Latest National News

It means that many UNISON members, migrants working in health and social care, looking after our communities, will be spared this deeply unfair charge. But UNISON won’t stop there.

Local government pay update (England, Wales, Northern Ireland)
UNISON will continue to campaign for more funding for the pay of key workers in local government and schools.
Statement from the UNISON NJC committee
Blog by national secretary Jon Richards
 
Police staff unions ask for 6.5% pay rise (England and Wales)
‘Police staff are working above and beyond,’ says UNISON as claim is submitted.
Read the full story
 
Legal briefing: High Court hears first furlough case
The court considers how administrators’ duties and changing contracts work with the furlough scheme. UNISON’s legal team looks at the findings.
Read the full article
 
Read more news from UNISON

Care home workers 'collateral damage' in virus battle

People working in the care sector feel they are collateral damage in the battle against coronavirus, a union has said.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said there would be "no value" to providing coronavirus tests to everybody in care homes.

The Welsh NHS is testing residents and staff who have symptoms, but not those who do not.

That is not the case in England, where all residents and staff will be covered after the policy changed on Tuesday.

Tanya Palmer, regional secretary for Unison, said: "Our members are saying they want to be tested, they're saying it would allow them to put measures in place to protect both residents and themselves and of course their families...

"I think my members feel that they are being used as collateral damage. Their work is not being valued as highly as front-line work in hospitals and that's clearly not true.”

29 April 2020
For immediate release


Care home death figures are shameful, says UNISON

Responding to new figures released today (Wednesday) that show a steep rise in coronavirus deaths due to the inclusion of those in care homes, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Care workers have been crying out for essential safety equipment, clear guidance and widespread virus testing for weeks. The risks have been plain to see and these new figures paint a stark picture of how the pandemic has been sweeping through residential homes across the UK.


“The most vulnerable people in society and the staff who look after them needed proper protection from the start.

“This is a source of national shame and another sharp reminder why society needs to look at how it treats the entire care system."


​Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

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UNISON wins proper pay for isolating private ambulance staff
Union pushes private ambulance firms providing NHS services in the Eastern region to pay self-isolating staff properly.
Read the full story
 
 
 

 
 
Record numbers sign up
“People are joining the union for advice and security at this worrying time,” notes Dave Prentis as growth this year hits more than 15,000.
Read the full story
New members can sign up online at join.unison.org.uk
 
Council workers keeping key services running need proper pay rise
UNISON, Unite and GMB urge chancellor to fund top-up pay rise after 2,75% LGA pay offer for council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Read the full press release
Find out more on local government (NJC) pay 
 
Read more news from UNISON
 

Daily reports from care staff to UNISON complain at the inadequacy of the equipment provided

 
 

Local authority employers and trade union representatives are so concerned about the severe pressures facing social and home care providers and care workers, they have today (Friday) written to Health Minister Vaughan Gething requesting his urgent intervention

 
 

Social care workers across Wales have welcomed the introduction of a card which will allow them to access supermarkets during the allocated opening hours for health service staff

The union calls on people to respond to the government’s consultation on it’s new scheme, which will not solve the housing crisis

 

Grieving Mold woman's play about stillbirth to premier on Theatr Clwyd stage, UNISON Cymru Wales’ sponsorship and support referenced, Leader

 

 

Tuesday 25 February 2020

 

PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS COMMENT ON WELSH GOVERNMENT BUDGET

 

Commenting on Welsh Government’s announcement of its budget settlement for 2020/21, Tanya Palmer, UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary said,

 

For the first time in recent memory, public service workers will breathe a sigh of relief that for once, the headlines will not be about further service cuts and job losses. The additional money is to be welcomed, particularly given the recent devastation caused by the storms.

 

“Communities have been crying out for investment in their local public services.

 

“Ten years of severe spending cuts by Westminster starved Welsh government and Welsh councils of money. As a result, libraries, youth clubs and leisure facilities shut across Wales and 28,100 public service workers lost their jobs.

 

“One of the reasons why our NHS is so stretched, is councils have not been given the funds they need to invest in social care focused on keeping people in their own homes and out of hospital.

 

“One reasonable settlement doesn’t undo the cumulative effect of nearly a decade of Westminster austerity, or signal its end. Public services remain at crisis point in Wales. If you want quality public services to meet the growing needs of our communities, that needs sustained investment and an end to the unpredictable budget setting timetable from Westminster.”

