• Britain needs a government that invests in public services, says UNISON

    Commenting on the ITV debate tonight (Tuesday) between the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties ahead of the General Election, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “Boris Johnson has clearly demonstrated he doesn’t have a clue how ordinary people are suffering after nine years of Tory austerity and that’s why we need a Labour government to save our public services.”
    Notes to editors:– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more
  • Public don’t want NHS staff outsourced to private companies

    The majority of the public (54%) think transferring NHS staff to private companies is unacceptable, according to a UNISON/ComRes poll published today (Monday).
    The findings also highlight how half (50%) of those polled fear the efficiency of the NHS could be undermined as a direct result of non-medical health employee – including cleaners, porters and catering workers – being outsourced.
    There has been an increasing trend to transfer staff over to firms outside the NHS, whi
  • Frimley strike postponed as trust agrees not to continue with privatisation plans, says UNISON

    Strike action due to take place tomorrow (Monday) involving porters, security guards, cleaners and catering staff employed at Frimley Health Foundation Trust has been postponed following last-minute talks today (Sunday) between their employer and union UNISON.
    The UNISON members had planned to walk out for 48 hours this week – starting tomorrow morning – over plans to transfer their jobs to a wholly owned subsidiary company.
    UNISON South East regional secretary Steve Torra
  • Consultation in Bradford and transfer delay in Hertfordshire

    EditorialPurdah, that strangely colonial term for councils not being political during an election campaign, is kicking in but there are a few things still happening in library-land.Two local stories. The first is that Hertfordshire are having to postpone the transfer of their library service to a mutual because of how complicated it is. Something that needs bearing in mind with those wanting to transfer their service out of direct council control is the complexity. Think of it as a mini-Brexit b
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  • Time to be inspired by our LGBT+ award winners

    If it’s the UNISON LGBT+ conference, then it must be time for the annual UNISON LGBT+ recruitment awards!
    Sure enough, in Bournemouth this morning, Josie Bird, the union’s president, was on hand to pass out this year’s coveted trophies.
    “The presidential team continue to be amazed at how many weekends our LGBT+ members are out and about at Pride and other community events – not only at the huge prides in big cities across our nations that get media coverage, but at
  • ‘The sooner we can kick them out, the better!’

    “Boris Johnson as Prime Minister – honestly, who’d have thought it possible? Clearly not his own family, given that his own brother so publicly and so quickly abandoned him!”
    Addressing the union’s LGBT+ conference in Bournemouth this morning, UNISON president Josie Bird was clear that, even in such busy times for activists, the coming general election had to be a priority.
    “We really are living in unprecedented times.  After all, we have a prime minister
  • Making sure there are no outsiders

    “Parents cannot opt out of knowing that I exist.” That was one of the comments as UNISON’s LGBT conference discussed inclusive education and it was met with loud applause.
    Speaker James Anthony is from the West Midlands, where protests outside Parkfield Primary School in Birmingham, against the teaching of the No Outsiders scheme, have made national headlines.
    The protests at Parkfield have been primarily among Muslim parents, who have been misled about the nature of the teachi
  • LGBT+ delegates debate a packed agenda

    A busy day at UNISON’s LGBT+ conference saw delegates discuss a number of major issues.
    Mental health was high on the agenda, with Alan Williams for the union’s North West LGBT group saying that there was a “concerningly high rate of suicide attempts by LGBT+ members” and called for more training for reps on the issues.
    Hannah Stephenson urged delegates to return to their branches and ask their employers for mental ill health training, while a speaker from the North West
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  • ‘Every vote will count in this election’

    “Every vote will count in this election” and we need to persuade people to register to vote – and to register for a postal vote. It’s crucial to “get that message out in the workplace, to family and friends.”
    UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea (pictured above) was addressing the union’s LGBT+ conference in Bournemouth this morning, with less than a month to go before the general election.
    She stressed that research shows that UNISON
  • NHS needs investment instead of unpaid overtime

    Responding to new Labour Party analysis published today (Friday) suggesting NHS staff work one million hours of unpaid overtime each week, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “The NHS is running on fumes after years of underfunding. Chronic understaffing has left us with a system propped up by the goodwill of devoted health workers.
    “It is no way to run a cherished national asset and is the terrible legacy of nine years under the Conservatives. We need a government prepared t
  • New NHS waiting times show Tories are not fit to run NHS

