• Charity’s excessive surveillance is harming care of the vulnerable, says UNISON

    24 May 2018Embargo: 00.01hrs Friday 25 May 2018
    Charity’s excessive surveillance is harming care of the vulnerable, says UNISON
    National care charity – Community Integrated Care (CIC) – is subjecting its staff to such a degree of surveillance that they are unable to care for vulnerable people properly, says UNISON today (Friday).
    CIC employees have expressed concern at the introduction of a new sign-in system, and have started a petition. This hi-tech clock-in machine identifie
  • UNISON on changes at NHS England and NHS Improvement

    Commenting on the announcement today (Thursday) that NHS England and NHS Improvement are to work more closely together, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “Despite healthcare being about people, the last eight years in the NHS have been dominated by structural changes, cost saving exercises and internal politics.
    “Changes to regional structures should provide the opportunity for the various parts of the NHS to get back to closer working – something that’s been hard t
  • UNISON responds to IFS report on NHS funding

    Commenting on the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Health foundation report on NHS funding, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “We pay considerably less for our NHS than most other European countries do for their health services.
    “It delivers exceptional value for money, but this cannot be sustained without a substantial budget increase.
    “With the NHS turning 70, now is the time for ministers to show their commitment to a service that has cared for us all so well. That mea
  • UNISON on Lord Carter’s report into productivity in the NHS

    Commenting on Lord Carter’s report on operational productivity, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “The harsh reality of working in understaffed teams with limited resources has had a terrible impact on staff well-being. Increased stress levels, a rise in sickness absence and high staff turnover have all been the result.
    “It’s simply impossible for staff to deliver compassionate care when they are working in an environment of fear and blame. A positive workplace cult
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  • Care Quality Commission give umpteenth NHS pressures warning, says UNISON

    Responding to the Care Quality Commission’s report today (Thursday) on safety standards in A&E departments, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “This is the umpteenth warning that the NHS is under extreme pressure.
    “Inadequate funding means services and staff are stretched to the limit, and patients are being put at risk.
    “For staff working in an unsafe environment on a daily basis it’s a nightmare, when all they’re trying to do is deliver co
  • Answers on visas, Welsh libraries funding and your chance to question the new SCL Chief Exec

    Editorial
    I always find, as a librarian, the best way to find an answer to a question is to ask an expert. So, due to the various expressed uncertainties about the public library scheme, I emailed Isobel Hunter, the new Chief Executive of the Society of Chief Librarians. She kindly quickly answered them and the details are below. Following on form this, she has also agreed to answer more general questions, which I’m working on now. But it seems to me some of you may have questions too. So
  • I love working for the NHS – so I’m striking against being outsourced

    “I love working for the NHS,” says Wigan Infirmary domestic Amanda Grimes (below). “We have won awards for being the cleanest hospital and I am very proud to work here.”And that pride is why Amanda will be on strike tomorrow and Thursday (23 and 24 May), alongside hundreds of her catering, cleaning and portering colleagues at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust in north-west England.
    UNISON members voted for the strike to prevent the trust from mov
  • UNISON urges government to scrap damaging NHS competition rules

    Commenting on the reports today (Tuesday) that the government is to review the Health and Social Care Act, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:
    “Since the Act, the NHS has been operating with one hand firmly tied behind its back. The government’s reforms have proved expensive, pointless and exposed the health service to unnecessary and avoidable strains.
    “It’s just such a shame it’s taken six years for the government to realise the sca
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  • Visa applicants and libraries

    Editorial
    The Society of Chief Librarians has been subcontracted by French company Sopra Steria to provide assistance for visa applicants from October 2018. The SCL press release says its for 56 library services, although other news reports, including Sopra Steria, say 56 libraries, which is quite a difference. The process seems quite involved, with the need to submit “biometric information including photos, fingerprints, and signatures and their supporting evidence at a single appointment
  • Academy workers face jobs threat

    UNISON is meeting members at an academy schools chain across Cheshire after their employer announced 43 redundancies at seven schools.
    At the same time, UNISON, NEU, NASUWT and ASCL have written to local MP Mike Amesbury – a member of the local government select committee – to ask for meeting where they can discuss the threat to jobs and school provision.
    The University of Chester Academies Trust operates schools in Ellesmere Port, Warrington, Chester, Kidsgrove (two schools), Northw
  • UNISON and Napo probation workers in day of protest over pay