 

Notes to editors:

  • According to the ONS Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey 28,100 council jobs were lost between Q1 2010 and Q1 2018 – equivalent to losing the seven largest private sector employers in Wales
  • For every 6 council jobs in Q1 2010 there are only 5 in Q1 2018
  • Link to UNISON’s report: Audit of Austerity

 

Contact:

Alastair Gittins, UNISON press officer on 07816 53 83 97

 
Northern Ireland: UNISON members vote accept to pay proposals
 

UNISON health members in Northern Ireland have voted to accept proposals on pay parity and safe staffing. 

This is a major victory for UNISON following sustained industrial action from November until January.

 
 
 
 
Full statement from UNISON Northern Ireland
 
 
 

 
People Plan Webinar
 

On 5 March UNISON Head of Health Sara Gorton will be joining the NHS Chief People Officer Prerana Issar for an HR Leadership webinar where they will discuss plans for the publication of the NHS People Plan. Their conversation will be about the development of the Interim People Plan, what worked well and what things we might have done differently, and in light of this, ideas and plans for the launch of the full NHS People Plan.

They will discuss the role of the National Social Partnership Forum so far and, importantly, the need for local trade unions to be involved in making the People Plan a reality for staff. HR Directors have been asked to invite local staff side chairs to the event and joining instructions will be shared via the HR Leadership network.

 
 
 
 

 
Exploring substance misuse amongst midwives 
 

There is widespread concern about the health and wellbeing of midwives in the UK. Recent research has shown that many experience stress and burnout and this may contribute to an increased risk of substance abuse.

Researchers from Coventry University are launching a study looking at this concerning issue and we are encouraging members who are midwives to take part. Please circulate this information to any midwife members you may have.

 
 
 
 
Find out how to take part in the study
 

Ending the supply of workers will leave vulnerable with no support

Royal Glamorgan

Doctor at Royal Glamorgan Hospital claims people will die if its A&E closes,  Cwm Taf Morgannwg branch chair Ian Cathrew  and regional secretary Tanya Palmerquoted, Wales Online

 

 

Sponsorship of Dancing in the Wings

Healthcare workers help bring story of loss to Theatr Clwyd, North Wales Health branch secretary Jan Tomlinson quoted, Leader

 

Assistant general secretary sets out the scale of the challenge, but tells women’s conference that UNISON is in shape to meet it

Responding to proposals to downgrade Royal Glamorgan’s Accident and Emergency department, Ian Cathrew, UNISON Cwm Taf Morgannwg branch chair, said, “UNISON is completely opposed to any withdrawal of emergency department services from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. The people of Cwm Taf Morgannwg deserve a world-class National Health Service and there must be no reduction in […]

'Health boss admits there are 'real safety concerns' over Royal Glamorgan Hospital,Ian Cathrew, Cwm Taf Morgannwg branch chair, quoted, Wales Online.

 

 

Alastair Gittins

Communications 

Information Development Organiser

UNISON Cymru/Wales

 

Office: 02920 729 453

Mobile: 07816 538 397

Windrush deportations must stop now, says UNISON

Commenting on the departure of the government’s deportation flight to Jamaica UNISON assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie today (Wednesday) said: 

“It’s deeply worrying that people who’ve lived in the UK since childhood are being deported to countries they don’t know.

“This shows the government’s learned nothing from the Windrush scandal and is intent on ploughing ahead with its shabby hostile environment agenda. 

"Deportation flights must stop now and a proper investigation launched into this cruel and disproportionate punishment.”

Notes to editors
- UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Garfield Myrie T: 0207 121 5546 M: 07432 741565 E: g.myrie@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes T: 0207 121 5255  M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Garfield Myrie

Media officer, UNISON (the UK’s biggest union)

T: 0207 121 5546

M: 07432 741565

E: g.myrie@unison.co.uk or press@unison.co.uk

 

Please always call rather than email if it’s urgent

 

UNISON Community Conference 28 Feb – 1 March 2020
 

If you are a Health Branch with Community Members, you will be interested to know that the annual report of UNISON’s Community Service Group Executive is now available, and will be presented to Community Conference on 29 February 2020.

Please share with your members in the community service group. The report sets out key achievements and challenges of the past 12 months, and how the Service Group Executive has taken forward the motions agreed at the 2019 Conference.
 
If a branch has any questions about the report, please email Andrew Dobbie, National Officer in Community, by 14 February.

 
 
 
 
Access the report
 
 
 

 
Op services staff at Imperial College celebrate return to NHS
 

A thousand low-paid porters, cleaners and catering staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London are celebrating after winning the right to be directly managed by the NHS.

