• Together, let’s thank all our key workers

    Together, let’s thank all our key workers
    The group unites a wide range of supporters who intend to heal divisions and reconnect society over the course of the next decade, after a bruising few years.
    It includes NHS bodies, including the NHS Confederation and NHS England, as well as organisations and employers such as the BBC, the Mirror, Aviva, the Young Vic Theatre and ITV.
    There are religious groups such as the Muslim Council of Great Britain, sporting bodies including the Football Association and UK Sport, and
  • Together, let’s thank all our carers

    Together, let’s thank all our carers
    The group unites a wide range of supporters who intend to heal divisions and reconnect society over the course of the next decade, after a bruising few years.
    It includes NHS bodies, including the NHS Confederation and NHS England, as well as organisations and employers such as the BBC, the Mirror, Aviva, the Young Vic Theatre and ITV.
    There are religious groups such as the Muslim Council of Great Britain, sporting bodies including the Football Association and UK Sport, and
  • Investment must be bigger to protect and strengthen valued public services

    Investment must be bigger to protect and strengthen valued public services
    Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement today (Tuesday) of a “new deal” for capital investment in the UK, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “The pandemic has taken a massive toll on the economy and it’ll take a lot to get the country back on its feet.
    “Investment in public services is the way forward. These moves are in the right direction but must be far bolder if they’re to do more than patch up the damage from a d
  • Blog: Retired members are facing a raft of COVID problems

    Blog: Retired members are facing a raft of COVID problems
    Retired members have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have underlying health problems and we are in one of the most vulnerable groups, with high fatalities.
    Those living in care homes have been particularly at risk. The lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health staff and care workers, together with those in their care, has been massive and led to numerous unnecessary deaths.
    Please spare a thought for all victims of this invisible enemy and pay tribute to
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  • Meat workers put at risk by safety check failures, says UNISON

    Meat workers put at risk by safety check failures, says UNISON
    The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has failed to carry out basic on-site Covid-19 safety assessments, which put ​hundreds of workers at risk of coronavirus infection in the meat slaughter and processing industry in England and Wales, says UNISON ​today (Monday).
    The union has written about its concerns to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is now investigating whether there have been breaches of safety regulations over the failure t
  • UNISON launches new casework system to help branches

    UNISON launches new casework system to help branches
    UNISON now has its own system, developed especially to help you manage your casework.
    You can keep your information all in one place, with stewards, branch officers and branch staff all able to access members’ case information securely anytime, anywhere – and on any device.
    It has a live link to UNISON’s membership system, so you can verify members status and contact details instantly. You can also refer cases to your region at the click of a button.
    No more spreadsheets, paper
  • UNISON sets out to recruit more safety reps amid COVID crisis

    UNISON sets out to recruit more safety reps amid COVID crisis
    UNISON is launching a new campaign, Be on the safe side, to recruit more safety reps in workplaces across the UK – as the need for them becomes greater than ever.
    The union has campaigned tirelessly on health and safety issues to protect its members at work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    It has also supported its safety reps in carrying out their difficult role, whether ensuring that members have access to correct PPE, conducting workplace risk assessments or addressing the particular
  • More mental health support needed for health and care workers, says UNISON

    More mental health support needed for health and care workers, says UNISON
    Commenting on Labour’s plans published today (Monday) for a mental health package for NHS and care staff, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:
    “Health and care staff have been working under huge pressures over the past few months, while most of us have been safe at home.
    “Fears about falling ill, passing the virus on to loved ones or those they care for, and working without adequate safety kit have only added to the stress.
    “Even before the pande
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  • Fewer than one-fifth of English services announce reopening plans so far … and Leeds bow to the mob over drag queens

    Fewer than one-fifth of English services announce reopening plans so far … and Leeds bow to the mob over drag queens
    If you want news on what your public library service is planning for reopening, please click here.EditorialAs of writing this, and after a couple of months of warning, fewer than one-fifth (only 28 out of 150) English library services have announced their reopening plans from Saturday, 4 July. Almost all of the plans so far are different in some way to all of the others, repeating the lack of unified service that is so familiar to users of English services. I use specifically English in this con
  • Care staff death rate a national scandal, says UNISON

