COSLA responds to Trade Unions' letter
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Councillor Alison Evison, COSLA President, said: "Sadly these are difficult times and we are dealing with an issue the likes of which we have never seen before. I think that the only way to get through it is by a collective push and working in partnership both locally and nationally.

"An enormous amount of constructive partnership work has been undertaken so far and at an incredible pace, with both UK and Scottish Government and also with our Trade Union Colleagues.

"Councils take the health and wellbeing of both staff and individuals across our communities very seriously and are continuing to do so at this unprecedented time. The national response to the COVID-19 pandemic is public health led and informed by the science.

"Services across Scotland are being provided in line with Public Health guidance and Local Government is working closely with the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland to ensure support across the system.

"COSLA is working with Scottish Government to ensure the appropriate National Guidance is in place to support local service delivery. We have pressed for further guidance on social distancing for workers and expect this, as well as guidance on PPE, to be issued imminently by Scottish Government. Councils will use this National Guidance to inform their own local measures – this is right and proper to allow specific local issues in communities and workforce to be addressed. We are working closely with Trade Union Colleagues to ensure questions from our workforce are addressed and we have published Frequently Asked Questions on COSLA’s website and will update these regularly.

"We are aware that everyone in our community is more likely to feel stressed and more anxious at this time and this will include our employees. Local support services through Human Resource channels are in place for staff and we are working with national organisations, such as the Samaritans, to ensure a National support network is in place.

"I applaud our workforce for the incredible jobs they are doing and it is imperative they are supported during these challenging times as they continue to deliver essential services within our communities. Working together in these most difficult of times is more important than ever both nationally with our signatory trade unions and locally with councils’ management and resilience partners. We are currently engaging with the unions representing our workforce with meetings on a daily basis.

"Our workforce across our communities is doing an amazing job right now and we will do everything we can in partnership with the trade unions to protect, support and safeguard these vital workers.”