Unite CEC Branch have been working with HR in the Council on an initiative called Back to the Floor, which takes managers and takes them ‘back to the floor’ for a day, working in a frontline role. The initiative aspires to foster understanding of the challenges faces on the frontline and to encourage empathetic relationships, letting management get firsthand experience of the conditions faced by our essential workers.
The pandemic created a gulf between management and frontline staff. Management adapted to working from home, with human contact often happening digitally, and dealt with continually changing guidance and circumstances they have to consider in their decision making. Frontline workers have experienced increased workloads and greatly increased risks to health and safety and have found themselves subject to rapidly changing decisions, all with a backdrop of rising costs of living and often low pay. The Back to the Floor initiative seeks to bridge this gulf.
Mark Stenhouse gets back to the floor
The first area the initiative has run in has been Facilities Management, where Mark Stenhouse, the Head of Facilities Management, got back to the floor working with cleaning staff.
The local authority newsletter is focusing on jobs across local authorities to show how valuable our public sector workers are and the hard work they put in under difficult conditions and often low pay.
Today, Unite would like you to meet Iona (not real name).
Iona works full-time in the Highlands and Islands and is paid £378 per week – a mere 60% of the UK’s average wage (£31,830).
Following the Scottish Government’s guidance, schools are due to return next week. Staff and pupils—and their families and friends—will be anxious that the return has been rushed without time for all health and safety measures to be put in place.
Staff and pupils—and their friends and families—should not be put at risk by the impact of employers’ carelessness as they rush to reopen schools.