PCS Union Safety Reps met on Tuesday 24th March with Atos management (Pam Daley) in response to the measures being put in place by the company to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These daily meetings are so that PCS can raise concerns and have meaningful input into the local plans
Amongst the main concerns we raised at the meeting included:
1.Lack of senior managers on site to explain what is happening in Capella leaving FLMs and employees in the firing line. Cannot approach senior management concerns as they are not here.
Reply: Senior managers are working on a rota. Managers in the business had been requested not to come into the office to prevent contamination. Senior managers have confirmed that they are available to support colleagues and colleagues should not hesitate to contact them on the phone or by email.
PCS asked How is that any different from any other employee coming into work?
Reply: The government have said those who can work from home should do so. This is a balance between minimising the number of colleagues on site who absolutely need to be there as it is not possible to work from home whilst still ensuring senior presence on-site which is why the rota is in place.
2. Social Distancing is not being carried out in the buildings despite this being mandatory. In the office we are not adhering to the 2-metre social distancing. There is no 2-metre social distancing in the breakout areas.
Reply: The company has been working on ways to carry out social distancing in line with the government guidelines and looked at various options available to carry theses out by people being 2 metres apart. This has been not proved to be easy, however, strict social distancing measures are now being implemented across the sites. Individuals also have personal responsibility in the office by staying 2 metres from their colleagues in break out rooms, at printers, on stairways, washing your hands, etc.
3. Travelling on Public transport. Employees are expected to travel in to work on public transport, increasing the chance of spreading disease, especially those at risk. Services have been reduced but buses still full. No social distancing on buses.
Reply: Management looking at options to reduce travel at busy times including temporary shifts which might help if flexible starting/finishing times could be put in place. Management will seek volunteers for these. A survey will also be issued to understand any issues colleagues are having with this
PCS. There are some indications that less people are using public transport and trains on some routes. Transport bosses expected to make further announcements on services over the next few days
4. Survey. Employees who were asked to complete a survey if they believed they had a high-risk medical condition or had to care for elderly family members completed the survey last week confirming these over a week ago but so far, no reply.
Reply. Everyone who had completed the survey who has been identified as vulnerable worker should have had a response by now. If you feel from the response you provided, you are vulnerable and you are someone who is still working in the office and you haven’t received an email about this, please contact People Transformation firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Political Differences. Different message from the First Minister of Scotland to that of the UK government. She stated that’ if you run a business and if the nature of the business makes it difficult for you or your workers to work from home or to practice safe social distancing, then you should close’. Other statements have been similar when considered in full.
Reply: This is not something within our control. We are following government guidelines and these are subject to change. Similar guidelines have also been issued by the Scottish Government.
6. Chennai closing till end of March.
Reply. This is a decision taken by the Indian Government to close down the country. Company investigating to see if payments and other crucial business processes could be brought back on shore.
PCS will issue a further update to inform members of progress, but in the meantime, please address any concerns to both your PCS Safety Representatives and your line manager.
This is a fluctuating situation and the union are considering whether there may be some opportunities to issue joint communications especially if it leads to information being available quicker.