Welcome to Essex County UNISON

Schools and Covid – online day of action

UNISON, GMB, NASUWT and Unite are urging members to join parents and staff in an online day of action on Thursday 9 December. This is to tell the government to bring in additional mitigations to help keep pupils and staff in England safely in school.

Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that school-aged children have the highest rates of infection of any age group. Data also shows that education staff are more likely to test positive for Covid than the general population. This is leading to unsustainable workload pressures and burnout in schools. Over 200,000 pupils were absent for Covid-19 related reasons on 25 November alone according to the Department for Education; with warnings that it could get much worse in January. This cannot be allowed to continue.

Why not tweet/post messages of support (some example tweets are listed below) and copy in the Secretary of State @nadhimzahawi

Example tweets

  • We need to help keep pupils safe and help keep them in school. We need air filters for schools #ProtectPupils #ProtectEducation
  • The Government must act to protect face to face learning – we need to ensure proper ventilation in all schools #ProtectPupils #ProtectEducation
  • Pupils have suffered enough disruption from #Covid. I’m calling on the Government to make schools safer and increase catch-up funding #ProtectPupils #ProtectEducation
  • The Government must act now to protect pupils’ education and health. We need ventilation, vaccines and stronger rules on face coverings #ProtectPupils #ProtectEducation
  • The Government must act to stop the spread of #Covid in schools – proper ventilation, face coverings in classrooms in secondary and full pay for parents needing to isolate #ProtectPupils #ProtectEducation

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Winter fuel grant

There for You Winter has a limited to fund to offer grants of up to £200 to UNISON members struggling to pay fuel bills this winter. Members whose income is less than £18,200 (if living alone) or £26,000 (for a family) can apply. Applications will also be accepted from members in receipt of either housing benefit, Universal Credit or council tax reduction. Apply now

Alternatively you can download an application form to print and freepost back to us. Details are on the form.


Unison, Essex Branch will continue to update this front page with information regarding the Covid-19 situation relating to members’ working practices and wellbeing. Previous information published here, together with any other information, will be moved to the new Covid-19 page as this front page is updated. The new menu tab for Covid-19 is shown in the menu above. Covid-19 Update 2nd June 2020 If your employer requires you to work at home, you may be able to claim for increased costs due to working from home, eg, heating and electricity. Below are 2 links that should help. The first is to Martin Lewis’ blog that has some useful information and the 2nd is to uk.gov web site relating to this subject: https://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2020/04/martin-lewis–working-from-home-due-to-coronavirus–claim-p6-wk-/ https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

HELP UNISON TO HELP YOU We always need new Unison reps in a number of roles – do you think you could help? STEWARDS Elected by UNISON members to represent members in a workplace or department (or part of one.) Stewards have full rights to represent their members by meeting management, attending the branch committee etc. There is a full range of training for stewards, and the branch appoints a mentor from amongst experienced activists to advise you. HEALTH & SAFETY REPS Elected by UNISON members to represent employees in a workplace or department (or part of one) on health and safety issues specifically. There is clear legal protection and definition of what H&S reps can do. We particularly need people to do this job within Essex County Council departments but volunteers from any workplace would be welcome. CONTACTS If you don’t feel able to do either of the other jobs we can always use people to act as named contacts between the branch and a workplace/ department. We can email or post you useful information and from time to time we may ask you to find out the feeling amongst members on specific issues for us. If you are interested in doing any of these jobs or helping UNISON in some other way, please contact the branch office.

TWO UNISON  BRANCHES IN ESSEX?! In 2016 UNISON branches in Essex were restructured and the Essex County Branch now covers only three groups of members:

  • Members directly employed by Essex County Council.
  • Members employed by Essex Fire & Rescue Service.
  • Members employed in LEA maintained (Community or Voluntary Controlled ) schools.

If your employer is one of those above the office telephone number remains 01245 354044. If all our lines are busy, email unison@essex.gov.uk and we will get back to you as soon as possible. NOTE -If you work for other employers (including voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies) contact the UNISON Essex branch tel. 01245 608949 email unisoninessex@gmail.com __________________________________________________________________

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