Self-isolating – The 12 week period for members self-isolating is due to come to an end in the middle of June. This includes members who have underlying health conditions and those living with household members with underlying health conditions (it is important to say that the national guidance does not include self-isolation for staff who have members in their household with underlying health conditions. This is a local decision which Inverclyde council took. Many other councils are not allowing their employees to self-isolate in these circumstances). Members should continue to self-isolate and if practical work at home until such times as updated guidance is issued. We are having regular discussions with the council on all workforce matters relating to the lockdown and it’s proposed easing and will provide further advice on this issue in due course.
Pregnancy – Likewise the current guidance is that all pregnant employees should self-isolate and if practical work from home. This continues to be the position and will remain so unless new guidance is issued.
Working from home – A large number of members are either working from home, on authorised absence (if working from home is not practical) or working reduced hours on a rota basis. Any changes to these arrangements will need to be discussed with UNISON in advance. No member should be told to return to work or discontinue reduced working arrangements unless there has been prior consultation with the branch.
Schools/Early years establishments – You may have seen the First Minister’s announcement today regarding the re-opening of schools and nurseries. Staff working in schools and nurseries will be expected to return to work in June with children returning on the 11th August. This is earlier than the planned return date in August. All term-time members will receive these days back and it is yet to be finalised how this will be done. Earlier today we had a meeting with council officers to discuss this in more detail and how a return to work for schools and early years staff may be managed in a safe and practical manner. We expect the council to issue guidance to all affected staff early next week.
Recovery Process – Myself and other branch officers have been in regular dialogue with HR, corporate directors and heads of service throughout the lockdown period. This includes, more recently, discussions about the recovery process. These discussions have been constructive and the council are asking UNISON and the other TUs to be fully involved in recovery plans especially those that impact on the workforce. Moving forward we want to make sure that as more members return to work, safety must be an absolute priority in the recovery model.
Branch – Most of our stewards and branch officers are working either at home or in their normal workplaces. Many will be involved directly in the recovery plans as they affect their own particular service areas. The branch committee has had one virtual meeting during lockdown with another scheduled for next Thursday. It is important that the branch continues to function as normally as can be expected. If you have any issues or concerns about any of the points raised here or any issues generally about the lockdown then please get in touch with myself or a steward. Details of all stewards and branch officers can be found on the branch website www.unisoninverclyde.org.uk
Unison (Inverclyde Branch)
30 Bawhirley Road,