• It’s that time of year again – Essex announce one-third cut, Kent £1m

    Editorial
    It’s that time of year when councils need to announce their budget plans for next year if they are to have enough time to consult. Hence, Newcastle’s one third cut last post and this post’s news of a one-third cut, with up to 43 libraries closing or turning volunteer, in Essex and Kent’s £1 million cut. This will all deeply affect library provision in each of the services, with Essex being the stand-out due to the sheer number of libraries involved. It&rsq
  • Blog: Getting ready for ‘walk round week’

    Already this month, an incredible amount of work has gone into Grovember – our whole union campaign to grow UNISON even bigger, better and bolder. I know that UNISON branches across the country have been ramping up recruitment activity, and all UNISON staff have been working to find extra ways they can do more.
    Two weeks into November, and it’s clear that we’re making progress – but we need to make sure that every single person in our union is playing their part.
    Growing
  • UNISON reacts to Brexit draft deal between the UK and the EU

    Wednesday 14 November 2018For immediate release
    UNISON reacts to Brexit draft deal between the UK and the EU
    Commenting on the news that the Prime Minister has secured a Brexit deal between the UK and the EU, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “More than two years after the referendum, Theresa May is still prioritising party over country.
    “Any deal that fails to protect public services, defend rights at work and avoid a hard border in Ireland is a deal th
  • UNISON demands justice for Abdullah Karacan

    General secretary Dave Prentis has called for “a thorough and urgent investigation” into yesterday’s murder of Turkish trade union leader Abdullah Karacan, and the shooting of two of his colleagues.
    Mr Karacan, president of the rubber and chemical workers’ union DISK/Lastik-İş, was killed while meeting workers at the Goodyear tyre factory in Adaparzari Turkey. His colleagues, regional president Mustafa Sipahi, and shop steward Osman Bayraktar, were also sho
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  • Employers encouraged to pay EU workers’ ‘settled status’ fees

    UNISON is urging employers to pay the £65 fee for their staff who are citizens of other EU countries and apply for ‘settled status’ to stay in the UK after Brexit on 29 March.
    The union has produced a model letter for relevant branches to edit and use when writing to their employers on the issue, together with new guidance on the issue and process, aimed at both branches and individual EU-citizen members.
    Some employers have already said they will pay the fee for their employee
  • Get social, get growing

    We’ve seen some great Grovember #JoinUNISON social media posts. Here’s a few tips to make your posts perfect.Use the #joinUNISON hashtag.
    Tell us where you are.
    Tell us how many members you signed up during your day/visit.
    Ask new joiners if they’d mind having their photo taken and posted on social media.
    If they are happy to do this, post with their first name and job or a few words about why they joined.
    Tag the region or branch and UNISON.
    If you’re not actively recrui
  • UNISON branch noticeboard competition

    We’re launching a new branch competition for Grovember to encourage all branches to do one small thing to make the union more visible during November.
    You could win £500 for your branch – just by updating your noticeboard and posting the result on social media.
    Post a pic on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ratemyboard #joinUNISON in November and you could win a treat for your branch.
    UNISON president Gordon McKay will choose the winners in December – top prize
  • Campaign to save nurseries goes national

    A group campaigning to save five council-run nurseries in Salford has joined up with campaigners from across the country at a rally in Salford
    The five nurseries in Salford are all rated outstanding by Ofsted, but were threatened with closure earlier this year when government cuts removed their funding.
    UNISON members, staff, and parents have all been campaigning to keep them open. In response to the camapign, Salford Mayor Paul Dennett agreed to find a further £1.5m to keep them open unti
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  • Unbothered petition response, CIPFA as an active barrier to library data, and Newcastle woes

    Editorial
    A few things this week, led by the Governments unbothered response to the libraries petition. In a standard cut-and-paste response, the reply is that everything is fine, the Government is putting loads of money in and that funding is, anyway, a local matter. Everyone knows the first two are – shall we say? – not entirely accurate and the third one is, along with austerity, the problem in the first place and indeed the whole point of the petition. The tak
  • Scotland’s local government members reject pay offer