The UNISON-brokered deal ends outsourcing for the staff from 1st April this year.

 
 
 
 
 
Read more about it

Unions reject ‘disappointing’ council pay offer 

 

The three unions representing council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have today (Wednesday) rejected the 2% initial pay offer made by the local government employers.

 

Last summer UNISON, GMB and Unite – which between them have more than a million local government members – submitted the pay claim for 2020/21.

 

If the unions’ claim were to be accepted, it would mean that £10 an hour would be the lowest rate for council staff from this April. Everyone else would receive a 10% wage rise.

 

The three unions have now called on the local government employers to think again and come up with a better offer so talks can continue as soon as possible.

 

Commenting on the talks, UNISON head of local government Jon Richards said: “Council staff run vital local services at the heart of communities across the three nations. They’ve done this through thick and thin, as cuts and redundancies have made their jobs ever more challenging. Today’s offer is more than disappointing.

 

“It’s high time teaching assistants, care workers, librarians and park keepers were rewarded for their sterling efforts during the difficult decade of austerity.

 

“The chancellor must give councils the cash in the Budget to fund a proper pay rise. Otherwise experienced staff will be lost as they seek better paid work elsewhere and there’ll be barely anyone left to deliver local services.”

 

GMB National Secretary Rehana Azam said: “This offer does nothing to address the decade of savage cuts our members have suffered – their wages have been devalued by 22% over the past ten years. It's a no from GMB.

 

“This is Johnson’s first test on how his government will treat public sector workers and the offer tabled today is woefully short of a proper decent wage. Local government workers are the backbone of our communities; overwhelmingly part-time and female. 

 

“We demand a proper negotiation, in good faith, that restores public sector workers’ confidence that Johnson and his new MPs – many who represent public sector workers – value the vital services they provide. 

 

“The election is over and soundbites are worthless unless words are followed by deeds.”

 

Unite national officer Ian Woodland said: “The local government pay offer is deeply disappointing, it does not begin to address the aspirations of our members.

 

“Following a decade of austerity, during which their pay in real terms has been slashed, local government members will not accept an offer which makes them poorer in real terms.

 

“Local government unions are now seeking a fresh meeting to allow employers to table a dramatically improved offer.”

Notes to editors:
- The National Joint Council negotiates the pay of the vast majority of local government workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 
- Negotiations took place today between the unions and the local government employers, made up of representatives of local authorities supported by the Local Government Association.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk 
GMB press office M: 07958 156846 E: press.office@gmb.org.uk
Barckley Sumner T: 0203 371 2067 M: 07802 329235 E: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

Responding to proposals to downgrade Royal Glamorgan’s Accident and Emergency department, Ian Cathrew, UNISON Cwm Taf Morgannwg branch chair, said, “UNISON is completely opposed to any withdrawal of emergency department services from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. The people of Cwm Taf Morgannwg deserve a world-class National Health Service and there must be no reduction in […]

Wholesale cancellation of routine operations shows why it is essential we properly invest in hospitals and in safe staff numbers

Help for EU nationals in Welsh public services

UNISON Cymru Wales’ courses last week in Abergele and Cardiff were reported on Friday morning’s BBC Wales TV news and Pembrokeshire branch chairManuela Hughes was interviewed by the Western Mail (full page article published on Saturday – ‘Many don’t understand trauma and stress to get settled status’). Please see attached. Well done Manuela.

 

 

 

 

Alastair Gittins

Communications 

Information Development Organiser

UNISON Cymru/Wales

 

Office: 02920 729 453

Mobile: 07816 538 397

The true scale of almost a decade of savage austerity cuts to local communities in the Wales is laid bare in a study published by UNISON today, showing the impact of huge reductions in council funding. A series of freedom of information (FOI) requests to local authorities in Wales examined the changes in local services […]

HELP OFFERED TO FOREIGN NATIONALS WORKING IN WELSH PUBLIC SERVICES

 

European nationals working in Wales as carers, healthcare assistants and school support staff amongst others are to be offered assistance by Wales’ biggest trade union in processing their applications to remain in the UK after Brexit.

 

UNISON Cymru Wales has linked-up with charity Settled, to pilot training on how trade union representatives might best support and guide EU citizens who may be struggling with their application to the UK Government’s Settlement Scheme.

 

This week, training courses – the first of their kind anywhere in the UK – are being held in UNISON offices in Abergele and Cardiff and it is hoped similar events will be rolled-out across Wales.

