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
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
Hundreds more jobs under threat as Bolton Council announces another £63 million of cuts
Hundreds more jobs under threat as Bolton Council announces another £63 million of cuts MORE
10% discount to Unison members for their first treatment
Speaking up for teaching assistants
Teaching assistants and classroom assistants are under threat due to unfair criticism from the Treasury and right-wing think tanks. UNISON is committed to speaking up for teaching and classroom assistants, and promoting their role in the education and well-being of our children. Across the country, UNISON branches and regions will be celebrating teaching and classroom assistants on 29 November - and you can join in.
Sign up to our campaign to support teaching assistants
Keep up to date with UNISON in Schools on social media.
Health and safety in 2012-13
One hundred and forty eight workers suffered fatal
injuries at work in 2013-13, according to the latest
official data. The figure was by down 23 on the final
figure of 171 for the previous year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.
A breakdown of the 2012-13 deaths by industrial sector, with the previous year's figures in brackets, shows that there were:
46 fatal injuries to workers in services (42);
39 fatal injuries to workers in construction (48);
29 deaths of workers in agriculture (35);
20 fatal injuries to workers in manufacturing;
12 fatal injuries to workers in the utilities (6) ;and
two workers were killed in mining and quarrying during the year (10).
The five-year trends for each sector showed falls in every one apart from utilities.
e-petition Don't Close Mental Health Wards.
Greater Manchester Police makes five figure pay outs to three Anti Fascists arrested on 200310
Paul Sutcliffe, arrested by a ‘snatch squad’, compensated having brought claims for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. MORE
Read it HERE
Union joins call for decent jobs for all
UNISON has joined the call for decent work today - designated World Day for Decent Work by the ITUC.
The ITUC is calling for decent work to be at the centre of government actions to promote economic growth and build a new global economy that puts people first.
UNISON, along with millions of people around the globe, is marking the day by organising activities calling for decent work and social protection for all.
General secretary Dave Prentis called for the creation of decent jobs for everyone, including good apprenticeships, support for a living wage, jobs that give security, no more zero-hours contracts and an end to the vilification of people who have to exist on benefits because there are not enough suitable jobs around.
"Providing decent work contributes to social cohesion," he said.
"It ends discrimination against women, young people and migrant workers. Decent work with decent wages means people can live with dignity."
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
Rotten workplace gives UNISON member occupational asthma
David Livingstone, from Cumbria was working as a substance misuse specialist for Addiction Dependency Solutions Ltd, a regional charity specialising in drug and alcohol services, at a 400-year-old building in Whitehorse Yard, Kendal when he became ill. More
UNISON Online Will drafting service
The Will drafting service is free* for UNISON members and their partners (if drawing up mirror Wills). UNISON have also negotiated low-cost rates for family members. This service is provided by BBH Legal Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Thompsons Solicitors LLP. MORE
* To be eligible you must have been a member of UNISON for a minimum of 4 weeks. Your first Will is free, subsequent Wills are offered at low-cost rates.
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
Judge backs workers on protective footwear
Employers should provide protective footwear to staff who work outdoors, a court has ruled. The Court of Session in Edinburgh made the landmark ruling in a UNISON-backed legal case involving a care worker who fell on an icy path outside a patient's home. Tracey Kennedy suffered serious damage to her wrist when she slipped while working for Cordia as a home carer in Glasgow during the severe winter of 2010. She was making her way to see a terminally ill client. The court found the company at fault for not providing the carer with proper footwear, such a spiked snow shoes. Cordia failed to give proper guidance on what she should wear in the conditions to avoid slipping. Her union, UNISON, said the judgment will have major implications for all firms that send their employees out of the workplace as it places the onus squarely on them to ensure that staff remain safe. Mandy McDowall, the union's regional organiser for Glasgow City branch, said: 'We have always said that employers should risk assess everything their employees do, or workplace accidents and injuries will be an issue. We would expect employers to take this judgment on board and review their health and safety policies on provision of suitable footwear.' She added: 'This will have widespread implications for all sorts of jobs, including school crossing patrol staff, traffic wardens and many others, as well as in the health service and other areas. Lord McEwan rejected arguments by Cordia that Tracey Kennedy could have made the decision not to go out that night because conditions were too hazardous, saying that she was on 'an errand of mercy.' The carer is now in line for a substantial payout, although the amount will be decided at a later date. Iona Brown from Digby Brown Solicitors, who represented Tracey Kennedy for the union, said: 'Employers often think nothing of providing their employees with work wear that is little more than branding whilst baulking at paying a few pounds on equipment that could prevent serious injury.'
