Annual General Meeting 24 Feb

As you will be aware your UNISON branch AGM will be held a bit differently this year. Like most things we have gone virtual and the meeting will be held on the 24th February 12-2p.m, Papers and Teams link will be sent the day before (23rd February) to those who confirmed attendance.

As you will be aware your UNISON branch AGM will be held a bit differently this year. Like most things we have gone virtual and the meeting will be held on the 24th February 12-2p.m, Papers and Teams link will be sent the day before (23rd February) to those who confirmed attendance. To confirm attendance please

please reply by email to The Branch Secretary, Lorraine Thomson, thomsonl34s@stirling.gov.uk to confirm attendance and include your; name, workplace and current e-mail. AGM papers will be attached to the Teams video link once attendance is confirmed the day before the AGM. Should any member not attending the AGM wish a copy of the AGM papers please e-mail the branch directly.

Please reply by no later than 9a.m on Tuesday 23rd February 2021, to allow us to send out the relevant papers and your link to the meeting.

You will have already received either an email and a letter about this. If you haven’t then please get in touch with the branch asap so that we can facilitate your participation in your branch democracy.

We are delighted that our new General Secretary Christina McAnea has agreed to come along and address our meeting to set out not only the unions key priorities but also how we face the challenge of the COVID pandemic. Christina is not only the first female General Secretary  but also the first Scottish General Secretary, she has a long track record of fighting on behalf of our members and a track record of winning those fights.

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM

COVID Workforce Issues Update Feb 2021


COVID Workforce Issues Update Schools New

Schools Reopening Guidance

The Scottish Government guidance for the phased re-opening of schools, as announced by the First Minister on Tuesday 16 Feb, has now been published and can be found here:  https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-schools-reopening

Schools 

1. The supplementary guidance on the phased reopening of schools has been delayed and we now anticipate that being published on Today morning. 

2. The technical guidance for schools was published on Friday afternoon and can be found here: 

https://education.gov.scot/improvement/covid-19-education-recovery/cerg-guidance

3. Coronavirus (COVID19): Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues – advice on mitigations to minimise transmission during phased return to in-person learning. 

In support of the advice which was published on 3 February, the advisory sub-group has considered its existing advice on the mitigations required to ensure a safe return to in-person learning for staff and pupils, and has identified some key areas where the advice should be strengthened. Where no amendment has been made, the existing advice still stands. 

This advice is subject to continued reductions in prevalence and community transmission of the virus, no significant changes in the evidence, and reassurance that appropriate infection prevention and control mitigations are in place both within schools and ELC settings, and in the wider community.   

Link to the full guidance is below but the key messages are: 

  • while vaccination is being rolled out, non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, face coverings and zero-tolerance to symptoms are the main public health tool against COVID-19. It is important, therefore, to focus on how to encourage and support widespread compliance with these interventions, including clear, unambiguous guidance on the required behaviour. 
  • a combination of physical distancing approaches that prevent crowding (e.g. classroom distancing, staggered start times), especially in older age groups, along with hygiene and safety measures (e.g. handwashing, cleaning, ventilation) have a role in limiting the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings. Measures should be adapted to the age group and the setting. It has not been possible, thus far, to assess the effectiveness of individual measures
  • there are already a number of mitigations in place to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in schools and ELC settings in Scotland, and these all continue to apply to the new variant (B.1.1.7). Advice from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), published in January 2021, on Mitigations to Reduce Transmission of the New Variant SARS-CoV-2 Virus, concluded that a step change in the rigour of application of mitigations is required, given the increased transmission risk associated with the new variant. 
  • schools and ELC settings should therefore place very high priority on reinforcing the mitigations designed to reduce the risk for staff and pupils as set out in the existing guidance on reducing the risks from COVID-19 in schools and any supplementary guidance associated with the phased reopening of schools; and the equivalent guidance on ELC settings, Childminding settings and School-Aged Childcare. Risk communication, community engagement and ongoing learning about implementation good practice, are crucial components of an effective response. 
  • Scottish Government, Education Scotland and local authorities should provide appropriate support to schools and ELC settings to enable them to implement the mitigations fully, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, children and young people, taking into account local circumstances and the practical constraints faced by different schools in terms of issues such as building design.   
  • as an additional protective measure, 2 metre distancing should be put in place at the current time for secondary-aged pupils, in addition to continuing to be in place for staff in secondary schools 
  • physical distancing requirements in primary schools remain unchanged: 2 metre distancing between adults not from the same household should be maintained. There should also be 2 metre distancing between adults and primary aged children whenever possible.  
  • in line with the strengthened advice on 2 metre physical distancing in secondary schools, it will be also be necessary to ensure 2 metre distancing on school transport for secondary schools, recognising that this may not be possible in the case of school taxis or planes. 
  • it was noted that local authorities and schools, as they begin to return on a phased basis, will start routinely to offer at-home testing using lateral flow devices to:  all primary, secondary and special school staff in local authority, independent and grant-aided schools; all ELC and childcare staff based in local authority, independent and grant-aided schools; all senior phase pupils in local authority, independent and grant-aided secondary and special schools. This offer will be extended to regulated day care of children services which are non-school based, in the weeks following the start of the programme.  