    Care staff death rate a national scandal, says UNISON
    Commenting on new figures from the Office for National Statistics published today (Friday) showing higher Covid-19 death rates for care workers, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:
    “These figures reflect a tragic national scandal. The government has failed to protect social care during this pandemic and even now, these issues are far from being resolved.
    “Care workers have financial pressures to work when they should be shielding or self-isolating. Pro
  • Recovered from COVID-19? You could help the NHS

    Recovered from COVID-19? You could help the NHS
    Plasma donation is safe, easy and could save lives. 
    NHS Blood and Transplant has already collected over 6,000 units of plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19, and these have started to be used for transfusing into patients in hospital who are seriously ill. 
    If you have had coronavirus, you can donate at any of the 23 donor centres or pop up centres.
    If you, or someone you know has had a positive test – or symptoms of coronavirus – you can get in touch and boo
  • UNISON urges co-operation over reopening schools

    UNISON urges co-operation over reopening schools
    UNISON is calling on the government to work with the union urgently, to help ensure that schools can re-open safely in the autumn.
    The prime minister has announced an easing of lockdown and the relaxation of the two-metre social distancing rule ​from 4 July. But reducing social distancing to “one metre plus” (one metre, in conjunction with other measures, such as face coverings and hand washing) still won’t allow schools to function normally.
    The union says that huge
  • COVID sees remaining 2020 conferences cancelled

    COVID sees remaining 2020 conferences cancelled
    UNISON has taken the decision to cancel all the remaining union conferences that were scheduled for the rest of this year.
    President Josie Bird and general secretary Dave Prentis have announced the decision following consultation with all the committees involved.
    They said that, in recent weeks, it has become increasingly apparent that the health and safety issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, together with the continued enforcement of social distancing, will be with us for some time. Th
  • A national care service is the only way to prevent more deaths

    A national care service is the only way to prevent more deaths
    The pandemic has exposed the fault lines in the social care system, which requires substantial reform if its many structural, financial and operational weaknesses are to be tackled, says UNISON in a new strategy document released today (Wednesday).
    Care After Covid: A Vision for Social Care sets out how the fragmented, crisis-riven sector could be transformed into a national care system. One that the union says could cope with the day-to-day challenges of caring for vulnerable people and be
  • Ambulance staff in Northern Ireland to receive backdated pay boost, says UNISON

    Ambulance staff in Northern Ireland to receive backdated pay boost, says UNISON
    Hundreds of ambulance workers in Northern Ireland are to receive a pay rise amounting to several thousand pounds each, following an extensive period of campaigning and negotiation by UNISON.
    Members of the union voted overwhelmingly to accept the pay offer from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service HSC Trust, which will be backdated to the beginning of 2017.
    The change affects emergency medical technicians (EMT), paramedics and rapid response paramedics (RRP) who will see their pay bands u
  • Easing of lockdown must happen safely

    Easing of lockdown must happen safely
     
    Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement today (Tuesday) that there is to be a further easing of the lockdown, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “Many people will jump at the chance to see more family and friends, and visit pubs and restaurants, but others will be understandably cautious.
    “Good public services need a thriving economy and the spectre of mass unemployment – particularly among the young – must
  • Address inequality to protect Black workers against Covid-19, says UNISON

    Address inequality to protect Black workers against Covid-19, says UNISON
    The government must act immediately to protect Black workers from Covid-19 by closing gaps that create health inequalities and poverty and ensuring workplaces are safe, says UNISON today (Tuesday).
    The union has written to ​the Prime Minister urging him to implement all Public Health England’s (PHE) recommendations such as developing comprehensive risk assessments for Black staff to reduce their chance of coronavirus exposure and infection.
    It follows &#
  • Blog: Windrush Day – our thoughts and our support remain with those who are still fighting injustice