 

The trade union has repeatedly underlined the contribution of foreign nationals working in Welsh public services and says they face an increasingly hostile environment during the Brexit transition.

 

The idea is for UNISON representatives in workplaces across Wales to become ‘Settled Status Angels’ who could assist people and signpost complex cases to organisations with the relevant experience.

 

German-born Manuela Hughes has lived in the UK since 1992. She is employed as a special unit leader in an autism centre in a Pembrokeshire secondary school and has just secured Settled Status. Manuela said,

“The whole process of applying to remain in the UK is confusing, frustrating and traumatic and could put people off pursuing what is their right. That’s why it’s so good an organisation the size of UNISON has made a commitment to offer support to Welsh public service workers caught up in this.

 

“Home Office decisions on right to remain seem arbitrary and there are horrible cases of families being split-up when children and dependant relatives have been denied Settled Status.

 

“My Settled Status has just been confirmed but there’s no certificate or paperwork that’s legally binding. I worry if a future government chooses to move the goal-posts, the UK will be looking at another Windrush scandal where people who have worked and built lives here are pressurised to leave.”

 

Tanya Palmer, UNISON regional secretary said,

“You only need to visit your doctor’s surgery, a local hospital, or school to see EU nationals are working hard in public service and caring for our communities. They have enriched our culture and now it is time to help them.

 

“We are leaving the EU and it is important these public servants are treated with dignity and assisted if they wish to remain in Wales.  UNISON wants to provide assistance where we can and we will continue to raise awareness of their plight with employers and Welsh government.”

 

Notes for editors

  • Settled is a charitable arm of campaign group the3million which aims to give a voice to the three million EU citizens in the UK
  • There are many reasons why people may find it difficult to engage with the Settled Status application process or are worried to do so. This can include difficulty with providing or accessing documents, not having the means or the skill to make an online application and difficulty in understanding the language of the application process, or living in circumstances where making an application could impact on other issues of concern, such as being homeless or a victim of domestic abuse.
  • The Welsh Government has provided funding to Settled to appoint a “Settled Status Angel Coordinator” operating across Wales. The coordinator will provide free accredited training and resources to both individuals and groups.

 

Contact

Alastair Gittins, UNISON press officer on 07816 53 83 97

News updates from your union
 
Birkbeck cleaners win right to be directly employed
Cleaning staff at Birkbeck, University of London, have won their long-running struggle to have their jobs transferred back in-house. Last Thursday was their first day of direct employment since the service was outsourced in the late 1990s.
Read the full story
Privatisation and outsourcing in education
 
Northern Ireland health staff suspend industrial action and vote on pay offer
Framework agreement on restoring pay parity with NHS staff in England has been reached after many hours of intensive negotiations between the trade unions and Northern Ireland Department of Health.
Find out more
 
Preparing for the future
“We are the first and main line of defence,” assistant general secretary Christina McAnea tells higher education service group as it gathers for first UNISON conference since the general election.
Read the full story
Conference round-up: mapping the challenges ahead
UNISON in higher education

Routine operations and elective surgical procedures postponed at Glan Clwyd Hospital and Abergele HospitalPaul Summers, head of health quoted, North Wales Chronicle. The same article appeared in the Leader, Denbighshire Free Press, North Wales Pioneer and Rhyl Journal.

 

The situation at your local hospital as operations get cancelled across WalesPaul Summers quoted, Wales Online

 

Winter pressures at hospitals 'exceptional' - Vaughan Gething, Paul Summers again quoted, BBC Wales

 

Withybush operations cancelled for fourth dayPaul quoted, Western Telegraph. The same article appeared in the Tivyside Advertiser.

Domestic abuse

UNISON is the biggest union in the UK – because public service workers like you have put your trust in us to stand with you.

UNISON North Wales Health branch has invited a range of public service workers and managers to a conference today to learn about and discuss how to better support female workers going through the menopause.

 
 

The true scale of almost a decade of savage austerity cuts to local communities in the Wales is laid bare in a study published by UNISON today, showing the impact of huge reductions in council funding. A series of freedom of information (FOI) requests to local authorities in Wales examined the changes in local services […]

Dear all, 

 

Please see below message from Mark Evans, Carmarthenshire branch secretary, regarding the formal industrial action dispute around winter gritting in Carmarthenshire council.

 

“Our Winter Gritting members on a turnout of over 84% voted 100% to take strike action or action short of strike action. GMB and Unite also overwhelmingly voted to take strike action etc.

