Statement from Branch Secretary, Inez Kirk
Firstly, I would like to wish all our members and their families all the very best for the new year and I hope we will transition out of the pandemic soon.
Following further guidance from the Scottish Government, discussions with our employers and internal UNISON discussions, the most up to date information is provided:
You are legally required by law to “STAY AT HOME” and should only venture out in the circumstances outlined in the following link: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/
There is also a legal obligation on employers to ensure that only “essential work” (work that cannot be carried out at home) is undertaken, that requires employees to leave home. Again this will be closely monitored by UNISON.
UNISON will monitor all service areas and prioritise those members who are working with the greatest risk. We will pursue any concerns and issues identified by all available means.
Any member with changes to their personal situation or circumstances can request an individual Risk Assessment.
UNISON has written to both the Scottish Government and COSLA outlining our position, questions and requests, to ensure adequate mitigations are in place, given the new variant of COVID 19 – please see attached letter.
Any employee in the critical “Shielding” category should refrain from attending work and “stay at home” (where possible you should also work from home if required).
UNISON will be engaged in further discussions with our employers over the coming days to ensure that where possible face-to-face contact between employees/clients/customers and the general public only takes place in “essential and critical” circumstances.
SCHOOLS, EARLY YEARS & EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS
Some members who have contacted us over the past few days have advised that they have received communications advising that it is business as usual from tomorrow – this is not the case and most definitely will not be business as usual.
UNISON has been advised that staff will only be required to attend the school/establishment for necessary preparations to be made for “remote learning” (this will be staggered and limited).
Work is underway to determine the number of applications/placements granted to vulnerable/keyworker children. When this is known there will be a requirement for some staff to attend the school/establishment in order for teaching/learning to continue for this group.
UNISON will continue to have discussions with the employer on a joint basis and will seek early clarification of the necessary provision. This will include all service areas cleaning, janitorial, school support and early years’ workers