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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.

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Branch Secretary Update – 14.5.20

Dear Member,

We hope you’re well and keeping safe.

Last Sunday Boris Johnson delivered a very confusing statement, which left many of us feeling a little confused.

This week we have studied all the government updates, and had communication from, and with, numerous employers.

Private Sector Care
We are still listening to you regarding PPE, and while we are pleased situations have improved for a few of you, we do know that the situation is far from perfect. Please continue to contact us. Your Health and Safety is of our upmost importance.

I am continuing to have twice weekly meetings with Derby City Council, The Council are still looking for employees to consider being redeployed whilst we are working through the pandemic. If this is something you can consider please complete the Skills Audit or speak direct to your Manager / Head of service.
If you are employed by DCC and on a zero Hours contract, please get in touch if you are continuing to have issues regarding your pay. I have been assured this is being looked into. I am hoping our members issues are now resolved.

Health and Safety
Dennis Jackson is our Branch Health and Safety Officer. Please contact Dennis direct with any H&S concerns. They do not have to be COVID-19 related. Dennis can be contacted by email

Nurseries / Schools / Academies
As you will be aware Boris Johnson has said Schools ‘may’ reopen on June 1st.
As a branch we have asked our school members to complete a short survey, which I am sharing your responses with the National Schools Committee this afternoon (Thursday 14th), your views are important. Thank you, just short of 300 of you have completed the survey. This is a fantastic response.

Nationally UNISON along with Teaching Unions are in regular discussions regarding the safe reopening of our schools. If you are on Facebook I would recommend following our branch Facebook page (UNISON Derby City Branch) and also “Schools in UNISON” Facebook page – This is the National page, and has all the press releases and communications shared with the Government. Now really is the time to be part of UNISON. UNISON wants to protects you, the children you work with and the families you all go home to. We have to do this together!

All Members
COVID-19 has left us all in very different and difficult circumstances, for some this has had a direct impact on our household finances, you may need to be putting extra in the electricity meter. Needing to purchase extra food shopping as the whole family is home all day, especially if you have children.

You may have additional expenses of travelling to and from work. If you are up against it, and need a bit of help. Do not hesitate to contact us, our UNISON charity “there for you” may be able to help. The COVID-19 fund is there to help you. This is extremely private, if we can help you we will!

It’s really important our members realise that we are still able to support in meetings, sickness, disciplinary meetings, ill health etc etc. These meetings can happen in a range of ways but we currently are not having face to face meetings. Please contact the branch if you require support.

We have a long journey ahead of us before work life and home life return to whatever our new normal will be. We are in this together & we will come out of this together.

Please share this email with any colleague / friend who may not receive the email, and also with any colleague who is thinking of joining our union. Now truly is the time! Never before have we needed each other as much as we do now.

Keep in touch, stay safe and stay well.

Becky Everett
Branch Secretary.
UNISON Derby City Branch.