“The COVID outbreak has made everyone realise the value of public services. They’re at the heart of every community and must be protected and strengthened.” Dave Prentis
Fighting to save lives in our hospitals. Caring for our most vulnerable in care homes. Working to get our children returned to schools safely. Collecting our rubbish. While so many people have stayed at home – UNISON members have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.
Coronavirus has put a spotlight on the incredible work UNISON members like you do. Vital, lifesaving work that has kept our country going in the face of a global pandemic.
And while you’ve been fighting coronavirus to keep communities going, UNISON has been fighting for you.
Here’s a snapshot of the rapid response work UNISON has been doing throughout the pandemic:
Financial support for members impacted by COVID-19
As soon as the pandemic hit, UNISON set up an emergency response fund to support members financially hit by COVID-19. The fund provides one-off grants of £250 to help with essential costs like food and bills.
Pushing for PPE
At the start of the pandemic, UNISON immediately took the government to task on their failure to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health and care workers. Setting up a detailed PPE FAQs section on the UNISON website, we fought daily to ensure our members’ concerns were heard.
Campaigning for a national care service
The pandemic has exposed the deep fault lines in our country’s social care services, which resulted in catastrophic levels of COVID-19 deaths in care homes.
In response, UNISON have outlined the failings and a comprehensive plan for a national care service. It is a plan made by care workers, for care workers and it has five key demands, which UNISON is taking right to the heart of government.
Supporting schools to run safely
When the government first announced their fudged, haphazard plan to re-open schools, without the necessary plans or protection in place, UNISON fought back. Listening to our schools members, we outlined a clear list of conditions that must be met before schools can re-open in the Autumn.
Calling for a 10 billion bailout.
Coronavirus has cost our local authorities billions, as they threw everything down to protect communities and keep vital services going. This emergency response, after ten years of under-funding from government, has left local councils with a ten billion pound black hole for local services.
UNISON is mounting a campaign for significant, emergency funding.
Black Lives Matter, and Black workers matter
With COVID-19 disproportionately impacting Black members, our General Secretary called on the Prime Minister to immediately protect Black workers from COVID-19 by closing gaps that create health inequalities, ensure workplaces are safe and addressing systemic racism.
As George Floyd’s appalling death at the hands of US police, UNISON’s head of equality urged the public to ‘step up, stand up and speak out against racism’, while
Building an army of health and safety reps
No workplace should ever be without an independent health and safety rep, to represent workers and assure their safety concerns are addressed. Now that working conditions are adjusting as lockdown eases, we need as many health and safety reps as possible.
Growing our movement
And because it’s times like these that people see how vital unions are, thousands of your colleagues are joining you in UNISON. Every worker needs someone on their side. And that makes you stronger – in your workplace, in our communities and in the broader workers’ movement.