    Blog: Windrush Day – our thoughts and our support remain with those who are still fighting injustice
    Today is Windrush Day, which commemorates the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks. Those who travelled on that ship, their families and countless others have come to our country and made it their home. The Windrush generation and those who followed have made and continue to make an incalculable contribution to our country and our communities, including many working in public services. It is no coincidence that Windrush Day and the birthday of our NHS come so close
  • Huge membership rise for UNISON ahead of new recruitment ad campaign launch​

    Huge membership rise for UNISON ahead of new recruitment ad campaign launch​
    A new recruitment campaign, ​aimed at increasing the record number of public service workers who’ve joined UNISON since the start of the pandemic, is being launched by the union today (Monday).
    The 60-second animated advert is being screened on Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and YouTube with the message that no worker should feel alone in ​these uncertain times.
    The film was created by the GOOD Agency, with whom UNISON has worked for seven years, along w
  • Bad news comes in threes: Vivacity, Leeds and Bertrams

    Bad news comes in threes: Vivacity, Leeds and Bertrams
    For a guide on when public libraries in the UK are reopening, and the current situation, see this page.For a guide on how libraries around the world are coping with the crisis, and the various health and safety precautions that are being used, see this page.EditorialWell, the consequences of shutting down libraries for a few months started to be shown this last week. The leisure trust Vivacity, which has been running libraries in Peterborough since 2013 and has interests in Cambridgeshire librar
  • Bad news comes in threes: Vivacity, Leeds and Bertram

    Bad news comes in threes: Vivacity, Leeds and Bertram
    For a guide on when public libraries in the UK are reopening, and the current situation, see this page.For a guide on how libraries around the world are coping with the crisis, and the various health and safety precautions that are being used, see this page.EditorialWell, the consequences of shutting down libraries for a few months started to be shown this last week. The leisure trust Vivacity, which has been running libraries in Peterborough since 2013 and has interests in Cambridgeshire librar
  • UNISON gives cautious welcome to COVID-related schools funding

    UNISON gives cautious welcome to COVID-related schools funding
    UNISON has cautiously welcomed the government’s £1bn COVID-19 ‘catch-up’ package for schools in England, which aims to make up for lost schooling.
    The new funding consists of £650m for state primary and secondary schools for the 2020/21 academic year, plus £350m for a national tutoring programme for the most disadvantaged pupils.
    The Education Endowment Fund, an independent research organisation that UNISON has worked with on the effective deployment
  • Help celebrate the NHS’s birthday

    Help celebrate the NHS’s birthday
    UNISON’s East Midlands region is preparing to host a socially distanced 72nd birthday celebration for the NHS on 5 July – and they’re looking for branches and members to showcase their work and be part of the day.
    General secretary Dave Prentis and head of health Sara Gorton will be among the speakers, but the organisers are also looking for talent from across the union to entertain and educate.
    If you or a family member can sing, dance, write or play an instrument, you co
  • UNISON calls on government to act on ‘systemic racism’

    UNISON calls on government to act on ‘systemic racism’
    UNISON is calling on the UK government to take action on the “systemic structural racism” that has been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    A statement from general secretary Dave Prentis, which also comes against the background of global Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police in the US, specifically calls on the government to:implement the recommendations from the Windrush Lessons Learned review by Wendy Williams from March this year;
    implement
  • Blog: Deaf workers’ ignored in coronavirus pandemic

    Blog: Deaf workers’ ignored in coronavirus pandemic
    Coronovirus has been a massive challenge for all of us. But imagine you are a Deaf public services worker like us.
    We’re UNISON members. Iain works for a local council and Gillian works in a hospital. And our first language is British Sign Language.
    When coronavirus first hit, many Deaf people were very confused about what was happening. Unlike in Scotland, prime minister Boris Johnson’s daily press conferences haven’t had a live British Sign Language interpreter in t
  • HE employers announce 2020 pay freeze proposal

