North Lanarkshire branch officer John Watson said: “UNISON members are responding to help and protect the most vulnerable, the shielded and the suddenly unemployed and will continue with that vital work in the weeks and months to come.
“In the weeks that have gone by, access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for social workers and home care staff was and still is a key concern. While UNISON acknowledge PPE shortages have been experienced across the UK, it is clear that the impact Government austerity and crippling cuts to North Lanarkshire council’s over the past 10 years have had.
“Yet it is our members on the front line in our council with community and voluntary sectors that we rely on in the coming months,
“Many workers in the care sector are low paid women, often working several jobs order to secure a fair income.
“They are essential workers, yet have not been provided the essential PPE in order to keep themselves – and others – safe.”
A council spokesperson said, “The council has worked closely with all trade unions since the start of the coronavirus emergency and we will continue to do so.
One example is the issue of PPE, where a national agreement for Health & Social Care workers, was followed closely by a strong statement on the use of PPE in homecare and this was agreed between the joint trade unions and the council, including Unison. This clearly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of our workforce during the Covid-19 crisis.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees is a priority and we agree with Unison that ongoing risk assessments regarding safe work are essential as we move forward, and we will continue to work in partnership with all of our trade unions this next phase of recovery.”