Canteen Closure

The council have proposed to close the staff canteen, not consult on closure, but close due to economic reasons:

“As part of these changes the Civic Centre Canteen will be closed by the end of May 2015. The increased number of sandwich shops and catering facilities close to the Civic Centre has had a significant impact on the canteen and it is not sustainable for it to continue operating at a loss”.

UNISON is supporting our members who work in the canteen and we have requested the financial details that the decision to close was based on, in addition we are considering a range of actions we can take in support of the retention of a staff canteen in the future, have you any ideas to help?

A paper petition is available to sign in the canteen itself and you can also add your name to an electronic one:

A Facebook page has been set up also, please “Like” the page.


'No reprieve' says the Council

Representatives from the campaign group met with the deputy leader Joyce McCarty to raise our concerns about the closure of the canteen. In particular we raised: the lack of consultation, both with service users and staff; why a review was not undertaken to look at alternative ideas other than outright closure, and the lack on any impact assessment.

The Council's response is that there will be NO REPRIEVE and the intention is still to close the canteen in May.

In the response that was provided we have been informed that:

In addition in the response that was provided we were informed:

The current setting for eating is not conducive as a social space for eating, it is dark and gloomy.  Apart from at Westgate, no depot or other council facility has a canteen offer and the Civic is the place where the higher paid staff are based.  And the fact that there are 100s of food outlets nearby is also a consideration in our decision.  We cannot afford to subsidise the food offer for the highest paid staff any more, in the same way that we are no longer subsidising the cost of car parking’


Campaign Group Meeting – Tuesday 14 April – Canteen – 4pm

This campaign group meeting has been organised to gauge your views on this response and discuss where the campaign goes next.

Over a  thousand people have signed the petition and it is really important that as many people as possible attend this meeting so we can come up with some new ideas about working towards the reversing of the decision. The campaign group are clear that this campaign can still be won and  all support is needed.

In addition April 14th is the next ‘ Use your Canteen day’ on the menu will be the top choices that you choose on the last campaign day. Please come along, buy your favourite dish and support the canteen


Canteen “Egg–Stravaganza”

Monday 30 March – Wednesday 1 April

Come along to the canteen on one of these days, and with every purchase we will give you a raffle ticket. You will be entered into our Easter Egg competition and could win a fabulous Easter Egg. Prizes will be drawn on the Thursday in the canteen. This is part of the ongoing campaign to save the canteen. Over the last few weeks we have held 2 events in the canteen and the response has been eggcellent.

At UNISON’s request, the Council have shown us that takings on these days increased, which shows that the campaign is having a positive effect; and we now have over 980 signatures on the petition.

Your involvement has made a huge difference.  Please support the Canteen “EGG – STRAVAGANZA”. 


Use Your Canteen Day - Thursday 12th March

After the success of the last “Use Your Canteen Day”,  the Save Our Canteen campaign group and UNISON are organising another one! Please see the attached flyer.

Canteen staff who stand to lose their jobs are very appreciative of the support they are receiving, and it proves how the deliberate support of staff can make a difference to the future viability of the staff canteen. UNISON has requested details of the increased takings compared to a “usual” Friday, and we are hopeful that another successful turn out will convince the Council to review their decision.

Don’t forget that UNISON’s demands are for a pause in the process, pending a review including full consultation with the staff employed in the canteen and the users of the canteen; both council staff and members of the public. We also know it will require a commitment from those staff who want a staff canteen to remain, to ensure they regularly use the canteen in the future, but many members have already committed to this.

UNISON doesn’t want to see significant sums of money spent on the Civic Centre, providing a (hopefully) better environment to work in, being undermined by not having a council run, council staffed, place to socialise and get access to a hot meal; staff have told us that not everyone has the time to leave the Civic during the day, and not every private catering outlet offers the same range of hot and cold food.

Come to the canteen, sign the petition, raise the issue with your colleagues, let’s convince the council that there is a collective demand to retain the staff canteen.



Use Your Canteen Day

Friday 27th February, 12.30 pm – 2.30pm.

The council have announced they are to close the canteen. A campaign group has been launched to save it. At its first meeting the group decided to send letters to councillors asking for the rationale behind the decision and to hold an event that showed how well supported the canteen is  – ‘ Use Your Canteen Day’

The campaign have asked Cabinet members & councillors to come and listen to canteen users from 1pm and canteen workers from 2.30pm.

Come and show your support.  Oppose the proposed closure in May this year.



Join the campaign

Resistance to the closure of the staff canteen in the Civic Centre is building, following a call from Branch members a campaign group has been set up uniting the staff working in the canteen, UNISON members across the Branch and staff who regularly use the canteen.

A letter has been sent to Cabinet members inviting them to a “Use your canteen day” on Friday 27th February where staff who work in the canteen can have their questions answered on the closure proposals.

UNISON would encourage all staff that use the Civic Canteen to join the campaign as the Council won’t back down unless they are shown how important this resource is to staff.

Outlines February 2015


New on Site


Learning at Work Week

15-21 May 2017. The theme this year is Curious and Creative for Learning at Work Week.

Distance Courses

Starting 24 April 2017, these courses can be done online or paper based.


NEC Elections

Branch nominations and ballot details.

'There For You’ Newsletter

This newsletter includes an update on the changes to the Bereavement Support Payment as well as contact details for ‘Down to Earth’, who provide practical and emotional support throughout the funeral process.


Branch Lottery

Winners in March.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/13

Executive pay bandwagon rolls on

Cycle courier entitled to holiday pay

Employment law changes this April

New minimum wage rates kick in

UK lags on maternity

Merger heralds new teaching union

Consultation on caste discrimination



New courses for members and stewards.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/12

Inflation leaps to 3.2%

More regulation of gig economy needed

Appalling risk of suicides in construction

Fat cats — the great pay divide

Racist abuse after Brexit vote

Lack of diversity at top in Wales


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 3 April.