 

The dispute is about the amount of retainer the  employer is offering (£90 per week) for Winter gritting. We had been negotiating for 2 years but management pulled the plug and said this was their final offer. Given that the job is hard and dangerous we consider that this offer is far too low and we are calling on them to double this to £180 per week. We have also made another suggestion to the employer but this is likely to cost them more.

 

Surprise, surprise the employer wanted to meet us when they received the ballot result. We have informed the employer that we will be implementing an overtime ban on 18/ 19/20 December that will mean no winter gritting will take place out of hours on those days.

 

We will escalate the action after Xmas if the employer doesn’t substantially improve its ‘final offer’. We are hearing rumours that other local authorities may have been approached about doing the winter gritting for Carmarthenshire we would appreciate if you could check these out in your local authorities. We would also value messages of support and solidarity for our members who have been forced to take action by an intransigent employer from your branch.

 

Yours fraternally

 

Mark Evans

Branch Secretary 

Carmarthenshire County Unison”

 

I am aware of one UNISON branch that has been approached by their council about their position on their local highways workers covering the work that Carmarthenshire correctly provides in their area.  This branch gave their employer a robust and clear response, confirming that supporting any undermining of a formal industrial dispute would not be tolerated in any circumstances, as it would go against UNISON’s core principles.  The branch went on to encourage their council to instead put pressure on Carmarthenshire council to find an agreed settlement with their trade unions.

 

Could branches please keep me informed of any other councils’ approaches, regarding this dispute, so that I can ensure that there is a consistency of response from UNISON across the affected area.

 

Please get back to me if you have any queries.

 

Regards.

Dominic

Dominic MacAskill 
Regional Manager Rheolwr Rhanbarthol 
UNISON Wales UNSAIN Cymru 
The Courtyard / Y Libart 
Wind Street 
Swansea / Abertawe 
SA1 1DP 
Phone / ffon: 01792 483918
e-mail / e-bost: d.macaskill@unison.co.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DomMacAskill

  

Trade unions representing healthcare workers at Betsi Cadwaladr are to meet the health board tomorrow (Friday) to discuss the ongoing dispute over the imposition of an unpopular nursing rota which would leave some nurses financially worse off.

The cowboy companies that don't care
 
Comic relating to 'cowboy care'
 

New research released today clearly shows what you as a UNISON member, have known for years – residential care homes are being run irresponsibly. Every year millions of pounds are taken out of care homes, directly into the pockets of shareholders and directors.

 
Read our full story exposing the cowboys pretending to care
 

 

‘WG ups investment in digital NHS’, regional organiser Darron Dupre quoted, Carmarthenshire Herald. See attached.

 

The same article appeared in the Pembrokeshire Herald.

 

WG ups investment in digital NHS 11.10.1[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [228.3 KB]

UNISON appoints national nursing officer

Stuart Tuckwood has been appointed UNISON’s national nursing officer to help the union promote and defend the interests of nurses. He took up the position this month (September).

A registered adult nurse, Stuart spent the past five years at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where he worked in major trauma rehabilitation and later as a charge nurse in the neurosurgery and neurology departments.

Most recently Stuart has specialised in critical care outreach at Addenbrooke’s, where he was part of the trust's rapid-response team, managing deteriorating patients and delivering advanced life support.

After completing a diploma in tropical nursing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2018, Stuart spent six months working in Myanmar, helping one of the country’s biggest hospitals improve its trauma intensive care delivery.

A former UNISON steward, Stuart has been a vocal campaigner for the interests of healthcare staff and is a staunch opponent of austerity and spending cuts to the NHS and social care.

Speaking about his UNISON role, Stuart said: “I'm excited and very proud to represent nursing at the UK's largest union in healthcare. I’ve been lucky to see first-hand the amazing work nurses and healthcare staff do for patients and the public every day, despite the many challenges we face.

“Having been on the frontline I know it’s vital we make sure the current pay deal is the start of a process to restore and improve the value of nurse’s pay and not the end of it.

“We also need to make sure the right support is there for nurses coming to the NHS from overseas and must win the argument over safe staffing levels and proper student nurse funding.

“There’s much to do, but I’m in the right place to campaign for new and existing nurses to have the most fulfilling and rewarding careers possible.”


Notes to editors:
- UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors. 
- A photograph of Stuart is available on request.

Mike Leigh’s historical adviser talks about the research that informs the recounting of the 18th century pro-democracy rally that ended in tragedy

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