Further to the announcement by the Prime Minister last night, I have written to DfC management asking for an answer to the question - Am I an essential worker? I also have a teleconference with senior management at 12.00pm today so please get any queries to me by 11.00am so I can collate them.

I have also stated that given the advice, we cannot have 8500 essential workers in DfC and that large parts of the department must be instructed to stay at home. However, the payment of benefit, especially UC fresh claims and Discretionary Support are key for some of the most vulnerable in our communities so we would expect arrangements that will require such essential workers to attend work. However with significantly reduced numbers, the ongoing problems with social distancing should be resolved.

It is however important that you make contact with your local management as soon as possible. I see no reason what large parts of ECG, SPSSG and HURLG would not be instructed to stay at home. If you can work from home, great but you should stay at home. Work & Health and Supporting People present a different problem but there are areas such as support areas and Debt centre that should not be in work.

It is likely that rotas will be set up in those essential areas so it is critical that local Covid 19 action plans are shared with LTUS and members urgently. Please contact seconded officers or myself if you have any problems getting information.

As we are not deemed essential workers, NIPSA HQ has closed and therefore you will only get contacting me by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on my mobile - 07793 782 465. Please try email first before trying my mobile. I will come back to you as soon as I can.

Please make every effort to get as many members to stay at home and demand that managers look a little further than their own importance.

Dooley Harte
Assistant Secretary