We hope you had a restful and relaxing break over Easter and that you, your family and friends are all doing well. We’re coming to the end of the fifth week of working from home for the majority of us. Some of you may still be working on campus and we’d like to say thank you to everyone who is doing so. The VC’s message last week said that the closure of campus would last until at least the end of May, so this situation will be with us for some time yet. Here are some updates which may be of interest.

Any member who is working at the university using a visa which is due to end shortly, can contact the International Team for advice at immigration@leeds.ac.uk

Please keep checking the university’s Coronavirus microsite for updated information on what help and advice is available. We have been informed this is being updated on a regular basis in line with government advice.

At the moment, no online hearings for cases have gone ahead. Guidance is being sent to us to comment on to ensure any that do go ahead are dealt with fairly. If you have an active case and have concerns about what is happening, please contact the rep who is working with you. It is also worth noting that many cases will be put on hold until we return to campus, but if you would prefer to keep the case moving forward we can work with HR to try and ensure this can happen.

Critical Activities Team – we have been asking the university what they will do to recognise the crucial work that staff in the Critical Activities Team are undertaking during this difficult period. The university have agreed with us to pay a bonus of £20 per shift to each of these staff members, regardless of grade or length of shift they are undertaking. Those staff who need to come onto campus less regularly will be awarded a Recognition payment from Central HR through the Reward and Recognition portal. Letters regarding this are currently being sent out, but if you think you are part of this team and you do not receive anything by Monday, please contact HR.

Remote working guidance – there will be a final update on guidance for remote working sent out. This is because of the length of time the closure has been in place. As such, if you have not already contacted us about reasonable adjustments you usually have in the workplace and you are struggling working from home, please contact us.

E-learning – UNISON has provided free e-learning for all members to access: https://e-learning.unison.org.uk/

Financial help – UNISON’s charity, There For You, is still available for any member who is struggling financially at the moment. Electronic forms are available by emailing thereforyou@unison.co.uk and you no longer have to apply through the Branch which will save time on processing the application. Members can also access a Covid-19 Emergency Grant by emailing the above address.

2020 Pay Claim – UNISON’s pay claim for this year has been submitted (5% + RPI), but talks have been suspended for the meantime due to the national lockdown. We will send further information once we have it. At this time, a decent pay rise is needed and we will be fighting for this year’s claim to be accepted by the employers.

Workers’ Memorial Day – Tues, 28 April 2020 – we would normally hold a memorial service on campus to remember all those who have lost their lives at work. Due to the current circumstances, we are asking members to participate in the one minute’s silence at 11am on Tuesday, 28 April. Although we can’t do this while physically together, we can all stand in solidarity with other workers at 11am to remember those who have lost their lives, including those in the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are also asking the university to advertise the minute’s silence across all staff and to consider offering further time away from work to give staff the chance to reflect on the current situation. It has been agreed following our suggestions that the flag on Parkinson Tower be at half-mast and that the blue NHS colour is reflected on there also as a show of solidarity.

Social Media – we are keeping our website and social media channels updated. If you don’t already follow us on social media, here are our details:

As always, we are here for you should you have any queries, concerns or issues with work. Please contact your local Rep or Officer (see Branch Reps and Officers ) or you can email unison@leeds.ac.uk as this inbox is now being monitored.