I hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe at this time.
I am writing to you today with regards to the Scottish Government announcement that from tomorrow, Friday 20 November at 6pm, North Lanarkshire Council will be one of the Local Authority areas moving to Level 4 and to try and give you as much information as possible about UNISON’s stance on this.
UNISON and other trades unions, including the EIS, have said that the move to Level 4 will further heighten concerns over school and early years establishments safety and we have called on the Scottish Government to consider a temporary move to blended, online or distance learning.
Blended learning does not automatically necessitate the full closing of schools, but it does ensure that the health, wellbeing and safety of all school staff and the health, well-being and safety of the young people in their care should never be compromised.
UNISON firmly believes that schools and early years establishments should not be fully operational during Level 4, We and other trade unions are lobbying the Scottish Government on this matter.
The criteria for people who are classed as shielding has been reviewed by Scottish Government & clinicians since this pandemic started, please click on the link below for the most up to date information on who is classed as shielding. If you are in one of these groups you should already have received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer, if you haven’t then please contact your GP immediately.
If you are classed in the shielding group you should already have an individual risk assessment and this must be revisited by you and your manager prior to North Lanarkshire entering Level 4, this should allow you to identify any risk or further mitigation that need to be put in place to ensure your safety and in some circumstances this might mean not attending the workplace but this should be fully discussed with your manager, please contact your local UNISON steward or the Branch Office if you have concerns about this.
Individual Risk Assessment
If you didn’t fall into the shielding group but did have an individual risk assessment prior to returning to work for other reasons, then again, this needs to be revisited to see if the mitigations put in place are still adequate and if not, then further mitigation needs to be put in place. If you need any assistance with this please contact your local steward or the Branch Office.
Remember, you have a legal right to an individual Risk Assessment if you fall in to either the shielding or clinically vulnerable category, and every worker has the legal right to see a Risk Assessment for their job.
For members working for North Lanarkshire Council, more information is available via MyNL https://mynl.co.uk/knowledge-base/level-4-restrictions-shielding/
The Scottish Government guidance applies to all employers and is here https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-4/