Community and Voluntary Sector

Organizer: Derek Muse   Stewards and Reps     CVS Archive

UNISON is the largest union in the community and voluntary sector with more than 60,000 members nationwide.

We represent members across a wide range of non-profit organisations ranging from large national charities with hundreds of employees to small grant aided projects employing one part-timer   – those employed in charities, voluntary organisations, community groups, social enterprises and housing associations.

These organisations provide a range of services to local communities and campaign on all sorts of issues.

The Northern Region of UNISON has around 2500 members in the community and voluntary sector. The Newcastle Branch of UNISON has over 800 members in the community and voluntary sector in over 170 separate organisations. 

Work over the last twelve months has consisted of representing our members in disciplinary hearings, grievances, sickness reviews, consulting on changes to structures, dealing with the fall out of financial cuts – indeed all of the issues which our colleagues in the Local Authority have to face on a daily basis.

Shaping the Future

UNISON Newcastle want to create a new forum for members working in the charitable sector, and another for those working for housing associations. We will be visiting workplaces speaking to members and handing out a survey which will be asking what you’d like to see at these events and what would make you come along? Whether it be a speaker from the sector and a Q&A or something more like a forum for us to share our ideas and concerns about working in this sector. This is your opportunity to shape the future of the community sector within UNISON.

If you would like to arrange a UNISON visit to your workplace then email us at we can come and speak to staff, have a stall or hold a drop in session for members and non-members alike. We can also arrange training, the training we offer is  free to members and we can also provide some training to non members. UNISON want to know what you think and how we can help, you just have to let us know. If you have any suggestions or to get more involved simply get in touch.

Inclusive Learning Project

We now once again have a UNISON learning project targeted within the Community and Voluntary Sector. If you would like to find out more about the work of the project or are looking for a particular course contact Wendy Aitman.

We are always looking for Union Learning Reps within this area and anyone who is interested in learning and courses and helping others would be ideal and find the voluntary role very rewarding. For an informal chat please contact Wendy.


CVS reports to Branch Committee include the following headings:

Action for Children

Age UK

Disability North

Mental Health Matters


Places for People

Salvation Army

Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums

Tyne Tunnel


The Community Service Group Conference and Seminar

Date:  3-5 March, 2017

Venue: Bournemouth International Centre

The conference is open to all UNISON members in the Community Sector and sets the agenda for the coming year.

Read more

TUPE transfer to Thirteen Care & Support

Thirteen Care & Support – formerly known as Norcare – became a part of the much larger Thirteen Group a couple of years ago. Consultation is currently taking place to try and harmonise terms and conditions for those staff that were TUPE’d into the larger organisation. Members are currently being balloted on the proposals with a recommendation to reject.


Report to Branch Committee

Ian Royal has now commenced working in the Branch as CVS Assistant Organiser – Ian has already made a positive impact since his arrival!

We have met with Disability North recently to discuss recruitment of Personal Care Assistants (PCAs). Disability North administer the payroll of around 400 PCAs (those who are employed directly by the person they provide the care for). We will be writing to those who employ PCAs via Disability North’s payroll provision advising them of the benefits of UNISON membership for those they employ and asking them to pass on information including application forms and the benefits of UNISON Learning.

MHM – Currently consulting on further potential redundancies following decommissioning of a service by North Tyneside.

NCVS – Currently consulting on TUPE transfer of staff to Your Voice Counts – Gateshead.

MAY 2014

YHN/CVS Report to Branch Committee, May 2014

UNISON's work with thecommunity and voluntary sector continues to be case intensive.

Zero Hours Contracts

Shocking new figures have revealed that the number of people nationwide on zero hours contracts – though previously to be around half a million – is actually 1.4m.

Places for People

Places for People have lost one of their maintenance contracts to Keepmoat. TUPE consultation has now commenced. Organisation is also being targeted as part of a national recruitment drive/organising project in Housing Associations.