Regional Disabled Members Group

Meeting on Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 4.30pm.

Misogyny as a Hate Crime

Nottinghamshire Police have taken the bold step to identify misogyny as a hate crime and Northern UNSION are keen for this to be replicated in our region. The aim of the event is to identify how we can move the issue forward across the region with all three Police and Crime Commissioners.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/11

Swings and scooters of inflation basket

No real improvement in weekly earnings

Cosmetic improvement with Living Wage

Zero-hours contracts at record high

Unemployment falls below 1.6 million


AGM 2017

Agenda and annual report.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/10

Economic forecasts in Hammond's Budget

Mixed fortunes in ethnic women's pay gap data

Company merger and acquisitions in 2016

Numbers on zero-hours contracts at a high

GMB take on DX delivery firm

Former chancellor's nice big earner

Charter to stop violence at work


March/Rally for Durham Teaching Assistants

Saturday 25 March. Hear grassroots, union and guest speakers and watch the Reel News film showing the Durham Teaching Assistants’ story.

LGBT Policy weekend

Saturday 25 March, to plan UNISON LGBT activities for the year ahead.

HOPE Not Hate Event

A joint training session for trade union and community activists on how to organise to defeat the politics of division.  18 March 2017.

NE People’s Assembly

March calendar of events and activities.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/9

Trade Union Act regs come into force

Gender pension gap leaves women short

Violence at work — the nasty truth

Bookseller's £7m salary

Money purchase pension are norm

British Gas denied appeal in Lock case

Government fails in ethnicity review


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 6 March.

Retired members

Papers for the retired members' meeting on 17 March.


Branch Lottery

Winners in February.

Workers Memorial Day

Morning seminar and afternoon remembrance service in Hartlepool on Friday 28 April 2017. There is also an Eve of WMD ‘Gig’ on Thursday 27 April.


Labour Research Department Fact 79/8

Government green paper on pensions

A 'Stern diet' for fat cat directors' pay

Employers — don't miss out on talent

Argos repays £2.4 million to 37,000 staff

Economic growth revised upwards

Work fears of disabled people revealed

In the papers

Migrants have helped make Britain. It’s time to celebrate us

NHS at breaking point, according to British Medical Association

Councils prepare to cut essential services to fund adult social care

London transport spending equivalent to £1,500 more per head than North East


Labour Research Department Fact 79/7

Minimum wage cheats named and shamed

Inflation hits three-year high

Unemployment at 11-year low

Inflation erodes growth in weekly earnings

In the papers

Migrants are always the scapegoats. But now they’re taking on Ukip’s lies

I, Daniel Blake is a realistic depiction of life on benefits. Isn’t it?

English social care system for elderly facing 'complete collapse'

North East peers want law to make Government investigate impact of Brexit on region

North East recruitment drive revealed as jobless total in region rises

UK employment growth driven by foreign nationals, figures show

The NHS needs a rethink. Its priorities no longer make sense

Top Labour politicians come to 'UKIP area' Sunderland for Brexit debates and festival

Rothbury Community Hospital inpatient ward closure public meeting this week

Shopping will cost you more as prices rise, but is Brexit to blame?

Campaigners calling for u-turn over Post Office move

UK labour shortages reported as EU worker numbers fall

Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns

Then the Daily Mail came for Gary Lineker, and we said: ‘Enough!’

Brexit survey revealed: What you would do if given second shot at EU referendum

Booming gig economy costs £4bn in lost tax and benefit payouts, says TUC

There will be a shameful betrayal of the Brexit low-paid

Welcome to the new dark ages, where only the wealthy can retire

NHS 'pays £7.5m a year for 20 most expensive agency doctors'

Drive to bring health and social care together is a well-intentioned mess


Disabled Members Policy Weekend

Sunderland, 19/20 May 2017.

Members training

Sign Language (BSL) Introduction, 2 March 2017

Dementia Workshop, 30 March 2017

Reps training

Regional Education Calendar 2017

In the papers

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?

Labour Research Department Fact 79/6

Review of tribunal fees finally published

Plan to tackle abusive hiring practices

Insecure work on rise

Twenty eight directors share £68.37 million


Affiliations and donations

A list of affiliations and donations that the branch committee has approved since January 2015.


In the papers

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

Labour Research Department Fact 79/5

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.


Branch Lottery

Winners in January.


Young Members

Northern Region Young Members AGM

Black Members

UNISON Northern Region Black Members Forum AGM 2017.

LV Car Insurance

Discounted car insurance for UNISON members.


North East March and Rally for #ourNHS

In Newcastle on Saturday 4 February.

Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 6 February.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/4

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


Women's Network AGM

Agenda and nomination form for the mmeting on 4 February.

Disabled Members

Annual Meeting of the Regional Disabled Members Self Organised Group on Tuesday 31 January 2017.

Members training

Mental Health Awareness Workshop on Thursday 16 February.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/3

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

In the Papers

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


Anne Frank Trust Exhibition

UNISON have now been allocated two spots on the 16 January to have guided tours around the Anne Frank exhibition. 

Labour Research Department Fact 79/2

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


Branch Lottery

Winners in December.


The Trade Union Act and UNISON's Political Fund

Consultation on political fund review: December-January

Reading Ahead

We are having our first Reading Ahead launch at Welford Learning Zone on 11 January between 10am and 11am.

Trade Union Reps courses

Book now to secure your place on one of the courses for Reps at Newcastle College starting in January 2017.

Northern Region Training Programme

UNISON courses in 2017. These courses are free and open to all members unless otherwise stated.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/1

'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