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.
Dispute of the Soccoristas (Lifeguards) in Playa Vista beach in Las Americas
A report by Sue Vickers
Unison H&S, Equalities Rep for Persons with Disability and Life Long Learning Officer.
Last February, John and myself were there when a guy from the local authority came down to answer questions from the lifeguards and the public – mainly disabled tourists who need the Lifeguards to access the sea safely. He rather amazingly lost his grasp of English when awkward questions were asked, such as were the Ayuntamiento not insured against companies to which they’ve contracted out services going bust, and were they not morally responsible for the lives of tourists and livelihoods of those protecting them? When asked in Spanish could only assure the crowd he’d “take the questions back”. Things have not progressed since, it seems.
I talked to these guys again in July about organising a union. With the right guidance they’ll do it – at the moment they’re bullied, ignored and forced to beg from the tourists whose lived these lot at Arona Town Hall are happy for them to protect unpaid.
Can anyone help me with info on unionisation in Spain to pass on?
Message from Damian Roldan regarding Arona's Lifeguards
Hi Sue! Im going to answer you and explain step by step our situation.
1. Our problem started on August 2012 when the Local Gobernment of Arona (Ayuntamiento) didn't pay us. We work in a company, private company whose had a contract with "Ayuntamiento" but this contract finished on November 2011. The truth is that Ayuntamiento and company didnt sign that contract in time, they said it was a "Oblivion".
2. We were 20 Lifeguards, Now We are 16. My Partners and me are fighting and holding till the end. At the moment we are survive with donations from tourists, family...Its really complicated situation for us.
3. We had stopped disabled service but a few days ago reopened this service because we want still working and give them a good service. They dont diserve this.
4. We need water, gasoline for vehicles, food, first aid and our salary of course. Now we havent been paid for 11 months. Its a shame.
5. At the moment, Council and Major doesnt help to us. Just lies, empty words and anymore.
This is my facebook's page: www.facebook.com/SocorristasArona
Thanks for support and interest, Kisses
Bedroom tax could "cost more than it saves"
THE government’s controversial “bedroom tax” could end up costing more than it saves, Bolton housing bosses claim.
And government demands to build larger properties means there is no immediate solution to the chronic shortage of one bedroom homes.
Introduced in April, the underoccupancy charge reduces housing benefit for tenants in social housing if their property is deemed too big for their needs.
Town hall bosses working to deal with fallout from 'bedroom tax
Check out the website of the National Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefits Justice Federation here
A letter from Bolton and District United Trades Council which has been sent to Bolton Labour Group calling on their representatives on Bolton at Home Board to take a firm stand against the ‘Bedroom Tax’. Read it HERE
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."
Delegates remember the dead and pledge to fight for the living
"Those workers did not have the benefit of trade union representation." That was the how one delegate described the reason for the fate of the Bangladeshi workers who died when the factory where they worked, making clothes for British high streets, collapsed.
"Remember the dead - but fight like hell for the living," was the call as UNISON's local government conference debated the attacks on health and safety this afternoon.
Another speaker called the attacks on health and safety, with the claims of regulation gone mad, as "de-regulation gone wild," and urged delegates to return to their branches.
