Diary dates

19 – 20 June 2016

National Local Government Conference

21 – 24 June 2016
National Delegate Conference

6 July 2016

Branch Disabled Members' Meeting

9 July 2016

Durham Miners Gala

12 July 2016

Branch Womens Group Meeting

22/23 July 2016

Unison Northern Black Members 2016 Policy Weekend




Tyne Tunnel Trekkers complete the Cateran Yomp

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.

More photos


Durham Miners Gala

On Saturday, 9th July, 2016, UNISON Northern Region will be proud to take part in this year’s Miners Gala.  This will be a great opportunity for us to highlight the strength of our campaigns to the thousands attending.  This year we are focussing on our Campaigns in the NHS: One Team and NHS Student Bursary Cuts.  We are also promoting UNISON’s Local Government Pension Scheme on-line petition and showing support for members in the Durham County Branch who are currently in dispute with Durham County Council.  We’ve already had a great response from Branches to the UNISON River Boat Cruises, and all tickets have been snapped up.

We want to build on our great success at last year’s event and we hope that you are able to join us on the day. 

Volunteer to help

We are looking for volunteers to help with our Regional Banners and Balloons on the march to the Racecourse as well as in our Marquee which will be in the same position as last year.

We are setting up stalls to hand out our campaign materials and to sign up to our Petitions on the day. 

We’ve hired the huge UNISON Balloons and all branches are encouraged to attend with Banners/flags to highlight our UNISON colours.

Our National Labour Link Forum is to be held in the Region that weekend and we hope to have volunteers for duties in the Marquee.  We will also be working alongside ‘Show Racism the Red Card’.

Please let us know if you can provide some help at the gala and can spend an hour (or 2) giving us a hand in the marquee by Friday 24 June 2016.  (We will be identifying a rota across the day to share the campaigning activities)  The more volunteers we have, the less time we will be asking for you to give up on the day.  (The busiest times are likely to be from 10 am to 3 pm!)  Please send your names/email address and telephone number to Jo Whittaker at J.Whittaker@unison.co.uk or telephone: 0191 2450826.


Festival of Learning

Just a reminder that we are now in Festival of Learning, final list attached, please display in your workplace.

All events are free, including Sign Language 27th June 11-12.30, Autism Spectrum 29th June 1-2pm both in Committee Rooms, Newcastle Civic Centre. 

Or why not visit our stall 8.30 - 9.30am on the 29th June to find out what courses are coming up after the Festival or let us know what courses you would like to see.

To attend or for further information contact Wendy Aitman.

Revised Festival of Learning Schedule


Better Off  In Than Out

UNISON has taken a position – guided by our membership – to advise support for a Remain vote in the upcoming EU referendum

Of course there are those within our union who take a different view, and those views are respected but what unites us all is our condemnation of the tactics employed by the official “Vote Leave” campaign, and racist, xenophobic rhetoric employed by some leading campaigners for Brexit.

In particular, we are concerned by the divisive anti-immigrant rhetoric employed by the campaign, designed to turn worker against worker rather than making real arguments about the EU: whether it’s the (false) claims by the official Leave campaign that Turkey is about to join the EU – clearly being pushed to add anti-Muslim sentiment to their list of little-Englander tactics – or Nigel Farage’s outright racist claim that women are at risk of sexual assault from immigrants.

It turns out the last refuge of the scoundrel is not “patriotism” but stoking up fear of the foreign.

It’s the hallmark of a campaign that has nothing to say about employment rights, and makes no guarantees around maternity/paternity leave, anti-discrimination or the working time directive. Likewise they have no explanation for how they are going to deal with potential post-Brexit skills shortages or economic shocks. The biggest price for this divisive campaign will be paid by those who are demonised by campaigners for their own personal political ends.

Although UNISON is encouraging a Remain vote, it’s clear that there are arguments for leaving the EU. But they aren’t being made by the bilious, hate-filled campaigns aiming to drag us into international isolationism. Those campaigns deserve our unreserved condemnation for their baseless attacks on immigrants and fear that diminishes their case and this entire debate. And, regardless of how you’re voting on 23 June, surely we can all agree on that.

Dave Prentis said, “UNISON may have had its doubts about Europe in the past, but now the chips are down and exit is a real possibility, public sector workers know that the services they deliver, and the public that relies on them, will be much better off in than out”.


School Uniform Grant – 2016

Are you struggling to cope with the rising cost of living, finding that you’re having to economise in every area of expenditure?

We have set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income with school uniform costs by way of a one-off payment of up to £120.  

Closing date for receipt of applications is 15 July 2016. Please return your application form to:  There for You, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY.

Read more

Application form


Request for Stewards: 132nd Durham Miners Gala

Saturday 9 July 2016

The Gala really needs your help. Thanks to those who have already volunteered but at least another 20 field stewards are needed. Just two hours of your time to help out at the biggest trade union event in Europe – and it’s here, in the North East! Family, friends – all welcome.

As last year, the TUC has been asked by the DMA to identify and organise field stewards for the 132nd Durham Miners Gala which takes place on Saturday 9 July 2016.  This year we are asking that stewards commit to a morning, midday or afternoon slot.  The main role of the stewards will be to ensure that the various evacuation points are kept clear at all times. No prior experience of stewarding is necessary as relevant information will be provided and volunteers will be invited to attend a stewards briefing.  Due to the increasing demands being placed on the DMA a minimum of 40 stewards are required and the earlier we can identify stewards the better.  

Without the support of unions and volunteers the Gala could not take place.

If you are able to assist, please provide the following details to Melanie Lowden, mlowden@tuc.org.uk  by Friday 3rd June


Final Agendas

The final agendas for Local Government Conference and Natonal Delegate Conference have been posted on UNISON's national website and also on our 2016 Conference page.

Conference motions propose policies and objectives which, if carried, will be adopted and pursued by UNISON. If there is any motion which you particularly want the branch delegates to support or reject then tell your steward. In general our delegates will use their discretion to cast their votes in accordance with principles adopted by the branch. However, they can be mandated to vote one way or another.

Read more

PAY 2016

Pay rise delayed

The union’s NJC committee have accepted the 2 year pay offer for 2016 – 2018. As Unite had not yet accepted on behalf of their members, NCC coukld not implement the pay offer in May’s salaries.


Removal of ‘Task and finish’

A great deal of time was taken up in attempting to resolve the issues between management and the workforce in relation to the removal of task and finish from this service.

The issue was not the retention of this practice, but in getting the management to accept that they had failed to put in place a series of requirement that were necessary for the smooth running of the service. The requirements had been discussed for weeks prior to the change, both in person and via email. Unfortunately the council made several mistakes prior to the change and afterwards when the service suffered.

