UNISON calls on government to make clear how it will keep pupils, parents and staff safe
Following last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister that he plans to increase the number of pupils allowed to attend primary schools in England on 1 June, UNISON is asking the government: how exactly are you going to keep pupils, parents and staff safe?
Of course schools will need to re-open – but only when it is safe to do so. Differing messages from the four UK governments over the weekend have added to the confusion and concern.
Along with the other education unions and the TUC, last week we wrote to the government asking it to work with us to plan for further re-opening when the time is right and when it is safe to do so https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/unions-set-out-needs-safe-reopening-schools-letter-education-secretary The plan needs to address a range of issues including PPE, testing, tracing, isolation and social distancing. We have also called for school debts to be written off and for increased funds to help schools cope. The Prime Minister didn’t address any of these issues last night and it remains to be seen if the guidance due out over the next couple of days will do so.
UNISON believes the government should not be cavalier with the safety of pupils, parents and staff in England. Over the next few days we will continue working with other education unions to seek answers and will have a meeting of our national schools committee later in the week. As planned, we will also be surveying UNISON members in schools on your views. Please keep an eye out on the UNISON website and your emails for more information.
UNISON’s top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents, staff and our communities.
Remember the dead. Fight for the living!
Keep up the pressure for proper PPE and testing
Next Tuesday, 28th April, is International Workers Memorial Day, when trade unionists all over the world remember workers killed while doing their jobs.
Never has this been more relevant and important, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to take lives, especially within the caring services and among key workers who are putting their lives on the line to care for others
Often they are working without proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and in the UK the government’s mismanagement of the crisis has severely restricted the availability of testing.
The lockdown means what we can do as a branch is limited. But we can all observe a minute’s silence at 11am on Tuesday wherever we are – working from home or in our workplace. After that we could use home-made posters and banners to demand more PPE and testing. Take a picture of yourself with your poster and send it to the branch so we can make an online display to play our part in the battle for proper protection for all workers. Send your pictures to email@example.com and we will post them on our website and Facebook page.
Remember the dead. FIGHT FOR THE LIVING!
For more information check out the People before Profit: Health Worker COVID Activists Facebook page
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Due to the precautions needed to try and prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) the Brighton and Hove Unitary Unison Branch AGM, due to take place on 26th March, has been postponed until further notice.
These are very difficult and worrying times for all of us. You may have an elderly relative you are concerned about, or wonder how you are going to support your kids and work from home if the schools close. You may be worried because you have a health condition, or what is going to happen to the small business owners and self-employed people you know.
Those of us employed in local government are some of the the lucky ones, as our employer has sick pay and self-isolation procedures in place for us. Others we know may not be that lucky. If you are a member of Brighton & Hove Branch and have any worries or concerns, do contact us. If you need support in the community, want to offer support, or want to stand in solidarity with campaigns and petitions calling for more help for some of the most economically vulnerable, please see the links below.
As always Brighton & Hove Unison stands in solidarity with you and hopes you and your friends and family stay well.
Brighton Covid Mutual Aid (if you can offer support or need it locally)
Small business emergency grant:
TUC Advice to Unions and Union members:
Self employed petition:
Petition to protect renters:
Race hate crime is on the rise and the far-right are organising all around the country. Racist graffiti has appeared in our own city recently.
Boris Johnson’s re-election means that the Tories’ racist agenda will also continue.
As anti-racists, we need to show that we will fight all racism and resist the Tory government’s attempts to divide and rule.
The national March Against Racism in London will be held on UN Anti-Racism Day – Saturday, 21st March. Join other Unison members from our branch on the day.
For more details go to standuptoracism.org.uk or find them on Twitter at @AntiRacismDay or on Facebook at Stand Up to Racism.
Unison members joined parents and other trade unions on the picket outside Moulsecoomb Primary School last Thursday (21st November.)
The NEU and GMB unions were striking in protest at the government’s attempts to force the school to become an academy. Unison has also balloted its members at the school and won 100% support for a strike.
A vibrant parent-led campaign is opposing the attempt to privatise the school. They want it to remain in local authority control, where it is at the heart of the community it serves. Speakers at the rally after the picket included Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle and the President of the NEU teachers’ union.
Pic: Dave Jones, NEU