• UNISON opposes drastic cuts to UK aid budget

    UNISON opposes drastic cuts to UK aid budget
    UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea has written to Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs to express ‘deep concern’ at the government’s proposals to drastically cut the UK aid budget for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as well as the contribution to the United Nations Population Fund for work on sexual and reproductive health.
    Recent reports state that lifesaving support for WASH will be reduced by 80 percent, which will ha
  • British and Irish trade unions condemn Colombian state violence

    British and Irish trade unions condemn Colombian state violence
    UNISON has joined a number of British and Irish trade unions in condemning the latest human rights abuses, including the killing of protestors, by state forces in Colombia.
    General secretary Christina McAnea and TUC president Frances O’Grady are among those who have written to the foreign offices in London and Dublin with their “profound condemnation” of the violence in the South American country.
    Their open letter notes that since the latest round of trade union-led national s
  • UNISON celebrates Domestic Abuse Bill passing into law

    UNISON celebrates Domestic Abuse Bill passing into law
    UNISON is celebrating after playing a major role in ensuring that new legal protections for those suffering domestic have now become law.
    The Domestic Abuse Bill was given royal assent and became law on on 29 April, after years of campaigning from survivors, charities and unions, including UNISON.
    The act will provide  increased protection to the millions who experience domestic abuse, while also strengthening measures to tackle the abusers.
    In the UK, almost one in three women will e
  • Update on UNISON’s legal assistance

    Update on UNISON’s legal assistance
    UNISON is pleased to announce that access to the union’s legal assistance has reverted to the UNISONdirect service.
    At the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, the union adapted its processes and a new dedicated legal helpline was set up.
    This number is now no longer needed and access to UNISON’s legal help can be obtained through UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.  
    Please note this does not relate to employment law matters. As always, issues related to members’ work a
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  • UNISON demands human rights law for supply chains

    UNISON demands human rights law for supply chains
    UNISON is stepping up its campaign for a new UK law that would hold companies to account when they fail to prevent human rights abuses and environmental damage in their business.
    The ‘failure to prevent’ law would mandate both companies and the public sector to undertake human rights due diligence (HRDD) across their supply chains.
    This would include identifying and assessing risks, putting in place measures to prevent or mitigate them – including remedy for victims – and
  • UNISON demands human rights due diligence law for supply chains

    UNISON demands human rights due diligence law for supply chains
    UNISON is stepping up its campaign for a new UK law that would hold companies to account when they fail to prevent human rights abuses and environmental damage in their business.
    The ‘failure to prevent’ law would mandate both companies and the public sector to undertake human rights due diligence (HRDD) across their supply chains.
    If a company fails to act and abuses go unchecked, it could be held liable in court. This would increase protection for workers, communities, human rights
  • Public want government to keep promises and give the NHS what it needs, poll shows  

    Public want government to keep promises and give the NHS what it needs, poll shows  
    Two-thirds of the public believe the government should try harder to find the money for a decent pay rise for NHS staff in England, according to a Savanta ComRes poll published today (Tuesday).
    The research for the UK’s 14 health unions shows public support remains strong for a proper wage rise for health staff including nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and hospital porters.
    The heads of UNISON, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Royal College of Midwives (RCM), speaking o
  • Nursery schools forced to make further cuts as government leaves them in the dark over key funding decisions

    Nursery schools forced to make further cuts as government leaves them in the dark over key funding decisions
    A new survey carried out by Early Education, NAHT, NEU and UNISON has revealed over a third (34%) of maintained nursery schools are cutting staffing and services to balance their books as a result of lost income and additional Covid costs, coupled with a lack of certainty over the funding they will receive for the next school year.
    Maintained nursery school leaders reported losing an average of over £70,000 of income, as well as having to spend an extra £8,000 for additional Covid-re
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  • Glasgow, local politics, and a book exchange.

    Glasgow, local politics, and a book exchange.
    EditorialGlasgow continues to dominate this blog’s local authority news, with a truly impressive amount of text from multiple sources about the leisure trust’s decision not to reopen a few of its branches. It is being used to attack not just local politicians but also Nicola Sturgeon herself, who until now has been a bit of a shining beacon of public library support. As mentioned last week, the coverage is notably more intense than a similar story would have been south of the border,
  • Government must deliver after years of broken pledges to reform social care, says UNISON    

    Government must deliver after years of broken pledges to reform social care, says UNISON    
    Commenting on a speech by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock today (Friday) to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services spring conference on social care reform, UNISON senior national officer for social care Gavin Edwards said:
    “There’s been no shortage of promises on social care in recent years, but the government has never delivered. Everyone depending on or delivering social care is tired of empty words and broken pledges.   
    “The
  • Blog: Be part of the solution

