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  • Writer's pictureUNISON Falkirk Branch

Falkirk UNISON Workplace matters - 30/06/20

Workplace matters


Stewart Cook- Joint Branch Secretary

This newsletter is brought to you by Falkirk Council Unison Branch. 

In this newsletter

  • Amended Term Dates 2020/21

  • Shielding Group

  • Return to Education/ Early Years

  • COSLA Joint statement on Education

  • Health and Safety Rep Recruitment

  • Morning Star newsletter

  • PPE

We know this is a very difficult time for workers. We want your news, views on all workplace matters. All members are invited to share stories and news, good or bad. Let us know what is happening at your workplace or how you feel home working is. You can email this newsletter at

Unison your Friend at work,

Stewart Cook

Build the resistance.

Amended Term Dates 2020/21

As you will be aware Scottish Government have announced that all schools will reopen on the 11th August 2020.

The announcement means an early start for the majority of our members in this area which in turn means our members would have to be recompensed at some stage.

The preferred option proposed by Council management is for the lost week of annual leave to be added onto the planned October holidays (19 - 23 October 2020).

This would bring planned holidays in Falkirk Council in line with Stirling and Clackmannanshire.

The branch are keen to hear your views on this and members can feedback their views on this by contacting the branch at

Shielding Group

Members that are shielding are encouraged to keep an eye on the latest information which can be found at

NHS Scotland will be directly contacting people with serious conditions to provide further advice.

If you received a letter from NHS Scotland saying you have a condition that makes you at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, you’re strongly advised to shield yourself to reduce your chance of getting the virus.

If you have one of the conditions listed but have not received a letter, you should speak to your GP or specialist and follow the advice you receive.

This may be an anxious time for people considered extremely vulnerable and you will have questions and concerns. Plans are being made to make sure you can rely on a wide range of help and support. have more guidance for those who have received a shielding letter

If you have not had a letter

If you’re in the extremely high-risk group but have not received a shielding letter, contact your GP or specialist to confirm if you should be shielding and arrange for registration with the support service.

Return to Education/ Early Years

UNISON has produced an information pack and safety checklist for members working in schools and early years. UNISON stress we need risk assessments, staff training and clear guidance on safe working practices. Trade unions must be involved in local planning to ensure agreement round safe opening of schools and early learning centres. 

The document can be accessed by heading to

The purpose of this pack is to make trade union involvement a reality on the ground for our growing number of members in schools. Staff have skills, they know their jobs. They must be included at the start of any local planning of expansion and reopening. Risk assessments and then action to mitigate risks need to be in place to ensure that children and staff are safe. This is no time for short cuts.

COSLA Joint statement on Education

Joint statement issued this morning (Monday) from Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA’s CYP Spokesperson and Councillor Gail Macgregor, COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson.

“Local authorities have been clear that the overriding priority in returning to face to face education is the safety of our children, young people and staff. The plans that all authorities are putting in place are fully informed by the guidance agreed jointly with the Scottish Government.

“Throughout the crisis we have worked closely with the Scottish Government to ensure the viability of many of the services that support our partners in the delivery of education. That includes continuing to provide funding for services such as transport and childcare. Only last week council Leaders were considering the net additional costs of dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 between March and June. Once funding provided by Scottish Government is taken into account, the net additional cost to councils is £145m for this period alone.

“Council plans are at an advanced stage but there is little doubt that as well as many of the practical challenges that each area will face there are significant financial challenges. If more children are to return to schools safely, we need quick decisions on funding which will give councils the confidence to address those challenges.”

Health and Safety Rep Recruitment

The branch knows the uncertainty education workers like you are facing during the pandemic.

We want to ensure we remain in close contact with you and your colleagues so we can deploy support quickly if serious health risks arise. Additionally, UNISON reps will play a key role in declaring workplaces as "Covid Secure"

Across Scotland, the number of union safety representatives has dropped. With this in mind, UNISON branches are keen to develop and support some of our education colleagues as safety contacts.

UNISON is working hard to develop some online training and webinars for members interested in helping the branch by being a Safety contact. If you are interested in one of these roles, the training or want to find out some more information, please get in touch with the branch.

Morning Star Newsletter

The third edition of the Scottish Morning Star newsletter came out at the weekend and you can view it here

With stories and articles, you may have missed or some with expanded content it's a good catch up and a useful tool in encouraging others to either buy the paper or take out a digital subscription.

If you like what you see, you'll have to sign up by going to clicking 'Newsletters' in the top bar - or simply click here - and there's a simple form to fill in and that's it. 

While doing that you can sign up for not just the Scottish newsletter but also the Daily News Alerts.

Personal Protective Equipment

Do you feel protected at work? Have you access to proper PPE if and when required?

Ar you being provided with the PPE you feel you need it to do your work safely. Let us know any concerns by contacting the branch using the details below.

UNISON - There for you at work


Stewart Cook

Janet Robertson

Joint Secretaries

UNISON Falkirk Council


Phone 01324 503620

We cannot be in the office at this time but please leave a voicemail and a contact number and we will call you back, as soon as we can.

Build the resistance, solidarity.

PPE Not Promises

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