Anti-Austerity Demonstration, London 20th June 2015
LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS
Have your say in the Labour leadership elections this August!
If you're a member of UNISON's Affiliated Political Fund, then you're eligible to vote in Labour's forthcoming leadership election August.
However, to activate your vote you'll need to sign up as a registered Labour Party supporter.
Sign up as a registered Labour Party supporter here by 12th August 2015 to take part in the One Member One Vote Election for the Labour Party Leader.
2016/17 NJC Pay Claim Agreed
UNISON, GMB and Unite have agreed the following NJC Trade Union Side pay claim for 2016/17:
Deletion of NJC and all local pay points which fall below the level of the UK Living Wage (and deletion of GLPC pay points below London Living Wage) and a flat rate increase of £1 per hour on all other pay points
Retention and protection of Green Book Part 2 terms and conditions
Fair treatment for school support staff through a joint review of term time working
The agreed claim is based on UNISON’s main proposals, which we consulted members on. Significantly, the deletion of the pay points was UNISON’s preferred method for achieving the Living Wage, and UNISON and Unite’s preference for £1 an hour up the scale was adopted, in preference over the GMB’s support for a 5% increase.
Despite pushing the other unions very hard, we could not get their agreement to include UNISON’s proposal to backdate the settlement date to 1 April 2015, in the claim. However, the other unions did agree that the written claim would highlight the progress we want on:
The real terms pay cut to living standards in recent years
The inadequacy of last year’s pay settlement in restoring members’ lost earnings
The inadequate funding for a pay increase for local government workers last year
The Employers’ refusal in recent years to engage in meaningful negotiations
The Employers’ refusal to enter into arbitration to help resolve pay disputes in a fair manner
The Trade Union Side will submit the written claim to the Employers next month.
We will also look to lodge equivalent pay claims to ALMOs and other appropriate outsourced employers. This will require further discussion on co-ordination through the NJC Executive Trade Union Side.
Result for Bolton women in union ballot
Three Bolton Women have all been elected to the national executive of Britain’s largest public service trade union, UNISON which has over 1.3 million members across the UK.
Karen Reissmann Bernadette Gallagher and Janet Bryan (pictured left to right) have all been elected to the union’s national executive committee it was announced 8th June. Karen Reissman is Mental Health Nurse and NHS campaigner who works for the health service. Bernadette Gallagher is a former Homeless Welfare officer with Bolton Council. Janet Bryan is a Unison Convenor with Bolton’s biggest landlord, Bolton at Home. Their terms of office will be from June 2015 to June 2017.
Bernadette Gallagher, said, “I am absolutely delighted and proud to be part of a strong group of women from Bolton to serve on the Unison national executive. We are 100% committed to being a strong voice on behalf of rank and file union members”.
Karen Reissmann, added “We are facing enormous challenges as a union. We need to ensure that Unison is at the forefront of campaigns to defend our public services. Being on the union’s executive means that we can be involved in discussions nationally with colleagues from around the country”.
A summary list of the newly elected members is available here.
Barnet UNISON Members strike to defend public services
Why are we on strike?
Six years ago Barnet Council introduced a policy known as Future Shape which morphed into 'easyCouncil'*.This imposed a series of tariffs on residents wishing to access a range of services. A basic service would be offered to residents at a fixed price, but ‘fast track’ services might be available if you paid extra.
This approach was quickly abandoned by the consultant driven One Barnet Programme,which led to the following Council Services being outsourced/privatised in the space of three years:
1. Social Care for Adults with disabilities to Your Choice Barnet
2. Housing Options to Barnet Homes
3. Parking Services to NSL
4. Revenues & Benefits, IT, HR & Payroll, Pensions, Health & Safety, Finance, Estates, Property Services, Procurement, Projects all now part of Capita CSG
5. Environmental Health, Planning, Building Control, Hendon Cemetery & Crematorium, Highways, Trading Standards & Licensing all now Capita RE
6. Legal Services
7. Registrars & Nationality Services
9. Music Trust
10. Public Health
11. Mortuary Services.
Over the past three years our members have seen hundreds of colleagues transferred to other employers. This has often meant redundancy as the new employer has moved jobs out of the borough and Greater London to places as far afield as Belfast, Carlisle, Coventry, Southampton and Darlington.
Now we are in the final phase for what remains of Council services.
Barnet has branded this final phase as the ‘Commissioning Council’.
Very few people know what Commissioning really means, but if you work for the Council we all know it means that we will no longer be working for the Council.
