Bolton Unison AGM – Weds 5th March @ 12.00pm
AGM 2014 Timetable
Deadline for Officer Reports (to include pictures)
Deadline for motions and rule amendments
Absolute deadline for papers at branch office – gives 3 – 4 weeks to stuff envelopes, frank and post.
Stewards papers to include Officer nominations, stewards form and conference delegates form
Nominations for Stewards, Officers Post and Conference Delegates open
Stewards Committees to elect Convenors
Deadline for papers / bulletin to land on members doorsteps
Close of nomination for Officer Posts and Conference delegates
"It would be a great reform in politics if wisdom could be made to spread as easily and rapidly as folly”
Nicholas James is in and out of hospital thanks to his ageing mother and unruly prostate. Or is it the other way round? Lost medical notes, mysterious stains, and bodily malfunctions coincide with the arrival of family from overseas.
In this biting, buoyant new political comedy, Stella Feehily puts Britain’s beloved and berated NHS under the stethoscope. But is it a terminal case?
Unison is offering a limited number of tickets for Bolton Branch members for this performance at a subsided rate of £7.00. Out now 2 per member
How to get your tickets: Call in at the Unison reception office Ground Floor, Howell Croft House (old Police station) Howell Croft North, BL1 1QY. Tel: 01204 338901
Help save Winifred Kettle care home in Westhoughton
Why is this important? The closure of respite care and transfers for after care from hospital to Winifred Kettle home in Westhoughton is very important to our community.
Many people have used the facilities of this wonderful care home over many years.
The services of dedicated staff from cleaners, domestics, carers and managers is exemplary.
We all may need the services in the future. The elderly population is increasing, but more homes are closing.
Many carers are elderly themselves and circumstances do not allow them to look after loved ones. We must rally round together to put pressure on Bolton councillors to change their minds.
Sign the petition here:
Urgent Local Government Pensions update 2014 - England & Wales
Bolton UNISON members will be affected by changes to Local Government Pensions Scheme (LGPS) from 1st April 2014
Changes to Local Government Pensions from 1st April 2014 will affect workers who have opted out of the scheme and their final salary pension benefits.
Anyone who has opted out of the LGPS must rejoin the scheme if they want protection of the earnings link on any final-salary benefits that they have earned up to April (there may be some protection for those who opt back in within five years of opting out).
If the cost of contributions is a problem, the new regulations from April will allow members to pay half their normal contribution rate for half the pension. They need to fill in and return the forms to rejoin to their employer's pension department before the end of February.
If they are not actively contributing to the scheme, any benefits earned before they opted out will fall outside the proposed five-year window of protection to opt back in, and will go up in line with prices - currently the Consumer Prices Index - rather than earnings.
Anyone thinking of paying additional voluntary contributions to maximise their tax-free lump sum payment when they retire should start paying the contributions before April.
If members choose to pay additional voluntary contributions after April, they are only likely to be able to take part of their additional voluntary contributions fund as a cash sum (currently 25% of the value) when they retire.
For the rest, they will have to buy extra pension at whatever the annuity rates will be in the future from a pension provider such as an insurance company.
Members - especially those near retirement - can pay additional voluntary contributions or buy extra LGPS pension if they can afford it.
They should ask their employer's pensions department for details.
Hope Not Hate…
Local & European Elections - Thursday 22nd May
The European elections and Local Elections will be held the same day - Thursday 22nd May 2014. Over the last few weeks you couldn’t have missed the xenophobic hysteria whipped up by the some parts of the press about immigration, particularly from Romania and Bulgaria. The lies and fear circulated about immigration helps to distract people’s attention from wholesale cuts being made to our public services. It is music to the ears of anti-immigrant parties like UKIP. In UNISON we firmly believe that blaming immigrants for the problems of the country is divisive and wrong. In 2014 we can make a difference. We can defeat Nick Griffin and the BNP but also push back against those that want to tear apart our community for political gain and, in the process, defend and promote our multi-racial society.
Get involved at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you registered to vote?
Did you know that you can request a postal vote?
Generations of ordinary men and women fought to secure our right to vote. UNISON believes that everyone should make sure that they are registered to vote and can participate in elections. Anyone can request a postal vote to help make things easier.
Find out more at: www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
TUC’s Work Your Proper Hours Day is on 28 February
Your Skills Your Future
a FREE session for members 10.00-3.00pm – Saturday 5th April
UNISON NW Regional Centre, Arena Point, Manchester M3 1UN
Spend time with a tutor to help you get all you skills down on paper – learn how to showcase your achievements and plan your career pathway.
