asymptomatic but still able to pass the virus on. We would urge all front-facing workers to consider getting tested on a weekly basis at least for their peace of mind.

We know that many social care staff and vulnerable staff have now been invited to be vaccinated. We know that people have concerns about the safety and content of the vaccines but we would encourage people to get vaccinated. Coventry City Council have helpfully produced the following guidance:

The government has launched the SHARE checklist to tackle the spread of false information about coronavirus and vaccinations.

Recently there has been a lot of false information about coronavirus and the new vaccines designed to tackle it and it’s not always easy to spot. The SHARE checklist is an easy tool to pass on to people in your community to help them know what to look out for before they like, comment or share information they come across online.

If you are looking for information on vaccination safety, please see the NHS guide on Why vaccination is safe and important.

The independent fact-checker Full Fact is also working to fact check and correct misinformation about vaccines and coronavirus and regularly updates its website to tackle the latest false information.

COVID-19 Update for #UNISON Members in #Coventry City Branch

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In light of the Prime Ministers’ announcement of the latest lockdown, we would like to update you on what we are doing to support you in the workplace.

For Council employed staff we have requested an urgent meeting to discuss with the employer steps that need to be taken to keep staff safe during this lockdown.

We intend to review by service area management expectations but we would ask that members update us regarding any communication and response that may have been received in response to these new concerns.

With the development of the new strain of COVID all risk assessments and VERAs should be reviewed to ascertain what additional steps may need to be taken.  The key message is if you can work from home you should do so.  We will support any member, wherever they work, who wishes to raise concerns about being asked to attend an office location unnecessarily

For non-council members, we are aware that many of you continue to work in front-facing roles that do not allow working from home. Your employer should be reviewing risk assessments in the workplace and sharing them with you to ensure your safety. If you are a vulnerable employee who has concerns about shielding we urge you to talk to your employer about furlough and if you need further support to get in contact with us.

Our national website is regularly updated with information and advice for all members in all sectors and is well worth checking if you have a query.

For school-based staff, we continue to meet with the local authority on a regular basis and keep raising our concerns over safety and workplace practices. The new lockdown comes in no small part due to the activity of our trade union and others over the past week. There is a further guide available for those who work in special education.

Should any member be struggling financially during the period please do get in touch; however, we will be sending out further communications in the next few days about the support you can get from UNISON.

We have proved this week that together we are stronger and the activities of our members can and do effect positive change. If your colleagues are not members then encourage them to join now at https://joining.unison.org.uk or if you know of any members who have not received this email please ask them to get in touch and update their contact details with us.

 

UNISON Coventry City Branch

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

PRESS RELEASE – Sickness Absence in Coventry City Council

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Coventry City UNISON note that sickness absence due to stress has risen 10% in the last year.  At a time of austerity with many council jobs having been lost and demand for services ever increasing this is no surprise to us.  Coventry City UNISON are working with our members to try to address the issue of stress in the workplace and the causes of it.  The union will be coming forward with proposals for the council to consider a proper mental health strategy; this is an issue that UNISON has been raising for some considerable time even getting the employer to do some training with MIND but unfortunately for many of our members they have not seen any benefit of this.

 

Sarah Feeney, Branch Secretary said in response to Cllr Mutton’s comments, “We were very surprised to see Cllr Mutton’s comments regarding his belief that an unnamed union has been encouraging its members to go off sick.  The reality is that many of our members who are off sick with stress have needed time away from the workplace to get better.  Our considerable experience tells us that it is a matter for the medical profession to determine whether an employee is fit for work and not a trade union.  What is more have also consistently raised issues of Equality and Diversity that affect the culture of the work place which in turn impacts on absence. These concerns are well known to the employer. 

 

In a number of cases management inaction for a period of months has led to both the absence and the prolonged nature of it and we would be more than happy to discuss these matters with Cllr Mutton.  In respect of his comment about carers taking time off sick for childcare we do not recognise that from our work with our members; in reality a large amount of the sickness total is due to long periods of absence largely due to stress issues. The City Council needs to take seriously the issue of its duty of care to employees that is enshrined in law”

 

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PRESS RELEASE – Sickness absence at Coventry City Council – ‘Mental Health Matters’

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UNISON welcomes the opportunity to respond to the comments made in the Coventry Evening Telegraph by Councillor Mutton, Cabinet Member for Resources, about sickness absence at Coventry City Council.

We too are very concerned at the upward trend in sickness absence in the organisation. Just a few weeks ago UNISON highlighted the issue of mental health in the workplace and held open meetings on Mental Health in the Workplace, which were well received. The aim of these meetings is to record the issues that affect our members’ mental health and well-being and to begin to address them with our employer.

We have raised questions about this matter with the employer over a number of years, not least as they apply to the Equality Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act. The employer has a duty of care to ensure employees are kept safe at work in all aspects, including health and well-being.

They also have a duty to ensure that those employees are properly supported in order that they can carry out their roles. We have also raised issues about bullying, harassment and cultural issues of discrimination many times with the City Council.

We know that the vast majority of absence is genuine. We also know that austerity and cuts to Council budgets have had a devastating impact on the workplace as employees are asked to take on more work with less staff which simply cannot continue.

Public Service should be respected and embraced. Our members often go above and beyond the call of duty.  That needs to be recognised. For too long our members have been undermined by austerity. To excel, we need to become an employer of choice. Therefore it is important that our members are valued employees regardless of whom they are. The Council could embrace Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We are at our best when everyone feels valued.

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Please phone 02476 550829 or email sarah.feeney@unisoncoventry.co.uk  or richard.harty@unisoncoventry.co.uk with any enquiries.

Mental Health in Coventry City Council – Update to Council Staff

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Meetings identify significant issues around Mental Health & Wellbeing in Coventry City Council

UNISON has held two meetings with staff in recent weeks to discuss the impact of mental health on the workplace, how issues have been with by the employer and what other steps might have been taken to address them.

We wish to thank all those who attended the meetings.  Staff gave the union a big insight into the depth of the issues and concerns that people have.  For some this may not have been easy.  We really appreciate the input we have received.

UNISON will now be considering the information we have received, identifying any common themes, and making arrangements to establish a working group with members.  The working group’s task will be to come up with specific actions for the employer which could improve Mental Health & Wellbeing in the workplace.

Together we can be better. Join UNISON today to help us fight to end discrimination.

Download this statement – hotline281118

Thanks

Coventry City UNISON