    HE employers announce 2020 pay freeze proposal
    The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) has released a statement to the joint higher education trade unions that announces a pay freeze for 2020/2021.
    The exception to this is adjustments needed to meet statutory National Living Wage levels.
    UNISON, alongside joint higher education trade unions EIS, GMB, UCU and Unite, has said that it is “extremely disappointed”.
    UNISON head of higher education Ruth Levin said: “This proposal is clearly a huge disappoin
  • Government must act immediately on second PHE BAME report

    Government must act immediately on second PHE BAME report
    Commenting on the second report published today (Tuesday) by Public Health England (PHE) on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black communities, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “The government must act now. Words and promises to do something in the future won’t cut it any longer.
    “The pandemic has brought home just how many frontline care and health employees are from Black communities. They’ve suffered a heavy toll and need better prot
  • Government u-turns on free summer school meals

    Government u-turns on free summer school meals
    In a win for families across the UK, the government has agreed to fund school meals over the six-week summer holidays to make sure that no child goes hungry.
    The campaign to extend free school meals over the summer was led by the School Food Plan, an alliance of organisations that UNISON is a part of. Footballer Marcus Rashford has become a recent champion of the campaign and pushed the government to extend its funding.
    Before lockdown, 1.3 million children were eligible for free school meals. N
  • Aiming high to be there for our members

    Aiming high to be there for our members
    UNISON’s COVID-19 response fund was set up to provide a safety net for our members during this crisis. Thanks to the generous donations of the 69 UNISON branches listed below, our dedicated charity, There for You, has been able to give emergency grants to over 900 members.
    But that need isn’t going away any time soon.
    That’s why we’ve set a target of £250,000 for branch donations to the COVID-19 response fund – and we want to reach it by the end of June.Since
  • Extend free scheme to all frontline care and NHS staff, says UNISON

    Extend free scheme to all frontline care and NHS staff, says UNISON
    A government scheme exempting overseas workers from visa fees for one year should be extended to all care staff and NHS employees, says UNISON today (Monday).
    The union is backing an amendment brought by MP Yvette Cooper to the Immigration Bill ​that would ensure many more staff – such as social care workers, hospital cleaners, healthcare assistants and porters – would not have to pay up to £3,000 to remain working on the Covid-19 frontline.
    A campaign laun
  • Care worker pay deductions must be tackled to stop hardship and control virus spread

    Care worker pay deductions must be tackled to stop hardship and control virus spread
    Huge disparities in financial support for care workers during the pandemic show the government must act to ensure staff are not left in financial peril and become more willing to take health risks, says UNISON today (Monday).
    Staff in the care sector, who need to self-isolate, shield or have the virus, have told UNISON they’re being forced to take unpaid leave or survive on minimal statutory sick pay (SSP), leaving them hundreds of pounds out of pocket each week.
    Some have been told by the
  • Preparations and the public

    Preparations  and the public
    For a guide on when public libraries in the UK are reopening, and the current situation, see this page.For a guide on how libraries around the world are coping with the crisis, and the various health and safety precautions that are being used, see this page.EditorialUp and down the country, staff are preparing for reopening to some extent or another. Risk assessments are being done, plastic shields are going up, markings on the floor are going down and there’s a bunch of training and (if n
  • Blog: Grenfell must not be allowed to be another example of justice denied

    Blog: Grenfell must not be allowed to be another example of justice denied
    This Sunday marks three years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Three years since the deaths of 72 innocent people in the most horrific circumstances, in their own homes. Three years since the worst residential fire since the Second World War.
    The lives lost at Grenfell exposed government failings on housing, investment, safety standards, deregulation and building control. These were avoidable deaths, but the choices that could have saved lives weren’t made. And they still aren’t bei
  • Lessons to be learned by government after limited schools’ reopening, says UNISON

    Lessons to be learned by government after limited schools’ reopening, says UNISON
    Rushed government reopening plans have led to guidelines on ‘safe’ class sizes being ignored by ​some schools, according to a survey published by UNISON today (Friday).
    More than one in five (22%) ​support staff say primary schools have operated class sizes bigger than the 15 pupils per group maximum recommended to maintain social distancing.
    Nursery school ‘bubbles’ – where infants remain in small protected groups – also have more than the eight-c
  • Catalogue of errors contributed to catastrophic care death toll, says UNISON