    Responding to the latest NHS England data published today (Thursday) showing A&E waiting times are the worst ever, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “Patients left in agony on trolleys for hours and poorly visitors waiting for hours in A&E, forced to sit on floors because of a lack of chairs, has become the new normal.
    “Years of underfunding and an endless staffing crisis show the Conservatives are simply not fit to run our NHS.
    “These are the worst
  • Public service workers ready to learn to ease redundancy fears

    A third of public service workers are worried they’ll lose their jobs due to technological innovation or government cuts, according to a UNISON survey published today (Thursday).
    But one in ten feel additional training has protected them from the threat of redundancy, with staff feeling more secure in their jobs because of the new skills they’ve acquired.
    The findings, from a skills survey of more than 38,000 public sector workers, reveal that a third (34%) believe it ‘likely&r
  • Pay gap proposals will force bosses to act

    Commenting on Labour plans published today (Wednesday) to eliminate the gender pay gap by 2030, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “Public shaming hasn’t proved enough to curtail unequal pay so far.
    “Proper enforceable sanctions and a clear end date will force reluctant bosses to be transparent and stop the disparity.
    “Women have been failed in the workplace for too long so these commitments are&nbs
  • University staff in Edinburgh to stay directly employed

    UNISON has welcomed news that members at Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University have succeeded in preventing their jobs being outsourced, after a unanimous strike vote in October, with action set for later this month.
    The campus operations staff – including supervisors, security officers, facilities assistants and members of the grounds team – returned a 100% vote for action on a 75% turnout.
    They received “valuable” support from fellow campus unions UCU and EIS, as
  • Labour rescue plan gives NHS hope, says UNISON

    Commenting on the announcement today (Tuesday) that Labour plans to give the NHS £26bn in real-terms funding, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “This rescue plan can’t come soon enough and will give hope to health service employees and patients across the UK.
    “It takes the NHS back to the time before heartless Tory cuts. Chronic underfunding has left hospitals bracing themselves for a winter crisis, without the staff and resources it desperately needs.
    “Th
  • Northern Ireland NHS staff and social workers back strike action, says UNISON

    Health staff and social workers in Northern Ireland represented by UNISON have today (Monday) voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.
    The ballot concentrated on safe staffing levels and pay parity, as health workers in Northern Ireland are paid less than their colleagues in Britain.
    The absence of both has been a key factor in waiting lists and waiting times reaching crisis levels for patients across Northern Ireland, according to UNISON.
    UNISON Northern Ireland regional secretary Patricia M
  • Blog: This election is the fight of our lives

    Election day is less than five weeks away – and this election is the fight of our lives. After a decade of Tory austerity, public service workers know better than anyone the terrible toll that austerity has had on our communities, the services you provide and on your own lives.
    That’s why I’ve been getting out on the doorstep and campaigning for public services – and for a Labour government. So far I’ve been supporting Labour candidates, and UNISON members, Bambos C
  • More workers deserve to be paid the real living wage, says UNISON

    Commenting on the announcement today (Monday) that the real living wage is to increase nationally to £9.30 an hour and to £10.75 in London, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “The lowest paid people in public services are still earning below the real living wage as these increases take effect. That’s why it’s important the next government ensures that any promises to spend more on services also include proper investment in the staff who provide them.
    &
  • Families will be thrown a lifeline by early-years plans

    Commenting on Labour Party proposals to expand free childcare and open 1,000 new Sure Start centres, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “Accessible, quality childcare and early years support can have a life-changing impact on children and their families.
    “Restoring the network of Sure Start centres will offer a lifeline by providing education and health services to those families most in need, after years of cuts left them in tatters.
    “These proposals, a
  • Police staff agree two-year pay deal in Scotland

    Police staff members in Scotland have voted ‘yes’ to a two-year pay deal, which includes a 3.5% rise for 2019-20, backdated to 1 April, for most staff. Next April, wages will rise by 3%.
    In both years, Police Scotland staff who earn more than £80,000 a year will see a flat-rate increase of £1,600.
    Both years will also see a matching percentage increase on enhanced shift rates.
    The deal runs to the end of March 2021 and was agreed by members in an online ballot that saw a
  • Three national campaigns

