Covid updates

Covid – Advice for people at highest risk

The Covid guidance for those at highest risk has been updated – the updated document can be accessed here: 

https://www.gov.scot/publications/covid-highest-risk/

State of the epidemic

The current ‘state of the epidemic’ document outlining the progress of the virus can be found here:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-state-epidemic-14-january-2022/

Life after lockdown: how do we best recover from the pandemic? 

An interesting article on the impact of and how we best recover from the pandemic:https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jan/16/life-after-lockdown-how-do-we-best-recover-from-the-pandemic?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Social Care – SSSC fees to be paid for new entrants

The Scottish Government announced last week that the SSSC and PVG fees will be waived for all new staff joining social care. It is not yet clear whether local authorities will have to fund this themselves but we do know that it will not apply to existing staff.  

You can read the full announcement here: https://www.gov.scot/news/staff-joining-social-care-to-have-fees-waived/

and UNISON’s response here: https://unison-scotland.org/social-care-staff-are-being-taken-for-granted-once-again-says-unison/

Updated self-isolation exemption guidance for health and social care staff. 

The Scottish Government has updated the self-isolation exemption guidance for health and social care staff. The revised guidance can be found here: https://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/details.asp?PublicationID=7514  We understand that an accompanying flowchart and FAQ document are to following the coming days.

The guidance removes the need for fully vaccinated staff, identified as contacts to PCR test prior to returning to work. They should take an LFD test instead. If the LFD test is negative and provided they don’t have a fever or other symptoms staff can continue to work following a risk assessment by their line manager. They should also continue to take an LFD test every day for a 10 day period.

The guidance also clarifies that staff that test positive should pause their workplace LFD testing for 28 days (from day 1 of symptom onset or asymptomatic test date). If they are also required to PCR test weekly, they should also pause this for a period of 90 days.  Please also note that the guidance highlights that the likelihood of a positive LFD test in the absence of a high temperature after 10 days is low, so further testing is not advised, unless they have renewed symptoms.

2022 Pay claim

Further to our branch consultation, discussion with the other SJC trade unions and as unanimously agreed by the Local Government Committee, see the SJC Joint Trade Union 2022 pay claim.  

Our claim is for:

  • A settlement that runs for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. 
  • A £3,000 flat rate increase to all spinal column points (based on a 35 hour working week).   
  • An underpinning minimum rate of pay of £12 per hour. 
  • The payment of SSSC fees for all by 1st April 2022 and completion of the review, established as part of our 2021 settlement, of all other professional fees incurred by members in the course of their employment by March 2023.  
  • Early completion of the review, established as part of our 2021 settlement, on how we achieve a no detriment reduction in the working week. 
  • Agreement to change the national calculator for the normal working week to 35 hours. 
  • An agreement that in future all allowances are automatically uprated in line with October inflation rates. 
  • Agreement of home/hybrid working guidance that provides appropriate recompense for expenses incurred as a result of home/hybrid working. 
  • A review of the job evaluation scores for roles that have changed during the period of the pandemic and/or have new additional qualification requirements. 
  • No less than parity with other local government bargaining groups. 
  • Early commencement of negotiations with a clear expectation of settlement implementation by 1 April review date.  

Stress and ADHD awareness – free learning courses

We have secured funding through Scottish Union Learning to run the courses below which are open to both members and activists, so please promote widely.

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis with unsuccessful applicants placed on a waiting list for future courses.

Applicants should e-mail: memberlearningscotland@unison.co.uk   with their preferred course/s and date/s.

Stress Awareness – 3 Course Dates to choose from

  1. 3rd February – 9.30 to 12.30
  2. 7th February – 1.30 to 4.30
  3.  10th February – 9.30 to 12.30 

Course Outline

  • What is stress and  Is stress a mental illness ? 
  • Types of stress and What causes stress? 
  • What does stress feel like? 
  • Am I stressed? Is there a Stress Symptoms Checklist 
  • How does stress affect your health? 
  • Does stress affect men and women differently?
  • How can we prevent stress ? 
  • How to manage stress  
  • What treatments are there for stress? 
  • Where to find Stress Management Support? 

ADHD Awareness – 3 Course Dates to choose from

  1. 27th January – 10 to 12.30
  2. , 8th February – 10 to 12.30
  3.  17th February – 10 to 12.30

Course Outline

  • An introduction and history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 
  • How ADHD is diagnosed. 
  • How ADHD affects children, adolescents, teens, and adults
  • The different treatment methods and therapies for ADHD.
  • How to recognise behavioral patterns in those with ADHD.
  • About the misconceptions often associated with ADHD. 

Evidence to Scottish Parliament on LG Funding

The UNISON Local Government Committee gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee on Tuesday on the impact of the provisional budget allocations to local government.  You can view the full session (we present first – from 9.30am – followed by COSLA, SOLACE and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance) here:  https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/local-government-housing-and-planning-committee-january-11-2022

Read the transcript from the session here https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/official-report/what-was-said-in-parliament/LGHP-11-01-2022?meeting=13508&iob=122602

Read the coverage in the Scotsman here:https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/no-appetite-from-councillors-in-scotland-to-raise-council-tax-by-more-than-3-per-cent-say-cosla-3522740

Information request – Ventilation in schools 

Please see the letter we have received from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and Cllr Stephen McCabe.  Please let us know if you have any specific issues re ventilation in schools that you are struggling to get resolved so that we can feed this back