    Scottish council workers have rejected the employers’ latest pay offer – 3% for those earning less than £80,000 a year – in a consultative ballot of UNISON members.
    UNISON and the other Scottish local government joint unions meet today to discuss the results of all the unions’ consultations with members. Unite and GMB members have also rejected the offer.
    The UNISON consultative ballot saw 79% of those taking part vote to reject the offer from employers’
  • Blog: Celebrating the Stars in our Schools

    School support staff are incredible. In communities across the UK they support and educate our children, providing a vast range of services that pupils benefit from and families rely upon.
    That’s why this morning I was in Tottenham, to visit two fantastic schools – Brook and Willow. There I met the amazing support staff who work there, and heard their headteachers and the children they support, praise them and thank them for their work.
    I was there to launch our annual Stars in our S
  • Blog: Proud to stand with the Sirona Care workers

    This morning I’ve been on the picket line with Sirona Care workers in Bath, where UNISON members are fighting cuts to their pay.
    The incredible care workers – 90% of them women – who I joined at a rally outside Bath Guildhall last night and stood with this morning, are the kind of people who make me so proud of our union. Every day they provide vital, life-changing care for some of the most vulnerable people in their community. In return they receive wages that are far too low,
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  • UNISON declares victory in Bradford redundancy row

    UNISON has declared victory in a dispute with the University of Bradford over its plans for 250 redundancies, following four days of strike action last week.
    The university announced that 250 jobs were “at risk” of redundancy in June, sparking the industrial action process which culminated in last week’s strike.
    The workers also received support from local MPs Judith Cummins and Imran Hussain, who urged the university to enter talks and avoid a strike.
    The union says that the u
  • Government ‘squandering’ nursing apprenticeship prospects, says UNISON

    Responding to the latest figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on the numbers joining and leaving its register, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “The increase in nurses and midwives joining is woefully short of what’s needed.
    “It’s yet more evidence that committed funding for nursing degree apprenticeships is vital.
    “Support staff, including healthcare assistants, are eager for the chance to progress, and have already proven they&rsqu
  • Public shows support for university workers facing pay cut

    The public is showing its support for UNISON members at the University of Leicester who face wage cuts of £800 to £1,200 a year – with almost 1,000 people signing a petition backing the workers in just its first three days.
    The 26 workers affected are the university’s security team, who will see the pay cuts if the university succeeds with its plan to cut their weekly hours from 37 to 35.
    All other staff at the university saw their hours drop to 35 a week, with no loss of
  • UNISON celebrates becoming the UK’s biggest union

     
    UNISON is marking becoming the UK’s biggest union by launching a month of recruitment activity today (Tuesday) to reach out to every worker in the country providing public services.
    The union has now more than 1.3 million people in its membership who work in education, local government, the NHS, the police service and the energy sector. Members work in both the public and private sectors.
    But there are still tens of thousands of public sector workers who aren’t part of a union
  • ‘We can’t sleepwalk into another Windrush’

    Images: Marcus Rose
    UNISON EU members urged the government to “truly safeguard” citizens’ rights, regardless of the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations, in a major Westminster rally and lobby yesterday
    They joined colleagues from citizens’ rights groups the3million and British in Europe to form a human chain from Parliament Square to Downing Street, where they presented a letter of demands to prime minister Theresa May.
    Later the campaigners met with their MPs i
  • Blog: A great opportunity to thank our whole incredible NHS team

    This week is UNISON’s One Team week where we celebrate the whole team of staff who make the NHS work.
    NHS support staff make a vital contribution to the NHS every minute of every day, but often their work goes unnoticed. Most of the public don’t see the staff who work behind the scenes, whose vital work keeps the NHS running and who make sure patients and their families get the best treatment possible – so too often their vital roles are ignored.UNISON is proud to represent NHS
  • Turning over a new leaf – taking the fight for libraries to the streets

    “Libraries are the heart of our communities,” UNISON’s London regional secretary Maggi Ferncombe told demonstrators at Saturday’s Save our Libraries event in Parliament Square.
    Several hundred people, from library workers to users, readers to writers, from young to old, gathered at the British Library and marched to Parliament Square, to protest against the crippling underfunding of the country’s arts and culture.
    Supporting the march, award-winning author, Phi
  • Living wage rises to £9 an hour – and £10.55 in London