UNISON ensured that all refuse staff received an apology from the employer for the distribution of a statement that was both factually incorrect and highly inflammatory. UNISON also ensured that the workforce were addressed in person by the Chief Executive, Cabinet member for the service and the Director of Communities, and agreement was reached to set up a working party including staff and union reps to discuss moving the service forward.


A damaging and undemocratic piece of legislation

The government’s Trade Union Bill has finished its parliamentary journey and is now an Act. We didn’t manage to defeat the entire bill, but we did manage to remove several elements of it that would have irrevocably damaged the trade union movement.

The key changes we won:

These added to concessions already made to:

Though this bill is still a damaging and undemocratic piece of legislation, we should be proud of the campaign we have run.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Of course we’d rather the bill had never existed, and there is much that is still wrong with it. Even with today’s amendments it still places unnecessary burdens on working people and their unions.”

Read more

Vindictive’ check-off removal ruled unlawful in DWP by High Court


Learning At Work Week Events

These are part of a series of learning events in the Festival of Learning over May and June.

Festival of Learning aims to be the biggest national celebration of lifelong learning in England, reaching and engaging more adult learners than ever before.

Hundreds of organisations across the country hold have a go events, activities, taster sessions and more that aim to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to discover how learning can change their lives.

UNISON are running free taster sessions and training, including information for further training opportunities, to celebrate the festival and promote lifelong learning.

Over May and June Newcastle UNISON member’s can choose from 42 events, one for each working day if you work Monday to Friday.

Confirmed events list  (Updated 17 May 2016)

PAY 2016

Local Government Pay Offer Accepted

Following a meeting of local government representatives from across UNISON, the union has decided today (Wednesday 27 April)) to accept the pay offer from the employers.

Head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “Having talked to members in local government across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we’ve decided that there are to be no further consultations and we have agreed to accept the employers’ pay offer for 2016/18.”

This follows the's National Committe'se recommendation to reject the offer and a ballot in which 64% voted to reject the offer. However, several regions had reported that they did not feel they could mobilise sufficient sustained industrial action. In the light of this the Committee agreed to withdraw the request for a formal industrial action ballot previously submitted to UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee. In doing so, the Committee recognised that the effect of this is to accept the Local Government Association pay offer for 2016/18.

Pay Claim 2016


Government withdraws plan to stop check-off for subs payment

The government has withdrawn plans to ban public service workers from having their union subs deducted from their wages.

As the House of Lords started its report stage debate on the Trade Union Bill, Cabinet Office minister Lord Bridges confirmed that the government was withdrawing the plans to end check-off in the public sector and civil service.

Read more

TU Bill Campaign


The Purpose behind Workers Memorial Day – 28 April 2016

The purpose behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to "remember the dead: fight for the living" and unions are asked to focus on both areas, by considering events or memorial to remember all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated.

That can best be done by building trade union organization, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws. 

Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognized by the UK Government.

 In 2016 the theme for the day is "Strong Laws - Strong Enforcement - Strong Unions" because across the world we are seeing growing attacks on health and safety protection, including in Britain where the Government have removed protection form millions of self-employed workers, and across Europe where the European Commission are pursuing a dangerous de-regulatory strategy.

However strong laws are not enough if they are not going to be enforced. That is why we need proper inspections and enforcement action against those who break the laws. Here in the UK the number of inspections has fallen dramatically in the past five years, however in many other countries enforcement has always been non-existent.

That is why we also need strong unions. Unionized workplaces are safer, yet the Government is trying to stop unions protecting the health and safety of their members by restricting the right of health and safety representatives to take time off to keep the workplace safer, and also trying to reduce our right to strike when things go wrong.  Some events will also feature a minute's silence at noon, or a suitable time.

Workers Memorial Day Remembrance Service 2016


Petition to Protect Your Pension Funds

As you know we have established an LGPS Parliamentary petition which requires 100,000 signatures to get a debate in the House of Commons over changes to your pension funds.   We have 31,345 signatures to date.   

Please sign the petition and pass it on to colleagues – they don’t have to be a UNISON member to sign!

Read more

Sign the petition


UNISON's Regional Manifesto

Are you concerned about crime and safety in your area?   Don't miss your chance to vote for who leads your local police force for the next four years.

Each police force in England and Wales has an elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) who holds the chief constable to account to voters. 
Central government cuts to police forces across the UK have resulted in a rise in serious crime, which makes these elections very important.   Have your say over who makes decisions about policing in your local area by voting for your PCC.

The following PCC candidates have signed up to UNISON's Regional Manifesto - please read the important pledges in this document and make your vote count in this election.

The candidates above have committed to these important pledges listed in our Manifesto and declared their full support.  We would ask UNISON members to support these candidates when voting in the forthcoming PCC elections.

Make sure you vote on 5 May.


Low-income Workers Urged to Claim Tax Credits before Universal Credit Arrives

Across the country, the one million people in low-paid jobs who have yet to apply for tax credits should hurry up and do so before it’s too late and universal credit arrives in their area, say UNISON and benefit experts Entitledto

The two organisations have issued this urgent appeal to low-income workers because, if people don’t claim tax credits by the time the full universal credit service arrives in their town or city, they could end up much worse off. 

Last summer, in his July Budget, George Osborne announced cuts to the universal credit work allowance, alongside cuts to tax credits. While the Chancellor backed down over changes to tax credits, the cuts to universal credit work allowances remain and came in on Monday 11th April. 

The government says that no-one will be worse off under the new universal credit system. This means that someone’s in-work benefit income is protected, if they are claiming tax credits before universal credit is rolled out in their part of the world – as long as their circumstances don’t change. 

Entitledto has created a tax credits take-up tool for UNISON, to help people understand the impact of the changes and find out whether they might be eligible to apply for tax credits before universal credit comes to where they live.


Commenting on the changes, UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:  “Last year huge pressures on the Chancellor forced him to abandon the harsh changes to tax credits that had been due to come in this week. However, the cuts to universal credit didn’t disappear, and will still mean financial hardship for many people on low incomes.

“But if low-paid workers sign up to tax credits, not only will they be better off now, their income will also be protected in future, unless there is a significant change in their circumstances. That’s why anyone on a low wage, who doesn’t get tax credits at the moment, should check out our calculator to see if they might be due any much-needed cash.

“UNISON will continue to press the government to reverse the cuts to universal credit work allowances and to end the second class arrangements that start today for many low-income families.”


