Covid-19 has meant that we have been unable to proceed with several routine meetings and events since March this year. Although society has begun to open up again, the threat of the virus is still very much present, as can be seen across the country, with local lockdowns taking place in towns and cities. When schools reopen fully in September, there may be cause to shut down other aspects of society, to mitigate the risk to all.
The Regional Convenors Team and Regional Secretary continue to monitor the situation every week to consider what impact the pandemic will have on our regional activities. The following has been agreed until the end of December 2020:
- There will be an on-line hustings event held for Regional Council members, within the General Secretary election nomination period. Further details of this will be sent to Regional Council members in line with the guidance for virtual meetings.
- Where there is an urgent need for any other regional group to meet, to discuss Covid-19 related issues – and where these cannot be dealt with in any other way – Committee Secretaries and Chairs have been advised of the process for requesting an on-line meeting.
- All other routine regional events, committees, sub-committees and working groups are suspended until 31 December 2020.
- Committee Secretaries and Chairs will continue to work closely during this time to facilitate any urgent decision making by following the Regional protocol on delegated decisions.
- All face-to-face regional activist education and member learning courses have also been suspended until 31 March 2021. However, we have and will continue to increase the number of on-line courses.
- The BIG Weekend event, previously postponed to the autumn, will be rescheduled for May 2021.
- We recognise there will be a need for a special meeting of some groups; for example, Health branches to consider urgent matters such as NHS pay.
The region’s priorities throughout this crisis have been to protect the health and wellbeing of our members, their colleagues and families, and to support members working on the front line of this global pandemic. As more UNISON members are returning to work, we continue to offer urgent support to concerned members and to work with employers across all sectors to ensure that the safety and equality of workers is prioritised.
We will continue to be vigilant in our support of members and activists during this uncertain time. UNISON’s advice for negotiating with employers is updated continuously. If you have concerns about the measures your employer is taking to keep staff safe, please raise these with your branch and your branch’s Organiser.
Mark Chiverton, Rosita Ellis & Billie Reynolds
Regional Convenor, Deputy Regional Convenors