Face coverings at work—for those exempt

Graeme Smith, vice convener, reports from the Resources and Chief Executive JCC

Members reported that those who are exempt from wearing face covering due to health conditions were being treated unfairly and told they needed to wear them.

We raised this issue with management, who responded that workers should be treated in line with the legisltation.

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Unite CEC branch on schools’ Health & Safety groups

Unite CEC branch started raising concerns over Health & Safety (H&S) communications in Edinburgh schools in late July 2020, prior to the schools’ re-opening. These concerns centred around the operations, composition and communications regarding the schools’ H&S groups. Members’ uncertainties indicated a lack of involvement from all staff groups (both FM and C&F) working in schools.

A survey of Unite members in Edinburgh schools was initiated at the end of October 2020, following persistent inadequacy of response from Communities & Families (whose domain the H&S groups sits in). The resultant report revealed that far too many staff (particularly FM) were unaware of the existence of their school’s H&S group and had had no H&S communications.

The report was shared with senior C&F and FM staff who promised to rectify the situation and make all staff welcome to each school’s H&S group where possible. Our message now to all school workers (FM and C&F) is to inquire from Head Teacher or Business Manager how you can become involved in your school’s Health & Safety group.

Download the full report or the executive summary.

School support newsletter

Sign our petition to ensure school support workers have their voices heard on health and safety

We recently surveyed school support workers to gain insight into how these important groups of workers feel about their return to work. It is fair to say that the results highlight a number of concerns which must be addressed.

Without the work of school support workers—such as janitors, cleaners and pupils support assistants—schools would not be operational. So why do these groups of workers continue to be excluded when decisions are made around health and safety at work and information is distributed?

Sign our petition for school support workers and find out more about your rights below.

Survey findings

Our survey paints a worrying picture.

Key findings show, that of our respondents

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Become a rep or develop your skills with Unite training in 2020

According to Unite the Union rules reps and branch officials are elected for a three year term. The current cycle ends March 2021 meaning that the branch must hold an election for all reps and branch officials.

The date has not yet been set but will likely be end February/early March 2021. Anyone (current and new) wishing to be a rep and/or a branch official must have 1 nomination and 1 seconder who are fully paid up members of Unite (CEC branch). Additionally, the person seeking the nomination cannot be in arrears of of their union dues.

Unite Scotland’s education team are running courses online on Zoom. This is a great opportunity to get involved in your union.

Our next election period is January to March 2021, when all positions in the branch—from workplace rep to branch official—are up for grabs. Now is the chance to start a new venture, learn important skills and make a real difference in your workplace.

Contact the branch officers with any questions or to discuss what it’s like to be Unite rep.

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Protecting the workforce—Unite face coverings

Unite: committed to the physical and mental health of workers

We are committed to ensuring that the mental and physical wellbeing of workers is a priority. Public transport and shops in Scotland now require you to wear a face coverings, so we have stepped up to provide face coverings for frontline workers in the City of Edinburgh Council.

We are commitment to doing all that we can to ensure that all working environments are safe for our members.

Craig Cummings, branch convener, talks us through the face covering debate below.

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Your health and safety matters!—local authority newsletter

As services and workplaces start to reopen, Unite members are rightly concerned at the procedures and processes that are put in place to protect themselves, colleagues and indeed the public.

Unite has drawn up guidance for employer to follow to ensure your safety is at the top of any plans.

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Covid-19: Waste Services update

Social distancing, PPE and safety for waste collection workers

Download this information as a PDF newsletter for sharing
Our coronavirus advice and resources to help you at work

The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Crisis is having a huge impact in every corner of society at present.

Those who work in Edinburgh Council’s Waste Services have been categorised by the Council as Key or Essential Workers. This is the same as workers in Waste Collection in all Scottish Councils.

Although Waste Collection workers are required to attend at work, so long as you are healthy and do not require to be off for any of the reasons outlined by the government, you have a right to have your health and safety at work safeguarded by your employer.

The Branch had been receiving numerous reports from members in Waste Services who were deeply concerned about current safety practices in Waste Services. As a result the Branch undertook to speak to as many people employed in Waste Services as possible so as to get a full and accurate picture to take back to Council management.

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