Archive Campaigns Demonstration Derby City Council Derby Homes Events News Newsletter Schools UNISON

Branch Secretary Update 12 June 2020 – Unlocking the Lockdown

Dear Members,
We hope your all well.

So unlocking the lockdown has begun, please continue to follow all government guidelines on social distancing, the lockdown restrictions may soon start to take effect within your work place. They have already started.

Be honest with your employer COVID-19 Anxiety is very real, childcare issues are real, family members shielding and the different levels of shielding make a difference to you, (this is a very complicated issue) or just needing to know more of what work will look and feel like for you. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to your managers, this is a new and difficult situation for all.

Your branch officers at UNISON Derby City are here to support you, you must be included in risk assessments, employers have a duty to keep you safe at work and you have a right to be safe at work.

It is important to remember non of us have ever lived or worked in these situations before, we are all learning.

When that return does happen, I believe this is where “stay alert” comes into play, be alert to yourself and colleagues having any symptoms, be alert to hand washing, social distancing and new ways of working and cleaning up after ourselves.

Follow the risk assessment, this will be a live document, if something isn’t working or you think something could be added discuss it in an email to your H&S Rep and Line Manager.
Don’t be afraid to raise concerns or to suggest solutions.

We also know many of you have worked throughout lockdown, pulled extra shifts / double shifts, and even moved out of the family home to protect your own family. You have all gone above and beyond in the key services. Thank you.

UNISON Derby City Branch thanks all of our members, everyone of us has had a part to play and to continue to play.

One thing we do know this pandemic has taught us is we definitely don’t have enough Health and Safety reps within our workplaces. In an ideal world every workplace, every team would have a H&S Rep just like we do a first aider or a fire marshall.

We need you! Your employer needs you! And your work team needs you!
Full training is given, you would have direct branch support from our dedicated H&S Officer (Dennis Jackson) and all the branch team.

If you think this is a role you would be interested please ring us for a chat 01332 643216 or email us at

We really are waiting for your call. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if every school, every care home, every sports venue, every library, every department within our core employers and our private sector employers had its very own H&S Rep.

You may know someone who you think would make a great rep, give them a nudge… tell them about this great opportunity.

We look forward to hearing from you.
Look after yourselves
Becky Everett
Branch Secretary

Archive Campaigns Demonstration Derby City Council Derby Homes Events News Newsletter Schools UNISON

Branch Secretary Update 28 May 2020

Dear All Members,

We hope you are all continuing to keep well and staying safe.

How are you? I’m sure like me your missing family and friends, I’m an Auntie to 5 nephews and a brand new niece (born just before lockdown) I miss them all terribly. Your branch officers are all missing someone, be it siblings, children and or grandchildren. We are busy making plans for if and when we are allowed family to visit our homes again. Thank goodness for the wonderful technology we have today. For most of us we are still in regular contact with our nearest and dearest it’s not the same but it’s the best we have for now. I hope you are all making plans for when lockdown is lifted.

We continue to THANK all of you, those working in essential roles and those of you are remaining at home be it working, home schooling, gardening or decorating. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for following the guidelines and saving lives.

ALL Schools / nurseries / colleges
Over the next few weeks, we will see many of our school support staff members return to work, we are of course still hopeful that the Government listen to US (your voice) and realise that we are not ready for the opening just yet. (98% of you according to UNISONS survey don’t feel safe returning to school.) However, if this doesn’t happen and the opening of schools goes ahead. You must, If at any point you feel unsafe, or unsafe practice is happening, please speak out. To a manager, to a your UNISON Rep or contact the UNISON office direct.

If you feel risk assessments (you should of seen the risk assessments) are not being followed, if you have not seen a risk assessment it’s imperative that you ask to see it before starting work, or you know of anyone showing symptoms while in school you must act, speak direct to your line manager if you can or contact us straight away. Locally, Labour, led by Cllr Baggy Shanker issued a statement asking the government to put safety first.
If you are able to follow “UNISON in Schools” on Facebook, please also bear in mind that members who comment are not all from our region or our Branch. So some comments are from unison members who work under very different policies to ours.

Your safety, your pupils safety and the families you all go home to is of upmost importance.

It is my understanding that all PPE issues are sorted for all who need it, you should have access to the PPE that is required and be assured that government guidelines are being followed.
Of course if you know different or feel guidelines are not being met please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We will raise all concerns anonymously.

Many DCC employees have been in touch regarding annual leave, we truly understand how disappointing it is that your hard earned and thoughtfully planned holidays are being cancelled. However, It is still important to take leave and have a rest, recharge your own batteries and if your working from home put the laptop under the bed or at least hide it for a few days. (Please read your FAQs on iDerby.) working from home full time, long term is tough going. Especially if your home schooling young children too. You need a rest! I am hoping to follow my own advice very soon.

Derby Homes.
Maria Murphy continues to send out weekly updates to her staff, and her Senior Management Team are working to put safe systems of working in place once lockdown comes to an end.

Private Care Homes.
Pay and PPE continue to be a problem for a small number of you. We will continue to raise this and support you. Keep in touch

Health and Safety Reps.  (all employers)
You should all be part of any talks around COVID-19 risk assessments whatever your workplace, if you are unsure please don’t hesitate to contact Dennis.
We highly recommend you register for the online training we sent you the link for. If you are interested in becoming a work place Health and Safety Rep please contact
Your workplace definitely needs you! Full training and support is given.

Stewards. (all employers)
It’s essential you register for your stewards training on the link I sent a few weeks ago, if you have been a steward for 5 years you MUST be reaccredited to be able to continue to represent members. If you are interested in becoming a work place Rep or named contact please contact
Training is provided and full branch support is given. Could you be the voice of your team? Your team needs you!!

Branch Meetings.
We are in the process of setting up virtual meetings in line with our new branch rules. Branch leadership and Branch Committee (including Stewards) and our Health and Safety Team. We will be in touch when more details are finalised.

UNISON Online Learning.
We know many of you showed an interest in the UNISON online learning, if there is anything you would like to learn, why not ask us if we have access to it. There is a course for everyone. Drop Jill an email as your UNISON Learning Rep she will be able to help find the course you want.

Health and Safety.
For all Health and Safety matters please contact your workplace H&S Rep or
Dennis Jackson for DCC (any other workplace Dennis will forward to regional office)
Julie Walker for Derby homes

Call 01332 643216 /217
Call or text 07909 064138
Call or text
We will act on your behalf.

As a branch, we continue to put your needs first, we have adapted well to the new way of working. Virtual meetings took some getting used to â€‹but we are able to support and represent you.

Keep in touch, stay safe and keep well.

Becky Everett
Branch Secretary
UNISON Derby City Branch

Becky Everett

Archive Campaigns Demonstration Derby City Council Derby Homes Events News Newsletter Schools UNISON

What if I don’t feel my workplace is safe?

UNISON believes that our members should never be in a situation where they might endanger themselves and others in the course of doing jobs.

Putting you in that situation is potentially a breach of health and safety law and may spread coronavirus to people in high-risk groups.

As a last resort, when faced with a dangerous working environment which cannot reasonably be averted, every employee has the right not to suffer detriment if they leave, or refuse to attend their place of work (or take other appropriate steps) in circumstances where they reasonably believe there is a risk of being exposed to serious and imminent danger (section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996).

Although this is very much a right of last resort, the context of a situation will be key on whether refusing to return to work or any other steps are appropriate.  This means that an employee cannot automatically refuse a reasonable instruction to return to work without a good reason.

If you feel you are being put at risk it is crucial to get advice and discuss the situation with your UNISON representative. Email us at and if needed you can seek advice from our regional office or legal team.