Director of Entitledto Ltd Dr Phil Agulnik said: “Our campaign seeks to encourage low earners who are eligible to claim working tax credit to take up their entitlement. It only takes a few minutes for someone to check they are eligible using the free tax credits tool. 

“Once the full universal credit service comes to a job centre near them, residents won’t be allowed to apply for tax credits. So, as well as missing out on extra money now, low earners might well miss the boat for claiming tax credits entirely. 

“Today around a million low paid people miss out by not claiming working tax credits. If someone is eligible they need to claim now before it’s too late."


Female Cancer Cover

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.

Read more


Volunteering at the Glastonbury and Latitude Festivals 2016

Are you interested in raising money for UNISON at the Glastonbury and Latitude Festivals 2016?

Newcastle UNISON members can do so by volunteering to raise funds by working behind a bar there. In return you get transport to and from the event, free entry, secure camping with toilets, showers, subsidised canteen and time off to see the bands and more.

Note: We are still accepting volunteer applications for Glastonbury, but we really need more volunteers for Latitude Festival, as if we don’t supply volunteers for Latitude, we will not be able to send people to Glastonbury.

Read more


Your Pension Funds at Risk

The government wants to use the money in your pension funds to invest in their pet infrastructure projects. This potentially puts at risk the money that should be used to pay your pensions. There has been no debate in Parliament over this issue and we need to try and make sure it gets debated.

We have established a Parliamentary petition which requires 100,000 signatures to get a debate in the House of Commons.

You can sign it by clicking here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125475/signatures/new  the text below describes the petition.

Now pass it on to a colleague – they don’t have to be a UNISON member to sign!

Debate in the House the Local Government Pension Scheme Investment Regulations

5 million people rely on the LGPS to pay their pensions. Government wants powers over LGPS investment funds, but they could gamble away members’ money on infrastructure projects. This is not allowed in any other UK scheme, including the MPs'. The LGPS must be invested in members’ best interests.

Parliament must debate this issue and make the government accountable for these powers of intervention as any such direction may breach the law. Specifically Article 18 paragraph 3 of the EU Directive 41/2003 Institutions for Occupational Retire Provision: “Member States shall not require institutions located in their territory to invest in particular categories of assets.”

PAY 2016

Unions press for further pay talks

All three NJC trade unions have now completed their membership consultations on the LGA pay offer. UNISON and Unite now have a mandate to seek industrial action ballots.

Given the strength of our members’ feelings about the current offer, UNISON and Unite are pressing the Local Government Association (LGA) to put a revised, one-year offer on the table. In particular, we are calling for more certainty and firmer timetables for the proposed joint reviews of term time working and restructuring of the Green Book NJC/GLPC pay spines. We want these reviews completed within a year.

The Employers’ Side of the NJC is meeting on 1 April to consider our call for a revised offer. UNISON’s NJC Committee and the NJC Trade Union Side Executive will meet to consider any revised offer from the LGA on 5 April.

Read more

Introduction of the National Living Wage

On 1 April, the statutory National Living Wage will be introduced at a rate of £7.20 per hour. The current bottom three pay points on the Green Book pay spine will fall below that statutory minimum level. The current hourly rate of SCP6 is £7.06 (£13,614); SCP7 is £7.11 (£13,715) and SCP8 is £7.19 (£13,871).

The LGA has advised councils to increase the pay of employees currently paid on SCPs 6, 7 and 8 in accordance with the National Living Wage with effect from 1 April. This new single pay point for those three scale points equates to £13,891 per annum.


Members at Action for Children vote to strike

700 union members at Action for Children (almost half of them UNISON members) have voted for strike action. There was a 25 per cent turn out to vote in the ballot. A total of 74 per cent voted for strike action, while 85 per cent were in favour of some form of industrial action.

The ballot followed management’s attempt to unilaterally impose a pay settlement benefiting only some staff for 2015/16, giving no indication that 2016/17 will be any different. UNISON has argued that any pay rise should be paid to all staff, irrespective of their other contractual entitlements (like increments). In addition staff have seen mileage rates drastically cut.


Newcastle City Branch Annual General Meeting, 2016

Date: Monday 14 March 2015

Time: 5pm, (Buffet 4pm)

Venue: Council Chamber, Newcastle Civic Centre

A buffet is available from 4.00pm If you will be coming for the buffet please confirm with the branch office asap.



Members take control of UNISON branch

The Branch Annual General Meeting is where you, as a UNISON member, have the opportunity and the responsibility to ensure that the branch is working as it should.

The Annual Report will present an overview of the progress that has been made in the last year in achieving the branch’s objectives. Your role at the AGM is to read the Annual Report, ask questions about anything that is not clear and, if you think a change of direction is required, to submit a motion for debate.

You will also elect your shop stewards and branch officers at the AGM. Over the year you will have had regular contact with your shop steward and you will know how effective he or she is in representing your interests both within the branch and in consultation with your local management.

The work of the branch officers is reflected in their monthly reports to the Branch Committee and will be summarised in the Annual Report. It is your responsibility to hold branch officers to account for their performance in the past year and to elect officers who will be active and effective in their roles.

You will also receive the audited branch accounts at the AGM which should reassure you that the finances of the branch are being managed diligently. It is your responsibility to approve the accounts or to question the Branch Treasurer about anything that is not clear to you.

If you are perfectly happy with the way the branch is operating then you need to be at the AGM to ensure that it continues that way. If you have any doubts or grumbles about the branch then you need to be at the AGM to put things right.

This is your one big opportunity of the year so don’t miss it.


The Big ♡ UNISON Prize Draw

From 15 February until the beginning of May, UNISON will be running a major prize draw – with a top prize of £10,000 cash for the lucky winner.

Entry is open to all existing members – and new members too – all we ask is that you update or verify your email address and mobile numbers via “My UNISON” to enter https://www.unison.org.uk/my-unison/

This data will be essential for the union in the year ahead, given the current threats in the Trade Union Bill and the increasing need to be able to contact our members quickly and easily.


64% reject the pay offer

Following a meeting of the union’s NJC committee (the committee that negotiates our pay with the employer), where they reviewed all the indicative ballot results from across the country; they have made a decision to seek an increased offer from the employers. If no increase is offered, the committee will seek approval for a formal industrial action ballot on whether UNISON members across Local Government are prepared to take all out action in support of an improved pay offer.



NECA Consultation – Transport Manifesto

The North East Combined Authority (NECA) has begun a consultation on a 20-year ‘Transport Manifesto’ that covers both urban and rural areas of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland. 

The consultation will look at every aspect of transport.  It will help to empower this part of the North East and reinforce its position of being a national and international economic force.  Whether you use or provide transport, the Manifesto team want to hear your thoughts and suggestions.  