The session is free to all UNISON members and takes place at the UNISON NW Regional Office, which is part of the same building complex as the Manchester MEN Arena – the UNISON office entrance on Hunts Bank can be accessed directly from stairs at the far end of platforms 3, 4, 5 and 6 at Victoria Railway station, without needing to go out of the main station entrance (stairs shown on the far left end of this interactive station map: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/SME/html/NRE_MCV/plan.html?rtnloc=MCV)
Text your membership number and the word SKILL to Steve Swift on 07939 583702 to confirm that you wish to attend - bring a friend if you don’t want to come alone!
If you’re not sure of your membership number, phone the UNISON Direct help line on the new FREE number 0800 0857 857 (open 6am-midnight Monday to Friday and 9-4pm on Saturdays)
Unison Branch Officer for Life Long Learning
Joint Union Lunch Time Pay Protest
Bolton Town Hall Square - Tuesday 4th February
We had an excellent response on Bolton Town Hall square on Tuesday 4th February as we
kicked off the local government pay campaign with a lunch time rally and low pay soup kitchen. We gave out hundreds of leaflets, collected postcards and signatures on petitions as well as giving cups of soup to passers-by.
There was a positive reception to our claim for fair pay for everyone and a living wage for the lowest paid. People readily understood that our members in local government have had years of pay freezes and 1% rises in the face of spiralling living costs have rocketed.
Although we often hear politicians and people in the media attempting to divide public sector workers from private sector workers, this was not our experience on the precinct yesterday. Several people said “good luck” and “good on you” when we talked about our pay campaign for a £1 an hour increase.
Trade Unions representing Bolton Council’s 11,000 workforce are organising a lunch time rally in support of a national pay claim for local authority workers. The event will take place on Tuesday 4th February between 12:30 and 2:00pm on Bolton’s town hall square.
Bernadette Gallagher, Unison Branch Secretary said “workers have seen the value of their pay eroded by 18% over the past few years. Our members have had years of pay freezes and 1% rises. We have people struggling to pay bills and turning to food banks. A large proportion of our members are low paid and often women workers who are struggling to keep the wolf from the door. Enough is enough. We need action to tackle the growing cost of living crisis. We are not asking for the huge increases and bonuses of Britain’s executive boardrooms. We are simply asking for a £1 an hour increase across the board from 1st April 2014. We know that our members are worth it”.
Sean Warren, GMB Convenor added “Council workers have seen their pay eroded and their gas, electric and other bills go through the roof. Our members face huge pressures at home and huge pressures in the workplace as the cuts continue to bite. We keep hearing in the news about economic recovery but that is not the experience of working class families here in Bolton. We have good working relationships with our friends and colleagues in UNISON. With the current agenda of austerity and cuts the principle of solidarity is needed now more than ever. Together we are determined to fight for decent pay. We urge people to come down and join us at our lunch time rally in front of the town hall steps on Tuesday 4th February”.
Bolton Council workers demand £1 per hour pay rise www.theboltonnews.co.uk
Read it HERE
To Jeremy Hunt dept health and to Beverly Humphreys, Chief exec GMW NHS Trust.
We the undersigned are appalled at proposals to close mental health wards at Bolton and another at Salford . The proposal is to also move all older adults beds in Bolton, Salford and Trafford to a central location at Woodlands hospital Little Hulton . Sign the petition HERE.
Britain needs a pay rise - Shape the future of the People's Assembly - unite to fight austerity
Saturday 15 February 2pm - 5pm
Central Hall, Oldham street Manchester
The Branch Executive have agreed to reimburse train fares for anyone wanting to attend this event
'I am not OK!
Bolton local government UNISON branch showing solidarity with workers in South Korea 'I am not OK!' is the message to government. Support railway workers' right to strike in Korea
We Will Be Free!
Unison Sports and Social committee have agreed to purchase a small number of tickets. The cost to you will be £5.00. If you are interested in going please ring the office and put your name down, as it will take us a couple of days to organise the tickets. You will have to organise your own transport.
Event:- We Will Be Free!
Time:- Tuesday 11 February 2014 7.30pm
Place:- The Met - Bury
We Will Be Free! is a new drama about the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Dorset farm labourers convicted and transported by an oppressive Government for swearing a secret oath and forming a Trade Union in 1834 to fight against a succession of wage cuts inflicted by the local landowner.
