31 January 2017
4 February 2017
6 February 20107
16 February 2017
16-18 February 2017
3-5 March 2017
UNISON’s conference takes place in Brighton this year, with Local Government Conference starting on Sunday 18th June and ending on Monday 19th June and National Delegate Conference starting on Tuesday 20th June and ending on Friday 23rd June 2017.
Any UNISON member, shop steward or branch officer who wishes to attend conference must contact the Branch Secretary, Room 145, Civic Centre, 211 6980. Priority will be given to those who haven’t attended conference before, but requests from those who have will still be considered. Please contact the Branch as soon as possible.
The branch delegation will travel to Brighton on Saturday 17th June and return on Saturday 24th June, but delegates do not have to attend both conferences.
Accommodation and travel is paid by the branch and daily expenses are paid in line with UNISON policy. Arrangements can be made to cover the cost of childcare either in a crèche at conference or where children are cared for at home.
If any member wishes to discuss conference details, financial issues etc; please contact the branch office.
Heartunions week 2016 formed a key part of the campaign against the trade union act during its House of Lords discussions. It was an opportunity for trade unionists to keep up the pressure on the Lords by telling great stories about why trade unions make workers’ lives better, and to encourage friends, family and their local communities to join a union.
This year Heartunions week takes place from 8-14 February 2017 and the key focus will be on workplace recruitment campaigns and community engagement events across the region during the week.
Many union branches will be carrying out activities and we’ll also be having a stall at Grey’s Monument on Friday 10th February between 12 and 2pm. If you are able to pop down to help us out, please let us know.
Conor McArdle - email@example.com
The spring school census started on 19 January. For the second time this academic year, parents and guardians have been asked to share their children’s nationalities and countries of birth with the state – another seemingly innocuous tick-box on another official-looking government form.
But parents aren’t legally obliged to hand over this information. And it is widely believed by school staff and other organisations and campaigners that they should not.
When parents were first asked for this information the Department for Education (DfE) insisted the information was needed to assess “the scale and impact immigration may be having on the schools sector”, and that it “would not be passed to the Home Office” and was “solely for internal DfE use”. It then emerged the current approach was born from Theresa May’s previous plan to force schools to demand passports and withdraw places from children whose parents could not provide sufficient documentation. That idea was resisted by her Cabinet colleagues at the time – but this compromise is its legacy.
Last month a leaked data-sharing agreement revealed the DfE had agreed to give the personal details of up to 1,500 school children a month to the Home Office, specifically to “create a hostile environment”. The government has insisted nationality and birth country data wouldn’t be included. But other census data is routinely disclosed, and there’s no law to stop this happening in future. Pupils may be kept at home because parents fear deportation. Schools must make it clear that there is no legal obligation for parents to provide their children’s country of birth and nationality and that they also have the right to withdraw that data if they gave it in the autumn.
*Excerpts of this article were taken directly from SchoolsWeek Newsletter
THERE FOR YOU
With rising fuel costs and another cold winter many members are worried about how they’re going to pay this year’s winter fuel bills. Help is on hand. “There for You” has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income by way of a one-off payment of up to £50. More information on this grant and how to apply, together with information on the Tax Credit Calculator is shown in the UNISON Welfare Newsletter attached – closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 17 February.
The TUC recognises the importance of representatives such as Shop Stewards and Office Reps in building the Trade Union movement in the workplace. There are hundreds of representatives in the region who devote much time and energy protecting and improving wages and conditions of their members. Often they deal with wider subjects such as pensions and redundancy while they invariably have to deal with the specific problems of individual members. Their role is essential for trade union organisation and recruitment.
This is not a competitive award and the purpose is to recognise the contribution made by workplace representatives generally.
The award will be made at the 2017 Regional Conference, which takes place at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead from 6th – 7th May 2017. Closing date Friday 10th February.
Further details in the nomination form.
Not every workplace rep can expect a TUC Award but their contribution can still be recognised within the branch.
If you are a branch rep (Steward, ULR, H&S, whatever) please consider some of the questions on the TUC nomination form and how you might respond to them.
Please send your responses to the branch office for posting on the branch website. That will be not only an acknowledgement of your contribution to the branch but also a record of your activity for future reference. It might also inspire others to take an active role in the branch.
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year. It’s a time for everyone to pause to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. On HMD we can honour the survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.
27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
THERE FOR YOU
With rising fuel costs and another cold winter looming, many members are worried about how they’re going to pay this year’s winter fuel bills.
There for You, UNISON’s own charity has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income by way of a one-off payment of £50 per household.
This year eligibility includes those in receipt of housing benefit and the amount of the grant has risen from £40 to £50 per eligible household.
Priority will be given to those who have not previously received this grant and no grants will be paid out until after the closing date of 17 February 2017.