     
    Probation staff in England and Wales, who work for the National Probation Service (NPS) and the 21 privatised community rehabilitation companies (CRCs), are today (Friday) staging a day of protest to call for a long overdue pay rise.
    Their unions – Napo and UNISON – say that the 18,000 probation staff have been treated more harshly than other public sector workers, and received just a single 1% pay increase since 2009.
    Probation workers manage som
  • Two new senior appointments at UNISON

    Public services union UNISON has today (Thursday) announced two new appointments to its senior management team.
    Margaret Thomas and Emilie Oldknow are to become assistant general secretaries, alongside the existing team of Christina McAnea, Liz Snape and Roger McKenzie, and general secretary Dave Prentis.
    Margaret’s role has responsibility for UNISON’s 12 regions, and Emilie’s remit covers staffing and other internal union matters.
    Margaret is currently the union’s Wales
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  • UNISON responds to NAO report on Capita and NHS England 

     
    Commenting on the National Audit Report which has found that Capita put NHS England patients at risk, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “Despite many warnings, NHS England allowed a private company to take over and ultimately fail to deliver the safe and quality service that patients expect and deserve.
    “UNISON highlighted the huge risks in these ambitious plans from the outset. If ministers want patient safety to remain at the heart of the NHS they m
  • Nursery campaigners meet minister to call for better funding

    Salford nursery campaigners  – including mayor Paul Dennett – took their argument for proper funding to government minister Nadhim Zahawi today.
    Their meeting with the children and families minister follow a successful campaign meeting in Westminster at the end of April and campaigning work by UNISON.
    Workers and parents, together with their trade union UNISON and Salford mayor Paul Dennett, are asking the government to take two steps to guarantee the future of the city’s
  • A brutal massacre in Gaza

    One of the most valued traditions in our movement is peaceful protest. On Saturday our union marched through the streets of London to call for change. We did not face physical attack nor did we fear it. We certainly didn’t have to fear the use of live ammunition, snipers or soldiers firing indiscriminately into the crowd.
    Yet only two days later, such slaughter was wreaked upon another peaceful protest in Gaza.
    UNISON condemns the brutal massacre of 58 Palestinian protestors and injury to
  • An Ode to Libraries in Finland

    Editorial
    That’s it, I want to work in Finland. OK, I don’t speak Finnish and can’t stand cold or dark nights but, darn it, just look at how they treat libraries over there. as important learning and education centres, with over three times more spent on libraries per head than in the UK. And that new library, the beautifully named “Ode”, looks rather nice too.
    OK, deep breath, back to the UK. Well, looking on the bright side, at least most of us don’t work in
  • Blog: All too often, early years services are a poor relation

    A few weeks ago I wrote about UNISON’s campaigning to secure proper nursery funding. Activists from Salford – which recently faced the threat of nursery closures – came to Westminster to lobby against the risk of cuts and closures. Thanks to dedicated campaigning from the local branch, the Labour Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, agreed to keep on funding nurseries until August next year.
    Yet unless the government take action, nurseries across our country will continue to be at r
  • Blog: If the Tories want a hostile environment, we will give them one

    On Saturday, thousands of UNISON members took to the streets and made our voices heard. UNISON was by far the biggest, noisiest presence on the march – and swamped Hyde Park for the rally afterwards.
    Our flags, t-shirts, balloons – and even a samba band – helped turn London purple, and showed that UNISON members are ready to step up and fight for better public services.For those who weren’t able to make it to London at the weekend – here’s the speech I deliver
  • Volunteer libraries looking fragile, staffless concerns … and some much-needed research

    Editorial
    Two volunteer libraries in two weeks have announced they can’t go on due to lack of finance. This is in addition to the three in Lincolnshire that folded due to the charity that ran them closing down, and which have now temporarily been taken over by GLL. While still only small numbers, this is as many volunteer branches getting into trouble in a month as I can recall in the last five years. Indeed, the resilience of these branches has been most impressive up to now. However, as
  • Blog: Time for the government to end their silence on Turkey

    Since President Recep Erdogan imposed a state of emergency, following the attempted coup in July 2016, Turkey has experienced an extraordinary erosion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
    The government has targeted many of its actual and alleged critics, including politicians, academics and trade unionists. According to Amnesty International over 120 journalists have been detained, 180 media outlets closed down and 50,000 people remain imprisoned awaiting trial.
    Public service worker
  • UNISON steps up for public services

