Tonight Inverclyde Council’s corporate communications team put out a message to all staff on behalf of the chief executive, thanking staff for their efforts in delivering essential and critical services during the covid-19 lockdown. Not all occupational groups mere mentioned in the message – rightly or wrongly! However when referring to the important work being done in the school and early years hubs the message said. “Our teachers are delivering childcare support for key workers or supporting our young people to continue their learning while in lockdown using online resources and teaching methods. Our refuse collectors are making sure that, with so many people at home producing much more waste, that we are continuing to deliver this essential service.”
Now most members, even those not employed in Education services, will probably know that early years workers and learning support staff are also delivering childcare support for key workers and supporting our young people to continue their learning. School office staff are also working in hubs to ensure schools are maintaining proper functionality. Cleaning and janitorial staff are ensuring hubs are opened and properly cleaned and catering staff are cooking meals and keeping kitchens running.
In the interest of balance, the branch accepts that this was probably an oversight on the part of the chief executive and corporate communications – we certainly hope so. However the message was predicated on the basis that it’s not just NHS workers who are delivering critical services. At the beginning it is stated . “I appreciate that many of the national messages around protecting the NHS will, for some, give the impression that only the NHS and other emergency services are classed as ‘key workers’. I can assure that this is not the case. Key workers include a vast range of our own services.” (incidentally can you imagine NHS GG&C delivering a message to all its staff thanking doctors only for the fantastic care showed to all their patients?)
The purpose behind this message to address the misconceptions of exclusivity is not just welcomed but encouraged. To do so in a manner that is…..well exclusive, is just crass. Our message to members working in schools and early years hubs is different from the council’s. We thank all members for your commitment and efforts in extremely difficult and challenging times. Working with children, especially young children is not only demanding in normal times but in these times where social distancing is almost impossible – putting yourself at greater risk. Our thanks and appreciation is entirely inclusive.
Unison (Inverclyde Branch)
30 Bawhirley Road,