Safety updates – cleaning services and surge testing

Coronavirus Health and Safety

UNISON reps continue to highlight the unsafe situation in particular departments on campus. In particular we’ve been focusing on the situation in cleaning services, where all staff are still being asked to attend work despite access to many buildings being restricted or prevented entirely. 

Over 70 cleaning staff so far have signed a collective letter expressing concern about the situation and asking managers to think again and to work with union representatives on alternatives that would allow essential work to be covered safely while leading to no loss of income for staff. 

Please contact us if you work in cleaning services and would like to sign the letter or if you have safety concerns regarding a different department and would like to discuss the possibility of a similar letter being used to raise concerns.

Surge testing – advice for all staff

On the 1st February it was announced by the government that surge testing is to be deployed to monitor and suppress the spread of new more infectous COVID-19 variants. Residents who are living or working in Frankley Great Park ward and the part of south Northfield between Frankley and the A38, south of Tessall Lane, since 1 January 2021 are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test as soon as possible, even if they are not showing symptoms.

UNISON welcome the University’s decision to advise all staff covered by this measure to remain away from work until they’ve had a negative PCR test. This absence is fully paid and not recorded as sick leave, annual leave or unpaid leave (in line with other forms of absence). 

Those living in the areas in question should be contacted by the University but everyone is encouraged to keep an eye out for announcements relating to their local area. You can use Birmingham City Council’s postcode checker to confirm if you fall into any of the areas currently covered by surge testing.  

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