    EditorialGood to see three new, but very different, national campaigns for libraries. The first is the VoteLibraries campaign by LibrariesDeliver which aims to raise the profile of libraries in time for the general election. The second is the library aspect of the 100 Novels That Shaped the World BBC series. Finally, the poet laureate Simon Armitage, has announced a ten year campaign to visit a library for every letter of the alphabet from A to Z. This should make for some very creative entries
  • Visas for overseas NHS staff just ‘window-dressing’, says UNISON

    Commenting on Conservative plans announced today (Friday) to create a visa for overseas staff to work in the NHS, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “The NHS and social care couldn’t survive without the huge contribution of staff from overseas. But hostile Tory policies have left them feeling unwanted and anxious about their futures.
    “This visa plan is just window-dressing from a party that has treated overseas healthcare staff shoddily.
    “The
  • Reserved (low pay) seat threshold for 2020

    UNISON’s principles of proportionality and fair representation means that some seats on elected bodies, including the NEC, are reserved for women and low-paid members, so that the make-up fairly represents the wider union.
    The definition of “low paid” reflects the median gross weekly earnings for all jobs (full time or part time) and is revised each year.
    The median gross weekly earnings figure for 2019/20 has been calculated in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings at £
  • Labour plans will transform working lives of women

    Commenting on Labour’s proposals to improve the workplace for women, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said today (Thursday):
    “Balancing work with caring for children or elderly parents and running a home can be a struggle for many women.
    “Good employers know that paying women fairly, offering them generous maternity leave and pay packages, along with flexible working, support through the menopause and a zero tolerance approach to sexual ha
  • Exposing cowboy care providers: the state of social care

    Research published today by the Centre for Health and Public Interest shows what UNISON members have been saying for decades: residential care homes are being run irresponsibly.
    The financial structure of our overstretched and underfunded care sector has been revealed, with an estimated 10% of income suspiciously “leaking out” each year.
    UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Every year millions of pounds are lost from the sector, which could have been spent
  • Sustained investment needed to fix years of Conservative cuts, says UNISON

    Commenting on the election spending pledges outlined by chancellor Sajid Javid today (Thursday), UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “After nine long years of spending cuts, this is nowhere near enough to repair the damage done to budgets, services and staff in hospitals, schools, police stations and town halls across the country.
    “The chancellor’s triumphant talk of rising wages will ring hollow for public sector workers whose pay fell victim to austerit
  • Lights! Camera! Action!

    Could you be one of the stars in a UNISON Christmas film? Or perhaps you know someone who could?
    We’re producing a short film for Christmas featuring union members and, if you’ve got some footage of yourself or colleagues on your phone, then it could be part of this exciting project.
    We’re looking for short clips of UNISON members being UNISON members: at work, on demos, campaigning, recruiting, on strike – or interacting directly with the camera, maybe talking about them
  • Critical incident shows hospitals are “creaking at the seams”, says UNISON

    Commenting on the news that Nottingham’s hospitals have today declared a critical incident due to exceptional pressures on emergency services, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
    “The winter has started early in the East Midlands. Hospitals across the region are creaking at the seams all year round.
    “The intense pressure on trusts never goes away. Too many vacancies, growing demand on services and worn out, overworked staff is the picture right across the NHS. Our heal
  • Conservatives putting everything up for grabs on NHS, says UNISON

    Responding to a leaked Conservative document warning party candidates not to sign up to pledges that protect the NHS from trade deals and privatisation, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The Conservatives can’t be trusted with our precious NHS and this briefing note proves it.
    “Tory hopefuls are being told not to make promises the party has no intention of keeping. It’s clear that everything is up for grabs if they get power again and that i
  • Drug and alcohol workers take pay fight to Addaction’s London HQ

    Drug and alcohol support workers will be demonstrating outside the headquarters of employer Addaction today (Wednesday), over broken pay promises, says UNISON.
    Fifteen employees from Leigh and Wigan – who are midway through a five-day strike – will be in the capital to force the charity to listen to their demands for fair pay.
    The striking workers – who were employed by the NHS before being transferred to Addaction’s control – are angry it went back on promises to k
  • HCPC fee rethink shows effectiveness of campaign