Powerful storytelling theatre, puppetry and animation with musical arrangements from revered folk artist John Kirkpatrick.
This vitally important story is told using the entertaining theatrical style developed through Townsend's production of Ragged Trousered Philanthropists; through political cartoon and animation, puppetry, and the exquisite musical arrangements by revered folk singer and squeezebox player John Kirkpatrick in the songs and rallying hymns of the Dorset labouring classes.
Bolton MPs presented with postcards supporting the campaign against Zero Hours contracts.
UNISON “There for You”
With rising fuel costs and another cold winter many members are worried about how they’re going to pay this year’s winter fuel bills.
Help is on hand
UNISON “There for You” has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on a low-income by way of a one-off payment of up to £40.
To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
1) total household income less than £18,000 a year (after tax/other deductions)
2) total household savings no more than £800 (including rolling bank balances)
3) paid UNISON subs for more than one month
4) no household member received financial assistance from UNISON in last 6 months
Please find the application form HERE.
Accommodation Strategy Implementation
The enclosed pack of information contains, as a basis for consultation, the plans and strategy for accommodating Council staff following the decision to empty and dispose of four major office buildings in Bolton town centre. MORE
Ooh I could jump off a dolls house
Joan's grandchildren and friends meeting Stu Francis.
Joan said "Thanks Unison this was the best panto ever we had a really good time".
Joan Pritchard Jones is the Adult Services Convenor.
Winner of the 12 month Gym membership from the Stress Awareness Week is:Laura Owens, Social Worker at Castle Hill
Care workers told:
'Change job or take a pay cut'
CARE workers have been told to take a £5,500 pay cut or apply for a new job — otherwise they face redundancy. Adult services at Bolton Council told 99 full-time resident support workers that their jobs will go, in an announcement that has angered unions and their members. More
Care staff wage cuts: workers vow to fight changes
PHYSICAL assaults, handling medication and helping paranoid schizophrenics — it is all part of the job for current resident support workers at Bolton Council. One employee — who asked not to be named — said the new changes to staffing structure will mean disaster for both the service and the public. More
e-petition Don't Close Mental Health Wards.
55,000 answer the call for our NHS
Thousands march to defend the NHS
Tens of thousands of people converged on Manchester on Sunday to march for the NHS, as the Conservative Party that is trying to sell it off for profit was meeting nearby. More
Life Long Learning Event
A report by Sue Vickers Unison Life Long Learning Officer
Lovely weather for Bolton Branch’s first Life Long Learning promotion on Victoria Square 24.9.13. We had a great response and interest from the public. As I wanted to use the opportunity to recruit it was satisfying that a number of membership forms was requested, including from a prospective retired member.
Pics are of Sue Vickers, Unison LLL Officer and Steve Swift Regional Learning Organiser who put together the mini-event , Mark Rowe from TUC UnionLearn, Rachel Jones from the Dyslexia Foundation and Marion Griffin, Bolton Council’s Green Liaison Project Officer who all supported on the day, providing leaflets, freebies and advice to the public. We also promoted Bolton College and Tonge and Halliwell UCANs programmes of courses/activities, which were particularly well received.
Sue Vickers Unison Life Long Learning Officer
Success for Hovis strikers
Strike action by workers over the use of agency staff on zero-hours contracts at the Hovis bakery in Wigan has resulted in success; a third week’s strike was called off after an agreement had been reached.
Members of the BFAWU bakers, food and allied workers' union had completed two week-long strikes and were due to start a third on 25 September.
A spokesperson for Premier Foods — the company that owns the New Springs site in Wigan that produces Hovis brand bread and crumpets — told wigantoday.net that agency staff will now only be used if “temporary labour shortages” can not be covered by “existing employees utilising overtime and banked hours.”
The company has promised to pay any agency employee who works at least 39 hours a week for 12 consecutive weeks at the same level as fulltime employees. A statement read: “In the unlikely event that this is not possible, it is then agreed that the company can use agency staff to cover any gaps.
“The company will review the agreement after three months to assess whether existing manning levels are sufficient and, if not, will recruit into the required positions.
“As a result of this agreement, the union has recommended that further industrial action will cease with immediate effect.”
Stop Legal Loan Sharking
I just created the petition "Stop "Legal Loan Sharking" and wanted to ask if you could add your name too.