To send your views, please complete a questionnaire on-line via the NECA website http://www.northeastca.gov.uk/local-transport-plan or ring (0191) 277 1156 for a paper copy to be posted out to you.  If you would like the Manifesto or questionnaire in alternative formats please let us know.  The closing date for responses is Friday 8th April 2016.


Wednesday 24 February is UNISON’s national colleges strike day

Newcastle College picket will be on the main entrance - Scotswood Road 7.30am till 10.00am on Wednesday morning. 

We hope you will stand with your colleagues and take part in the strike for decent pay.

UNISON members in colleges voted for the strike in response to the insulting pay ‘offer’ of 0% – yes that’s right, nothing at all – from the employers’ body (the Association of Colleges).

Some colleges have listened to staff and made local offers, but the majority of colleges have refused to offer staff any increase at all.

Our teaching colleagues in our sister union, UCU, will also be joining us on strike over pay.

It is important to show the employers that the strike is well supported, so get out your extra warm clothes, bake some biscuits, fill a thermos with coffee and grab some leaflets about the strike from your local rep and join in.

Please share your pictures on the day – send them to education@unison.co.uk so we can post them on the UNISON in Further Education Facebook page or on Twitter @UNISON_FE using #FEstrike24feb.

If you have any questions about the strike you can call us on 0800 0 857 857 or visit our FAQs and resources web page.


Consultative ballot - branch results.

The branch secretary has collated the ballot results and sent them to the Regional Office.

Of the 4735 members eligible to vote, only 294 ballots were returned, approx. 6%. Of the 294 returns, 159 wished to accept the offer, whilst 135 rejected the offer and expressed various support for all out action, selected action and action short of strike action .

The Regional results for all Local Government branches in the Northern Region will be collated and considered, along with all the other Regions, by the NJC Committee at their meeting in March.

Read more


Winter Fuel Grants

In response to the growing difficulty many members on low income are experiencing paying their bills, a programme has been put in place that will assist our most vulnerable members with a one-off grant of £40 per household.

Information and application form


Open University Pilot Offer

Invitation to trial a brand new free online course run by the Open University, with a £50 voucher as a thank you!. 

Each course takes about 15 hours to complete, which you can carry out in chunks over a couple of weeks. For the trial, we will be allocating a three week window for you to complete the course and complete a short feedback form. You will then receive your £50 voucher.

The offer closes on 19 February 2016 and it’s not known how many places there are but its first come, first served.  For queries and expressions of interest with details of which course(s) you are interested in joining, contact Jane Yugire.

There are four short courses to choose from:

Supporting Children’s Development

A course which will introduce child development, and might be helpful if you are interested in becoming/ supporting your role as a teaching assistant. Piloting for this course will happen in March 2016.

Introducing Practical Healthcare

A course which will introduce the basic healthcare assistant role and healthcare practice, and might be interesting to those of you who work as, or are thinking of becoming a healthcare assistant. Piloting for this course will happen in March 2016.

Planning a Better Future

A course which will help anyone considering changing jobs, wondering how to move up the ladder, returning to work after a break or those who might be looking to aspire to better things. Piloting for this course will happen in April 2016.

Caring for Adults

A course which will introduce some of the important features of caring for adults, and will be relevant to those working in paid caring roles, as well as unpaid carers supporting family or friends. Piloting for this course will happen in May 2016.


Members Vote for Industrial Action

College workers in England have been offered no pay rise, and many have lost the equivalent of more than £3,000 over the last five years because of inflation and pay restraint.

In a consultation UNISON members voted overwhelmingly to reject the employers’ offer of no pay rise and balloted for industrial action on pay.

Members voted by 2 to 1 in favour of strike action and by 4 to 1 in favour of action short of a strike. UNISON’s Further Education and Sixth Form Committee will now consider next steps.

Read more


‘Reject the offer’, says UNISON

The UNISON NJC Committee’s view is that the offer falls far short of what our members deserve and the employers can afford. The Committee is recommending Rejection of the offer.

The Branch has organised an initial set of pay meetings open to all members:

Monday 25th January – Council Chamber, Civic Centre 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Thursday 28th January – Council chamber, Civic Centre 1.00 – 2.00pm

Friday 29th January – Council Chamber, Civic Centre 4.00 – 5.00pm

In addition, the Branch will organise meetings at Shieldfield, Condercum Depot and YHN House, dates and times will be provided as soon as possible.

Read more


Local Government Conference, 19 – 20 June 2016

National Delegate Conference,  21 – 24 June 2016

The conferences will take place in Brighton this year.  Newcastle City Branch takes an active role in both conferences. 

Paul Gilroy, Branch Secretary, or Nicky Ramanandi, Deputy Branch Secretary, will answer any questions you may have about the conferences and the role of the branch delegation. You can contact them at the branch office.

If you are interested in attending conference please notify the branch by 19 February 2016.

If there are any matters of UNISON policy or campaigning priorities that you think should be discussed at national conference then please contact your steward before the meeting on 2 February (below).

2015 Conference Reports

2016 Conference Page


Shop Stewards Meeting

Tuesday 2 February, 16:30, in the UNISON Branch Office, Rm 145, Civic Centre,

This meeting has been arranged for Shop Stewards to discuss motions the branch may wish to submit to conference.

Please confirm with the Branch Office if you are able to attend.


Employers make a 2-Year Offer

At NJC pay negotiations held on 9 December 2015, the Local Government Association (LGA) made school and council workers a two-year final pay offer.. 

The offer consists of a cash amount on each spinal column point  which results in varying percentages across the spinal column.  The cash increases from 1 April 2016 offer greater percentage increases for the lower points on the scale. The cash amounts from 1 April 2017 are significantly smaller and offer the greater percentage rises in the upper points of the scale.

The NJC trade unions expressed their disappointment at the LGA’s refusal to consider our counter proposal but believe the pay offer is the best achievable by negotiation and have agreed to consult our members on it. UNISON, GMB and Unite are now meeting separately in early January to decide their position on the offer and to agree their union’s consultation process.

Read more


New Reps Training

UNISON will be running non residential 5 day courses for new UNISON workplace representatives.  These courses will cover the role of a union representative, unison structure, representation and communication skills, equalities and all the basics you will need to take on this role.

These courses are particularly aimed at newly elected and less experienced UNISON representatives or those members thinking about becoming a union representative, it is a great introduction to getting involved with your union.

All representatives completing the course will be entitled to be Employment Relations Act (ERA) accredited which will enable them to represent members on grievance and disciplinary issues in their workplaces.

The next course starts on 10 February 2016. To register please return the completed application form to the branch office.