On 3 March 2015 Barnet Council agreed its next Five Commissioning Plans all of which are looking at ‘Alternative Delivery Models’, jargon for working for a different employer.
The Council Services now at risk of outsourcing are:
1. Early Years – 13 Children’s Centres
2. Library Services
3. Adults & Communities services
4. Street Scene Services e.g. Waste & Recycling, Street Cleansing, Parks and Transport
5. Education & Skills and School Meals services.
Speaking to the Council
Over the past six years Barnet UNISON has made numerous, well-documented attempts to speak to the Council. Our voice, however, has been drowned out by expensive consultants who appear to have been running the Council for all this time.
We exhausted the internal procedures to try and avoid having to register a dispute. We finally declared a formal dispute with the Council on 4 December 2014.
Despite this on 12 January 2015 Barnet Council made a decision to put Education & Skills and School Meals services out for sale.
Three big multinational contractors are now bidding to win a contract valued at almost £1bn.
We are still waiting for the Council to return to the negotiating table but time is marching on.
Our members want to work for the Council, they want to be directly accountable to the residents of Barnet.
Our members don’t want to work for an employer which will have to place the shareholders’ legal demands before local residents’ needs.
Our members don’t want to work for an employer which uses zero hours contracts.
Our members don’t want to work for an employer which will not pay the London Living Wage as a basic minimum.
Our members don’t want to work for an employer which won’t allow their colleagues to belong to their Pension Scheme, and
Our members don’t want to work for an employer which will take jobs out of the borough.
That’s why 87% of our members working for the Council voted ‘Yes’ to taking strike action.
Responses from trade union leaders to the Queens Speech
Plans to introduce the Trade Union Bill were on the first of the Queen’s government-penned three-page speech. She announced:
“My government will bring forward legislation to reform trade unions and protect essential public services against strikes.”
On top of the 50 per cent turnout threshold, the Bill will include further barriers in essential services such as health, education, fire and transport.
Strikes in those services will be made illegal unless 40 per cent of all those eligible vote in favour of action.
Unions blasted the hypocrisy of the plans, pointing out that the Tories won the support of only 24 per cent of the electorate.
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said “the UK already has tough laws on strike – there is no need to make them stricter still. Democracy won’t be enhanced by raising thresholds but by bringing balloting into the 21st century.
If the same rules were applied to general elections, 270 Tory MPs would not have been elected, according to rail union TSSA.
And RMT general secretary Mick Cash described it as “the clearest possible case of one law for the political class and another for the working class.” He said: “Only a tiny handful of the hypocrites advocating these ballot thresholds has ever been elected on the same kind of percentages they are demanding in a strike vote.”
Even when unions beat the barriers, the Tories plan to set bosses free to break strikes by bussing in cheap labour from employment agencies.
Striking workers will face criminal charges if they break strict picketing rules proposed in the Bill. And the ability of unions to campaign could be hit by the Bill, which seeks to impose an opt-in process to the union’s political fund for new members.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said it was “staggering” that the government have prioritised an attack on trade unions “given the profound challenges facing this nation.” He said: “Our members are the people who clean our streets, care for our kids, work in our shops. “They are not the cause of this country’s broken economy and deserve far better than the hostility directed at them by this government.”
The government’s briefing note setting out the “benefits” of the Bill said it would help Britain “become the most prosperous major economy in the world by 2030.” And Prime Minister David Cameron described the Queen’s Speech as “the bold first step of a one-nation government — a government for working people.”
But TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the “draconian restrictions” on strike rights showed the Tories’ true colours. “Working people will be worried by a Queen’s Speech that declares open season on so many of their rights and protections,” she said. “The real agenda is stopping public-sector workers from fighting back against the extreme cuts and pay freezes expected in George Osborne’s Budget.”
For service users who rely on benefits, the Queen's speech brought no relief
If the Queen’s speech is anything to go by, the prospects for social care and its service users are bleak. But they may be even worse than expected, because we have been looking in the wrong direction. http://www.theguardian.com
Stop changes to Access to Work
Changes to Access to Work mean that Deaf, Deaf blind and hard of hearing people are being restricted to unrealistic budgets for support that does not meet their needs. The budgets are insufficient to fund qualified interpreters and prevent personal choice or control, placing jobs at risk.
Sign petition HERE
MP backs UNISON's Ethical Care charter
Signing up: Yasmin Qureshi MP and Bolton UNISON stewards
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi has given her backing to UNISON's Ethical Care Charter campaign.
Ms Qureshi met stewards from the union's Bolton branch to give her backing to the campaign - and the branch's petition to get Bolton council to sign up to the charter.