This campaign means a lot to me and the more support we can get behind it, the better chance we have of succeeding. You can read more and sign the petition here:
Councillor Kate Lewis
How 'bedroom tax' has left 11,000 people in Bolton waiting for just 91 one-bed homes
BOLTON is facing a “bedroom tax” crisis after it was revealed more than 11,000 people are on the waiting list for just 91 one-bed homes.
The “bedroom tax” was introduced in April in an effort to cut waiting lists for larger families.
People in receipt of Housing Benefit have their benefits reduced if they are in homes deemed to be too big for their needs, losing 14 per cent for one spare bedroom and 25 per cent for two or more.
But critics have hit out of the scheme, claiming there is not enough social housing, especially one-bedroom properties, available for people to downsize.
Twitter - BBEDTAX
Workers with no place to go
Council cuts to public conveniences are adversely affecting many workers, including paramedics, transport workers, police community support officers, postal workers and bin men who spend their working day out on the road, says UNISON the UK’s largest union. The union is calling for free, convenient, and safe access to toilets for both those inside a workplace and for those who are mobile.
Easy, convenient access to toilets at work is something workers expect employers to provide. However, the union is highlighting a problem for many UNISON members with no fixed base – workers who are out on the road and who do not have that convenience. The situation is made worse by Government cuts to council funding says the union, which is leading to many local authorities reducing the number of toilets available in town centres, seaside areas and in the countryside. MORE
University of Bolton staff fight for fair pay after Vice Chancellor receives £42,700 increase in take home pay
Support staff at the University of Bolton are fighting for fair pay after Vice Chancellor, George Holmes, was awarded a one off payment of £42,700 during a period of unprecedented redundancies and cuts at the campus.
Last year, the university was the only Higher Education Institution in the country not to award the nationally agreed 1 per cent pay rise, at the discretion of the Vice Chancellor. This came on top of campus-wide redundancies, resulting in over 70 staff leaving the university.
The UNISON-led campaign comes at a time when staff in universities nationwide are preparing for a ballot on industrial action for fairer pay. ‘Work poverty’ is increasingly an issue of concern for staff in universities across the country, as the last four years of below inflation pay rises have seen pay cut by 13 per cent in real terms.
Janet Shaw, a Librarian at the University of Bolton explains why she is campaigning for last year’s missing pay rise at the university and will be voting for strike action to improve the national offer this year.
“I could go on forever with how the lack of a decent pay rise has affected me. Our family has only been saved by the fact that the interest on our mortgage dropped and council tax was frozen.
You can’t expect people to accept pay cuts and pay freezes when everything else is going up. In April this year tax thresholds changed alongside a surge of price increases, most of us were using that money just to survive.”
Local Bolton MPs have become involved in the campaign writing to the Vice Chancellor to question his decision not to award last year’s pay rise. MPs Julie Hilling, David Crausby and Yasmin Qureshi asked ‘Why are you the only Higher Education Institution in the country not to pay this?’ and ‘’Why has it been delayed?’. The MPs are still awaiting a definitive response from the Vice Chancellor’s office.
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.
School Uniform Grants
Bolton Unison Press Release
Bolton Unison is publicising information about school uniform grants for members on low incomes. The fund is limited and grants are paid on a first come first serve basis with priority given to those who did not receive a grant in 2012. Applications are limited to one per house hold and are dealt with in line with set criteria. Members who feel they may be eligible are being advised to apply early.
Julie Tudor Bolton Unison Welfare Officer said “lots of our members are struggling in the current climate of austerity, particularly those on low incomes. Members with children of school age are really feeling the pinch especially after three years of a pay freeze. Come September it can be a real headache ensuring that kids have got all the right clothes that they need for school. It is excellent that we are able to publicise the union’s school uniform grant form once again. However as funds are limited I would strongly urge members who wish to apply to make an early application”
Application forms and further information is accessible via the national UNISON website: http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=8534
Alternatively forms are available from the Branch office on request .
How private care firms have got away with breaking the law on pay
Zero-hours contracts with unpaid travel time means up to 220,000 care workers get less than the minimum wage.
Care workers need time to care, conference hears
Bolton's Joan Pritchard-Jones spoke on care debate at Unison Conference.
Local government delegates vowed to fight for decent home care for the elderly and vulnerable, when they debated the union's new Ethical Care Charter this afternoon.