    By the tens of thousands, UNISON members came from all across the country today to defy the wet weather of London and step up for public services as part of the national TUC march and rally today.
    A samba band, a giant flag, maracas and vuvuzelas, glitter, giant balloons and UNISON banners from across the union – and UNISON members – added a festive air to decidedly grey streets in London’s West End as the marchers made their way from the Thames Embankent at Westminster to the
  • Higher ed employers make final offer

    Higher education employers have made a new pay offer of a 2% or £425 pay rise, whichever is greater, on all pay points for the 2018/19 pay round.
    The final offer follows the latest meeting between the higher education unions – UNISON, Unite, the GMB and academic unions UCU and EIS – and the University and Colleges Employer’s Association yesterday.
    UNISON national secretary Jon Richards said the offer “does not meet our claim in full, but we welcome the improvements
  • Operating theatre staff celebrated with first national awareness day

    An awareness day highlighting the contribution of operating department practitioners (ODPs) to patient care will take place on Monday (14 May), UNISON has announced.
    The first National ODP’s Day will be marked across the country with activities including operating theatre tours, bake sales, and careers talks at schools.
    The College of Operating Department Practitioners (CODP), which is affiliated to UNISON, has declared that the day will be an annual event to raise the profile of ODPs and
  • The suffragette spirit

    Helen Pankhurst grew up in Ethiopia, as a consequence of her famous grandmother, Sylvia Pankhurst, moving there after campaigning against Italy’s invasion.
    “After she campaigned on women’s rights, she became more and more of a socialist,” Helen says of her grandmother. “She became interested in a number of causes and she saw the rise of fascism.
    “Then Italy invaded Ethiopia and there wasn’t much of a ground swell of resistance to it, so she started a new
  • UNISON comment on NHS staff handing patients’ data to the Home Office

    Commenting on the government’s suspension of controversial arrangements under which the NHS shared patients’ details with the Home Office, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “This move is a step in the right direction. Health staff will be relieved to know they no longer have to act as immigration officers on the wards. Now they can get back to focussing on patient care and saving lives.”
    Media contacts:Fatima Ayad T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07508 080383 
  • Wigan hospital staff vote for strike over outsourcing plans

    Nearly 600 hospital caterers, cleaners, porters  other staff at three hospitals in Lancashire are planning to strike for 48-hours later this month over plans to transfer their jobs from an NHS trust to a private company it plans to set up as a wholly owned subsidiary.
    The proposed action on 23 and 24 May follows an 89% vote for strike action in a ballot which saw 73% of eligible members cast a vote.
    The ballot came after the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh foundation trust announced plans to
  • Adult social care has no funding, no strategy and no long-term solutions, says UNISON

    Responding to the report today (Wednesday) from the Public Accounts Committee that adult social care in England is in a “precarious state”, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:
    “Low-paid staff are propping up a care system that has no funding, no strategy and no long-term solutions.
    “The crisis in adult social care is not a warning for the future, it’s happening across the country right now.
    “The government’s one-track
  • Blog: Together, we can step up for public services

    This Saturday, our union and our movement will march.
    We will raise our banners, balloons, flags as we demand the better public services our communities need. And we will raise our voices, to call for an end to cuts and austerity, an end to an attack on our jobs, our pay and our conditions. We will remember the struggles our union has faced over the past decade – struggles so many thought we would never overcome – and fight for a better future for UNISON members and everyone who reli
  • Helping with the cost of school uniforms

    UNISON is once more launching a scheme to help members on low incomes deal with the cost of buying school uniforms.
    Families living on low income with children struggle constantly to make ends meet – and this can be particularly acute before the new school year begins when the extra costs hit hard.
    The union’s welfare charity There for You has once again got a limited fund to help members deal with the costs of school uniforms.
    Branches can download the applications forms and publici
  • Keep on making the difference

    Editorial
    A generally quiet few days for libraries, as befits a bank holiday Monday. I hope you all enjoyed the sunshine or did something (or several somethings) fun. Now it’s back to the world of public libraries. energised hopefully from the time off.  That should help you to keep on making the difference to the, oh so many, people who use your branches.
    ChangesCardiff – Replacement library for Roath proposed at Cardiff Royal Infirmary.
    Lancashire – Standardisa
  • Passing it all to parishes, plus staffless issues