Roger Bannister of Knowsley, stressed that: "This crew [the government] write their health and safety policies like two UKIP members moaning over a pint in the pub. We have to recognise that and do something about it."
MPs question university bosses over staff treatment and future plans
This week, Bolton MPs sent a joint letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Bolton University, to question the recent treatment of staff and discuss future plans for the higher education institution.
After meeting with staff and representatives from UNISON and UCU, MPs Julie Hilling, David Crausby and Yasmin Qureshi contacted George Holmes, the Vice Chancellor of Bolton University, highlighting their concerns around the future of the university and breakdown in communications with staff.
Bolton University was the only Higher Education Institution in the country last year not to award staff the nationally agreed 1 per cent pay rise; with the Vice-Chancellor now refusing to allow staff backdated pay to mitigate their loss in salary last year. As cost of living has continually risen over the past four years, staff at the university have seen a real-term cut in pay of nearly 13 per cent.
In what seems to be a further effort to destabilise industrial relations, the Vice-Chancellor has repeatedly refused to meet with staff unions over the past 10 months. This has included requests to meet due to staff concerns over falling student numbers.
The MPs questioned the Vice-Chancellor’s decision not to pay staff the nationally agreed pay award last year or allow backdated pay this year, asking ‘Why are you the only Higher Education Institution in the country not to pay this? Why has it been delayed?’
The letter goes on to highlight the concerns of staff around student recruitment, with MPs stating ‘What are the senior management doing to ensure recruitment improves and the numbers do not drop again this year?’
UNISON Branch Secretary for Bolton University, Bernadette Gallagher, said ‘the Vice-Chancellor has repeatedly refused to meet with staff representatives, making excuses or simply ignoring our requests. This shows a blatant disregard to listen to staff and act on their concerns; we again highlight our desire to meet with the Vice-Chancellor to discuss current issues and propose solutions for the university, before it’s too late. We eagerly await his reply to concerns raised by MPs.’
The MPs concluded with their intention to see those responsible for decreasing student numbers held accountable ‘Will Senior Managers, who will have overseen the fall in recruitment be held responsible? How?’
Ricky Tomlinson supports UNISON's campaign to protect teaching assistants
The actor Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family, Brookside) has joined UNISON's campaign to protect teaching assistants.
Earlier this year, the government asked the teachers review body to look at teachers' contracts, with a view to them taking on duties currently performed by teaching assistants. In the past month, a right wing think tank with close links to the government has also called for teaching assistants to be sacked. More
An appeal letter from Ricky Tomlinson
10 lies we're told about welfare
Has someone made Jim Royle a policy adviser? Millions are being made poorer while we're fobbed off with porkies. http://m.guardian.co.uk
E-ciggies are a problem at work
E-cigarettes are potentially hazardous and have no place in the workplace, the TUC's head of safety has advised. Hugh Robertson, who said he had received two inquiries from safety reps about the product in the last week, said while the electronic nicotine delivery systems are not banned, they should be subject to the same controls at work as real cigarettes. Noting that US authorities have discouraged their use, he said: 'Certainly e-cigarettes do contain a number of carcinogens and toxins, but these are likely to be at much lower levels than with cigarettes made with tobacco.' He added: 'In answer to the specific question about their legality, e-cigarettes are not covered by the ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces and public places, but an employer does have control over whether their employees can smoke them while at work. Given that the long term effects of the fumes are an unknown, then it could be argued that employers should not be allowing a potentially harmful substance to be used in the workplace under COSHH (the Chemicals regulations).' He said safety reps 'should try to ensure that the employer does not allow the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed places or anywhere that smoking tobacco is prohibited, but, as part of a health promotion campaign, might want to work with their employer to encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and use them instead of tobacco cigarettes, but only in places not covered by the smoking ban.' Last year, NHS Fife and Blackburn College made e-cigarettes subject to the same controls under their smoking policies as normal cigarettes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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