    Blog: Be part of the solution
    UNISON’s national executive council (NEC) is arguably the most important group of people at the union. They decide what kind of union UNISON is – nothing short of that.
    The NEC is made up of ordinary members – just like you. It makes key decisions on your behalf and, every two years, the whole membership votes and decides which fellow members will represent them.
    The next NEC election opens on 4 May. It’s a really important one and that’s why, as general secretary,
  • Families and the public need answers that only a public inquiry can give

    Families and the public need answers that only a public inquiry can give
    Commenting on the TUC’s call for the PM to put in place a timetable for a Covid-19 public inquiry, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said on International Workers’ Memorial Day today (Wednesday):
    “We must never forget all those workers who’ve died in the pandemic. They’ve selflessly put the needs of others ahead of their own. Day in, day out, they’ve carried on working, helping and caring for our loved ones.
    “It’s beyond tragic so many
  • Blog: Voting for fair pay on 6 May

    Blog: Voting for fair pay on 6 May
    Actions speak louder than words – and the actions of this government show us who and what they really care about.
    In recent weeks we have seen a constant stream of news stories about how the rich and powerful get special access to ministers, lucrative contracts and the offer of favourable tax arrangements.
    At the same time, they continue to impose a cruel pay policy upon those who work in the NHS, social care, schools and local government.
    They feather the nests of their friends whilst tak
  • UK government must share vaccine intellectual property rights to prevent thousands of deaths

    UK government must share vaccine intellectual property rights to prevent thousands of deaths
    The British government must waive intellectual property (IP) rights for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to save thousands of lives and prevent unnecessary suffering, says UNISON today (Monday).
    Currently, under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS), pharmaceutical companies that create a coronavirus vaccine hold the exclusive rights to produce them. This means they can dominate the markets, setting prices without any competition.
    UNISON is calling on the British governm
  • UNISON campaign urges public to use votes to show support for public service staff

    UNISON campaign urges public to use votes to show support for public service staff
    Voters are being reminded that thousands of public sector staff face a government pay freeze in a campaign launched today (Monday) by UNISON ahead of the local elections next week.
    Care home staff, hospital porters and teaching assistants are among key workers featured in a series of hard-hitting films that show them carrying out vital jobs during the pandemic when many people were safe at home.
    Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle has recorded the voiceovers for the black and white videos that u
  • Glasgow shows key differences, Cipfa fractionally improves

    Glasgow shows key differences, Cipfa fractionally improves
    EditorialThe campaign against the cuts to Glasgow libraries are notable for a few reasons. First thing to note that, by English standards, they’re not actually all that bad – just a few closed, moved or made volunteer. That sort of thing would raise a few placards south of the border but not the big coverage that it is getting in Scotland’s second city. Cuts to public services are taken more seriously up there evidently, even though the Conservative protests about them should b
  • Blog: Friends with benefits

    Blog: Friends with benefits
    The Greensill scandal has once again brought the murky world of lobbying back to the attention of the wider public. As more evidence comes to light of the cosy relationship between the Conservative Party, lobbyists and the private sector, it’s more important than ever that those of us who care about public services – and decency in public life – speak out.
    Whether it’s David Cameron casually texting Cabinet ministers to do favours for his pals or Boris Johnson bending ove
  • Urgent action needed to address chronic undersupply of NHS staff

    Urgent action needed to address chronic undersupply of NHS staff
    The NHS urgently needs billions of pounds of extra investment to shore up staff numbers, and head off a haemorrhaging of doctors, nurses and other frontline health workers.
    The NHS Confederation, NHS Providers, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges and Unison have penned a joint letter to the Prime Minister warning of the ‘very real risk’ that if NHS staff leave a vicious circle will be created where ‘staff vacancie
  • Our champions of champions

    Our champions of champions
    Council workers including refuse workers, care assistants, trading standards officers, environmental health inspectors, youth workers, librarians, cleaners, administrators – and so many more – were nominated in the first Local Service Champions awards from UNISON before COVID-19 hit.
    Hundreds of people who provide outstanding care and service to their communities were nominated – and now we can share the stories of the inspiring winner and runners up, Jenny, Carol and Mark.
    Win
  • UNISON responds to George Floyd’s murder case