    Commenting on the announcement from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) that it is to review the level of its next fee increase, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said today (Tuesday):
    “Health staff will be pleased the HCPC has been listening and has sensibly decided to scale back the huge increase it had originally proposed.
    “The 18% fee hike announced back in February would have taken a large chunk out of the wages of many people in the health professions.
  • Council workers protest about low pay prior to pay talks

    The unions have tabled a pay claim calling for a 10 per cent increase for all staff and for a minimum rate of £10 per hour.
    They are also calling for a two hour reduction in the working week (with no loss of pay), one extra day of annual leave and the ending of the freeze on allowances.
    In the last decade local authority workers have seen their pay cut by 22 per cent in real terms, due to the government’s austerity policies.
    On top of this workers are reporting that due to job cuts,
  • Northants council workers to get pay rise

    Northamptonshire council staff have been promised a 4% pay rise from April – their first increase in three years.
    The announcement to staff came at a briefing on next year‘s budget. “People clapped when the pay rise was announced,” UNISON branch secretary Kev Standish told the local newspaper, The Northampton Chronicle.
    “It is more than we expected and is to be welcomed, although it would be good if it came now rather than next year.”
    Staff will also rece
  • Government pushes ahead with transfer of Welsh probation staff on 1 December

    The government has confirmed that it pressing ahead with transferring Welsh offender management staff to the National Probation Service (NPS) on 1 December – although negotiations on the transfer are not completed.
    UNSION had called for the transfer to be delayed to February next year to allow the talks to be finished.
    But the prison and probation service confirmed last week that offender management staff who are working for the Wales community rehabilitation company will move to the NPS o
  • NHS is ‘unsafe’ in hands of Conservatives, says UNISON

    Commenting today (Monday) on data published by Labour revealing huge increase in cancelled operations, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “These figures prove the Conservatives don’t care about the NHS. They’ve starved our cherished institution of cash, undermined its very foundations and plunged it into crisis.
    “Even health bosses say they can’t go on like this, robbed of resources and with employees under intense pressure. It’s heartbreaking for sta
  • NHS is ‘unsafe’ in hands of Conservatives

    Commenting today (Monday) on data published by Labour revealing huge increase in cancelled operations, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
    “These figures prove the Conservatives don’t care about the NHS. They’ve starved our cherished institution of cash, undermined its very foundations and plunged it into crisis.
    “Even health bosses say they can’t go on like this, robbed of resources and with employees under intense pressure. It’s heartbreaking for sta
  • Police staff vote for pay rise

    Police staff members in England and Wales have voted overwhelmingly to accept an improved pay offer for 2019-20.
    The vote saw 93% of UNISON members vote for the offer, with 7% rejecting it.
    Members of all unions represented on the Police Staff Council have now voted in favour of the pay deal after successful negotiations saw an additional increase for the lowest paid members of police staff.
    The pay deal includes:a 2.5% increase on all pay points from 1 September 2019;
    an additional increase on
  • NHS workers to strike at three hospitals over privatisation plans

    Facilities staff at Wexham Park and Heatherwood hospitals in Berkshire, and at Frimley Park in Surrey have announced dates for strike action, in an escalation of their campaign to stay in the NHS.
    Their employer Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust (FHFT) plans to privatise up to 1,000 NHS cleaners, caterers, porters, security and estates staff to a new wholly-owned subsidiary company early next year.
    The trust has so far refused to change its plans, so staff feel industrial action is their only
  • Blog: This month, let’s grow bigger and stronger still

    This November, UNISON is going for growth again.
    It’s the third time we’ve run our successful recruitment campaign – Go for Growth – after last November, on the back of becoming the biggest union in the UK, and again this May.
    It’s a month of activity building a bigger, better and bolder UNISON.
    Because we’re still not content just to be the biggest union in the UK, we want to keep getting bigger – ensuring that even more people get the support, organisa
  • Let’s smash the disability pay gap

    UNISON disabled members, meeting in Brighton for their annual conference, marked Disability Pay Gap Day today.
    This is the day of the year when disabled workers effectively stop being paid – such is the difference between their pay and that of their non-disabled counterparts.
    The mover of a motion for Newcastle City Branch explained how the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that the disability pay gap is at its highest level since records began.
    “Mandatory reporting is s
  • Derbyshire design in a barrier to the customer