UNISON training course calendar


The Government Attacks Trade Union Funding

The Trade Union Bill represents a pernicious attack on UNISON members’ contractual right to pay union subscriptions by deduction from payroll.  Removing DOCAS (Deduction of Contribution At Source) will deny UNISON members the most convenient method of maintaining their protection at work.  Branches potentially face a loss of members, a drop in income and a fall in workplace density.

UNISON will hold a one day workshop on 8 February which will help activists to:

NOTE: The Trade Union Bill is scheduled to have it's second reading in the House of Lords on 11 January 2016.

Read more

UNISON Save Care Now Team

The BBC : The Secret Lives of Carers

A presenter at the BBC called Sangita Myska has got parents who have arthritis, parkinsons and dementia, and need homecare. In a radio documentary for the BBC she has told her own family story and looked into the problems homecare workers face. 

UNISON homecare workers helped with the programme and it is incredibly moving. Some of the stories are quite painful to hear but if anyone you know doesn’t understand what your job is like you could send them this link and they will have a better idea.

Visit the link:   http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06pttqm


The Trade Union Bill will allow employers to use agency workers to break strikes

If the Trade Union Bill is passed then a union will have to meet high thresholds regarding strike ballot results, comply with conditions that are only vaguely specified and give 14 days notice of every action and communication regarding the strike. That could include posting information on this website or on Facebook.

Action that meets every threshold could still be stopped on legal technicalities around whether all rules were followed. For example, new rules will require ‘reasonably detailed’ information on all balloting papers. Reasonably detailed is yet to be defined but lack of ‘reasonably detailed’ information on ballot papers could be used by employers as a basis for legal action.

And then, even if all the conditions are satisfied, employers will be allowed to bring in agency workers when their employees are on strike.

The use of agency workers during strikes undermines the right to strike and could impact on the safety and quality of the services normally provided by trained and qualified staff.

Not only will it put those agency workers in a difficult and stressful position as they are asked to cover a service in a workplace they are not familiar with, it may also compromise the safety of the services that are provided.

UNISON believes that the right to strike is a fundamental one, which should be respected in a free and democratic society. The UK already has one of the most regulated systems of industrial action in the world, with unions having to comply with highly complex legal requirements.

The Regulatory Policy Committee – an independent body appointed by the government which verifies the costs and savings of proposed changes to businesses and civil society – has slammed the government’s trade union proposals impact assessments as “red – not fit for purpose”.

Read more


People’s Assembly National Conference

We are looking for supporters to attend this year's People's Assembly national conference in London on 5 December. We would particularly like to encourage female supporters to attend.  If you would like to attend as a delegate please contact the UNISON Office ASAP. Financial assistance with travel costs is available.

Read more


Trade Union Bill 2015-16

The Trade Union Bill is a new set of laws that will severely restrict working peoples’ ability to organise for their own rights and campaign for a more progressive society. It will go through Parliament this Autumn and could be law by February 2016 and will apply in England,Scotland and Wales.

UNISON is campaigning against the Trade Union Bill because we believe MPs should be focusing on the real problems our country faces and working with everyone, including trade unions, to solve them, rather than taking away people’s right to be supported at work.

Read more


Spotlight on Home Care

At Healthwatch Newcastle we are researching home care services.  We are seeking views from home care service users; their carers and relatives; and from home care staff.

All information will be treated confidentially and remain anonymous. We are independent of Newcastle City Council and the home care providers so what you say will not be passed on in a way that can be linked to you.

A report will be written up, with recommendations based on the findings. The aim is to ensure that future home care services are designed to meet the needs of Newcastle residents. The report will be shared with Newcastle City Council and the home care providers and they will be expected to respond within 20 working days.

As a home care worker please use this opportunity to get your views heard. The deadline to respond is 4 January 2016.  To complete the survey visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/homecare-staff.  To download a printable version visit www.healthwatchnewcastle.org.uk  For hard copies phone 0191 338 5720.


TUC Young Workers Month

Held in November every year, the main purpose TUC Young Workers Month is to promote trade unions to young workers and to highlight the issues faced by young workers.

Young Workers Month is an opportunity for union reps, activists and campaigners to reach out and inform young workers about trade unions and ensure that there are sufficient opportunities for young people to get involved and play an active role in shaping the movement. It’s also a chance for unions to demonstrate to young people that we are campaigning on the issues they care most about and that we are relevant to their lives both in the workplace and beyond.

UNISON Northern Young Members Celebration 2015 will be held on 26 November at the Ware Rooms, Newcastle.

Read more about TUC Young Workers Month


Reclaim the Night

Saturday 21 November 2015

UNISON supports the Reclaim the Night event organised through the TUC. This is part of the Network’s anti domestic abuse campaigning and we would encourage all members to attend.

Northern TUC’s Annual Reclaim the Night event this year will take place in Newcastle on Saturday 21 November.

Please feel free to circulate to friends and family – all are welcome to attend and show their support.  Bring banners and flags!.


Read more


New Employment Legislation And Case Reports

Unimag is a quarterly update on employment law. While it is aimed at UNISON branch reps there is plenty in it that might be of interest to members.

Read more


City Hall and Former City Pool

Fusion Lifestyle Ltd have been identified as the preferred supplier to take over the development and management of the site. It is intended that the City Hall will be under the management of the Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust.

An initial meeting has taken place with staff at the City Hall and the trade unions are due to meet with Fusion Lifestyle and The Theatre Royal.

Communities Directorate and I&D Report to Branch Committee, November 2015


Academies and Free Schools

The Government is committed to increasing academies and free schools; it is projected that there will be 500 more during this parliament.

Although it isn’t until 2016 that ‘coasting’ schools will come into effect, the risk starts now. Coasting schools can also be fast-tracked by the School’s Commissioner.

OFSTED is now doing short inspections of ‘good’ schools, which is intended to test the presumption the schools are ‘good’. A longer inspection can be called on the day. Although Newcastle has not yet had a short inspection, they may start after half term. This process is being watched very carefully and schools will continue to be well informed.

School’s Convenor Report to Branch Committee, November 2015


Travel Time

Following a European legal judgement, UNISON has lodged a collective dispute on behalf of its members. The Council has identified the worker groups who will be affected and further meetings will determine the employer’s response. The largest group of workers affected are Care at Home staff, and it has been decided that a working party will be set up, including UNISON, to determine a suitable resolution.

