Here is a round-up of the news we have for you this week. As always, if you are a member, please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about anything happening in your place of work by contacting us at: unison@leeds.ac.uk

RETURN TO CAMPUS
When you return to campus, your line manager will ask you to complete the ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Return to Work on Campus’ questionnaire. We know many members of staff have already done this.

When completing the questionnaire, we ask that you consider carefully the following risk factors when answering question 28:

Are there any other personal circumstances or concerns that could impact on your return to campus (e.g. concerns regarding your protected characteristics*, personal health matters, or concerns relating to health and safety measures on or off campus, including at home or travelling)?
*
Protected characteristics include age, caring responsibilities, disabilities, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity status, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation

Many people might not know exactly what their and their family’s risks are with regards to Covid-19 or whether any protected characteristics contribute to the risk. This is why we strongly encourage our branch members to speak to their GP or to ask their line manager for an Occupational Health referral when you return to work. Your line manager is not qualified to judge your medical risk, and neither are we. Only your GP or the University’s Occupational Health practitioner can give you a professional opinion on your risk.

A good starting point is the Welsh government’s COVID-19 workforce risk assessment tool. This is an online tool that helps you make an initial judgement whether you are at a higher risk of Covid-19 infection. National UNISON continues to recommend that all black, disabled, and vulnerable staff members receive an individual risk assessment when returning to work.

The University has conducted an Equality Impact Assessment which details how several minority risks might be at a higher risk.

Age
Covid-19 seems to have a bigger impact on people who are older. If you are aged between 50-69 there is an increased risk. See Public Health England’s report for more details.

Sex at Birth
Covid-19 seems to have a bigger impact on males than females. See Public Health England’s report for more details.

Ethnicity
Covid-19 seems to have a bigger impact on people from some ethnicities, particularly black men (3.9 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than white men), while black women are 3.3 times more at risk of death than white women.

Men of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian ethnic background also have a significantly higher risk of death involving Covid-19 (1.5 and 1.6 times, respectively). See Public Health England’s report for more details.

Existing Health Conditions (Comorbidity)
Covid-19 seems to have a bigger impact if you already have other pre-existing health conditions. If you have any concerns, we would recommend you speak with your GP first.

Examples of conditions that may have an impact on your risk factor:
• Cardiovascular disease – Including Hypertension (high blood pressure), Atrial Fibrillation (Irregular heart rate), Heart Failure, Previous MI (had a heart attack), had a stroke, or Transient Ischemic Attack (mini stroke)
• Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 or 2
• Chronic lung disease (including asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease)
• Chronic kidney disease (any stage 1-5)
• Liver disease (such as hepatitis)
• Sickle cell trait, Thalassaemia trait or other haemoglobinopathy
• Pregnancy

See Public Health England’s report for more details.

Obesity
Covid-19 seems to have a bigger impact if you are overweight. If your BMI is more than 40, you may be more at risk. See Public Health England’s report for more details.

If you have any concerns about your return to campus, then please do not hesitate to contact your union reps Daniel Rosenzweig (d.a.rosenzweig@leeds.ac.uk) or Lucinda Walker (l.c.walker@leeds.ac.uk).

PAY OFFER
You should have received our update regarding the 0% pay ‘offer’ via email. We asked for your thoughts and ideas and a big thank you to everyone who has already contacted us, there are a lot of interesting points being raised. If you haven’t contacted us yet with your thoughts, we’d encourage you to do so; our Branch is you, the members and we’d like your feedback so we can plan the next steps.

PRIDE IS A PROTEST
UNISON’s national and regional LGBT+ groups have organised a virtual Pride rally this Saturday, 1 August. Click the link for more information and how to join in on the day.

LOAN SHARKS
There has a been a sharp upturn in people turning to loan sharks in the Yorkshire region. We’d encourage anyone who is under financial pressure to reach out to organisations for help, advice and support. Leeds City Council have an online leaflet which covers many different areas of money management, which you can access free of charge. You can also contact our Branch Welfare Officer, Chris Money (c.money@leeds.ac.uk) for support and advice and as always, UNISON’s There For You charity can also offer support and financial assistance for members.

GENERAL SECRETARY ELECTIONS
UNISON’s General Secretary, Dave Prentis, is stepping down from the role on 31 December, 2020. Nominations will open from 10 August to 25 September, 2020 and voting will open for all members from 28 October to 27 November, 2020. You can find further details about the election here. The Branch Committee is currently discussing holding an online hustings for members to attend in the coming months. We will send further details when we have them. You will start to receive paperwork regarding the candidates and how to vote once the nomination period has ended and we would encourage you to vote in this election. You can check your contact details are up-to-date here.

As always, if you have any feedback or any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We update our website and social media channels regularly so you can always find useful information there as well. You can get in contact with us directly at: unison@leeds.ac.uk