This is another difficult week for all of us. The much-predicted second wave of coronavirus is with us.
All parts of the UK have been experiencing increasing rates of infection – and the restrictions that go with them – over the past couple of months and the Westminster government announced a second lockdown in England at the weekend. This follows various significant restrictions in Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland.
These restrictions are not what any of us wanted, but we have to save lives. We have to protect the NHS and all those who work in it, just as we did first time round.
UNISON is continuing, during this second wave as we did during the first one in the spring and as we always do, to serve our members. We will be doing all we can to support our members while they continue to do all they can to fight this pandemic and keep our communities going.
I know how exhausted our members – all of you – are, from talking to you and from hearing your stories of working throughout this pandemic.
I stress again that the union remains open for business. We have learned during this year how best to protect and support all our members, in any circumstances and I can assure you we will continue to do just that.
We will also continue to work behind the scenes as we did earlier this year with PPE and sick pay for example. I have already called on the government to give councils the resources they need to play their part during the ongoing crisis. Councils are best placed to know how to tackle the virus in their own communities.
And as well as protecting the NHS, lessons must be learned from the dire situation in the care sector earlier in the year. So I have called on Matt Hancock to ensure that the care sector is given priority. Lessons must be learned from the first wave. Proper support and protection are paramount. We can’t see a repeat of the heartbreaking death rates in care homes.
This is yet another incredibly difficult time during this most testing of years, but I believe that if everyone works together, we can slow the spread and stop hospitals being overwhelmed at this critical time.
Thank you, yet again, for all you continue to do for our communities.
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