WCL (Adults)  report to Branch Committee, November 2015


Naming of Social Workers within Family Court Judgements

UNISON Branch Officers met with the Assistant Director of Children’s Social Care to discuss a protocol regarding the guidance issued by Sir James Munby. Since this guidance was introduced a number of Unison’s social work members nationally have been named in what is selective coverage of cases, causing enormous stress and exposing them and their families to public hostility. They are unable to defend themselves because of confidentiality obligations placed upon them, while senior managers are often not named.

The Assistant Director has agreed to discuss a protocol with legal and will update us as soon as possible.

WCL (Children) Report to Branch Committee, November 2015


North East Equalities Award

On the 29 October we will find out if our Community and Voluntary Project has won the North East Equalities Award which will be announced on the night. The only other UNISON finalist is South Tyneside but many Unions make nominations for the Award.

Education Coordinator Report to Branch Committee, November 2015


Branch Officer and Convenor Reports

The snippets above are taken from the reports to branch committee on 2 November 2015.

Read more


Corporate Joint Committee

UNISON Branch officers will meet with the Leader / Deputy leader, Chief Exec and Directors on 8th October.

Agenda items:


Wear Red Day 2015 – Friday 23rd October

Show Racism the Red Card is encouraging campaign supporters to wear red to commemorate a day of action across England, Scotland and Wales.

 It is hoped that on Friday 23rd October, young people and adults alike will arrive at school or work in red to demonstrate their stance against racism and to raise funds to support the delivery of anti-racism education throughout the UK. 

Read more


Council to press ahead with changes to redundancy and protection policies

The Branch Secretary met with the Director of Resources and the HR Service Manager on 14 September and made it clear that their final proposals for Redundancy and Protection Policies do not meet with UNISON’s demands, particularly at a time when the council is celebrating the contribution council staff make, through their “Great City” initiative.

UNISON believes the change to the protection policy will NOT encourage staff to consider redeployment in the future.

The council is unwilling to make any further changes to their proposals and is expected to make a final decision at a meeting on 25th September.

Read more


Staff Survey – Union Learning Reps

The Staff Survey will be coming out soon and will be your opportunity to have your say, anyone who has difficulty completing the form can be supported by one of our ULRs (Union Learning Reps) in the workplace.

If you don’t have a ULR in the area you work then contact the Branch Education Officer, Wendy Aitman. You might also consider becoming a ULR yourself.


Redundancy and Protection Policies

Amended proposals from the Council will be considered at a Branch Committee meeting on 4 September and by the joint unions on 7 September.

The employer intends to submit proposals to Constitutional Committee at the end of September for their agreement and implementation on 1 November.

Read more


Outlines, August 2015

The current issue includes:

Outlines, August 2015


UNISON refers HCPC fee hike concerns to the Professional Standards Authority

UNISON has mounted a concerted campaign against the decision by HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) to press ahead with its 12.5% registration fee hike.

We have generated a considerable backlash against the proposals and subjected HCPC’s processes to far greater scrutiny than it would have hoped. But the lack of accountability and checks and balances in the current system mean HCPC has succeeded in getting this increase through the Scottish and Westminster parliaments, and it will take effect from 1 August.  

The attached briefing summarises the key features of our campaign so far and next steps in referring the matter to the Professional Standards Authority, with a request that it puts in place a system of oversight and audit to stop regulators hiking registration fees at will.  

HCPC Briefing


Qatar, Play By The Rules

Ebac Northern League First Division – Ashington ‘V’ Penrith

Date: Tuesday 11 August, - Meeting 6pm (buffet included) - Kick Off 7.30pm

Venue: Function Room, Ashington Football Club, Woodhorn Lane NE63 9FW

Guest Speakers – Conor McArdle (Chair of TUC Norther International Comm.); Stephen Russell (Playfair Qatar); Ian Lavry (MP); Beth Farhat (TUC Regional Sec.); Clare Williams (UNISON Regional Convenor)

In 2022 Qatar will host the World Cup, taking the tournament to the Middle East for the first time. This has sparked a major construction frenzy in the world’s richest country as it prepares to host its most glamorous event to date. Unfortunately, for the workers building World Cup stadiums in Qatar, the reality is far from glamorous. Workers - drafted in mainly from India, Nepal and Bangladesh - are forced to live in squalid and overcrowded conditions, paid as little as 45p an hour and work in a dangerous environment.  To date almost 1,000 workers have died in Qatar and if nothing changes the death toll could be as much as 4,000 by the time the World Cup starts in 2022.

Playfair Qatar is a TUC campaign to raise awareness - working with football fans - of the abuse of worker rights to World Cup workers in Qatar. Join us before the match in the Function Room of Ashington Football Club to find out more about how you can get involved in this campaign. There will also be an opportunity for photographs with the players.


New Employment Legislation And Case Reports

Unimag is a quarterly update on employment law. While it is aimed at UNISON branch reps there is plenty in it that might be of interest to members.

The current issue includes items on the following topics:

Read more


The EDL have no place in our region

Responding to a planned EDL demonstration in North Shields on Saturday1  August the TUC and  Northern Public Services Alliance have said:

“Trade unions across the North East and Cumbria stand together with all those targeted by the far right.  …  We will continue to work with communities throughout (the region) to tackle myths, particularly when communities suffer cuts and hardship as a result of the government’s austerity policies …. we will redouble our efforts to promote a message of understanding, solidarity and shared respect.”  

Read the full statement


Black Members National  Conference

Our Branch would like to send delegates to the Black Members National  Conference in January and we need to submit details by Friday 23 October 2015. 

If you are interested in attending please let the Branch Office know before this deadline so that we can make the necessary arrangements. 

Read more


UNISON Objectives 2015

The national executive council has agreed the following four objectives for 2015

Objective 1

Enhance our capability to meet the recruiting, organisational and representational challenges posed by austerity measures including cuts, workforce reductions, reorganisations, attacks on facility time and privatisation. Ensuring the union is relevant to all members who provide public services – including those who work in the private sector – regardless of the economic sector in which they work.

Objective 2

Protect and secure fair pay and terms and conditions, high quality employment, and pensions for UNISON members, promoting equality and challenging discrimination, supporting migrant workers, and promoting UNISON’s alternative.

Objective 3

Develop our public service campaigns in support of quality public services, in defence of the NHS, and all public services, building our political influence, forging alliances with unions, appropriate campaigning and community groups to challenge the austerity programme, including challenging the attacks on the welfare state. To campaign for the election of governments in Westminster, and the devolved nations, which value public services and working people, rejecting the arguments of UKIP and other far-right parties.

Objective 4

Ensure that the union’s structures including organisational, lay member, ICT infrastructure and internal management systems are efficient and effective to meet the changing needs of all sections of the union and its members.

Read more in UNISON’s annual report which is structured around these four objectives.


