How we’re working to support you in your workplace throughout the pandemic
May 1st marks International Workers’ Day or May Day as it is more commonly known. Each year the day celebrates workers across the world, promoted by the International Labour Movement and often marked with a national holiday.
2020 has seen one of the biggest crises in history: Covid-19. Workers are fighting to battle the virus, save lives and provide for society’s essential needs. From cleaners and catering staff, to postal and transport workers, teachers and in social care, and every staff member on the NHS frontline. At the CSP, we are immensely proud of the work the nearly 60,000 physiotherapists and support workers are undertaking at this time within all aspects of healthcare.
Today it has never been more important to be a member of a trade union: as a movement we have been instrumental in securing greater protections for workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, from job security and incomes to safety at work. CSP workplace stewards and health and safety reps have never been more central to ensuring your concerns are raised and your voice is heard.
For the CSP, our top priority is your safety at work. Together with other health unions, we have been working to ensure improved guidance from the four Public Health bodies and the government on PPE, lobbying and influencing on the PPE supply issue for those treating Covid-19 patients. This remains a key focus for us at this time. CSP health and safety reps are making sure workplace risk assessments take place and appropriate workplace changes are done in consultation with the workforce.
Speak to your safety rep if you’re having issues with PPE or risk assessments. The CSP has a comprehensive PPE FAQ section on our website.
Supporting bereaved workers
‘Trade unions have been crucial in securing bereavement and compassionate leave in workplaces in the past. We now have a role to play during this crisis to support people who are grieving, as well as to remember those we have lost,’ says Shelly Asquith, health, safety and wellbeing policy officer at the TUC.
Trade unions held a minutes’ silence at 11am on 28 April (International Workers Memorial Day) to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives due to Covid-19 or other work-related illness or injury. The TUC has produced some guidance titled 'Covid-19 – How unions can help support bereaved workers'.
There are some specific resources available to staff to support their health and wellbeing during this time, recognising the significant impact this will have on so many staff: Health and wellbeing support for NHS staff (we understand that this is likely to apply across all four countries.)
Equality and diversity
Sadly there are indications that Covid-19 is having a disproportionate impact on some groups of people.
According to The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre, 35% of severely ill Covid-19 patients are BAME, almost three times the 13% proportion within the UK population. We have raised this issue with the national TUC and we’re pleased that the government is launching an investigation into this.
Calls to domestic abuse lines have more than doubled since the UK lockdown started. We also know that tragically, at least ten women have been killed in their own homes due to domestic abuse from their male partner. The TUC have designed an excellent guide to help you spot the signs of domestic abuse: 'Domestic abuse – why staying home isn’t safe for everyone and what you can do to help'.
We are seeing those with disabilities such as long-term health conditions being disproportionately affected by the virus, whether that’s self-isolation, a move to working from home or - even worse – your job being put at risk because you have a disability. If you have a disability, you can access support via your CSP steward and by joining the CSP DisAbility network group. Email Caulfields@csp.org.uk to find out more.
These are all real issues being faced by so many across the UK during the pandemic, including CSP members. We will continue to work with employers, trade unions, professional bodies and the government to ensure you and your rights are protected at work.
What can you do to help?
Become a safety rep
Covid-19 has proven the value in having proper health and safety in your workplace. This couldn’t be achieved without CSP safety reps. We understand the enormous pressures members are under today, but we are asking you to consider become a CSP safety rep to help work to ensure the safety of physiotherapy and support staff. The role is crucial, now more than ever. Safety reps can identify where risk assessments should be taking place, carry out workplace inspections and have rights to be consulted by the employer on workplace change.
During this period there is not a need to hold a formal election and members can simply volunteer to become a safety rep. Here is some information on becoming a safety rep.
We are always looking to fill other workplace roles, from stewards and workplace contacts – Join the team and get organised.
Problems at work?
The CSP has created a whole host of FAQs on the website to assist with any difficulties at work arising from Covid-19 and the lockdown. They are relevant for all our members, wherever they work. We are taking an unprecedented number of calls on our enquiries line so to ensure you get an answer to your query as fast as possible please do look there first. Otherwise contact us in the normal way.
Look after yourself
We’ve provided a range of advice for members about maintaining good mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
Number of subscribers: 1