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid19-advisory-sub-group-on-education-and-childrens-issues—advice-on-mitigations-to-minimise-transmission-of-covid-19-during-phased-return-to-in-person-learning/

1. We received a presentation from Public Health Scotland on the data around transmission amongst young people and between young people and adults in the context of schools re-opening.  You can read more on this here: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/children-and-school-settings-covid-19-transmission 

2. There is more info on the risks related to the spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in the EU/EEA here (with specific ref to school settings on p14):  https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/COVID-19-risk-related-to-spread-of-new-SARS-CoV-2-variants-EU-EEA-first-update.pdf 

LG Finance 

A few articles on this: 

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/scottish-government-budget-plans-slammed-23443917?fbclid=IwAR2yLO-D0jDCvbFbekf3vp-WtB0Hj4PHVUlQgNMu-jq0zXsexr38rlTsvOc

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/north-lanarkshire-council-leader-blasts-23467359?fbclid=IwAR138aFq7jYZ9eu72dpNyjkpsZS9vpzYo4q5Mnp7QU1DoDzwbsshEjwIcKM

UNSION Newsletter Feb 2021

It’s probably fair to say that this newsletter possibly find’s you after facing off against January Blues that were worse than the usual ones.

It’s probably fair to say that this newsletter possibly find’s you after facing off against January Blues that were worse than the usual ones.

The post-Christmas news of the more restrictive lockdown measures although not surprising, hit most people’s morale hard.

It is however important to remember that as the days start to stretch that wee bit longer that we are getting closer to effective distribution of the vaccine. We want you to know that as your trade union, UNISON’s fight for workers’ rights has not stopped.

It hasn’t been stopped by a decade of an anti-union Tory government and it won’t be stopped by COVID-19. If anything, UNISON is stronger than ever because we have welcomed so many new members.

This February, there are a couple of key items we need to make you aware of.

AGM24th February 12:00 – 14:00

Plug the Gap Campaign – We need your help

Health & Safety Fortnight + Free UNISON H&S training

AGM

Firstly, your UNISON branch AGM will be held a bit differently this year. Like most things we have gone virtual and the meeting will be held on the 24th February 12-2p.m, Papers and Teams link will be sent the day before (23rd February) to those who confirmed attendance.

You should have already received either an email or letter about this. If you haven’t then please get in touch with the branch asap so that we can facilitate your participation in your branch democracy.

We are delighted that our new General Secretary Christina McAnea has agreed to come along and address our meeting to set out not only the unions key priorities but also how we face the challenge of the COVID pandemic. Christina is not only the first female General Secretary  but also the first Scottish General Secretary, she has a long track record of fighting on behalf of our members and a track record of winning those fights.

A further series of emails and letters will go out with details on joining instructions and AGM papers so please keep an eye out.

Plug the Gap Campaign

Our campaign to Protect our council services is gathering pace.

UNISON’s campaign is calling for:

  • Securing the long-term financial stability of local government: calling for further investment in local government to protect jobs and pay for the future.
  • Rewarding local government workers: for the vital services that local government workers provide to our communities.
  • Shaping local government for the future: looking at how roles have changed because of the pandemic
  • Consolidation of the Living Wage: Delivery of full consolidation of the living wage for across Scotland

We need your help

1.    Watch and share our campaign video: Plug the £1bn funding gap

The Scottish government must fund local councils properly to keep communities safe and rebuild the country ​following the pandemic.  We have launched a campaign, #PlugTheGap, to call on the Scottish government to find additional resources for Scotland’s councils to avoid devastating harm to services that have already suffered ten years of budget cuts.

Our governments must #plugthegap in funding. Please join our campaign to protect council services.

2.    Ask your MSP to demand that the Scottish government acts to protect essential council services

Write to your MSP using our automated email page –  Sign up to support our campaign, read the letter and if you agree, we can send it for you. Or edit the letter yourself and we will send it.

When you email your MSP/MP don’t hold back. Be sure to (politely as possible) let them know how the land lies.

Let them know about the service you still deliver either on the frontline as key workers or working form your makeshift home office.

On the front line tell them about the hazards you have faced at work or during your commute to it. If you are working from home, we want you to let them know how difficult it is to maintain your work while juggling home schooling and caring and worrying about the ones we love.

Most of all tell them why more than ever its vital that MSP’s back the UNISON campaign to properly fund essential council services. You could suggest that if they fail to do so, you will remember their choice when you make yours at the ballot box in May.

Our template letter can be accessed here  and has everything you need to get you started. https://action.unison.org.uk/page/70180/action/1

Please encourage your colleagues to join. If they are not members, ask them to take part. If you would like to get involved in this campaign, please get in touch with the branch

3.    Get involved in our #PlugTheGap campaign

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @unisonscot. Post and retweet our social media cards with #PlugTheGap  

Health & Safety Fortnight + Free UNISON H&S training

Finally, we wanted to let you know about our Health & Safety fortnight. As you will see from the earlier articles, a strong team of trade unionists is needed now more than ever to keep our workplaces safe. During H&S fortnight we will be running free training for UNISON members that will accredit our normal members to carry out vital safety inspections on behalf of the branch.

If you are interested the sessions will take place over Zoom. The sessions are relaxed and informal. Dogs, Cats, goldfish, hamsters, etc. and children are welcome to attend/ make noise/ run around in the background.

The training is only 2 hours (including a break) and will take place on the following dates;

  • February 16 @ 15:30 – 17:30 – Spaces Remaining – Be quick
  • February 23 @ 18:00 – 20:00 – Spaces Remaining

To book your place just drop an email to the Branch Secretary using the details below.

If these dates don’t suit, then don’t worry. – We know how difficult it is to find a minute.

Simply get in touch and tell the branch a time that is more convenient and we may be able to gather other interested members and run a session at that time with some notice.

Your UNISON branch are here for you, just as we always have been. Our contact details are below if you need to get in touch with workplace issues.

By banding together as workers, we can get through this virus. By working together we will stare down those in power that want to see us poorer and our council services cut.

We hope to see you at your AGM, and perhaps one of our H&S training webinars.

Thank you for your continued support in 2021. Can I take this opportunity once again to thank all our members and please continue to stay safe, fit and healthy.