24 April 2020
Our Ref: E1/20
To: All Branches
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing
The Department of Health and Social Care has updated arrangements for testing for essential workers and their families.
These updated arrangements mean that in England and Northern Ireland essential staff working in telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 essential services), Postal Services and Delivery, and members of their households showing symptoms which might indicate COVID-19 infection can directly access a self-serve Government website and apply for testing at drive-through regional testing centres currently available in England and Northern Ireland.
Participation is voluntary and confidential. No information will be shared with the employer.
The Union welcomes this development which will help to alleviate the uncertainty facing many members and their families when they or a household member develops COVID-19 type symptoms.
We understand that briefing of Royal Mail managers commenced last night and will continue this morning. Royal Mail has provided the Union with the attached statement which clearly indicates the voluntary and confidential nature of this service. Royal Mail intends to ‘signpost’ employees who are self-isolating to the testing website within the first three days of absence. The CWU welcomes this as part of the employer’s duty of care to its employees. The Royal Mail statement makes clear the voluntary and confidential nature of the testing service. Employees are under no obligation to inform their manager if they or a member of their family have been tested and the manager should not seek this information. However, the union would strongly encourage members who test positive to immediately report this so that they can be appropriately supported and any measures necessary to help safe-guard colleagues, such as unit cleaning, can be applied.
Information regarding testing in Scotland and Wales will be circulated as soon as it becomes available.
Any enquiries relating to this LTB should be directed to Ray Ellis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Acting National Health, Safety & Environment Officer