January 2016

Staff have now transferred to North Country Leisure.  In January I will visit all sites and report back to the next branch committee, in addition the trade union side will meet with management from NCL as part of regular catch ups.


December 2015

The transfer date for staff has been moved to mid December. All sites have been visited by GLL/NCL, no detail was given at these regarding plans for any development and that although this was contained in the bids there will be a requirement for consultation on the plans. An update is to be provided to staff after transfer. UNISON and GMB are to meet with NCL/GLL regarding the TUPE of staff.


November 2015

Procurement update - GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) in partnership with NCL (North Country Leisure) have been appointed as the preferred bidder to run the following centres Westgate Centre for Sport; East End Pool; Walker Activity Dome; and All Saints Sports Centres. Meetings have been held at all centres to update staff and UNISON will meet with representatives from the project team and GLL/NCL to discuss the TUPE agreement in early November. All staff displaced by the closure of Elswick pool have been given details of where they will based. All VR applicants will leave the council by the end of October and Elswick pool will close at this time too.


October 2015

The Council have been going through a procurement process within leisure and have now agreed to appoint GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) in partnership with NCL (North Country Leisure) as the preferred bidder to run the following centres Westgate Centre for Sport; East End Pool; Walker Activity Dome; and All Saints Sports Centres. In the following weeks UNISON will meet with representatives from the project team and GLL/NCL to discuss the TUPE agreement. Visits are arranged for all the sites and these will continue until the transfer tales place.

Elswick Pool is not part of the procurement and is due to close at the end of October. Enough staff have come forward for VR which will mean that a recruitment process will not be necessary prior to transfer.


September 2015

Regular updates have been provided regarding the Procurement process within leisure and two bids have now been submitted.

The original advert outlined that the Leisure Estate within the city is made up of 5 facilities. Neither of the bids submitted include Elswick Pool. Rationale was asked for on why this was the case given the facility was part of the original advert. That rationale has been provided and UNSION are seeking further information on this.

The day after the bids were submitted all staff in Leisure were informed of this and UNISON were in attendance at these. This decision now means 12.3 FTE staff are at risk, and a voluntary redundancy trawl is taking place within Leisure.  Discussions have taken place with the management in this area regarding what may happen if there are not enough VR requests and a future meeting is scheduled to assess how many VRs have been submitted.

The intention is to close Elswick pool by the end of October. As part of the Procurement process UNISON have had access to the staffing elements of the bids and have submitted queries and questions regarding these. A response has not yet been provided, however, UNISON have stated that clarity is required on these points as a matter of urgency. An update will be provided at Branch Committee on the Procurement with Leisure.


July 2015

The procurement of a leisure trust continues. A verbal report will be provided at Branch Committee

North Country staff leisure

A consultative ballot took place within NCL regarding the lack of a pay offer for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. The members rejected the Employer’s decision regarding the pay claim, and further negotiations took place with NCL. Meetings are to take place with the members to share the Employer’s response. These meetings will take place after this report is submitted and therefore an update will be provided at Branch Committee.


June 2015

The procurement of a leisure trust continues. Draft bids are expected to be submitted in early June and UNISON will assess the staffing elements.

North Country staff leisure

An update on the consultative ballot that has taken place in this area will be provided at branch committee.


May 2015

The procurement of a leisure trust continues. Monthly meetings are held with management in this area and with the staff. UNISON is in attendance at these.

North Country staff leisure

An update on the consultative ballot that has taken place in this area will be provided at branch committee.

Branch Committee minutes for 11 may 2015  -  "Communities and I and D – NR - ongoing H&S issues ."


March 2015

The procurement of a Leisure trust is continuing, the advert is due to go out to at the end of February beginning March. Monthly meetings are taking place with staff and UNISON are in attendance at these.


February 2015

The intention is to procure an existing leisure Trust to run the remaining leisure facilities in Newcastle (except Newburn). In line with the Procurement agreement UNISON will be involved at the relevant stages, updates are provided at the fortnightly meetings held with David Fay and Di Scott – Heads of Service within CCS. Monthly meetings are scheduled with staff and UNISON will be in attendance at these. As information becomes available Branch Committee will be updated. 