To apply download the forms or contact the UNISON branch office.
The council has withdrawn its proposals to:
The Council will not reintroduce these proposals in the 2017-2020 budget timeline i.e. the next 3 years.
On this basis the UNISON Campaign Group has decided to call off the lobby of Labour Group arranged for Monday 5 December.
On behalf of the members who would have been affected UNISON has thanked all those who supoprted the short but vigorous campaign against the proposals.
UNISON believes the council were testing the staff’s resolve and now has to rebuild the staff’s trust and confidence in its employer. While UNISON will assist with that process we should not underestimate the worry and concern that staff directly affected by the original proposals have felt. UNISON believes that the council should have considered ALL alternatives before presenting the proposals to attack staff terms and conditions. Clearly there are alternatives.
The Council is proposing to:
UNISON members directly affected have reacted with fury and are demanding the council withdraw these proposals immediately.
The joint trade unions in Newcastle City Council have served notice on the employer that they refuse to negotiate on any attack on staff terms and conditions.
Paul Gilroy, Branch Secretary of UNISON Newcastle said “Our members have made their dismay and anger clear. A Labour council placing the burden of Tory austerity on to hard working council staff by cutting their pay is the final straw”.
He went on to say that “industrial action seems inevitable unless the council withdraws this proposal immediately”.
The online petition has more than 1000 signatures and UNISON has also distributed a paper version for use in workplaces. Please sign the petition as we intend to hand it in at the next council meeting on 11 January.
The BBC are monitoring the campaign and are very interested in interviewing staff who are directly affected by the proposals. This is just the coverage we need as there is nothing more powerful than staff explaining the impact of losing money on them and their family’s lives. Please contact the UNISON branch office if you’re willing to share your story.
In addition, if you’re happy for the Branch to feature your story in this campaign bulletin, please get in touch with us too.
New players in the Active Newcastle Singles Tennis League are being offered free entry to celebrate Andy Murray's fantastic achievement in becoming World Number 1!
The league organised players into groups at a similar level and is open to people of all standards. Players arrange their own matches between Thursday 24 November 2016 and Wednesday 1 February, 2017. All you need to do to have fun and improve your game at the same time is register here for a free place, complete the playing standard questionnaire and enter FREE OFFER NEWCASTLE COUNCIL under How You Heard or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newcastle City Council has released a proposal that:
Council staff say NO
UNISON say NO
Newcastle Council says it wants to "protect" vital services, but its solution is to attack the very staff delivering those services. Council staff are facing pay cuts of up to a third which would mean that many staff could not remain in these posts in the future. The reality for staff would be pay cuts forcing them in to debt, homes at risk, misery for them and their families.
BRANCH ELECTIONS 2017
Nomination forms for 2017 should be completed and returned to the branch office by 13 January 2017.
“The trade unions were informed today of council proposals to cease paying shift allowance and weekend enhancements, and to change the time night rate takes effect from 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm. Council managers will be briefing staff from tomorrow. The trade unions will attend the briefings and then speak to their members afterwards.”
Branch Secretary, 1 November
The proposals, part of the council’s budget for 2017, would result in 30% of the workforce, some 1800 staff, seeing their wages slashed by up to a third.
Be sure to let your UNISON steward know what you think of the council's plans.
The employers have rejected our claim for a flat rate increase of £1 an hour on all NJC pay points because:
“The Employers are very clearly of the view that the NJC reached, in good faith, an agreement on pay on 16 May 2016 that covers the period to 31 March 2018”
The NJC Committee agreed that all our efforts now need to go into campaigning for a positive outcome from the review of the pay spine and a decent offer in 2018. A further 1% pay offer for the majority in 2018/19 would not be acceptable. The Committee also felt that the review of the NJC pay spine, agreed as part of the 2016-2018 settlement, needs additional funding to ensure an outcome which is fair to all and tackles inequality in pay within the public sector. NJC pay is the lowest in the public sector, from the bottom to the top of the pay spine.
It was therefore agreed to start a campaign of political lobbying, which will call on branches and Regions to lobby councillors and MP’s for a fairer deal for school and council workers and for funding of the review of the pay spine. The union will also work to establish groups of parliamentary advocates within the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland parliaments to speak out for council and school workers and commission research to support a better deal for NJC workers in future.
The council’s announcement of their budget proposals for 2017 – 2020 which were presented to staff, UNISON, the public and the press missed out a significant issue, a proposal to remove premium time payments i.e. to stop paying enhancement rates for working weekends and evenings.
No premium payments impact directly on those staff who receive them currently but also opens up the possibility of 7 day working for other staff. You could find your service operating at a weekend without paying you any overtime payment. Would you be happy about that?
UNISON will be campaigning against this proposal and you should too. We’ll provide more details as they are released.