    Editorial
    Two things that spark my interest today. The first is the continuing, and little publicised outside of the county, move by Cornwall to transfer numerous branches to town and parish councils. The media suggests Bude-Stratton, Redruth, Camelford, Falmouth, Launceston, St Ives, Bodmin, Camborne, St Austell and Penryn are all being transferred this way. This makes sense as lower-tier councils are not capped in the same way as top-tier ones and of course there’s co-locations
  • Blog: If there are elections where you are, don’t forget to use your vote

    “Children’s centres encompassed the whole community and it didn’t matter what social background you were from, you were made to feel welcome. And now we’ve lost that. It’s heartbreaking. And that sounds exaggerated ‘heartbreaking’ – but this wasn’t just a service, we were like a family. The children’s centre was closed because of cuts enforced by this government.”
    These are the words of Lisa, a former children’s centre worke
  • Blog: Another reason to be proud of our union – on May Day, and every day

    Today is May Day – International Workers’ Day – a day to look back on the achievements of our movement, and ahead to a better and brighter future for working people.
    That’s particularly pertinent for UNISON this year, because in just a few months, our union will be 25 years old. To mark that occasion, we’re planning to review every aspect of how our union is run with one focus in mind – UNISON members. Since 1993 our country has undergone immense changes, and
  • It’s not us, it’s all about YOU!

    If you’re a UNISON member you should have had an envelope through your letterbox from UNISON’s general secretary asking you to vote in yet another election.
    Yes, we know there are a lot of elections at UNISON but that’s because of the way it’s set up.
    UNISON is your union. That means that you get the chance to be involved in the major decisions. One of the key ways you do this is by electing your representatives onto one of the union’s service group executives.
  • Sunshine and showers – April’s highlights

    Pay, pay, pay
    The first half of April was dominated by pay. The union accepted the local government pay offer after consultation with branches. The two year deal affects hundreds of thousands of local government members and, amongst other highlights, will see a 16% pay increase for those currently on the lowest scale and a pay increase of between 15% and 4.3% for those on the current SCPs 7-28.Members in Hull who work in recycling started the month with a 14 day strike for decent pay and a
  • Save our nurseries: when the kids went to Westminster

    Ryan, Daniel, Jacob, Sophia and Zach were probably some of the youngest campaigners at the Houses of Parliament last week. They were there (with their mums) to talk to MPs about keeping their nurseries open.
    The group of children, parents, UNISON organisers and staff from the nursery began the day at 5am, with a six-hour coach journey from Salford to London. When they arrived they were focused, placards in hand and ready for action
    Zoe Ireland and her daughter Alice queue up to enter the Houses
  • Blog: Listen to these moments of truth

    Every day, we’re all reliant on public service workers. Whether it’s the school staff who educate our kids, the health inspectors who make sure our food is safe, the health workers who treat us when we’re sick or the police staff who help keep us safe – public service workers are everywhere, and our country couldn’t function without them.
    Often unseen, often unheralded – it’s public servants like these who make our country tick.
    And yet in recent years,
  • The UK’s disappearing meat hygiene inspectors

    Meat has been in the news a lot lately, and not in a good way. Meat suppliers Russell Hume have just had to lay off hundreds of staff after an unannounced visit to their premises from Food Standards Agency inspectors.
    The inspectors found that meat was being incorrectly labelled and there were “serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations”, at the company that supplied to Weatherspoons and Jamie Oliver restaurants, amongst others.
    Russell Hume had to halt production, they los
  • Labour are making a mess of public libraries

    Editorial
    It’s local election time in my of the country this week and libraries but will have a part to play. Some will be polling stations and many will have people coming in and asking where the local polling station is or how come they never got a polling card. In addition, libraries will be part of many local manifestos, with politicians making a big thing of keeping libraries open, albeit often with the how of reduced resources or volunteers glossed over.
    The interesting thing he
  • Blog: Today we reaffirm our demand for safe and healthy work for all

    Today, UNISON is once again joining people around the world to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.
    In doing so, we remember the dead and the injured, and recommit to continue the fight for the living, by reaffirming our demand for safe and healthy work for all.
    No-one goes to work not expecting to return home that day, yet official figures show that at least 20,000 workers die each year from work-related injuries and illnesses. The National Hazards Campaign believes that these offici
  • A win for employees at Nottingham City Council