December 2014

Newburn Leisure Centre is operated through a trust with financial support from the council. When alternative models of delivery have been explored for the remaining Leisure centres, Newburn has been excluded. David Fay and a member of the trust met with staff to discuss options for future service delivery. These discussions are on going and updates will be provided.

UNSION have met with members at Elswick Pool, East End Pool, Westgate Centre for Sport and Walker Activity Dome. A discussion took place regarding future service provision. 2 options were discussed as outlined in the previous Branch Committee

A- Do members think the council should look at setting up a Leisure trust and therefore the branch would object to the procurement exercise or

B- Allow the procurement exercise to begin, stating UNSION’s right to be involved and informed at all stages.

Full discussions took place, members were asked to reply to the branch with the preferred option.

An update will be provided at Branch Committee. (NR


November 2014

Meetings are taking place at Elswick Pool, East End Pool, Walker Activity Dome, and Westgate centre for Sport. These meetings are to discuss the paper that was brought to Octobers branch committee regarding future service provision. Once all visits have taken place I will report back to branch committee.(NR


October 2014

NR met with Tony Durcan (TD) remaining leisure facilities regarding future service provision – Walker Activity Dome, Westgate Centre for Sport, Elswick and East End Pool. UNISON formally wrote to TD asking for clarity re did the council intend to retain an in house option or procure a leisure trust. He has outlined the intention to procure a leisure trust, based on the financial pressures the council face. Branch Committee agreed for NR to consult the membership to see which would be the staff’s preferred option. (Branch Committee Minutes


September 2014

UNISON have met with Tony Durcan to discuss the rest of the Leisure estate, following a letter being submitted by UNISON asking for an update on the planned procurement of a trust to run the remaining centres (East End Pool, Walker Activity Dome and the Westgate Centre for Sport). UNISON will receive a formal response to the letter.(NR


July 2014

The date for transfer was delayed from the 1st June to 1st July. Meetings with staff took place in late May, and UNISON attended these, in addition to this a formal meeting took place between UNISON and representatives from NCL, this was to discuss the outstanding issues regarding the TUPE agreement. Once this transfer takes place these staff will no longer work for Newcastle City Council but be employees of NCL. After transfer all members will receive correspondence from the branch regarding how we will continue to provide representation to them.

In the updated IIA for this area, proposals include the intention to either set up a Newcastle Trust or to go out to procurement for one, this trust would run the remaining Leisure facilities in the city, to date no formal discussion have taken place with the authority, UNISON have written to Tony Durcan asking for an urgent meeting to discuss future service provision and the potential procurement of a trust. This meeting is due to take place mid-July and I will provide an update for Septembers Branch Committee.(NR


June 2014

The date for transfer has been announced as June 1st 2014. A draft copy of the TUPE agreement and the measures letter has been shared with UNISON. UNISON has formally requested to meet with NCL and Newcastle City Council to discuss the documentation. Staff briefings are taking place and UNISON will be in attendance at these, and will inform the membership of what is enclosed within the documentation.(NR


May 2014

The date for transfer has been announced as June 1st 2014. UNISON met with North Country Leisure to raise our outstanding concerns, and will continue to meet with the management in this area to receive updates in relation to the TUPE transfer. UNISON have negotiated that the new employer continues to pay the new living wage, currently paid by Newcastle City Council - £7.55, and it has been confirmed that this will happen. The living wage is paid as a supplement and so not part of an employee’s contract. The Branch felt it was vitally important that staff would not be detrimentally affected by the transfer to a new employer.(NR


April 2014

As part of its three-year budget announced last year the council stated that a number of leisure facilities across the city would have to close unless it could find an alternative provider to take them over. The facilities included Eldon Leisure Gosforth and Outer West Pools -regular updates regarding this proposal have been provided.

