Minutes of Lambeth UNISON 21 April 2020

We will be publishing minutes and updates from our branch committee here on the website so people can be kept up to date with the latest the union is doing

Following the ‘lockdown’ Lambeth Council has moved many staff, and our members, onto home working, but many still remain, working in frontline services keeping people in Lambeth safe and keeping emergency services continuing. A number of staff have been temporary transferred from their normal jobs into work supporting the most vulnerable in the community. Each week the Unison branch committee have been meeting to discuss the development of the changing work environment and to make sure that, through all the changes, our employers don’t use it as an excuse to rip up hard-won terms and conditions, that they stick to agreements and that our members aren’t asked to work without the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

Lambeth Unison passed a motion on 17th March which was subsequently updated.

Lambeth Unison Branch Committee resolved on 17th March:

  • To demand that the council provide PPE, hand sanitizers and adequate washing facilities, organise deep cleansing and educate public and staff about health & safety.
  • To demand the council encourage every possible worker to work from home for the foreseeable future and to encourage schools and other public service providers to do the same.
  • To demand the council purchase testing kits so every staff member can find out if they are infected and act accordingly.
  • To demand the council calls on all contractors or service providers to give all their staff, as the council must give its staff, including agency workers, zero-hours, apprentices, etc. full sick pay from day one if they contract the virus or are advised to self-isolate.
  • To demand the council expand its environmental team and inspect and advise management of all council or educational premises with the power to order a shutdown where necessary.
  • To demand the council provide free food for vulnerable isolators and a rent and rate amnesty to all council tenants, and to recruit/redeploy teams of staff to relay essential items (food, medicines, etc.) to vulnerable people.
  • To call on Unison leadership and Labour Link to press the Labour Party to campaign for socialist measures, like the nationalisation of Big Pharma, immediate funding to rebuild and expand the NHS, closing the internal market and to call for internationalism, not racism in the face of this global crisis.

On 8th April this was updated with the following in addition:

  • Branch agrees to Twin with Unions at St Thomas’s and King College Hospitals, and encourage shop stewards and Lambeth Unison members to write letters of support or post videos to staff at these hospitals
  • Write, and encourage members to write, to Local MP’s to demand full PPE and tests for all Health staff and frontline workers including our own frontline members. Calling for the opening of health jobs to qualified refugees and migrants and the closure of the detention centres. 
  • Write to the Council calling for full PPE protection for all Council frontline workers, the suspension of Rents and Council tax during the shutdown, protect and improve access to facilities for those suffering domestic violence and ensure that those denoted as ‘No resource to public funds’ are treated as vulnerable people the same as others
  • Send a weekly update to members outlining action we’ve taken and campaigns we’re supporting to defend people during this time (as above and defending people being laid off, on benefits, facing racism, etc.)
  • Post a weekly update on our website https://lambeth-unison.org/ as above
  • Support the involvement of members in the Lambeth Coronavirus Support Group for Workers https://www.facebook.com/groups/630928291082790/

We continue to meet weekly – if you have any questions or issues you need to raise please don’t hesitate to contact us straight away at https://lambeth-unison.org/contact-us/ or by phone on 020 7926 2858.

In these times it is more important than ever that people are in a union – if you’re reading this and need help, contact your shop steward immediately – we can help. If you’re not in the union, join now. https://join.unison.org.uk/

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