Letter from your Branch – Coronavirus

I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to all of our members today about the unprecedented situation we are facing here in the UK.

I understand this is a worrying time for everybody, we have not faced a Public Health crisis like this in our lifetime. Government advice is changing quickly in the midst of a rapidly declining situation. 

Firstly, and most importantly, PLEASE FOLLOW GOVERNMENT ADVICE. 

We’re hearing a lot of questions around attendance and from people who are worried about taking time off. GOVERNMENT ADVICE IS CLEAR, and this applies to everyone:

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.

How long to stay at home:

  • if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
  • if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Failure to follow this advice PUTS YOU, YOUR COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS, FAMILIES AT RISK. This is not something to be blasé about, and we cannot stress enough, the importance of following public health advice as it changes. 

Make yourselves familiar with official info re Coronavirus/COVID-19, and of course any directions and info your employer may be providing. 

NHS Coronavirus/Covid19 – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

UK Gov Coronavirus info https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response 

FCO travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice 

NI Public health advice https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus 

UK Gov advice for Employers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19

If you are worried that, the company you work for (as we recognise there are quite a few within our Branch), are not meeting your regulated safety advice/procedural needs as outlined above, please do contact us.

Please take this seriously, there is a lot of confusing and contradictory information online about the Coronavirus. Practice good social media hygiene and make sure the info you share is true and from a verified source. You could be saving a life. 

Your employers are navigating a rapidly changing situation. We know this is confusing and we’re pushing to get info out to you as quickly as possible. We’re also counting on you to let us know when something isn’t right – for example, if cleaning practices are not what they should be or sanitising/cleaning equipment is not available.  

We understand that Union support is more important now than ever and we’re working on ways to continue supporting you if/when we’re thin on the ground due to self isolation or illness. Please follow our social media for important updates. You can also message us or ask questions on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cwunitb/ Twitter @CWU_nitb 

Finally, I want to remind you that we’re all in this together. Be kind to each other. Check in with your neighbour. Do something healthy every day. Donate some extra food to our local food banks next time you’re able to. The services you provide at work are ever more important for people who work from home or are sick/self-isolating. Do what you can, when you can, to help. We will get through this together.

Best wishes, stay healthy 

Erin Massey Branch Secretary

Mark Feehily Branch Chair

CWU NI Telecom Branch