• Help the campaign to save 500 lives a year

    UNISON is backing a Daily Mirror campaign that could make history – and save up to 500 lives a year – and we’re asking you to help us.
    This Friday, 23 February, Geoffrey Robinson MP will present a private members’ bill in the House of Commons to change England’s laws on organ donation.
    In the last decade, 4,712 people have died while waiting for an organ donor. As you read this, there are 500 people on the transplant list.
    MPs now have an opportunity to slash these
  • Tuition fees review ‘needs to support wider access’

    “Any change in tuition fees needs to support wider access for students that need flexibility in study options,” UNISON head of higher education Donna Rowe-Merriman said today.
    She was speaking after prime minister Theresa May admitted that students in England face “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world”, and announced an “independent review of fees and student finance” to take place over the next year.
    Tuition fees in Englan
  • UNISON and Nursing Times partnership helps support next generation of nurses

    UNISON has teamed up with the Nursing Times to offer student members an exclusive 40% discount on a subscription.*
    Nursing Times has been established as the independent voice of the nursing profession and a resource for both professional nurses and students since its inception in 1905.
    The monthly print magazine, combined with its online companion, has a library of double-blind, peer-reviewed clinical articles, news, opinion and online learning units to help to educate, inform and inspire nurses
  • Time for a windfall tax on the PFI profiteers, says UNISON

    The enormous profits being racked up by Private Finance Initiative (PFI) companies should be subject to a new windfall tax, so much-needed resources can be put back into the UK’s cash-strapped public services, says UNISON today (Monday).
    Such a tax could be introduced if two amendments to the Finance Bill, which have been tabled by Stella Creasy MP, achieve enough support during Wednesday’s House of Commons debate on the draft legislation.
    UNISON believes a new windfall tax could pro
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  • If variety is the spice of libraries …

    Editorial
    It’s interesting to see how widely charges and fines vary between library services. Last week, we saw that fines range from nothing to 50p per day per item. This time, there’s a news story about Cambridgeshire libraries introducing charges for computer use and author events. Such things are standard practice in many library services but apparently novel there. “Premier membership” is an idea that has been tried before, with uncertain success as far as I can tell
  • You can help inform future social housing policy

    It’s a crucial time in the social housing sector in England, with key policy developments and events including the Grenfell Tower tragedy all affecting the sector.
    As part of the debate on the future of social housing, the Chartered Institute of Housing has launched a research project on Rethinking Social Housing.
    This aims to examine some fundamental questions about the role, values and purpose of social housing in order to help shape its future.
    The institute wants as many people who wor
  • Blog: A strong record of organising in the housing sector

    Earlier this week, UNISON signed a recognition agreement with Optivo – one of the largest Housing Associations in the UK with affordable homes in London, the South East and the Midlands. I was pleased to sign the agreement in person alongside their Chief Executive Paul Hackett, and talk with him and his team about the challenges they face in the years ahead.UNISON has a strong record of organising in the housing sector, and we’ve had a recognition agreement with Amicus Horizon Group
  • UNISON to negotiate pay and conditions for staff at one of the UK’s largest housing associations

    UNISON to negotiate pay and conditions for staff at one of the UK’s largest housing associations
    UNISON has signed a recognition agreement with one of the UK’s largest housing associations, Optivo Housing, allowing the union to negotiate pay and working conditions on behalf of staff there.
    The agreement – signed by UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis and Optivo chief executive officer Paul Hackett – allows the union to both recruit new members and negotiate on behalf of
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  • Government pay policies are pushing children into poverty, says TUC

    Commenting on new analysis from the TUC published today (Thursday), suggesting that more than half a million children from public sector families will be living in poverty by April, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:
    “Poor pay has left many public sector families desperately watching the pennies.
    “A career helping and caring for others was never going to make millionaires of NHS, school and council staff, but none of them would have expected to be so
  • UNISON members show some BIG love

    It’s Valentine’s Day, the day we all demonstrate and declare our love.
    And this year, it comes right in the middle of Heart Unions week, an annual celebration of trade unions and all they stand for.
    UNISON has been adding it’s own distinctive flavour to events today by also showing and sharing our love for public services, for the public service champions who provide them, and for fair pay!
    Scotland saw Valentine’s Day protests against councils’ plans to cut service
  • Patient transport members vote on industrial action over two-tier workforce