    UNISON responds to George Floyd’s murder case
    Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis police officer, has been found guilty of murdering George Floyd in May 2020.
    After a landmark 15-day trial involving 44 witnesses, Chauvin is believed to be the second Minneapolis police officer to be convicted of murder, and the first white officer.
    UNISON national secretary for equalities Gloria Mills commented: “This verdict is about holding Derek Chauvin to account for his actions, his abuse of authority, his cruel and inhumane murder of Geor
  • Proposed job cuts at Cadent Gas are irresponsible and unnecessary

    Proposed job cuts at Cadent Gas are irresponsible and unnecessary
    Plans to cut up to 450 jobs at Cadent Gas are totally unnecessary and must be urgently reconsidered, says UNISON today (Tuesday).
    As part of a consultation that has begun this week, the company announced that roles in the customer services, technical, scheduling and dispatch, repair planning and supervisory teams will go, despite past assurances by the company.
    Cadent had previously flagged a potential restructure of management posts, acknowledging that the business had
  • Election time – make sure you’re ready to vote for your NEC

    Election time – make sure you’re ready to vote for your NEC
    “It only takes a few minutes, so please vote.” That’s the message today from UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea, as the union approaches the start of balloting for this year’s elections to the national executive council (NEC).
    The NEC is elected by the members to speak on their behalf – and sits at the heart of the decisions made on their behalf.
    Despite the pandemic, the union is determined that its democratic life will continue.
    Members elect candidates to
  • Government must act over minimum wage laws affecting care workers, say UNISON and Mencap 

    Government must act over minimum wage laws affecting care workers, say UNISON and Mencap 
    UNISON and Mencap have written jointly to the Prime Minister today (T​uesday) calling for immediate reform of minimum wage laws affecting thousands of care workers.   The letter to Boris Johnson says “action is needed urgently” to amend current rules so sleep-in shifts – where staff have to stay overnight away from home – are defined as working time and paid properly.
    Last month, the Supreme Court ruled* the hours employees are asleep don’t have
  • The normal patchwork response

    The normal patchwork response
    EditorialLibraries have reopened in England in the patchwork nature that one has come to expect from our wonderfully diverse network, with some still offering only click and collect, some bookable browsing for varying periods and some with no restrictions on browsing at all. The reports I have heard are of the expected pile of returned books and busy-ness on the first day followed by a calming-down reasonably quickly. Books are still being quarantined and the social distancing measures so famili
  • Pensions update for ODP’s

    Pensions update for ODP’s
    UNISON’s Pensions Unit for Members has been assisting some of our ODP members with Special Class Status (SCS) claims (i.e. the ability to retire from the 1995 Section at 55 with an unreduced pension) and the first of these considered by The Pensions Ombudsman has been upheld! Of greater significance is that the Ombudsman’s formal Opinion determined that NHS Pensions have not been applying their scheme regulations correctly and that NHS Pensions insistence on the need to have a nursin
  • Government must do more to persuade care staff to have the jab

    Government must do more to persuade care staff to have the jab
    Reacting to NHS data showing that care home staff vaccination rates in the majority of English local authorities are below the level recommended by SAGE scientists, UNISON senior national social care officer Gavin Edwards said:
    “Ministers know the areas where vaccination rates are low, but for some reason they aren’t taking the targeted action needed to increase ​the numbers.“Faced with the same challenge, governments around the world rolled up their s
  • Staying safe during Ramadan

    Staying safe during Ramadan
    This week saw the start of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, when Muslims fast from food and drink daily, from dawn to sunset. A time of prayer and reflection, it’s also a time to come together with family, community and friends to celebrate the end of fasts with big shared meals.
    However, in this second Ramadan in lockdown, many of the more social aspects of the month are harder to undertake safely.
    Many Muslims will still be breaking their fast alone in the evening, while health workers e
  • Persuasion not coercion must be the key to drive vaccine take-up, says UNISON

    Persuasion not coercion must be the key to drive vaccine take-up, says UNISON
    Responding to the announcement today (Wednesday) of a government consultation on whether mandatory vaccinations should be introduced for care workers, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:
    “Boosting the number of vaccinations in the social care sector is essential for everyone’s safety. But mandatory jabs are the wrong approach and a massive distraction.
    “Targeting adverts at care staff, lining up already-jabbed colleagues to offer reassurance, tackling
  • UNISON to help lead union response to the racism report

    UNISON to help lead union response to the racism report
    UNISON is working with the TUC to lead the trade union response to the discredited report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.
    The commission, which was chaired by Tony Sewell and set up by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, claims that the UK is no longer an institutionally racist country.
    It said that issues around race and racism are “becoming less important” and, in some cases, are not a significant factor behind explain
  • Turning young people onto politics

