Coronavirus is a serious public health crisis that is affecting the whole world right now. It is affecting working life like never before and the response is changing rapidly with new measures announced by government on a daily basis. It is more important than ever through lockdown to ensure our reps continue to receive training that will help to protect our members’ livelihoods and safety.
Even when a rep is furloughed, they can still do union duties and activities and support members at this time without foregoing any rights to be included under the job retention scheme.
As part of Community’s COVID-19 response, our training has become digital and we delivered the first webinar today – the Lockdown Guide for reps. The aim of the webinar is to share information and ideas that will help reps to be effective in the critical period that lies ahead.
The webinar looked at some top tips that will help reps when supporting members in face to face meetings and we spoke about how the use of technology can keep our members safe and connected at the same time.
Our education officer, Nick Caton delivered a session on organising and safety at work, he said “with workplace branches where reps have been furloughed or are not in work, we had to think differently about organising because many of our members are also not in work. We can’t use the traditional ways to recruit members, so we have trained reps to organise differently and find new ways to communicate with members.”
We asked participants to submit questions and ran a live Q&A session where reps could ask questions to the panel as well as sharing ideas and best practice with each other.
Ed Carey, lead legal officer for IDU Community delivered a session on the legal perspective looking at some facts about furlough, return to work and how lockdown has affected employment tribunals and cases. Ed said “The ongoing coronavirus restrictions profoundly impact members’ employment situations. Most of our members will currently be facing dilemmas around furlough, redundancy or the safety of a return to the workplace and it’s crucial they can rely on their union for high quality support.”
We will deliver more webinars in the coming weeks to keep reps updated with policy change and guidance, so check out the education section of our website for more details on upcoming webinars. If you missed the webinar, you can watch it in the education and events section in Community’s Rep Centre.
Tiffany Gillies, Head of Education said “One of the better things that’s come out of this difficult time is that people care more for each other and are motivated to get involved and help others. With our new provision of webinar training, reps can stay informed on important issues and work to strengthen the union. For many reps this is a perfect time to recruit and organise”
For reps who are still at work, now is the time to recruit. With workers across the UK facing some of the most challenging issues they have faced for a generation it is now more important than before to be in a union.
If you aren’t already a member, you can join us here.
You can view all of our COVID-19 resources here.