For DWP GEC
I have been a PCS representative since 2013 and my background has largely been in undertaking local H&S duties, Branch Assistant Secretary and Group Black Members Advisory Committee member trade union duties. At present, I’m the Branch H&S Safety Officer, Branch Assistant Secretary, a GEC member and I am also the NBMC delegate reporting back to the GEC on issues black members currently face or have concerns about.
I am seeking re-election to the GEC to be part of the GEC LU leadership that has fought hard and tirelessly for the safety of all during the pandemic and both for those in our workplaces and also to enable working from home and the safety measures that come with that. Also, negotiating policy and procedures and also having to feedback where these are not being followed and raising concerns of our members. I wish to continue to fight alongside my GEC LU comrades for better pay, living standards, pensions, safety, permanency of contract for our fixed term staff, along with other campaigns to address other social injustices that are our sad reality.
In the last 12 months, against the back drop of the vaccine roll out and the emergence of new variants which created more emphasis on protecting ourselves and others, return to workplaces with the doors open to the public recommenced with daily high rates of infection reported nationally. To assist my GEC comrades, I worked hard to ensure correct safety processes and risk assessments were being understood, followed and operated correctly to determine the effectiveness of the measures and to maintain appropriate safety controls. This also extended to ensuring that correct consultation took place in respect of site closures to allow for deep cleans.
Once remote working became enabled for all, reasonable adjustments and review of relevant passports were also high priority for many to protect wellbeing and alleviate stresses so that attendance and performance could be maintained despite growing pressures.
I have often dealt with short notice urgent risk assessments of outreach premises to ensure that TU consultation regarding safety protocols and minimum safety standards were in place for our staff and public, were being reviewed and highlighting any concerns that were identified.
The everchanging position due to the pandemic has made increasing membership density challenging and continues to be an area of key priority on the agenda as undeniably, together we are stronger.
At the end of the summer, the expansion of some of our offices and the emphasis on ventilation became the next challenges to deal with. This required a whole new host of risk assessments to be undertaken. Not to mention, the guidance changed a few times and the easement of further restrictions created much angst and anxiety for many coupled with the introduction of hybrid working for those who had been working from home continuously. This short period of returning to ‘normal’ ceased abruptly with the emergence of the omnicron variant that is still very much present and claiming lives.
For a large proportion, this will have meant still maintaining and exercising a high level of caution when restrictions were being removed then put back in place and then removed. It has been a frightening prospect for some members to step out into the unknown where control measures may be poorly understood or ignored.
We are aware also of a proportion of members who are significantly vulnerable and have not been able to safeguards themselves as prescribed for others due to their own frailty, treatment or condition. The consequence of contracting the virus holds a devastating potential for these members and it has been reassuring that the application of the correct policy and procedures with advice has been followed. It is of great concern where this is not the case and must continue to be raised.
I wish to continue to help alongside my GEC comrades to highlight areas of concern in policies , procedures or any new system that is being developed so that there is no harmful outcome when we are delivering our duties. Also, to continue to support and stand up for any member who may be affected by an issue or issues and to continue to help remove any initiatives that have the potential of being discriminatory in its application.