It is essential the GMB union continues to provide support, training and advice and intervene with management when required.
Paul Holleran, Health & Safety & Education Officer, Festive message for a safe future with the GMB trade union
The GMB union nationally has recently gone through big changes and that will continue into 2022, while our North West and Irish Region has lots to be proud of over the last year. We have faced a multitude of problems, many related to the Covid pandemic, both in respect of avoiding catching or spreading the virus and the difficulties around mis-management by the government and many employers.
Our reps and officers have been on their toes constantly as risk assessments became the key to staying healthy at work. In some cases employers had decent risk assessments on paper but failed to implement them, cutting corners and taking chances with our members health and safety.
The wide range of roles affected included social workers being sent to homes without a risk assessment, facing potential violence or infection from Covid; Teaching assistants particularly put in front line as schools turned into breeding grounds for spread of the virus. Just look at the statistics around Omicron with a massive increase in 10-29 year olds testing positive.
The harrowing Channel 4 drama “Help” with Merseyside’s own Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham highlighted the real dangers of for care home workers and service users, alerting people to the problems with staffing levels and lack of PPE in what should be the safest of environments for the most vulnerable in society.
GMB trade union officers have been to the fore in standing up for workers as some managers appeared oblivious to the threats to life and health and it continues even now as Omicron throws up even more of a risk and we can’t let our guards down. Nobody is happy with the continuing restrictions, such as mask wearing but the risks are there and it isn’t worth ignoring the guidelines or advice from the medical experts.
The Coronavirus has shown many people the problems about going to work safely. Whether it is public transport or in a crowded workplace that your employer has a duty of care and needs to ensure that workers and the public get the maximum safeguards in place. Not just in relation to the pandemic but the normal hazards of work, staff who can face threats of violence; workers facing infection or poisoning from chemicals or waste; drivers with faulty vehicles or unsafe yards, these are all everyday risks and hazards that our members face.
It is essential the GMB union continues to provide support, training and advice and intervene with management when required. We are running new courses in 2022 with increased emphasis on providing our reps with the best tools and knowledge to help protect our members and we would be keen to see new faces and new reps taking on the role as part of the GMB trade union support team in keeping people safe and with better pay and conditions. Have a good and safe festive period and remember we are here for you if you need us.
Health & Safety & Education Officer
GMB trade union
North West & Irish Region