    EditorialDerbyshire Libraries have telephones. Their numbers are clearly visible on their webpages. And, despite the best efforts of the council, most of them still have staff in them to answer the telephones. They also have computers which allow staff to renew books. Simple. But, from now on, if you phone one of these libraries, you won’t be able to renew a book. Because the council doesn’t want you to and is deliberately putting a barrier in your way. For those without online acces
  • Delegates warned of Trump threat to the NHS

    “When Boris Johnson tells us we can trust him with the NHS, I think we know what that’s worth … this is the man who promised £350 million a week for the NHS and then laughed it off after the referendum.
    That was at the heart of the message to UNISON’s disabled members’ conference from assistant general secretary Christina McAnea this afternoon when she addressed delegates just days before the Westminster Parliament is dissolved for the general election.
    Warni
  • Conference warned of Trump threat to the NHS

    “When Boris Johnson tells us we can trust him with the NHS, I think we know what that’s worth … this is the man who promised £350 million a week for the NHS and then laughed it off after the referendum.”
    That was at the heart of the message to UNISON’s disabled members’ conference from assistant general secretary Christina McAnea this afternoon when she addressed delegates just days before the Westminster Parliament is dissolved for the general election
  • Delegates open debates with call for better information

    UNISON’s disabled members’, meeting in Brighton for their annual conference this weekend, opened a packed plenary session with a series of passionate debates.
    “Knowledge is power,” said one speaker, who went on to describe how, when she became a steward, she had searched out the sort of information that she required in order to “become a good rep”.
    And the question of knowledge was at the heart of the first motions, as delegates considered how best to be able
  • Delegates call for better information

    UNISON’s disabled members’, meeting in Brighton for their annual conference this weekend, opened a packed plenary session with a series of passionate debates.
    “Knowledge is power,” said one speaker, who went on to describe how, when she became a steward, she had searched out the sort of information that she required in order to “become a good rep”.
    And the question of knowledge was at the heart of the first motions, as delegates considered how best to be able
  • Disabled staff need more workplace support and fairer pay, says UNISON

    More must be done to support disabled workers and ensure they are aware of the help they are entitled to in the workplace, UNISON’s annual disabled members’ conference will hear today (Sunday).
    In the keynote address at the event in Brighton, assistant general secretary Christina McAnea will tell delegates from across the UK that eliminating pay discrimination for workers with a disability was a key priority for the union.
    Quoting figures from a new survey of disabled members of
  • President urges UNISON activists to take up election challenge

    “We are going to need every bit of your campaigning abilities,” UNISON president Josie Bird told the union’s disabled members’ conference in Brighton this morning, after the announcement of a December general election.
    With a prime minister “who does not respect democracy” and has even lied to the Queen, she said it would “be laughable if it were not so serious. It’s no way to run a country”.
    But “now we have a chance to change all that
  • Blog: We have to work together, and take our fight out into the country

    There is no such thing as perfect in politics – as Nye Bevan once said, “socialism is the language of priorities”. All of us engaged in politics at any level know you can have your ideals, but you must also live in the real world.This applies with going to the polls in December. In a perfect world, every election would take place in the spring, when the weather is warmer and the days longer.
    But the time doesn’t need to be perfect when there’s an opportunity to kick
  • Bringing joy to a psychiatric ward

    The work of UNISON members in a north Wales mental health unit was recognised this week when they were awarded the prestigious Nursing Times Team of the Year Award.
    The award came in recognition of  “incredible” changes they are making in in the eight-bed Tryweryn psychiatric intensive care ward, part of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in North Wales
    “By using a new human rights approach in our psychiatric unit, we’ve managed to halve the amount of restra
  • Higher education pay ballot result

    University workers in UNISON have voted for strike action to win higher pay, but did not pass the threshold on turn-out required by trade union laws.
    Around 66% of members in England, Wales and Scotland who took part in the industrial action ballot voted for action, but the turn-out did not meet the 50% of all eligible voters required by the 2017 Trade Union Act before legal action can take place.
    UNISON head of higher education Ruth Levin commented: “Yet again, the anti-trade union l

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