"Today I signed @unisontweets Ethical Care Charter. Pls support @UNISON_Bolton petition," she Tweeted.
"UNISON's Ethical Care Charter is a series of standards that we want the council to adopt to improve homecare services throughout Bolton," says the branch.
The charter calls for:
•an end to 15-minute visits for elderly and disabled people who need care in their own homes;
•our elderly and disabled people to be given the same care worker rather than a series of strangers;
•homecare workers to receive better training and the living wage and for an end to zero-hours contracts.
"We believe that elderly and disabled people in our community deserve the best possible level of homecare to help them live independently and with dignity," adds the branch.
"In order to make this happen, homecare workers need to be treated fairly and decently so they can do their jobs to the best of their ability."
The union is asking Bolton residents to "add your name and call to ask that Bolton council takes responsibility for ensuring better care for our elderly and disabled people and for better treatment of our homecare workers.
"We are all going to need care at some point in our lifetimes, it is only right that the people who need it and the workers who provide it are treated with dignity and fairness.
Read it Here
Work injury cost chef her job
A chef who is no longer able to work after suffering serious injuries in a fall at work has secured a £16,250 compensation payout. UNISON member Yvonne Rupp, 62, was working for Avalon Nursing Home in Poole when she tripped on loose flooring in the kitchen and fell heavily on her knee. She cut her hands, injured her back, tore the meniscus in her knee and exacerbated an existing hip injury. The loose flooring had been reported to her employer on a number of occasions before the incident, but managers made no attempt to fix the hazard.More
Re-open Bolton's NHS Walk-in Centre
In July 2012 Bolton's Clinical Commissioning Group closed our NHS walk-in centre at Lever Chambers, claiming it created a demand that hadn't been there and other services could handle local health issues. Today people are struggling to get an appointment with their GP when they need it, and A&E services are so stretched that it created a "major incident" in January with patients waiting over 12 hours for a bed. The walk-in centre would ease pressure on both of these services.
Join me in calling for the walk-in centre to re-open by signing my petition.
UNISON Members 50p a pint discount on selected cask ales at The Hen & Chickens, Deansgate
Unison members will receive a 50p reduction on a pint of our locally brewed premier cask beers.
Members must show their badge when ordering to get the discount.
Even on the non-discounted beers our prices across our range of beers are some, if not THE best in town. The pub itself is immaculate and has retained its traditional pub character which we are proud of. Below is a list of our prices including the ones that now have Unison reductions.
Premier cask beer: £2.50 per pint to unison members.
The following are not included in the UNISON discount but are every day low price beers:
Clucking Mad £1.75 a pint
Nutty Black £1.70 a pint
Carling £2.50 a pint
Fosters £2.50 a pint
Strongbow £1.99 a pint
Thwaites Smooth £2.30 a pint
A warm and friendly welcome awaits all Unison members
Holiday pay too low? Act now
Two recent legal cases on holiday pay could mean that UNISON members may have claims for underpayment if they did not receive their normal pay when on annual leave
Lock vs British Gas - additional payments for annual leave periods
“A tale of Bob in Barnet”
The “A Tale of Bob in Barnet” provides an insight into the challenges facing Barnet UNISON and our members. Many of the challenges we are facing are no different to what other trade unions and community campaigns have been facing since the Coalition government unleashed Austerity in our workplaces, our homes, our services.
What you need to know
Unison has seen a sharp rise in the number of safeguarding cases, whilst they are mainly within schools it is an issue which effects ALL staff. These have led to disciplinary action and in some cases dismissal. UNISON has put together some safety tips, please use them, it could save your job.
When you join facebook, ensure you ‘lock’ your page so only people YOU choose can view your pages, photo’s etc.
DO NOT under any circumstances ‘make friends’ with any service user.
Do not talk about your work base, in your status. Your Authority or manager is your employer and you can be disciplined for writing anything derogatory about them or your workplace.
It isn’t wise to be commenting about your personal life activities when you are on sick leave.
MAKE SURE YOU FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE COUNCIL’S ‘I.T POLICY’
These are now safeguarding issues. An employer can discipline you if they believe your comments bring ‘The employer into disrepute’. Ignorance could lose you your job and is not a defence.
Free financial advice
UNISON Debtline offers members and their families a range of services from advice on budgeting and council tax arrears to debt management plans. MORE
90pc of staff fear for their jobs says council survey
‘Living wage’ vow by social housing group
Call to put a stop to 4,000pc loan rates
Academies are not ‘magic wand’ for better education of our pupils
Why the rush to become Academies?
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