    Turning young people onto politics
    Almost one-third of eligible young people aged 18 to 24 in the UK are not registered to vote. This means that young people are often left out or overlooked when it comes to political decision making.
    UNISON member Mete Coban wants to change that by turning young people into an essential part of our democracy.
    Mete set up the charity My Life My Say to get young people more involved in politics – and with a variety of elections happening across the UK on 6 May, it’s more important than
  • Blog: The government can still address racism properly

    Blog: The government can still address racism properly
    Many members of UNISON, in common with Black workers throughout the country, are only too well aware of the everyday realities of racism within their workplaces and across the rest of society.
    No amount of official reports can deny that lived experience. Neither are these reports required to confirm it.
    The recent report commissioned by the Westminster government from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, also known as the Sewell report, can’t hide or deny the scale of the racism
  • Join UNISON for a series of green events

    Join UNISON for a series of green events
    UNISON has recently committed to raising awareness of the union’s climate emergency work, the green transformation of public services and support of the union’s green activists and environmental reps in the workplace.
    Some regions have green networks and are already doing great work, and a series of three webinar events is a chance for them to feel part of UNISON’s green efforts.
    The union is committed to publishing a report on how UK public services and workplaces can meet net
  • UNISON research reveals scale of council deficits

    UNISON research reveals scale of council deficits
    New UNISON research reveals the scale of the impact that COVID-19 has had on council finances across England and Wales.
    Huge increases in spending needed required to fight the pandemic, coupled with a massive hit to council income streams, meant that, in December 2020, top-tier councils predicted funding gaps totalling over £1bn by the end of the financial year (March 2021).
    District and borough councils are often overlooked even more than their top-tier equivalents, but they provide a ra
  • Supporting branches – online events coming soon

    Supporting branches – online events coming soon
    As part of UNISON’s review into how the union supports its branches and how they, in turn, can best support members, a series of special online events is taking place, starting on Wednesday 27 April.
    The two-year branch resources review period has seen a lot of meetings and feedback, with over 1,700 activists consulted on the best way to make the union’s branch structure fairer and sustainable for the future.
    President Josie Bird said: “It’s been a comprehensive and detai
  • Calling all outsourced members in the NHS

    Calling all outsourced members in the NHS
    UNISON is seeking feedback from members who work for private contractors in healthcare, as the union works to improve pay and terms and conditions for all NHS contracted staff.
    The short survey is part of UNISON’s One Team Us2 pay campaign, which is calling for contracted staff to be paid the same rates and benefits as their colleagues who are directly employed by the NHS.
    It covers such areas as salary, personal finances and cost of living.
    So whether you are a cleaner, porter, housekeepe
  • “Normality” in 2021?

    “Normality” in 2021?
    EditorialPublic libraries in England can open for browsing this week after more than three months of being closed. It is possible, what the vaccinations, that this will be last lockdown. Let us earnestly hope that it is and let us also wish the best for those thousands of library workers back in the front line tomorrow. Here’s to the thought that libraries, that will still tomorrow be quarantining items and have social distancing in place, will be able safely at some point this year be abl
  • UNISON wins U-turn over hospital parking charges

    UNISON wins U-turn over hospital parking charges
    Thousands of NHS hospital staff in the West Midlands will receive refunds for car parking charges while at work, after a successful campaign by UNISON.
    The U-turn by University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust follows a challenge by the union on behalf of its 6,000 members working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and other sites run by the trust.
    The union says that some could receive as much as £800, backdated to last summer when UHB scrapped a commitment to offer free parking d
  • Free visas extensions should apply to all overseas health and care workers, says UNISON

    Free visas extensions should apply to all overseas health and care workers, says UNISON
    Commenting on the government announcement that free visa extensions are to be given to many health workers, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said today (Friday):
    “Thousands of NHS workers will be relieved they don’t face hefty bills to continue providing vital services across the UK.
    “Many have faced huge stresses and pushed themselves to the limit to treat and look after us all. It’s only right the government looks after them and makes their lives a little
  • Free visas extensions should apply to all overseas health and care workers, says UNISO

    Free visas extensions should apply to all overseas health and care workers, says UNISO
    Commenting on the government announcement that free visa extensions are to be given to many health workers, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said today (Friday):
    “Thousands of NHS workers will be relieved they don’t face hefty bills to continue providing vital services across the UK.
    “Many have faced huge stresses and pushed themselves to the limit to treat and look after us all. It’s only right the government looks after them and makes their lives a little
  • UNISON to step up campaigns on pay and social care reform