    Catalogue of errors contributed to catastrophic care death toll, says UNISON
    Commenting on a report published today (Friday) by the National Audit Office on how the government prepared the NHS and social care for the Covid-19 pandemic, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said
    “This is a catalogue of errors and highlights once again a complete absence of planning or thought for social care.
    “Discharging patients to care homes without testing was simply scandalous and accelerated the spread of the virus among an obviously high-risk group.
    &
  • Shock jobs announcement leaves British Gas workforce reeling, says UNISON

    Shock jobs announcement leaves British Gas workforce reeling, says UNISON
    Commenting on Centrica’s plans announced today (Thursday) to cut 5,000 jobs in the UK, UNISON national energy officer Matt Lay said:
    “This shock announcement has left employees reeling. Throughout the lockdown staff have been working incredibly hard keeping services running for customers. They’re bitterly disappointed and angry too.
    “The outlook for the UK’s big energy firms is certainly challenging. But simply shedding jobs, refusing to rule out compulsory red
  • Greater clarity needed from PM on plans to scrap immigration health surcharge

    Greater clarity needed from PM on plans to scrap immigration health surcharge
    Four health and care organisations – including UNISON – have today (Wednesday) written to the Prime Minister seeking confirmation that all international health and care staff, and their spouses and dependants, will no longer need to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS).
    The charge, which is due to rise from £400 to £624 a year in October, is currently payable by all migrant workers from non-EU countries, whether they access NHS services or not, both for themsel
  • Step up, stand up and speak out against racism

    Step up, stand up and speak out against racism
    The murder of George Floyd in the US and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities in the UK have focused attention on the everyday inequalities faced by Black people.
    UNISON head of equality Gloria Mills provides some context on racism in the UK and explains how the union is at the forefront of the fight against it.
    Gloria, do you feel that systemic racism has never meaningfully gone away?
    Systemic racism is present in our institutions, both public and private. It has ne
  • English schools pause ‘the right thing to do’, says UNISON

    English schools pause ‘the right thing to do’, says UNISON
    Commenting on the announcement today (Tuesday) that primary schools in England will not have to open up to more pupils before the end of the summer term, UNISON head of education Jon Richards said:
    “This was the right thing to do. As important as it is to open up schools, the challenges of bringing back all children in the next few weeks would simply have been too great.
    “There have already been Covid cases in schools and many support staff and parents remain understandably anx
  • The government must act now to stop the illegal annexation of Palestine

    The government must act now to stop the illegal annexation of Palestine
    Today I wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to urge him to take immediate steps to oppose the Israeli government’s illegal plans to annex huge swathes of Palestinian land in the West Bank to Israel from 1 July.
    These dangerous proposals, which are supported by US President Donald Trump, represent a serious attack on decades of international law and successive United Nations resolutions, and further undermine the rights of the Palestinian people and the prospects of peace in the M
  • NJC committee to put pay offer to members

    NJC committee to put pay offer to members
    UNISON’s national joint council (NJC) committee met on 5 June, to consider feedback from regions and decide on next steps in the NJC pay negotiation process.
    The Local Government Association has made it clear that it will not approach the UK government to request any further money for local government pay.
    The committee therefore agreed to launch a full consultation of UNISON members on the final pay offer:a 2.75% pay increase;
    a one-day increase in the Green Book minimum level of annual l
  • Local Government Pension Scheme survey: adapting slowly to COVID-19

    Local Government Pension Scheme survey: adapting slowly to COVID-19
    A survey of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) taken in mid-May shows how local authorities are adapting to COVID-19.
    Run on behalf of the England and Wales Scheme Advisory Board, 83 local authorities took part.
    It found that 27% LGPSs are having virtual pension committee meetings, yet 61% have not reached the stage of going beyond the planning of meetings.
    Only 51% of local authorities have reviewed their registers.
    There were changes to 42 councils which indicated they were dealing wit
  • LGPS survey: local authorities adapting slowly to COVID-19