    UNISON members who transport patients in greater Manchester are being balloted for potential strike action over pay differences which see some of them paid up to £2.40 an hour less, get fewer breaks and receive less sick pay.
    Around 100 staff at Greater Manchester Patient Transport Services were hired when the service was outsourced to Arriva between 2013 and 2016, and employed on the inferior terms and conditions.
    This means that a third of the services staff are paid less than colleagues
  • Love Libraries, Love Reading

    Editorial
    It’s Valentines Day time and love is in the air. Included below is a short interview with Shirley Everall who was given the award a while ago for promoting Romances. It’s a section that gets some attention this time of year but remember, Romance is a section for all the year around, not just for Valentines.
    I’d give to signal some love too to the libraries of the increasingly inappropriately named Reading Council, who are facing further cuts this year on top to previo
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  • HE members to be consulted to over proposed pension changes

    UNISON has launched a consultation with higher education members after their employer proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme that could see staff thousands of pounds worse off.
    Universities UK has proposed ending any defined benefit from being earned in the future and moving to a completely defined-contribution scheme.
    UNISON’s higher education service group executive has concluded that members who are also members of the pension scheme are to be co
  • HE members to be consulted over proposed pension changes

    UNISON has launched a consultation with higher education members after their employer proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme that could see staff thousands of pounds worse off.
    Universities UK has proposed ending any defined benefit from being earned in the future and moving to a completely defined-contribution scheme.
    UNISON’s higher education service group executive has concluded that members who are also members of the pension scheme are to be co
  • Moray activists fight possible Valentine’s massacre

    UNISON activists in Moray, Scotland, are campaigning to avoid a Valentine’s Day massacre as the council considers making cuts to local services.
    With the council set to meet on Wednesday, activists took to the streets at the weekend with a Valentine’s card, helping raise awareness of the threats and asking local people to give their support by signing the giant card.
    Branch secretary Suzanne Wright said: “The council do not have any coherent plan of how the cuts they are propos
  • University of South Wales cleaners win tribunal case

    Cleaners at the University of South Wales have won thousands of pounds in compensation after a private company unlawfully deducted money from their wages over 11 months.
    The nine women (pictured), supported by UNISON, are employed by KGB Cleaning to clean the university’s ATRiuM in Cardiff.
    Having worked at the Caerleon site up until its closure in July 2016, they were transferred to another site under an agreement that their travel time from Caerleon would be paid. However, KGB Clean
  • Blog: It’s ❤ unions week and we have so much to be proud of

    This week is  unions week – and as part of that,  UNISON week –when we celebrate everything that is great about trade unions.
    It’s a time to take stock of everything that has happened over the past year, everything our union and our members have achieved. And we have so much to be proud of.
    Of course, there was the Supreme Court victory over employment tribunal fees – a massive win not just for UNISON members but for every single working person in
  • Unsettling: a new Chief Exec for the Libraries Taskforce

    Editorial
    Kathy Settle has left the Taskforce. In the process, I believe, meaning the team is cut down to just four to cope with what ‘s needed, including a new libraries minister. During her time, the Taskforce has done a ton of meetings, seminars and tried – without any formal powers – to pull together an idea of what is needed for libraries and to try to start getting it done. And quite a lot needs to. Some of those things – notably around trusts and volunteer lib
  • Glasgow women to march in their fight for equal pay

    Hundreds of women will march on George Square in Glasgow tomorrow as they continue their fight for equal pay.
    And as the UK marks the centenary of the first limited suffrage for women, the link to today’s struggle will be highlighted when the march is led by 30 women dressed as suffragettes.
    The women are part of UNISON’s equal pay campaign. Having won their legal case they are now demanding a fair and transparent pay and grading scheme and full compensation for the pay they have bee
  • Are you receiving universal credit? Have your say

    New national minimum wage rates come into force in April, taking the hourly rate to £7.83, a rise of  £1.33 from the £6.50 an hour it was in October 2016.
    However, people receiving universal credit will see much of that rise end up back in the hands of the Treasury rather than in their pockets.
    To show how much of the money that ministers claim is helping workers on low pay is actually ending up back in the hands of the government, UNISON is looking for people who are on t
  • Safety reps honoured for ‘going beyond the call of duty’