Introducing the successful motion, Jackie Lewis of the national LGBT committee reminded delegates that in a presentation on the charter, assistant national officer Matthew Egan had likened the zero hours contracts many care workers are on to "going down to the docks and hoping for work".
This was bad for care workers and bad for those receiving care.
Ms Lewis demanded "an end to care by the minute; an end to care by the pound; and end to zero hours contracts".
The charter itself lays out minimum standards for home care and the workers who provide it, though as West Midlands delegate Sue Brierley noted, "we shouldn't have to be asking for this, we should be expecting it".
In an illustration of how much the charter is needed, Joan Pritchard Jones of Bolton recalled that when she started working as a home care worker for the local council in 1986, "every client had a two hour visit, which gave us time to shop, clean, provide personal care - and talk and listen."
But all that changed when care workers started to hear three words - "demographic time bomb" - and the idea that care for the elderly was too expensive and needed to be privatised to cut costs.
"But it's not about affordability, it's about choices," said Ms Brierley: "Privatisation of home care has not saved taxpayers a penny."
And, she concluded:, "we should be celebrating people living longer, not telling them what a burden they are."
Coalition’s shortsighted and vicious bedroom tax will hit local economy
Letter from Janet Bryan (UNISON Convenor) Bolton at Home in the Bolton News
THE Bolton News recently carried an excellent feature on the issue of homelessness in our town.
The prospect of increasing numbers of young and vulnerable people with nowhere to live is an issue which should concern us all. Only major investment and the political will to develop social housing can help to tackle the issue.
Bolton Council Golf Society
Bolton Council Golf Society no joining fees for unison members in 2013
The society is non-profit making, it was started five years ago by several members of Revenues and Benefits who enjoy playing golf but is open to all employees of Bolton Council, any profits made are donated to Bolton Hospice. There is usually a yearly £5.00 joining fee but we are offering Unison members free membership for the 2013 season. (Please note that the offer is not open to anyone who is or has previously been a society member, proof of Unison membership will be required).
We have members at various levels so you don’t need to be Luke Donald to come and have some fun with the emphasis being on fun rather than being over competitive. We usually hold 8 events a year, 1 a month from March to October, playing local courses whenever possible with events varying from full events (27 holes with breakfast, lunch and an evening meal) to smaller events (18 holes with breakfast and lunch), the society caps the prices of events with full day events never costing more than £40. There are prizes at each event for nearest the pin and longest drive, members compete for the Members Shield and The Massey. Our July event in 2013 will be held at Harwood Golf Club in aid of Bolton Hospice.
Event co-ordinator and Secretary
Bolton Council Golf Society
For further information or an application form please e-mail email@example.com
The new UNISON app
It's free and will be useful to anyone working in the UK.Download the app
Available for iPhone now, and coming soon for Blackberry, Android and Windows 7.
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
Academies - Defend Your School
Forced Academies Advice For UNISON members
Maternity rights guide
Important Information on New Travel Reimbursement Policy
Reimbursement of car parking fees
Bank Holiday - Essential Car User Allowance
Save Bolton Libraries page on facebook
Funny man Dave backs the ‘save libraries’ campaign
Bolton Union Women Win Union Race
Union concern at plans to deregulate councils…
Communities and Local Government Consultation on statutory duties
Nick Clegg leaves on microphone but can't 'bloody disagree'
Matt Baker vs David Cameron "How do you sleep at night?" Remix
Exposing the myth of ‘ordinary bloke’ David Cameron
Bolton Unison On
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?
Girl pupils protest at plans for academy
Job fears as council faces £35m of cuts
Union demands a campaign of zero tolerance for abuse
Loss bankers would face a disciplinary
Thousands could strike over council job losses
Council bosses in legal battle
Residents face fortnight with no library facilities
The library ‘heart’ has been ripped out of flagship project
£18million cuts – in just 20 minutes
I remember Maggie
Union leader to retire
Happy to work 60-hour week to be a union representative
Unions are vital in today’s climate of ‘I’m All Right Jack’
Four stars thanks to council staff
Libraries are so important to communities, says actor
Library closures: The final plan
Form: Join Us
Print off and send to
Ground Floor Howell Croft House
Howell Croft North
(please note UNISON rules prohibit representation and legal assistance until you have been a member for 4 weeks)
Misplaced or lost your membership card? Click on this link and get a new one.
Office Opening Hours
Monday - Friday 9am-4pm
Telephone 01204 338901
Ground Floor Howell Croft House
Howell Croft North Bolton