Further to my correspondence yesterday, I wanted to write to you about a meeting we had this morning with DfC senior management regarding plans to open JBOs from Monday 08 June 2020.

Management in Work & Health Directorate confirmed that there had been confusion and that they had not planned for all staff to return to the offices from Monday. However they are beginning plans to increase the number of staff in offices and the number working from home. TUS were clear that the message being delivered to members was that they had to return to work in significant numbers and this would put staff at risk.

Following a frank exchange of views, we have agreed the following:

  • Staff will not be asked to return to their workplace in increased numbers until a risk assessment under new agreed principles has been completed.
  • A joint Covid risk assessment will be carried out for whole buildings in line with these new Guiding Principles.
  • Each office has a NIPSA safety rep, or will have one allocated where none exist, who will act as a point of contact for management and members and they will engage in the risk assessment. Training will be provided and I will issue further details on this soon.
  • Risk assessments will be done on a phased basis to begin next week and will be made available to staff.

Local TUS reps should therefore make contact with local managers to ensure that there is not a significant number of staff asked to attend any office/building on Monday.

If any member has a query on coming into work on Monday, they should contact their line manager in the first instance and if the matter is not resolved, then contact their local TUS rep or seconded officer.

Both management and NIPSA have agreed that no member will be required to work in an office that is unsafe and that has not been properly risk assessed.

I will issue further information next week.

Dooley Harte
Assistant Secretary