    UNISON health and safety reps “go beyond the call of duty,” general secretary Dave Prentis declared last night at the union’s Safety Rep of the Year awards.
    The awards ceremony at UNISON Centre in London brought together health and safety reps from across the country.
    The event also celebrated the positive difference 40 years of safety reps have made to ordinary people’s working lives.
    “Our safety reps go beyond the call of duty to keep themselves, fellow members an
  • UNISON calls for a new set of principles for public service contracts

    With the collapse of Carillion and profit warnings from Capita, the government needs to urgently establish a new code of conduct for the delivery of public services by private companies, says UNISON today (Thursday).
    UNISON’s preferred option is to bring services back in-house. But where the private sector is running public contracts, UNISON wants firms to abide by a set of principles to ensure the driving force is the public, not the private, interest.
    UNISON general secretary Dave Prenti
  • Damning NAO report “exposes government’s lamentable approach to social care”

    Responding to the National Audit Office (NAO) report on the social care workforce published today (Thursday), UNISON’s assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:
    “This damning report exposes the government’s lamentable approach to social care, which is letting down elderly and disabled people, as well as the dedicated staff looking after them.
    “Years of underfunding mean local councils can no longer put enough money into care to meet the needs of an agei
  • It’s not all fine: Trafford remove all late fees from 1st April

    Editorial
    Trafford has shocked the UK public library world by announcing that they will be removing all library fines from 1st April. The reasons put forward for that by councillors is that fines are off-putting for customers, no fines will increase usage (and indeed will increase returns as people know they won’t get fined if they’re late) and that there should not be any barriers to accessing libraries. Children were especially mentioned as benefitting from no fines and T
  • Cambridge University is leading the way on pay, says UNISON

     
    Responding to the announcement today (Wednesday) that the University of Cambridge is to seek formal accreditation as a real living wage employer,
    UNISON’s head of higher education Donna Rowe-Merriman said: “Cambridge University’s commitment to give its lowest paid staff a fair wage is a move that urgently needs to be replicated in other universities across the UK. There is no place for low pay in higher education.
    “Almost 12,000 staff working in universit
  • UNISON welcomes Cambridge living wage move

    UNISON has welcomed Cambridge University’s decision to become an accredited living wage employer with the Living Wage Foundation – a move that “needs to be replicated across all UK universities,” says the union’s head of higher education Donna Rowe-Merriman.
    The living wage is calculated annually on the basis of the basic cost of living by the Living Wage Foundation. It is updated each November.
    It is currently £8.75 an hour except in London, where the much hi
  • ‘It’s time to make UNISON’s voices heard’

    It’s time to make UNISON voices heard with a massive show of strength on the streets of London, general secretary Dave Prentis told the union’s national executive council meeting in London today.
    He urged a massive mobilisation of UNISON members for the TUC national demonstration planned for 12 May.
    “This is our chance to show this government that austerity must end; the pay freeze for public service workers must end and we need to see the fairer society we all believe in,&rdqu
  • Rushed visits are devastating for the caring and the cared for, says UNISON

     
    Commenting on research published today (Thursday) by disability charity Leonard Cheshire, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:
    “Rushed visits cause much distress to elderly and disabled people, and unnecessary stress to the care workers trying to look after them.
    “Government imposed cuts have left cash-strapped councils often forced to commission care at bargain basement rates. As a result, employers are cramming care workers’ rotas with so many visi
  • Harrogate NHS members reject plans to transfer them to private company

    UNISON members in Harrogate have rejected the local NHS trust’s plans to transfer them to a private company – which would still be owned by the trust.
    The Harrogate District foundation trust announced plans to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to manage its estates and facilities in November last year, and transfer more than 300 NHS staff to it.
    UNISON held a consultative ballot over the plans, which saw a 97% rejection on an 89% turn-out, with members saying they would vote for indus
  • Schools forced to cut teachers’ and teaching assistants’ posts to make ends meet

    Real-terms cuts to school funding since 2015 have led to a big reduction in the number of secondary teachers, teaching assistants and support staff in England, says research published today (Wednesday) by the School Cuts alliance of education unions.
    Schools have been doing all they can to shield their pupils from the damage caused by £2.8 billion being cut from school budgets since 2015, but the lack of investment is really biting. These cuts are now undeniably affecting front-line teachi
  • A return to justice: thanks to UNISON

