"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
We’ve never had it so bad: Difficult times for young public service workers
For young workers providing public services, these are very dark times indeed. We are being demeaned in the attacks on our pay, terms, and conditions; demoralised as the prospects of providing decent, democratically-controlled, properly-funded public services are torn apart; and demonised as the Government and its big business and media allies hammer home their ‘public bad, private good’ ideology. More
Young workers survey
UNISON has launched a survey for young workers (those under 27 years of age on 17 March) about what concerns them at work. The survey closes on 17th March and is open to any young worker, not just UNISON members. The survey can be found here
UNISON attacks government obsession with sickness absence
UNISON has attacked the government's obsession with sickness rates, after figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that days lost due to sickness absence fell from 178 million in 1993 to 131 million in 2013.
UNISON supports review into asbestos management in schools
The Department of Education has launched a policy review on the asbestos management in schools, after it was discovered that children are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of asbestos. MORE
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: email@example.com
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
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.
'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
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
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
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?
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