UNISON Opposed to a pay FREEZE for Public Sector Staff!

Standard

Branch Consultation shows that UNISON members overwhelmingly want decent pay!

Thank you to all UNISON members who took part in our recent consultation on what our pay claim should be for 2021/2022.

UNISON, the largest public service union, has responded with dismay to news that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is considering the implementation of a pay freeze for public sector staff, including thousands of Coventry residents.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said today (Friday):
‘Key workers across all public services remain at the heart of the fight against Covid…pay restraint …would be a cruel body blow to health, care, and public service employees working tirelessly to get us through the pandemic. It would also backfire badly with the public. The government must do what’s right next week and announce the wage rise all staff have more than earned. Anything less, risks destroying morale when the entire country is counting on them’.

The news comes as the Coventry City UNISON branch reveals that our members overwhelmingly voted for a 10% pay rise in an indicative consultation. This reflects real hardship for many public service staff, the impact of COVID-19 on hard-working families, and the continued negative influence of over a decade of austerity.

The results of the branch consultation on the 2021/2022 pay claim are below:
There were 3 options


A) 5% or £10 per hour pay rate whichever is greater
B) 8% or £10 per hour pay rate whichever is greater
C) 10%

Members voted as follows

A) 8.1%
B) 9.7%
C) 82.1%

Therefore we have reported back to the national union that our branch thinks the union should submit a claim for 10%.

Quite simply, our members deserve decent pay for providing vital public services.

COVID-19 – Update for Members in Schools…

Standard


UNISON is seeking clarity from the local authority about receiving updated risk assessments where schools have experienced a COVID incident.

If you have experienced a COVID incident and are not clear about any changes to processes and procedures as a result of the incident please get in touch with us.

COVID-19 Update for @coventrycc UNISON members

Standard

As management begins communicating with staff about the reopening of #Friargate and other council buildings we would like to update you on the discussions held thus far.

Corporate management have been very clear that in opening these buildings there is no instruction to staff to return to them if they can continue and would prefer to work from home or in a more agile manner.

Corporately management have shared the work done in preparation of opening, including engineer reports on air ventilation systems, floor layouts, and changes to work practices to support a safe return to the office for those who would benefit from it. This information needs to be supplemented by service area rationales for return and local risk assessments and UNISON is waiting on some of this detail.

If you have concerns about a return to your workplace please get in touch with the branch as soon as possible so that we can offer advice and support.

Negotiations Update – Coventry City Council – @coventrycc

Standard

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.

Vulnerable Person Risk Assessments (VERA)…

Standard

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 Coventry City Council Staff

Standard

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

Standard

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.