Aegis – General Secretary Update 28 May 2020
Since my last report on 13 May, the Aegis full time officers have continued to put our members’ health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront of every conversation we have with their employers.
The majority of Aegis members work for 8 main employers in the finance industry. These companies range from insurance, pensions, investments, IT, building societies, third party administration and IFA’s.
Some members work in large head offices with thousands of others and some work in branches with five others, typically.
They all have similarities and vastly different challenges regarding working safely through the coronavirus pandemic.
I’m very pleased to report that Aegis have an Assistant General Secretary and Health & Safety reps involved and working with every one of these organisations, playing an active part in the Health & Safety project teams and return to work project teams.
The challenges are wide ranging from ensuring social distancing is adhered to and PPE is provided in branches to rearranging the head office workplace to ensure everyone is sitting six feet apart and one way systems are in operation.
In the larger head offices the default position is still very much continue to work from home for the foreseeable future and there is no rush to get people back in the office. Where they are planning to return to these offices they are looking at reducing capacity, in some cases to below 25% to start with and then gradually increasing the number in phases if it’s safe to do so.
Those that want to go back to the office can request it, in some organisations this requires line manager’s having to make a business case for it and it requires exec approval. Generally, the reasons for wanting to return are to do with the individual’s mental well-being or child caring difficulties.
Some are considering opening their offices in July, some later, others are asking staff how they feel about it and it’s expected that there will be a blended approach in future. For example, working from home three days, in the office two days.
Of course, the last couple of months have not been plain sailing. To date, we’ve had many serious situations to work through and we’ve pressed hard for change, often with varying measures of success. The important point I want to make here is that due to the strength of our relationships with the employers, we were able to work through the difficult times together which resulted in better, safer, outcomes for our members. Without doubt our determination has made vital differences to our members and their families’ lives.
I’ve always stressed the importance of forging and cultivating good working in partnership relationships with employers, especially during the good times, so that we are actively included and have a strong voice at the table, when something as extreme as the coronavirus hits.
If this crisis has shown us anything it is that we are all stronger when we work together so join a union today.
Aegis the Union