National Disabled Members Conference

The UNISON National Disabled Members Conference will be held in Manchester from 24 – 26 October 2015. 

Our Branch would like to send delegates and we need to submit details by Friday 31 July.  If you are interested in attending could you please let the Branch Office know by Monday 27 July so we can make the necessary arrangements.  All expenses including travel, subsistence and child care are covered.  We will also provide support and advice for delegates who have not been to conference before.  You can request facility time from your manager to attend the conference.


Agile Working

Agile working is being introduced within the Council and the intention is that the staff within Investment & Development will move onto the 9th floor and will be the first set of staff to work in this way.

UNISON is engaged in consultation. The stewards in this area have been provided with regular updates, members meetings set up and regular communication sent to members.

Read more


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.


Redundancy and Protection Policies

UNISON has secured the extension of the existing scheme beyond 31 August, for a limited time, to enable “meaningful” consultation to commence.

Read more


Redundancy and Protection Policies

Paul Gilroy (Branch Secretary) has thanked those members who have conatcted the branch to express anger and frustration at the council’s proposals for a new redundancy scheme and changes to the existing salary protection policy.

Please continue to send your comments in to the branch as we need to show the council the extent of staff concern.

Paul will meet the  Director of Resources next week and is arranging a meeting with the Leader or Deputy Leader of the council.

The council is attempting to force these proposals through with the minimum of discussion, even though UNISON has been requesting to discuss the issue over the last few months as we anticipated the council would try to use timing as a way of short changing staff. We need your support in order to force the council to engage in a meaningful way.

The signs are that there will be even greater budget cuts in the next financial year than were forecast by the council this year as a result of the general election and the indications coming from the government, and we all know that budget reductions will lead to significant job cuts. UNISON is demanding an honest, open discussion with the council on these predictions and proposals on redundancy and protection should be discussed within the context of actual budget proposals.

UNISON believes the council could extend the existing scheme for a fixed period of time, while there are few actual redundancies being processed; to allow these discussions to take place.

As a minimum, the council must drop the proposal to impose a salary cap on any future redundancies.

Read more


No refuge: The lives of Yarmouk's Palestinians displaced to Lebanon

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is one of the organisations that our UNISON branch supports with occasional donations.

The branch committee meeting in May agreed to give £250 to support MAP's efforts to improve conditions for Palestinians in Lebanon, whether newly arrived or having been in the country for many years, who face discrimination and frustration on a daily basis.Palestinians cannot obtain work permits for many jobs, struggle to access medical care for complex illnesses and cannot change the reality within which they are trapped - unable to return to their ancestral homeland, but denied many rights in the country of their refuge.

For Palestinians who have fled the unthinkable violence of Syria, experiencing multiple-displacement into camps and gatherings in Lebanon, these issues are compounded by the sufferings and injuries of war.

MAP, with local partners, are in the camps every day across Lebanon providing access to healthcare, help to parents seeking to support their children in an ever-uncertain environment, and psycho-social support to children who have experienced situations that many of us will never understand.

Read more


UNISON rejects Council proposals

The Council has presented proposals for a new redundancy scheme and changes to the existing salary protection policy.

UNISON has been pushing the council to begin the negotiation over the redundancy scheme as the existing scheme, negotiated 3 years ago, is due to end on 31st August 2015.

UNISON’s initial response to the Director of Resources is that these proposals are very disappointing and that UNISON will begin a process of lobbying and negotiating with the political leadership and senior officers in an effort to persuade the council to review its proposals.

All UNISON shop stewards will be brought together to discuss our response. Please ensure you add your voice to those discussions by either speaking to your local steward or the Branch Secretary.

Read more


Adult Learners Week 15-19 June2015

Our ULRs will be attending the NCC Digital Marketplace session Pandon Room, Civic Centre on 15th June, other events are also on 11th and 29th, they will be running sessions form 10-2 which must be booked in advance via LMS on Social Media, Managing Photos and Finding Music

16th June 11-12 Committee Room Civic Centre, Come along and find out about the range of courses UNISON has to offer and also take part finding out more about UNISON and as a member what you are entitled too.

17th June 12 noon Committee Room Civic Centre Branch Education Meeting, find out about the role of Union Learning Reps and what they do by attending as a guest our next monthly meeting

18th June 12-2 Civic Centre Learning Stall, come and visit us at the stall and find out about courses also a chance to try out a range of IT include tables, laptops and kindles.

19th June 10-11 Committee Room Civic Centre, come and join a Confidence Building Taster Session and boost your confidence during Adult Learners Week in a fun interactive way.

For information or to book any of the sessions other than the NCC Digital Market place event contact the Branch Office.


Dementia Awareness Workshops

In Newcastle on 2 July or Darlington on 9 July


Regional Education Development Day, 10 July 2015

For any member who would like to know more about the Region’s extensive education programme and become involved in reviewing our work and helping to shape next year’s programme.

Read more


Probation strike date set for 11 June 2015

UNISON has confirmed that its members working in probation in England and Wales are to stage a 24-hour stoppage on Thursday 11 June.

This will be followed by five weeks of action short of strike action from Friday 12 June.

In the ballot 73 per cent of members voted yes for industrial action and 88 per cent for action short of strike action.

UNISON balloted its members because of the employers’ failure to improve their zero per cent pay offer to probation staff for 2014.

Read more


Tory Party resumes its attack on unions

Newly appointed Business Secretary Sajid Javid has said there will be "significant changes" to strike laws under the new Conservative government.

A strike affecting essential public services will need the backing of 40% of eligible union members under government plans, he said. There will also need to be a minimum 50% turnout in strike ballots.

The government will also lift restrictions on the use of agency staff to replace striking workers.

Mr Javid said, "What people are fed up of is strike action that hasn't been properly supported by the members of the relevant union."

"Think of the impact it has - transport, health services - on ordinary people, going about their daily jobs."

Mr Javid himself was elected with just 38% of the eligible votes in his Bromsgrove constituency and the impact that will have has been described by the TUC.

The TUC said the changes to the law would favour the UK's "worst bosses".

"This is a government not so much on the side of hard working people, but Britain's worst bosses - those who want their staff to be on zero-hours contracts, poverty pay and unable to effectively organise in a union so that they can do something about it," said TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady.

"The government's proposals on union ballots will make legal strikes close to impossible. Union negotiators will be left with no more power than Oliver Twist when he asked for more."

"After five years of falling living standards, the prospects for decent pay rises have just got a whole lot worse."


Appeals Panel rejects UNISON’s case

The Appeals Panel rejected UNISON’s case and the council now intend to implement their proposals in full from 1st June, this was the last stage of the Council’s disputes process.