    Last year UNISON won a court case against the government over employment tribunal fees.
    These fees were brought in on 29 July 2013 and they meant that overnight anyone who had a problem at work – who felt they had been unfairly dismissed, for example, or faced discrimination at work – who wanted access to justice, suddenly had to pay a hefty fee to access it. Their claim form would not even be looked at unless it included a cheque or was submitted online with a card payment.The fees
  • We liberate the mind, we liberate the land

    Alaa Shehada, Mark Thomas and Faisal Abu Alhayjaa. All images © Lesley Martin 2017.
    In 2010 Mark Thomas, Britain’s best-known political comedian, was walking the length of Israel’s controversial separation wall, the illegal barrier that cuts an oppressive swathe through the West Bank, when he decided to take a detour to the Jenin Refugee Camp. He’d been told of an unlikely theatre – in the heart of the camp – and couldn’t resist checking it out.
    “It
  • The government’s good work plan is no good, it won’t work and it isn’t a plan, says UNISON

    Commenting on the government’s response to the Taylor Review published today (Wednesday) UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government’s good work plan looks set to fall at the first hurdle. It’s no good, it won’t work and it isn’t a plan.
    “Britain’s worst employers need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but sadly this response won’t do that.
    “If ministers spent more time trying to make l
  • Bring on the authors

    Editorial
    It’s a strange thing about Arts Council England. I’ve seen pretty much everyone else nationally and locally being criticised over the years for their stance on public libraries but almost nothing about ACE. The reason I suspect is they’re a bit out of context and also a bit like, well, Father Christmas, albeit one with an interest in culture rather than presents and carefully written bids rather than who’s been naughty and nice. They’re also
  • Local government pay consultation

    Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who are covered by pay negotiations at the national joint council are being consulted on the employers’ two-year pay offer.
    The consultation is being conducted via branches, who will then report the results to their regional offices.
    Consultation started on 29 January and ends on 9 March. UNISON’s NJC committee of lay activists will meet on 16 March to discuss the results and next steps on 16 March.
    There is a range of m
  • Blog: 100 years on, the fight continues for equality and equal representation

    Today is a momentous day. One hundred years ago, the Represention of the People Act was passed, meaning that for the first time women could vote alongside men and determine who runs our country.
    As a union with more than a million women members, this is obviously an anniversary that means a great deal to UNISON. The point at which women were able to express their views at the ballot box was the point at which they could begin to take charge of their own destiny. That principle is right at the he
  • Coming soon: New application forms

    Look out for changes to the UNISON application forms. Changes to data protection regulations and changes to the political funds mean the forms have to change from 1 March.
    Orders for the current forms will be restricted to small numbers of the standard forms from early February and new forms will be available to order from the online catalogue ahead of the changeover on 1 March.
    A starter supply of the new forms will be sent to all regional offices later in February and will be available on the
  • Need advice with your mortgage?

    It’s a new year and we have a new UNISON Living partner to announce –  a big one.
    For most people, a mortgage is their biggest financial commitment, so it pays to get it right.That’s why we have appointed Lighthouse Mortgage & Protection Solutions.It’s their job to work out which of the many types of mortgages is suitable for you and then guide you through the whole process.
    They are offering all UNISON members a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.An advis
  • Stress: helping branches help our members

    Members rightly look to UNISON for care and support when they experience harm from stress, but we also need to offer realistic expectations of the process for those who want to bring a claim for personal injury.
    The union introduced a stress claims checklist in 2017 for branches to run through with members, making sure that key criteria are fulfilled so claims with a real chance of success are put forward for Thompsons Solicitors to assess.
    This has helped us to focus our resources better, manag
  • Wigan hospital workers vote for strike ballot

    UNISON members working at three hospitals in Lancashire are on course for industrial action over plans to outsource their jobs to a new company, set-up and owned by the NHS trust, in May.
    Members at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS foundation trust voted to reject the plans and ask the union for a strike ballot by 93% in a 79% turn-out.
    Nearly 900 NHS staff who work in estates and facilities across the trust’s three hospitals are threatened by the plan to outsource them to the wholly
  • It’s the classic win-win