    LGPS survey: local authorities adapting slowly to COVID-19
    A survey of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), taken in mid-May, shows how local authorities are adapting to COVID-19.
    Run on behalf of the England and Wales Scheme Advisory Board, 83 local authorities took part.
    It found that 27% of schemes are having virtual pension committee meetings, yet 61% have not reached the stage of going beyond the planning of meetings.
    Only 51% of local authorities have reviewed their registers.
    There were changes to 42 councils, which indicated they were dea
  • Labour takes forward UNISON domestic abuse amendments

    Labour takes forward UNISON domestic abuse amendments
    Jess Phillips, the shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, is to take forward two UNISON workplace-related amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill.
    UNISON is concerned about how domestic abuse affects victims in their workplace as well as in the home. Protections at work can ensure that victims are not trapped in a dangerous relationship because they are concerned about the security of their employment.
    For victims of domestic abuse, work can be a lifeline to independence and survi
  • Blog: A major disappointment – but just the latest for Black people

    Blog: A major disappointment – but just the latest for Black people
    We must recommit to fight racism in all its forms – that was the very clear message from UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis last week after the murder of George Floyd and the events in the US.
    It was a call supported by Kebbah Manneh, chair of the UNISON’s national Black members’ committee, and echoed by everyone on the committee.
    The reaction to the murder of George Floyd coincided with the publication of the Public Health England (PHE) report into the increased risks and d
  • UNISON wins clearer COVID-19 guidance for its disabled members

    UNISON wins clearer COVID-19 guidance for its disabled members
    UNISON has successfully lobbied for the government’s COVID-19 guidance to acknowledge that many of the ‘extremely vulnerable’ people who have been instructed to shield at home during the pandemic are also workers – whose employers may not have been sympathetic.
    Until the end of May, the guidance on shielding did not adequately take into account disabled people in employment.
    UNISON national officer for disability equality Deirdre Costigan said: “From the beginning,
  • Visions for the future: recovery guidelines, SRC, renewal taskforce and Black Lives Matter

    Visions for the future: recovery guidelines, SRC, renewal taskforce and Black Lives Matter
    EditorialA lot of news this week to cover. The Libraries Connected guidelines for reopening libraries is expected to be formally released tomorrow,Monday (8 June), with copies already with chief librarians. I’ve seen a draft but will refrain from comment – other than to say it’s comprehensive and I approve of the great majority of it – until it is formally released.
    The Summer Reading Challenge for 2020 is for obvious reasons almost entirely online and, for less obvious r
  • Deep inequalities in British society to be investigated

    Deep inequalities in British society to be investigated
    Commenting on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announcement today (Friday) that it is launching an investigation into structural race inequality, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “It’s right that the EHRC investigates the deep inequalities in British society that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed.
    “The government must commit to enacting all recommendations from this inquiry as a first step to tackling racism and other i
  • Fighting on two fronts – and paying the price

    Fighting on two fronts – and paying the price
    The UK has ground to a halt under COVID-19 lockdown and the Home Office has slowed its operations. With unclear immigration guidance available, thousands of workers are now worried about the security of their visas and the life they’ve built in the UK. 
    Samaanatha* is one of them. A children’s social worker in the Midlands, Samaanatha came to the UK in June 2015, after being recruited directly from India.After five years of working in children’s safeguarding for a council,
  • Care home company under investigation following multiple deaths from Covid-19, says UNISON

    Care home company under investigation following multiple deaths from Covid-19, says UNISON
     
    A major social care company has been reported to regulators after the deaths of multiple residents from Covid-19, says UNISON today (Thursday).
    The three homes in Sheffield, where the deaths occurred and are run by Horizon Care, are now under investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after staff raised a catalogue of safety and hygiene concerns with UNISON.
    The union has written to the CQC outlining practices at Woodhill House, Woodhill Lodge and Woodhill Grange, which

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