The council has announced its budget proposals for the next 3 years. The headlines are £70M reduction, £30M in 2017/18, £20M in 2018/19 and £20M in 2019/20.
Here’s a link to the Council published budget information, including IIA’s https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/your-council-and-democracy/budget-annual-report-and-spending/budget/budget-2017-18
UNISON branch officers will be offering support to worker groups and individual members affected directly by the proposals. If you need advice or support please contact:
Paul Gilroy - Resources, WCL (Adult), ACX
Nicky Ramanandi - Communities, I&D
Lynda Hardie – WCL (Children)
17-23 Oct is the tenth Get Online Week and UNISON have arranged a table in the Civic Centre Monday 17 October, 12.30-1.30pm, Why not pop down and have a try at some IT you may not normally use or would like to learn about. We will also be promoting courses if there is something you would like to do more specifically, or try a Tablet, Kindle or Laptop for the first time - full support will be given.
Why not take the opportunity to visit the new Welford Learning Zone open 10-12 Monday, Wednesday and Friday and receive one to one support to get online, or if you prefer try out a Kindle, Laptop or Tablet for the first time. Please contact Wendy Aitman to check on availability of spaces.
The Open University has launched 6 free online courses for people looking to move up in their career, or considering a change of direction. Fun, interactive and informative, each course takes approximately 15 hours to complete but can be studied in shorter chunks of time, the courses are:
For further details and how to register please contact Jane Yugire.
The branch is consulting members on the question:
Do you agree with the proposal that the additional pay claim for 2017/18 should be for “A flat increase of £1 an hour on all NJC pay points?”
This arises from a resolution of the Local Government Service Group Conference which included an instruction to submit an additional NJC pay claim for 2017/18 and to commence the process of consulting with branches and members on the composition of this claim after Conference. This reopens year 2 of the 2016/18 two-year pay NJC settlement agreed last May.
The additional claim will be a UNISON claim only because the other two NJC unions do not support it. Both GMB and Unite’s National Committees have discussed UNISON’s proposal for an additional claim. In response they have both stated that, given the collective decision of NJC trade unions to accept the 2016/18 two year pay settlement, they will not support a further pay claim for 2017. The Local Government Association has also indicated that they will not consider a claim received from one NJC union only.
Branch consultation will conclude on 3 October 2016.
As part of the 2016-18 pay settlement, the NJC agreed to conduct a review of the NJC pay spine. The primary reason for this review is the introduction of the National Living Wage.
The terms of reference for the review have now been agreed.
Members will have seen the publicity regarding a proposal to review the salaries of the Chief Executive and Directors from their present position of spot grades i.e. no incremental progression, to one including the provision to move up a scale incrementally based on performance.
UNISON were not involved in any discussion of the proposal prior to the publication of the information by the Chronicle. UNISON were subsequently briefed on the proposal on Tuesday 30 August.
The pay policy statement has been approved by Constitutional Committee, but is subject to agreement by full council on 7th September. The pay policy statement includes the text “The Trade Unions have also been consulted and briefed about the contents”, which is incorrect and the UNISON Branch Secretary has written to the Assistant Director of HR to demand that elected members are provided with a clarification that states that the Trade Unions were briefed post publication on the contents of the pay policy statement.
Following the publication of the review proposals, UNISON’s Branch Secretary met with the Chief Executive and expressed the union’s anger and disappointment that pay increases were being proposed at a time when cuts are being considered to the council’s budget for the next 3 years, and when we have seen an erosion year on year of the redundancy and protection arrangements. In addition, a letter has been sent to the Leader of the Council, and UNISON’s Branch Secretary has also spoken publicly of the union’s position, and this was reported in the Chronicle.
UNISON members who are unhappy at the proposals could assist the Branch by contacting your councillor (in Newcastle), who will be voting on the proposal, and explaining your opposition
Newcastle City Branch has challenged the City Council to become an accredited Living Wage employer. This means that the Council would increase wages of the lowest paid in the organisation in line with the increases of the Foundation Living Wage each November.
In addition we have challenged the council to make provision within its procurement policy to ensure that the contractors and businesses the council employs, include a provision that they also pay the Foundation Living Wage.
To register to vote, UNISON members must:
When you register you agree to:
The Labour party will be conducting the election. Queries about the ballot or members wishing to check if their applications have been accepted by the Labour Party should contact the Labour Party
UNISON’s nomination process
UNISON Labour Link, which represents those members who pay into the affiliated political fund, will follow standard procedures for agreeing any nomination.
This will mean:
If you do not already pay into the affiliated political fund (APF) you can transfer using the following form https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2013/06/On-line-Catalogue198443.pdf
For more information about getting involved in Unison Labour link or becoming a Unison delegate to Labour Party CLPs or for general questions get in touch with branch Labour Link Officer:
Ed Whitby email@example.com or 07740099479
The UNISON Disabled Members’ Conference 2016 takes place on 29th – 31st October in Brighton. We are looking for expressions of interest to attend the conference as a delegate from the branch. Travel and accommodation will be arranged by the branch and subsistence payments will be available.