    UNISON to step up campaigns on pay and social care reform
    UNISON’s number one priority remains the support of members who have been delivering public services for over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, general secretary Christina McAnea told the union’s national executive council (NEC) at an online meeting today (Wednesday).
    But the union is also focussed on what will happen in the post-COVID recovery, particularly in terms of members’ pay, and it will work to ensure public services and the interests of the union’s members are
  • Decision to keep face coverings is the right move, says UNISON

    Commenting on the government’s decision today (Tuesday) to extend the use of face coverings in secondary schools, UNISON head of education Jon Richards said:
    “It’s the right decision to continue. Ministers have sensibly listened to school staff – the people who know what it’s really like to be around classrooms and corridors during the pandemic.
    “Wearing face coverings isn’t ideal, but they’re a valuable safety measure and will be needed for a whil
  • Branching out – UNISON’s branches look to the future

    UNISON’s branches are vital in supporting our members. Together with our regions and the national union, branches work tirelessly to improve the working conditions for members, wherever they are, whatever their role. 
    But what branches do is expanding. Not only do they recruit members and represent them, but after 10 years of austerity there has been a reduction of employers in national bargaining arrangements and a significant fragmentation of the workforce. UNISON needs every branch
  • The Double Library: things should stay changed, only more so

    The Double Library: things should stay changed, only more so
    EditorialOnce upon a time, libraries were entirely physical entities. Everything the library could offer was inside a physical building, nothing outside it, and if one could not get to it within specific times, it could not help you. Then digital came along and some services such as reference and books were available online, but not events. Then Covid came along and the physical was gone but the digital was beefed up, with events too. That’s where we are as of today.Looking into the post-l
  • Us2 launched as next stage of One Team campaign

    UNISON has today launched its One Team – Us2 campaign, for contractor staff to be paid the same rates and benefits as their colleagues who are directly employed by the NHS.
    The union has written to NHS private contractors calling for all members working on NHS contracts to be paid Agenda for Change rates.
    The previous three-year Agenda for Change pay deal came to an end on 31 March and the union is campaigning for a £2,000 pay rise that is now overdue for all NHS staff.
    UNISON member
  • University unions and employers meet on pay

    The national negotiating committee for higher education staff (New JNCHES) met yesterday for the first time this year, to negotiate on higher education pay for 2021/22.
    The trade unions presented their joint claim and pressed the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA) for progress to be made on all elements.
    The New JNCHES committee is composed of the five higher education trade unions – UNISON, UCU, Unite, GMB and EIS – along with UCEA, which represents u
  • Public service workers aren’t fooled by this April’s pay rise

    The government has today increased its national living wage to £8.91 an hour – an increase that UNISON welcomes, but says is a far cry from what workers need to earn in order to get by and have a decent living standard.
    According to the Living Wage Foundation, five years on from its introduction, national living wage earners have fallen a total of £10 billion short of what they would have earned if they had been paid the real living wage.
    This includes millions o
  • Blog: Fair pay for low-paid workers

    Today, on 1 April, some of you will be getting a pay rise.
    But don’t be fooled – for some UNISON members working for outsourced contractors or private companies, any modest increase in your pay is not from an employer who is choosing to pay staff decent wages that they can afford to live on.
    It may well be because the rate of pay you receive from your employer is the national living wage rate – previously known at the national minimum wage, and the lowest rate of pay acros
  • The future regulation of nurse and midwife education

    The requirement for student nurses and midwives to spend such a large amount of hours in clinical practice during their training has long been contentious.
    Critics of this regulation argue that nursing purports to be an evidence-based profession, how can we continue to insist upon such a burden for students, educators and mentors which has no basis in evidence? Others insist a lengthy grounding in clinical practice is essential for students to gain experience and put their academic learning into
  • More than half NHS and social care staff in London considering quitting over pandemic impact

    NHS and social care staff in London have revealed that they feel let down by the government and unable to cope with work-related stress, according to a survey published today (Wednesday) by UNISON.
    The findings are based on responses from over 2,000 health and care workers ​across the capital, including nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, as well as ambulance and administration staff, says UNISON.
    Seven in ten staff ​responding to the survey (70%) said t
  • Create colourful window displays to support NHS staff on pay rise due date, say health unions 

    Families and individuals across the UK are being urged by health unions to create colourful window displays in their homes and workplaces today (Thursday) to show support for NHS staff on the day they should have been getting a pay rise.
    Artworks designed by children’s illustrators and writers are part of a growing collection of posters available to download from a campaign page designed by the 14 unions, who between them represent more than a million health workers across the UK.
    Thi

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