    The new UNISON Lottery has arrived. Relaunched on 1 February, all members can enter the monthly draw for as little as £1 a month and be in with the chance of winning prizes up to £1,000.
    It’s also a powerful way to support There for You, the charity for UNISON members.
    Every year, more than 3,000 members and their families come to There for You for help – often in desperation, with difficulties in their personal lives.
    Members can benefit from a range of services, includi
  • Conference votes to oppose the tax credits rape clause

    UNISON’s women’s conference voted against the UK government’s decision to limit child tax credit to the first two children, and the so called ‘rape clause’ which means women who have been raped can apply for exemption by “labelling their child a child of rape”.
    UNISON president Margaret McKee spoke passionately on the topic, saying: “This must be one of the uk government’s cruellest ever policies.”
    Conference heard at the weekend that m
  • Demonstrators tell government to properly fund the NHS

    Over 60,000 people braved freezing temperatures and rain to march in London on Saturday, calling for the NHS to be properly funded.
    UNISON members joined other health workers, patients and activists to demand an end to the crisis in the NHS and call on Conservative health secretary Jeremy Hunt to properly fund hospital beds and medical staff.
    General secretary Dave Prentis said that “members know that our National Health Service – our nation’s greatest institution –
  • The paradox of outsourcing: gilded ghouls versus cold-eyed austerity

    Editorial
    Still more fall-out from the collapse of Carillion. Both Harrow and Ealing have confirmed that, at least for the moment, their library services will be in-house rather than simply farmed out once more. Moreover, there are suspicions that Carillion was not the only private company to be worried about out there. Capita too, which although it does not directly run libraries does provide various support systems up and down the country to them, has also come under the spotlight with big dro
  • UNISON women vote to fight for refuges

    Refuge services for survivors of domestic violence have been decimated by the public-sector funding cuts, UNISON’s women’s conference heard.
    Data provided by 131 refuges in 2016 demonstrated that, on one day, 78 women along with their children were turned away from refuges because they could not be accommodated.
    A member who works for a Women’s Aid organisation said: “I have seen first hand the impact of the cuts. We have had to cut our beds from 15 to 10.
    “Last yea
  • Suffragette descendant addresses UNISON women

    The great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst spoke of the ‘feminist moment’ we are having today, when she spioke at UNISON’s biggest ever women’s conference.
    Dr Helen Pankhurst told the conference in Liverpool: “2018 seems potentially as symbolically important as 1918… If we can change social norms and change legislation when it’s needed, that is when the magic happens.”
    Dr Pankhurst has just written a book e
  • Blog: Our union is a Women’s union

    It was an honour and a privilege to address UNISON women’s Conference once again today. This event is one of the most important yearly events for our union – the biggest conference by women for women in the UK. UNISON is a union with more than a million women members. Women make up 80% of our membership.
    Our union is a women’s union – with women writing our policies, running our campaigns and providing leadership at every level of our union.I’m so proud of the Union
  • The unique health challenges women face

    The changing pension age and unique health challenges faced by women mean employers need to take positive steps to recognise the impact these factors have on women at work, UNISON women’s conference agreed in Liverpool today.
    As most public sector workers are female, this is a vital issue for public services, delegates heard.
    Carol Garfield from the West Midlands told conference that she works as a teaching assistant and she struggles to see how her role can be accommodated as she ages.
    &l
  • Potential Carillion conflict of interest requires proper investigation, says UNISON

    The work and pensions select committee investigating the collapse of Carillion must leave no stone unturned when it questions the asset management firms who held shares in the outsourcing firm, says UNISON.
    Earlier this week UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis wrote to the select committee chair Frank Field MP urging him to look closely at the role of companies like BlackRock and Henderson Global Investors, which bet on Carillion’s share price falling in the days before the firm’s
  • Blog: A day of action for our NHS

    UNISON members know that our National Health Service – our nation’s greatest institution – is in crisis. Thanks to years of underfunding from the Tories means that our health service isn’t just under pressure during the winter, it’s under pressure every day of the year.
    NHS workers are being asked to do more with less, at work and in their pay packets, but without additional funding our health service is struggling to cope.
    That’s why UNISON is backing tomorro

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