    The living wage has risen to £8.75 an hour across the UK and £10.20 an hour in London, where the cost of living is higher.
    The living wage is a figure produced by the Living Wage Foundation to reflect the “real cost of living in the UK and London.” It is calculated to provide enough for a person to live decently and to adequately provide for their family.
    This year’s increase came at the start of Living Wage Week, traditionally the first week of November. The rates
  • Government should ensure public service staff get the living wage, says UNISON

    Responding to the announcement today (Monday) that the real living wage is to increase nationally to £9 an hour and to £10.55 in London, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “The vast majority of local authority and NHS staff are now getting the living wage. This is thanks to pay agreements that UNISON has negotiated on their behalf.
    “But staff employed by contractors are increasingly being left behind, including many care workers.
    “Many are struggling on pov
  • Cardifficulty

    Editorial
    Sad news from Cardiff, as it has become apparent the council is severely cutting the library service by stealth, cutting many paid and experienced library staff under the guise of a reorganisation. Time has shown that this is the easiest way to gut a public library service without having significant public protest. A closed library causes placards but one renamed a hub with half the floorspace and staff causes annoyance but little more. News received last week – and confirme
  • London march to save the arts and libraries

    Hundreds of people will march from the British Library to Parliament Square tomorrow (Saturday) to call for an end to the cuts hitting the arts and libraries across the country.
    Members of UNISON, along with those from PCS and UNITE, will march past cultural landmarks in the capital in support of libraries and museums.
    The march will end with a rally in Parliament Square featuring speeches from library workers and authors. These include Frank Cottrell Boyce, writer of the 2012 Olympics opening c
  • Epic new film depicts the events leading to the infamous Peterloo Massacre

    Next year is the bicentenary of one of the most shameful episodes in English history – the Peterloo Massacre, in which 15 people were killed and hundreds seriously injured when sabre-wielding cavalry charged into a peaceful rally in Manchester, where working people were demanding the right to vote.
    Before that, and serving as a rousing prelude to the anniversary, there’s Peterloo. The new film by celebrated director Mike Leigh recounts the events leading to the massacre as well
  • There must be no hiding place for bullies in the ambulance service

    There should soon be no hiding place for anyone who bullies their staff, or colleagues, at the South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS), following the publication today (Thursday) of an independent report, says UNISON.
    The report, based on a staff survey and interviews conducted by Professor Duncan Lewis, was jointly commissioned by UNISON and the ambulance trust.
    It follows a succession of serious complaints and grievances about the behaviour of managers and other employees at the ambulance servi
  • A great October

    Thousands of UNISON members across the country are better off after they and their union chalked up various victories in October.
    The month kicked off in fighting style, with traffic wardens – or civil enforcement officers to be technically correct – in the north London borough of Camden and care workers in Birmingham both embarking on strike action.In London, the union members were striking for a pay rise. In Birmingham, they were defending their jobs and hours from council cuts whi
  • Blog: Grovember – let’s grow our union

    By now I hope most UNISON members have heard about ‘Grovember’. It’s a month of activity across our union, focussed on growing our union.
    It’s all part of building a union that’s bigger, better and bolder.
    We’re not content just to be the biggest union in the UK, we want to keep getting bigger – ensuring that even more public service workers get the support, organisation and representation that UNISON provides.Working together – activists, members
  • Win prizes and save money during November with UNISON!

    UNISON is now, officially, the UK’s largest union. We’ve come through the toughest years of public service cuts and kept our union strong. At a time when we might have expected to see a collapse in membership, UNISON has held steady. We did that by keeping our focus on what’s important to members, fighting for their jobs and their pay and high-profile campaigning.
    We’ve minimised the impact of austerity by recruiting more strongly than ever before, but job losses have sti
  • Grow, win and save during November with UNISON!

    UNISON is now, officially, the UK’s largest union. We’ve come through the toughest years of public service cuts and kept our union strong. At a time when we might have expected to see a collapse in membership, UNISON has held steady. We did that by keeping our focus on what’s important to members, fighting for their jobs and their pay and high-profile campaigning.
    We’ve minimised the impact of austerity by recruiting more strongly than ever before, but job losses have sti
  • I’m 21 and I’m a committed trade unionist

    You know that feeling, when you look around and see you’re the only one still left at the party… I’m 21 and I’m a committed trade union activist. With just 4% of union members aged 16 to 24, I’m in a minority.
    But something is happening. More young members are joining UNISON – we’re one of our fastest growing demographics. Dare I say it, are trade unions becoming cool?A few of UNISON’s young members
    Maybe. But it’s also probably got a lot to
  • Time for a hero – meet Greenwich’s answer to Erin Brockovich

