General Secretary Update 13 May 2020
Since my last report on 29 April, the Aegis full time officers have continued to put our members’ health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront of every conversation we have with employers.
The coronavirus is impacting our members, and their employers, in the finance sector in many different ways. With the help of Aegis reps, across the UK, we have been in consultation with employers, often on a daily basis, to ensure our members remain safe and financially secure during this turbulent period. The issues we’ve tackled are quite diverse and some of them have been ongoing for some time. We have many members working from home, others are still in offices and some are working from branches in towns and cities. There are challenges for everyone, regardless of their environment and we are working hard with employers to resolve the range of issues our members are raising
To find out more about what’s happening with issues in your area please check for updates from your Assistant General Secretary in your members section of our website.
We had our first successful virtual National Council (NC) meeting spread over the 28th, 29th and 30th April, using Microsoft Teams. This enabled us to discuss, vote and agree key strategic decisions about the future of Aegis. It also allowed us to welcome the new NC members to their first meeting and to appoint the Deputy and Assistant General Secretaries in line with our rules. My thanks go to the NC for their full participation and enthusiastic support during these very difficult times.
Last week I attended the TUC LGBT+ Committee meeting by Skype. Although the LGBT+ conference that was due to take place on 25th & 26th June has been cancelled, it was still important to agree motions as they will ultimately determine the agenda of work of the committee going forward. We also agreed the nominations for future committee members. A new date for conference has not yet been decided.
The government has now published its guidance on safe working. The full set of guidance documents can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
The TUC still have significant concerns about access to PPE for key workers and across the economy and need to see far more additional health and safety enforcement resources than the government has committed to date. That said, there have been some real improvements in the guidance as a result of trade union interventions, including the expectation that all employers of more than 50 staff publish their risk assessments and clearer references to existing requirements on employers to consult with unions.
“All employers of more than 50 staff must now carry out and publish risk assessments in consultation with unions and their workforces. “
A clear message, if you’re not in a union, join one.
Brian Linn, General Secretary, Aegis the Union