MARCH 2014

Report to branch committee

UNISON has engaged with over 70 different organisations over the last twelve months and has had an unprecedented number of disciplinaries where members jobs were at risk. In most of these we were successful in keeping our members in a job!. This sector was also responsible for a large proportion of the Branch’s referrals for legal advice.

Members who provide personal care have seen UNISON nationally taking up their concerns on zero hours contracts, ridiculously low time slots they are given to attend to clients’ needs and the questionable practice of organisations not paying staff travel time between appointments which calls in to question if minimum wage requirements are being met.

We have seen fairly major restructures and redundancies within Dimensions, CQC, Age UK and Mental Health Matters and the unfortunate folding of Learning First.

On a more positive note we have seen the Fabrick Group, which includes our members in Norcare, sign up to paying their staff the Living Wage and they look to further cement their partnership by forming a new organisation with Norcare at its head to bid for future contracts.


Prospects for 2014 in the Community and Voluntary Sector

Derek Muse assesses the year ahead.

The Community and Voluntary Sector continues to be extremely casework intensive and shows no sign of changing in 2014!

The main issues in this sector over the coming year will continue to be around those who provide personal care with the Branch advising members adversely affected by zero hours contracts - the ridiculously low time slots carers are given to attend to clients’ needs and the questionable practice of organisations not paying staff travel time between appointments - which calls in to question if minimum wage requirements are being met and is something which is now part of a UNISON national campaign.

The difficulties of trying to persuade employers in this sector to pay a living wage as the cuts bite deep into their funding are particularly acute. However with the Branch looking to increase capacity in the support we provide to the Voluntary Sector we can look ahead with optimism that we can grow and organise our membership here over the next twelve months.


Age UK

Consultation has begun on further restructuring and potential redundancies.

The CVS in general continues to generate large amounts of case work with this year seeing an unprecedented number of disciplinary hearings at which our members’ jobs were at risk.

'Speak Out' survey reveals children and disabled services hanging by a thread.

The UNISON survey of almost 3,000 workers from across the UK, uncovers dangerously underfunded services leading to hardship and exposing children and the disabled to risk.

UNISON is calling on the Government to have a major rethink in its attitude to the third sector.  Its sink or swim philosophy is leading to a struggle for survival. Almost unnoticed by the public, many charities have become increasingly financially dependent on winning contracts from the public sector.

A disability worker in the East Midlands reported:

“Users have less chance to go out, have to wear second hand clothes, have no transport, and blind people now have to buy their own white sticks when they lose them.”

A housing worker from the West Midlands revealed that:

“Fewer aids and adaptations are being installed, leaving people at risk in their homes and communities due to budget cuts.” 

The union is blaming the Government’s austerity drive for pushing people out of the sector, as it is increasingly difficult to provide even the basic help and support that clients need.

Key survey results

The full survey report

A “Guardian” article based on the survey



Mental Health Matters

We have a strong membership within Mental Health Matters. Like many C & V organisations the budget cuts have hit hard, contracts have been lost or decommissioned and they are looking further afield to secure jobs and services that they provide. MHM have asked via VONNE (the support body for the voluntary and community sector in the North East of England) to share their wish to talk to other organisations who are struggling in the current difficult economic climate and who are considering their options, which could include collaborations and in some cases merger.


Norcare are one such organisation who have entered into a partnership with Fabrick Group. After many years based in rather dingy offices in Shieldfield Norcare have now moved into new premises in Jesmond. Again we have a good membership in there and have recently recruited two new Shop Stewards to support our members there.

Salvation Army

Government suggestions for implementing Regional Pay seem to have quietly slipped off the radar – for good reason! However under their “Embrace For Change” restructuring the Salvation Army are looking to do just that. Their proposals would mean Salvation Army staff in the North East earning in some cases up to £7,000 less than their colleagues elsewhere (not just in London – Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff – the Isle of Man!!) for carrying out exactly the same role. The Regional Office is now considering submitting an impact assessment on the proposals.


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