    The Court of Appeal has ruled that Nottingham City Council was wrong to deny hundreds of employees the right to incremental pay increases.
    In 2011 the council decided to deny staff pay rises as they moved up salary scales linked to their jobs. The workers, backed by UNISON, have now successfully challenged that decision.
    The case, which has been running since July 2013, saw the East Midlands council staff initially take their case to an employment tribunal in Nottingham.
    UNISON claimed the counc
  • Youngsters show racism the red card

    UNISON joined with Show Racism the Red Card to honour the winners of England’s largest equalities-themed competition for young people.
    The Show Racism the Red Card School Competition sees young people throughout England create their own anti-racism messages in a variety of formats.
    Youngsters aged from five to 16 submitted a range of entries for the competition, including poetry, short stories, artwork, films and music – all highlighting the anti-racism message.
    There were two specia
  • UNISON challenges police commissioner takeover of fire services

    UNISON has criticised the decision to allow police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to take over the governance of fire and rescue services, which the union calls “a veiled attack” on members’ jobs and services.
    The Home Office has given approval for the PCCs for West Mercia, Staffordshire and Cambridgeshire to take over their local fire and rescue services, after independent assessors scrutinised their proposals.
    These proposals were founded on ‘back room efficiencies&rsqu
  • UNISON responds to Lord Darzi’s interim report on NHS funding

    Responding to the interim report published today (Wednesday) by Lord Darzi and the IPPR, on the unprecedented challenges facing the NHS and social care, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “Without substantial extra funding every year, the NHS and social care system will be damaged beyond repair.
    “The UK won’t have thriving health and social care services while the government persists in robbing the necessary resources.
    “NHS and social care staff are struggling heroic
  • Nurse and midwife numbers dragged down by Brexit effect

     
    Commenting on new figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) published today (Wednesday) on the numbers of nurses and midwives either leaving or joining its register to practice in the UK, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “Brexit has made many European nationals feel decidedly unwelcome. And with NHS staffing pressures showing no sign of easing, no-one could blame nurses and midwives for thinking they’ll be better off elsewhere.
    “This European exodus con
  • 2 new mobiles in Angus, Capita/Barnet troubles, Quick Reads endangered

    ChangesAngus – 2 new mobile libraries (£270k investment)
    Sefton – Maghull Library halved in size due to co-location with gym.National news
    Capita to raise £700m as losses deepen – BBC. “Capita has reported a £513m annual loss as the outsourcing firm set out plans to revive its indebted business. Profits were wiped out by £850m of one-off costs, mainly from writing down the value of acquisitions made under its previous management. The company said i
  • Blog: The future of our country depends on it

    Tomorrow UNISON will be in the House of Commons, making the case for proper nursery funding.
    Over the years, UNISON has led the campaign against closures to nurseries, sure start centres and early-years services. Tomorrow that fight continues, with UNISON members in Salford bringing together three of their local MPs to lobby them on nursery cuts and closures.
    UNISON stands by our members in Salford who are fighting to keep services going. We all know that early-years education has come under ext
  • University of Bath agrees to reinstate living wage

    UNISON has welcomed a commitment by the University of Bath to reinstate the living wage – currently £8.75 an hour – from next week, and seek accreditation as a living wage employer with the Living Wage Foundation.
    But the union, which represents some 300 staff at the university, warned that while this is an urgently needed first step towards addressing low pay, more must be done to tackle the well publicised inequality at the university.
    Commenting on the move, UNISON head of h
  • More join our fight against violence at work

    Eighteen organisations have now signed up to UNISON’s campaign to eradicate violence and aggression against staff in the voluntary sector after the union pledged to tackle the problem in the sector.
    Launched in March 2017, the campaign was created after a survey of members in the Community service group had revealed that 48% of workers in the group had experienced a violent or aggressive incident at work in the preceding two years.
    That figure has been confirmed by subsequent surveys.
    Resp
  • “Down to a t”: the new confusing world of public libraries

    Editorial
    Things are getting complicated in libraryland. It used to be that councils ran libraries, kept them running – or not – and that was it. Now, all sorts of different organisations run libraries and we’ve had our first case last week of one non-council library organisation (GLL) coming in to keep open three Lincolnshire libraries that another non-council library organisation (now defunct charity “Learning Communities”) no linger could. It used to be that

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