Nominate Your Local Service Champion by 4th Feb

 

 
Nominate your Local Service Chamption by 4 February

Local government is the glue that holds our communities together. It is fundamental to every stage of our lives and provides an ongoing, everchanging public service - now more so than ever. 

Yet unlike the NHS, people have been less likely to defend it against cuts. The efforts of local government workers to keep the country going throughout the pandemic has often been overlooked.

#LocalServiceChampions is a campaign to celebrate the invaluable contribution local authority staff make to our lives.

Today we are launching the process to nominate someone who works to provide a local government service, whether directly employed by a council or not. Someone that you feel has gone above and beyond to remind everyone of the vital role they play.

We are shouting loud and proud because you deserve it - but also to defend the work that you do. Vital local services are being cut. Let's make sure everyone knows what they stand to lose.

Get your nomination in by Friday 4 February and spread the word via the hashtag #LocalServiceChampions

Nominate my local service champion

Watch why our previous winner Jenny was nominated as a Local Service Champion. 

Jenny standing holding her award with 2 people either side of her clapping and smiling. A play button is over the top of the image.

Watch the video now

Thank you,

Mike Short
National Secretary for Local Government, Police and Justice

 

 

Reducing Isolation Times - Another False Economy and a Potential Catastrophe!

The announcement today that the Scottish Government, having paid the usual lip service to the idea that they're at least a bit better than the Tories in Westminster, started moves towards abandoning good public health practice (i.e. abandoned "following the science") in favour, once again, of satisfying the demands of business to get people back to work quicker.
The key change was the reduction of "self-isolation" periods to 7 days - provided the person doesn't have a fever and has had 2 negative Lateral Flow Tests (one on the 6th day since testing positive and the second a day later).

It is well known, however, that LFTs are barely 50% likely to detect a known positive case, so even 2 tests make it likely that nearly a quarter of positive asymptomatic people will appear safe to return on day 7.
That's assuming they are honest about the result and don't just lie because they feel a bit better and the boss is putting them under pressure to come back early. Of course, we expect employers to use this change to pressure workers back to work when there is some doubt as to whether they are safe to do so. Sure, that person may be fine but what about the other workers and clients they then go on to infect and any vulnerable people that this then results in serious illness for?

At the same time in the midst of record rising cases (particularly among the youngest), our schools are once again set to return as an ocean of cross infection with the pathetic fig leaf of a request for teenagers to do an LFT the day before they go back and nothing changing for primaries. 

You can't spin your way out of a pandemic, however. These short-term scams will likely back-fire as numbers of infected workers escalate as a result.

More serious though, is the real risk this all exposes vulnerable people to. This is tantamount to the kind of negligence that saw so many care home residents die in the first wave of the pandemic.

Against a political current where commentators are already being briefed to talk about using (the already broken due to years of under-funding and under-staffing) social care services to somehow cure the problem of hospitals delayed discharge, we can see there will be no end of management drivel talked about, such as "enablement models" and other propaganda designed to excuse pushing people out into the community with insufficient care and support.

Once again, our care givers are being set up to fail, as they struggle to cover shortages and increasing demands.

Such tactics were already being employed before the pandemic as local residential care homes were redesignated short-term "enablement" centres aimed at returning people to their domestic setting. "People prefer to be at home" was the mantra. Of course they do, until they can no longer care for themselves in that setting. When that happens, we will no longer have the capacity to offer them more permanent care. So at that stage, they will be more likely to be ill-served by a stretched community care service that is already on its knees.

Perhaps the plan really is for COVID to "prove mildly economically beneficial in the long term by disproportionately culling elderly dependents", as proposed by one Telegraph newspaper journalist back in 2020?

We are hearing of unsustainable numbers of people being discharged with alarm pendants, as if these are a magical solution, simply to get them out of hospital. This has been happening for some time, with no matching increase in numbers of care responders. We are even hearing now that some people, sadly, do not even have the capacity to use the elective button pressing function of the pendants and instead dependence is being placed on the device's ability to detect a fall!