    In 2012 a school cleaner from Greenwich noticed an error in her pay, and despite being told by everyone she spoke to that she was mistaken, kept pushing for the problem to be fixed.
    This week at a council meeting in Greenwich, Julie Stedman has been vindicated. The culmination of a six-year battle means that not only will she receive the extra pay she is owed, but around 5,000 low-paid, mostly female, workers across the borough will receive payouts worth millions, in a case that also has implica
  • UNISON wins legal pay out for 5,000 low-paid women in schools and nurseries in Greenwich

    Five thousand part-time cleaners, teaching assistants, catering, administrative, school meal workers and other staff working for Greenwich Council are to receive pay outs that could amount to hundreds of pounds, following a five year legal battle over holiday pay, says UNISON today (Wednesday).
    UNISON took the case on behalf of the Royal Boroughs employees the overwhelming majority of whom are women over the councils failure to calculate their annual leave properly. As a result some of the staff
  • Petition hits over 24,600: tell a friend

    Editorial
    It’s great to see the petition to safeguard libraries for funding reaching (at time of posting) 24,582 signatures. This is already making an impact, with it being used in evidence when CILIP and others met with the libraries minister and others yesterday. I’d forgotten but there was another one back in 2012 and that, in six months, reached 17,569 names and the new one has five months left to go. Every extra person signing is that little bit extra pressure, and that little b
  • New strategy to tackle violence in the NHS welcome, says UNISON

    Commenting on the government’s NHS violence reduction strategy announced today (Wednesday), UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “NHS staff spend their working days caring and saving lives, and their safety should be paramount.
    “No-one should be abused, threatened or attacked at work – especially when all they’re trying to do is help people.
    “It’s encouraging that the government has listened to unions and agreed to review measures in place to ensure s
  • ‘Empty nest’ couples and people without children robbed of benefit boost, says UNISON

    Low-paid working couples who receive benefits and whose children have left home will be denied a pay boost by the Chancellor, UNISON said today (Wednesday).
    Childless people on universal credit will be losers too despite the increase announced in yesterday’s Budget to the work allowance – the monthly amount employees can keep before their benefits are affected.
    Only those with disabilities, or parents with current responsibilities for children, will be eligible for the work allowance
  • Blog: What this budget proved is that austerity is far from over

    Over the past decade, austerity has caused untold damage to our communities and our public services. Our union has fought austerity every step of the way, using every weapon at our disposal.
    We’ve now won the public debate on austerity – it’s widely recognised as a disaster. Even the Prime Minister was keen to announce that it’s over.
    Yet what this budget proved is that austerity is far from over. The Chancellor claimed it’s “coming to an end” – bu
  • UNISON responds to funding for crisis mental health services

    Responding to today’s (Monday) announcement by the Chancellor of £2bn for mental health services, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “Promising more funding is one thing – actually delivering is another.
    “There’s no doubt more money is needed. But the government must listen to those quitting mental health jobs every day and do more to attract and hold onto highly skilled staff.
    “More must be done to make mental health services safer and ki
  • PFI abolition pledge doesn’t help public services with contracts

    Commenting on the Chancellor’s pledge that the government is to abolish the use of new private finance contracts (PFI), UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “Public services can’t be financed on the never-never, and the Chancellor’s promise that there’ll be no more PFI contracts signed is welcome.
    “But this does nothing to help the many hospitals, councils, police forces and schools. They’ll be paying through the nose for many years to come for wh
  • Budget doesn’t end the austerity nightmare

    Commenting on the Chancellor’s Budget statement today (Monday), UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “Austerity isn’t over just because the Prime Minister and the Chancellor say it is.
    “Years of spending cuts have meant real pain for millions, with very little gain. Public services are running on empty, and councils are still axing thousands of jobs.
    “Years of wrecking ball austerity have left local services in a perilous state. It will take time and substant
  • Higher education ballot result