The Yomp (a military term for a long-distance march) is an epic adventure challenge. Teams of 3-6 people take on 54 miles in 24 hours across the rugged terrain of the Scottish wilderness whilst raising money for soldiers, veterans and their families.
Helped by sponsorship from UNISON a team of members, the Tyne Tunnel Trekkers, entered the event which took place on 11 June in Perthshire.
The Trekkers completed the 54 mile 'gold' route in 22:22:42, coming in 43rd out of 94 teams.
Photo (left to right): Michael Ayre Senior Traffic Officer, Philip Dixon Senior Traffic Officer, Angus Fergusson Senior Traffic Officer and Anthony Harbison Controller.
UNISONProtect is very pleased to introduce a brand new product to their range - Female Cancer Cover.
Research by Macmillan Cancer support has identified that four out of five cancer patients are on average £570 a month worse off following their diagnosis*. This is the result of a combination of factors, including having to stop work while receiving treatment, needing extra childcare, higher household bills and transport costs to and from hospital, it all adds up.
Sunderland, 19/20 May 2017.
Sign Language (BSL) Introduction, 2 March 2017
Dementia Workshop, 30 March 2017
Regional Education Calendar 2017
A&E in England had worst delays ever in January, leak suggests
Why was Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes the star of Prime Minister's questions?
Number of patients stuck in hospital 'far higher than NHS data shows'
It's time corporate tax dodgers started losing lucrative council contracts
More council housing needed in the North East - government report reveals
Council tax, youth funding and bins: 6 things to look out for from Sunderland budget meeting
TyneMet and South Tyneside colleges merger: What it means for jobs, campuses and its new name?
Review of tribunal fees finally published
Plan to tackle abusive hiring practices
Insecure work on rise
Twenty eight directors share £68.37 million
A list of affiliations and donations that the branch committee has approved since January 2015.
UK faces return to inequality of Thatcher years, says report
NHS ID scheme could deter eligible patients, say MPs
Councils may cut social care provision due to underfunding, LGA says
Nursery schools: ‘What society gives children less chance than their parents?’
Council tax rise planned for Northumberland residents as authority faces £36m cuts
'Trump can't hack Trebs' - the best signs from Newcastle anti-Trump demonstration
Racism at work
Economy grows but there's a shortfall
Advice on gender pay gap from Acas
Tories offer no solution on discrimination
Eight assaults a day in Welsh schools
A quarterly periodical updating branch reps on employment law.
Winners in January.
Northern Region Young Members AGM
UNISON Northern Region Black Members Forum AGM 2017.
Discounted car insurance for UNISON members.
In Newcastle on Saturday 4 February.
Papers for the meeting on 6 February.
Death by a thousand fire service cuts
Guidance on stress
Modern-day slave traders jailed
Fees let bad bosses get off scot free
Top-ranked inclusive employers 2017
Get tough on pay, says pension funds
Agenda and nomination form for the mmeting on 4 February.
Annual Meeting of the Regional Disabled Members Self Organised Group on Tuesday 31 January 2017.
Mental Health Awareness Workshop on Thursday 16 February.
Wales to ditch parts of 2016 Trade Union Act
Inflation rates at highest since 2014
Retail inflation eating into earnings growth
UK unemployment at nine-year low
Public sector pay poised to fall by thousands in real terms, TUC says
May’s promise on workers’ rights is hollow if she doesn’t get a deal
NHS crisis: the one act of self-sacrifice that could rescue our health service
Politicians have ignored the working class for too long
World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%
Crisis, what NHS crisis? Theresa May must stop this denial
Welsh government tables bill to overturn Trade Union Act
UNISON have now been allocated two spots on the 16 January to have guided tours around the Anne Frank exhibition.
Courier's tribunal win against CitySprint
TUC warns over Brexit threat to workers' rights
Lame excuses for not paying minimum wage
High street store fined over safety
Manufacturing output edges higher
Child poverty briefing
Winners in December.
Consultation on political fund review: December-January
We are having our first Reading Ahead launch at Welford Learning Zone on 11 January between 10am and 11am.
Book now to secure your place on one of the courses for Reps at Newcastle College starting in January 2017.
UNISON courses in 2017. These courses are free and open to all members unless otherwise stated.
'Precarious pay penalty' of zero-hours staff
Plans for a Universal Basic Income
2017 — economic forecasts for year
'Fat Cat Wednesday' has been and gone
Northern Ireland to reveal political gifts
UK's deficit in trade in goods gets ever worse
UK economic growth revised upwards