Published May 26, 2021 at 8:00
I hope you are keeping safe and well.
Workers Memorial Day
In April, I virtually attended a local Workers Memorial Day event, organised by Blackburn and Districts Trades Council.
In normal circumstances, the annual event is marked by a gathering by the memorial tree at the Sudell Cross end of Northgate, Blackburn, with attendees given the chance to reflect on those who have lost their lives at work through accidents or sickness.
This year, we held a Zoom call with several speakers including Terry Renshaw, one of the Shrewsbury pickets, who recently had their unjust convictions overturned. The theme of the event this year was the fundamental right to health and safety at work.
Of course health and safety has taken on even more important significance because of the covid pandemic. We heard moving stories from workers on the front line of the response including those who had sadly lost colleagues.
It was a really moving event, well organised by the trades council. We must continue to remember the dead and fight for the living.
COVID response fund
I am really pleased that members can once again apply for funding through There for You. COVID has left many families and individuals struggling so every little helps.
Members who are in financial difficulties as a result of COVID could be eligible for a grant of up to £500.
The application process is straightforward however anyone who cannot apply online can email email@example.com and we will arrange for a form to be posted to you.
When completing an application form please ensure you include relevant supporting documents to avoid any delays to your application.
For more information go to: https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/services-support/there-for-you/financial-assistance/
As you’ll be aware, sadly the borough’s covid cases have risen sharply, mainly due to the variant first identified in India. As such, I would urge everyone to get vaccinated when they can. There are several vaccination sites in the borough. You can find all the details here: https://bit.ly/getmyjab
It is everyone’s human right not to get vaccinated but I would urge you to get the jab. It really is the best route out of this crisis. It’s safe and effective and it will help protect us, our families, our friends and our work colleagues.
As a branch, we are also encouraging staff to get tested regularly, even when fully vaccinated. Testing is one of the key tools we have to keep our workplaces safe. The Council has published the details of the scheme on the intranet.
At the last branch committee, we resolved to accept the ‘Care Workers’ C19 Action Group’ motion on Care and Support Workers Deserve Minimum Wage (NLW) Whilst at Work. The Action Group was formed after the crushing blow of a ruling from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court concluded that care workers undertaking ‘Sleep-In’ shifts were not legally entitled to the National Living Wage.
Unison has been at the forefront of this battle and will continue to fight so care workers are legally entitled to fair and decent pay for sleep-in shifts.
The full motion and actions we resolved to take are available in the minutes of our branch committee.
Ben, Branch Chair