    UNISON members working in higher education in England, Scotland and Wales have voted for industrial action to press their wage claim – but the turnout wasn’t enough to meet the threshold for strikes set out in the 2017 Trade Union Act.
    That act does not apply in Northern Ireland, and the union is still awaiting the result of its ballot of members there.
    UNISON’s higher education service group executive considered the result in England, Scotland and wales and stated: “We w
  • Easy Joiner: coming soon to a region near you

    Just in time for Grovember: UNISON is rolling out our new Easy Joiner phone app to support reps helping to grow our union on the move.
    And it’s coming soon to a region near you – if it’s not already there.
    Are you talking to colleagues about joining the union, or visiting a different workplace, but you’ve run out of application forms?
    Have you convinced your sister-in-law to join over Sunday roast, but aren’t sure if she’ll remember to long on to a website and
  • Conference debates access to voting, hate crime and BSL

    A busy morning at UNISON’s disabled members’ conference continued with a debate on access to voting.
    Alvin Chambers of Newcastle City told delegates that “all voters have the right to vote independently and in secret … I know this, because the Electoral Commission says so on the website”.
    But as he went on to explain: “Good luck getting into the voting station if you’re in a wheelchair and, if you do get in, the polling booth probably won’t be acc
  • Libraries petition hits 15,000, helping to influence government

    Editorial
    It’s been great over the weekend to see the outpouring of support for public libraries for the “Protect library services by ringfencing government funding for libraries” petition. On Thursday, it looked like the petition would not reach 8,000 but due to the support of many people commenting on how important libraries are and retweeting, it hit the magic 10,000 – where the government needs to respond – on Saturday lunchtime and is now at
  • Key council services need funding, Chancellor told

    More than 100 MPs from various parties are backing a UNISON call for more money to tackle the crisis in local government services in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget this afternoon.
    They have signed a UNISON open letter to the chancellor calling on him to increase the levels of central government grants to local authorities  and reinvest the surplus generated from business from business rates, giving the money back to local councils to assist with the social care funding gap.
    &ldquo
  • Disabled members speak out over lack of proper disability leave

    A busy final morning at UNISON’s disabled members’ conference in Brighton saw delegates work through a wide range of business.
    Moving a motion for the South East region, Fran Fox said that it is “recognised that employees with a disability” may need to take time off work “if their mobility or illness becomes severe”.
    But it is also recognised that a lack of understanding by some employers about disability leave can result in disabled employees facing “fo
  • Widening disability pay gap shows the struggle for equality is far from over

    Assistant general secretary Christina McAnea thanked the union’s disabled members for all the work they do when she addressed their conference in Brighton his morning, telling them that it iss vital to keep up the work, since the disability pay gap is now at its highest – 15% – since 2013.
    “In-work poverty is very real for too many of our members,” she said. “We know there is a clear link between poverty and disability … living with a disability, what i
  • Delegates voice the need for mental health first aiders

    A busy afternoon saw delegates to UNISON disabled members’ conference debate motions covering a wide range of issues.
    A group debate in Brighton around the need for mental health first aiders saw Steven Powers from the Northern region first clarify that “a mental health first aider can, with the correct training, listen to your concerns and get you the support that you need” – they would no more be handing out “happy pills” than a conventional first aider woul
  • MP says we need to change how disability is reported

    “People with disabilities are so much more than benefits!” That was how Emma Lewell-Buck MP responded to a question at UNISON’s disabled members’ conference this afternoon, about how much of the media represents disabled people.
    The guest speaker – the Labour member for South Shields and shadow education minister responsible for children and families’ policy – said that much of the media coverage of disabled people is, too often, inextricably bound up wi
  • Conference hears how disabled workers face absence problems

    A busy morning of debates at UNISON’s disabled members’ conference in Brighton saw delegates tackle a wide range of issues, from the importance of “digital inclusion” – and the difficulties many disabled people face in tackling online application forms – to the need to remember that disabled members may not identify in a binary way, and need to be included by using non-binary language.
    The morning’s most moving debate saw Jackie Anderson from Scotland te
  • President hails ‘inspirational’ disabled members

    “How on earth can I come to your and be inspirational? Because that’s what you do every day … What you do every single day makes people’s lives better.”
    That was the message from UNISON president Gordon McKay this morning, when he addressed the union’s national disabled members’ conference in Brighton.
    “I really want to thank you, on behalf of the union, for everything you do.”
    Mr McKay went on to speak of how the claims of the Conservative

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