#COVID-19 #Coventry #City #UNISON Update 08/01/21

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All Members…

The branch is starting to receive numerous queries from staff who under previous lockdowns have been directed to work from home but are now being told that they are “key workers” and should be coming into office locations.  UNISON is clear that this lockdown is even more serious than the November lockdown given the new strain of the virus.  If your manager is now insisting that you come into the office, please re-iterate to them the advice given by the government that if you can work from home then you should.   Then get in contact with us and ensure that we are aware of what your service area is proposing.

Adult Social Care Members…
UNISON is aware of the issues arising in day ops and are discussing with management ways in which risks are managed and minimised for you. Please check with your manager that risk assessments have been reviewed to reflect risks posed by the new variant of Covid 19. Please get in touch if you have any concerns.

Library Members…
We are due to meet the management team on Monday to discuss the level of service being offered during this latest lockdown and the issues raised by members as a result of this.

Due to the level of concern raised, the advice of UNISON nationally and CILIP we have written to the head of service today, copying in the Kevin Maton, the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills. We have requested that Libraries cease services from Central Library as is their plan and enable staff to work from home or remain home if this is not possible.

Are you a key worker? Can you request your child goes to school because of your role?

This question has been raised because of verbal information received from Libraries management by some staff. To date, the critical worker list on the government website does not specify that Library staff are key workers.

Management has confirmed that the DCMs guidance has not been updated to reflect this. Therefore we would not advise members to exercise a right to a place for their child on this basis at the moment

We will update you as soon as we receive a response.

Schools Members…

Do all staff need to be at school during lockdown?

No. Schools and colleges should ensure they have sufficient staff on-site to operate safely and support the on-site provision but all other staff should work from home where possible. A rota system would be the safest and fairest way to implement this. Some employees may prefer to work on-site – that’s a reasonable request. Despite the requirements for remote learning provision, it is not sensible to expect all staff to be on site.

Why are nurseries still open?  

UNISON is continuing to press the government to treat nurseries the same as primary schools.  We have seen a copy of the letter sent to Gavin Williamson on this matter.  It notes that SAGE member Prof Semple is on record as saying he couldn’t explain why nurseries were open and the decision was not a scientific one.

What are doing about the wide definition of vulnerable children? 

Nationally UNISON is arguing that only those children assessed as vulnerable in their COVID EHC plan should be attending school.  Employees should be asking for individual pupil risk assessments for all SEN pupils who have a EHC.

What’s happening with risk assessments?  

We’ve had very clear advice.  We cannot tell you a school is safe if we have not seen and agreed a revised risked assessment. Employers must communicate changes to RAs to you as a matter of urgency.

Why did I get an email from the NEU?  

NEU sent emails to all who signed its petition asking for school closures, asking them to join NEU.  If you received such an email, contact us.  You should have received an apology from the NEU for this misuse of data.

Why is my head saying UNISON has retracted the section 44 advice?  

The DfE sent a letter to the director of education telling them we had done this.  We haven’t.  We expect a national statement from UNISON on this.  It appears Gavin Williamson is misrepresenting UNISON views.  We have informed the local authority of this.

My head is saying that DfE has now given clearer advice on how to manage the risk?

The DfE did issue new guidance yesterday.  UNISON has stated nationally that they are dismayed that is does address our concerns about the definition of vulnerable children, keyworker children.  

The current advice is:

1 – Limit bubble sizes to a maximum of 15 pupils per class or 50% of the usual class size, whichever is smaller.
2 – Staff should remain within their bubbles at all times with no crossover working.
3 – In special schools and alternative provision, it will not be appropriate or possible to give every child face to face provision every day.

What happens if the school isn’t following UNISON advice?  

Contact us. Tell us. We have received further advice from head office on escalating issues which we are currently considering.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable staff should be working from home.

UNISON Coventry City Branch

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

PRESS RELEASE – Coventry Libraries – An Express service to nowhere?

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Coventry City UNISON condemns the Proposals for Libraries in the public consultation which was undertaken by the library service from 19thNovember to 23rdDecember 2018.

The proposals were to;

  • Remove all hard copies of newspapers and magazines;
  • Open Central as an express model from 9-11 and on Sundays;
  • Remove overdue charges for late return of books for children ages 8-16;

What an express model would look like for service users was not detailed.

What was not consulted on, either by staff or the public, was to introduce single staffing in four libraries – Aldermoor, Caludon Castle School, Canley and Coundon.

UNISON have a major concern over the safety and wellbeing of the staff and users of the libraries if they were single staffed.

This in a time when a Coventry Violence Summit was called on Monday 28thJanuary as victims of serious violence has increased by 17.4 per cent from 2017 to 2018. There has also been an increase of 16.7 per cent in knife crime.

These current levels of violence have been branded “unacceptable” by Martin Reeves.

What does the council see as the purpose for a library? It’s hard to see in the proposals.

The proposed annual cost saving alone of £319,000 for libraries is less than the ‘clean up’ costs for the Godiva Festival at £460,000. The Godiva festival is a wonderful thing for Coventry, and so are libraries which are open and available all year round.

Libraries should be at the Heart of our community, not marginalised and under resourced.

People use then for all sorts of reasons and especially in times of austerity they are more valuable than ever.

The Libraries Taskforce set up by Central Government said;

Libraries are open to everyone. Their staff understand their community’s needs and are trusted to provide reliable guidance and support on a wide range of issues when people need help. They provide a vital role in helping public services reach out into communities.

They bring people together in vibrant community hubs which host local events and provide a shared sense of place for their users – something that is ever more important in an increasingly digital age”.

This is yet another nail in the coffin to a vital asset when we have been awarded the City of Culture 2021. Our Libraries can and should help to further develop the immense cultural and diverse asset which our members and the people of this great city deserve.

Follow @coventryunison on twitter.

 

ENDS

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Save Our Libraries – Please display Our Flyer and sign the e-petition to Coventry City Council

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Flyer Save Our Libraries

Please see our Library Campaign Flyer via the link at the start of this message.

Please sign the e-petition to @coventrycc Coventry City Council to save our local libraries http://epetitions.coventry.gov.uk/2015/02/against-library-closure/