Social care workers are not produced overnight and pay, working conditions and the stress of this highly responsible (and now SSSC registered) role is not encouraging recruitment - that was without the venture int split shift working. The apparent extra funding provided to social care has vanished into stretched budgets without any real improvement that has been noticed by those at the sharp end of care provision. Nor, we suspect, despite their efforts, by the people they provide care for.

We demand that the governments force those sections of industry that have done rather well throughout the pandemic (even without blatant fraud) to dig deeper and properly fund public services, so that we don't have to put up with dishonest shortcuts on public health and other vital services.

We are about to see another round of real terms cuts to both services and the pay and conditions of the people who work providing them. We will not support the whistling in the dark that is currently the modus operandi of public service leadership and politicians, locally and nationally.

Our society demands better treatment and, as public servants, we refuse to continue watching things burn down around us.  

We will call out those who continue to try to dress up a sow's ear as a silk purse. That currently applies to the UK and Scottish Governments and the leadership of our local councils, including Dundee City.

  • We are currently consulting members on the shape of next year's pay claim and the action needed to win a real-terms increase.
  • We cannot continue to simply accept what comes and negotiation doesn't get you very far without action to back it up.
  • We're asking all members to think what they can do to help force employers and politicians to take our demands seriously.
  • Get involved and help change our services and working life for the better. Complete the survey, come to the AGM, use your vote in future ballots and vote for action.

NEW Council Pension Website - Did you miss the letter?

Tayside Pension Fund has recently moved all its info and much of its services to a NEW Website.

This will now be the ONLY WAY to see your LGPS Pension statement/forecast, unless you write to the fund requesting a paper copy.

Retired members will also soon find that this is where there pension payslips will be provided.

The letter giving active (working) members access to the website was sent out around 11th August.

The landing page on the website does offer people the chance to register for access:

Welcome - altair Member Self-Service (aquilaheywood.com)

So if you didn't get the letter you should go there and try it.

It is unfortunate that there was little or no promotion of this chaange, so many will have missed it.

Council Implements Dangerous and Dishonest Policy

Battling PresenteeismWe wrote today to Dundee City Council to protest their unilateral imposition from 1st November of a 12 week limit on COVID absence being treated as special leave.
Letters were sent to our members caught by this change and meetings held to move them onto another absence reason that will be treated as any other absence for absence management and pay reduction. These letters stated it had been agreed with their Trades Unions, which it had not.
We view this as dishonest and the imposition a breach of negotiation frameworks and will be seeking legal advice on a case by case basis for members this change is imposed on.
We informed the employer of this and our intention to let our members know.
It is bad enough that a lah, lah, lah approach to transmission in schools has been applied across Scotland and the UK. This let's just get on with it approach to a pandemic that is still killing people in the hundreds every week and seeing many more needing hospital treatment, is a disgrace.
The 12 week limit seems to be a just get over it attitude to the virus' often dreadful long-term impact on people's lives. It is also flying in the face of good public health. It may well, for instance, lead to people disguising/denying their illness until they are simply too ill to attend work - thereby creating a much higher risk of in work infection. This is the antithesis of good public health practice.
If you have been affected by this change, please contact the branch.

Join the Trade Union Bloc at the COP26 Day of Action - Glasgow Nov 6 (free bus from Dundee)

Dundee City UNISON recognises the real threat climate change is increasingly posing to society both locally and across the world. We appointed a new Climate Crisis and Green/Environment officer and are engaging with local green and climate activists in common work on these issues.

We are appalled by the lack of real commitment on action by UK, Scottish and Local Governments to promote the nature and pace of change needed to prevent future climate catastrophe.

Our branch exec has agreed to do everything it an to support local activity in the run up to COP26, including, hopefully a local day of action on Friday 5th Nov.

We have also agreed to sponsor at least 1 bus through to the COP26 Day of Action in Glasgow on Nov 6. See details here:

Dundee COP26 bus on Facebook

Contact the branch if you are interested in getting involved in working on our response to the climate crisis. We'd love to have a branch group of climate activists.

We are also affiliated to the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group and involved in work with local climate campaigns/activist through the local CACC:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read more: Join the Trade Union Bloc at the COP26 Day of Action - Glasgow Nov 6 (free bus from Dundee)