The council’s Cabinet has now agreed that negotiations with North Country Leisure (NCL) can be progressed so that they take on full responsibility for the three centres and their staff. It is expected that the transfer of these centres will be complete in May 2014. The formal consultation process will now begin and UNISON is in discussion with Tony Durcan and HR with regard to this. The Branch is also in the process of visiting members to provide advice and representation.(NR


March 2014

Discussions are continuing in relation to the asset transfer. The members at Gosforth Pool, Eldon Leisure and Outer West Pool advised us that they wished UNISON to continue the discussions with the authority regarding the transfer. Representatives from North Country leisure are going to have joint meetings with David Fay (Service Manager Libraries & Leisure) and the staff in the following months. Prior to this UNISON are to meet with North Country Leisure.(NR


February 2014

Discussions regarding the asset transfer are on going, In January we have visited the 3 facilities affected by the proposal- Outer West Pool, Gosforth Pool and Eldon leisure. These meetings were an opportunity for us to explain our involvement to date and to understand the views of our members. Management are following up these visits, after this we will receive a response from our members on how the transfer. This will inform on how we proceed with the negotiations going forward. A full update on the visits and unisons involvement will be provided at branch committee.(NR


NR gave update about significant importance of asset transfer (to North Country Leisure) for 60 leisure staff including 2 options available – transfer or closure – to be completed by 1st May, aware TUPE rules have recently changed. If required branch will run campaign. (Branch Committee Minutes


January 2014

UNISON had concerns regarding the staff at Elswick Pool. This facility was identified as a possible asset transfer, however the bid was not progressing as quickly as the North Country leisure bid (Eldon Leisure, Gosforth Pool and Outer West Pool are the facilities covered by the NCL bid), and staff who could have been included in the asset transfer had not been included in the initial consultation for an integrated service. UNISON believed that staff at Elswick were being put at disadvantage, in that if the bid did not progress and they were not part of the integrated service, what other options would there be for them, and so the Branch applied pressure for the staff to be included in the integrated service proposals; whilst this did mean that some of the staff would now be part of a workforce being reduced, we felt this was the fairer option. The leads and HR agreed to our proposal, and the staff have been informed of this.

This does not affect the staff at Eldon, Outer West and Gosforth as the asset transfer for these facilities is proceeding. UNISON met with the preferred bidder NCL and have arranged to visit all 3 facilities to provide our members with an update on our involvement to date, the outcome of the meeting with NCL and to seek their views to inform the basis of our negotiating position in the future.(NR


December 2013

We are meeting the leads in this area to discuss the asset transfer on 25th November. We are seeking information on the on-going discussions with the preferred bidders, and clarity on the issues we raised.

There is particular concern regarding the timing of the asset transfer and the implementation of the restructure. We are seeking assurances that staff within leisure will not be disadvantaged should the asset transfer not take place. We have given a commitment to update members once we have met with the leads in this area. A further 3.5% of cuts have been announced - an update will be given under the budget item.(NR


November 2013

UNISON has evaluated the bids that were submitted regarding the proposed asset transfer. As the authority are still in the process of assessing the bids these are confidential documents and so the feedback we provided can not be shared at this point, however we have raised concerns in relation to the financial and staffing elements of the bids and are awaiting a response. We have requested to meet with Tony Durcan to discuss the bids further before any decisions are taken in relation to the running of the facilities earmarked for asset transfer.

A verbal update on this restructure and the asset transfer will be provided at Branch Committee.(NR


Leisure Asset Transfer

4 facilities to transfer, commercially sensitive. NCC should implement TUPE; concern over terms and conditions; public do not see impact of asset transfer. Political aspect to this and also discussed running campaign not to accept changes. (Branch Committee Minutes


October 2013

The Council are currently undertaking a procurement exercise, examining bids from Greenwich Leisure, North Country Leisure and the Elswick Consortium, all of whom have expressed an interest in running some of the leisure estate. Should this go ahead, it will mean staff within those centres would be TUPE’d across and would no longer be employed by the council. Staff not included in the asset transfer will be included within the integrated service.

Discussions are on-going in relation to the City Hall and the Theatre Royal regarding future management of the City Hall. Members who work at the City Hall are not included in the intergraded roles.(NR


September 2013

Communities - Consultation on Libraries, Leisure and Customer Services begins on Monday – will be a reduction in staff. Briefings next week, more meetings to be arranged. DJC to be held soon.  (Branch Committee Minutes)


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