UNISON has ensured that no back dating of payment to 1April will be applied.

Read more


Local negotiations

As a result of ET rulings,in November the Branch publicised the call for members to submit “holiday case forms” where members felt their pay was reduced if they took annual leave, as the council did not include additional payments in their pay covering their annual leave.

The Branch took advice from Thompsons who advised negotiating an agreement in the workplace rather than relying on legal action. To that end discussions have taken place with HR, and a proposal from the council is expected in the next couple of weeks.

As UNISON submitted a collective dispute on 20th November 2014 in relation to this matter, the council has agreed to use this date for any back dating purposes. Before agreeing any proposal, the Branch will consult with affected groups.

Read more


Disputes Panel - the Final Stage

The final stage of UNISON’s collective dispute will be heard on Tuesday, 5th May 2.30 – 4.30pm.

UNISON will present written evidence from car park users who’ve sent information into the Branch, but has also asked members if anyone is prepared to give evidence in person, which would only strengthen UNISON’s case.

Read more


All on board for public ownership

Virgin Trains (West Coast) costs the taxpayer £225m in subsidies and First Great Western costs us £218m according to Action for Rail. In contrast East Coast Rail under public ownership paid £23m into the treasury.

Put simply, publicly owned rail is paying back while privately owned rail is costing you.

Read more about the benefits of public ownership.


Northern Public Services Alliance Manifesto

In January 2015 one hundred campaigners met to discuss the latest attacks on public services and design the response. As part of that, this ‘manifesto’ was formed from workshops and iscussions - with the support of trade unions representing people working in public services. Its aim is to highlight the positive alternatives to government policies of recent years.

Northern Public Services Alliance Manifesto


Outlines - April 2015

Outlines - April 2015


Outlines - General Election Supplement

Outlines - General Election Supplement


'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.

Read more


Use your canteen day - Tuesday 14 April.

April 14 is '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.


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. 


Proposed Pay Claim 2016/17

Deletion of NJC pay points which fall below the level of the Living Wage - £7.88 per hour (scp 6-10) - and a flat rate increase of £1 per hour on all other pay points.

The impact of the pay proposal on existing spinal column points.

UNISON’s National Joint Council (NJC) members have met to consider a pay claim effective from April 2016 and wish to consult members on their views.

In order to give you a chance to present your views, the Branch has organised a series of pay consultation meetings at the Civic Centre, Newcastle.

For those of you who work outside the Civic Centre, the Branch will be arranging workplace visits around the same timeframe as above, or you can respond via email.

If you respond by email, please indicate whether you support the proposed claim or not. If you do not support the proposed claim, please let the Branch know what your alternative claim would be?

The Branch has to send our consultation response to the Regional Office by 5pm on Friday 24 April, so could you please send your responses to the Branch by no later than 5.00 pm on Thursday 23 April

Pay Campaign


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”. 

Canteen campaign


Make Your Vote Count

Over the past couple of years the government has introduced a number of austerity cuts that have directly affected women and children. These cuts include reductions to child benefit, back to school clothing and footwear allowance, rent allowance, fuel allowance and cuts to home help hours. There has never been a more important time to let women’s voice’s be heard – the next General Election will take place on 7 May and it is vitally important that we get as many women as we can to vote.

The consequences of the Tories getting back into power for a further five years will see a devastating impact on our public services, with a further £70 billion worth of cuts predicted.

Legal aid has virtually disappeared since the last election and the amount of women able to access this service is significantly lower than in the past, if the Tories get in again legal aid will be scrapped and this means very vulnerable women and children will not have access to free legal aid.

Women’s Group meeting: Thursday 9 April from 11.30-1.00pm, Committee Room, Newcastle Civic Centre.


Unfair Parking Charges Decision Should be Reversed

Although the Council voted to introduce unfair parking charges in Newcastle last week UNISON is still campaigning to have the decision reversed.

If you haven't already done so please ask everyone you know to add their name to the petition at  https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-unfair-parking-charges-in-newcastle

Read more


UNISON Submits a Collective Dispute

Following the council’s decision to vote through the budget proposals for 2015/16 un-amended which includes the proposals around the staff car park, UNISON has submitted a collective dispute to the Assistant Director of HR. The council has acknowledged our dispute and a hearing will be calendared soon.

Read more


Next 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.


Read more


The Campaign Goes On

Following last night’s meeting, it was made clear by the Branch that the campaign against the council’s proposals goes on despite the council voting on their budget proposals this evening, and that we will have to ratchet up the protest. This is in line with the tag line for the Branch protest tonight outside the Civic Centre - “if the council aren’t listening then we have to shout louder”.

Read more


Noisy protest against the cuts

Date: Wed 4 March

Time: 16.30

Venue: Newcastle Civic Centre

Councillors are meeting to vote through £40 million of cuts: cuts to sure start and families services, cuts to tourist information and the dosure of the staff canteen, and many more. Months away from a general election we believe councils should be opposing cuts and demanding that Labour commits to a strategy of reversing cuts to vital services, and investing in public services.

Come to this Noisy protest to make councillors take notice.

Bring whistles, instruments or anything to make a noise.



The National Executive Council Elections 2015

The Branch would strongly encourage all members to vote in these elections as the NEC ensures that policy agreed at the National Delegates Conference is carried out.

Voting starts on 7 April 2015.

For more about the NEC, the ballot timetable and the Branch nominations see the NEC page.


The General Election in 2015 is the most important since the formation of UNISON

In terms of public services, the jobs of UNISON members and the ability of all working people to organise to protect and advance their living standards, there could not be more at stake. So we all need to do our bit to kick out the Tory-led coalition.

 UNISON activists and members have a key role as campaigners in the election: highlighting the impact of cuts and austerity on the public services in which we work; impressing upon our work colleagues and communities the case for a change; and engaging with candidates for political office on the need for an alternative agenda.


Voter registration: every vote really does count

When people are not on the electoral register and therefore not eligible to vote, it's democracy that suffers. Politics becomes less representative and less effective.


Budget 2015/16


Childcare Disqualification Regulations

The Department for Education (DfE) has recently published supplementary guidance to ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ updating legal requirements on schools and nurseries concerning the disqualification of people from working with children aged eight or under.


UNISON loses ET fee challenge.

Employment tribunal fees will live on. UNISON has lost its second judicial review challenge to the fee charging system, despite being in a position to produce compelling statistics to indicate a notable drop in tribunal applications. The High Court did not agree that the introduction of charging fees to access the tribunal system was in breach of the principle of effectiveness. UNISON was unable to show that individual applicants were unable to bring claims because of the system.


Lobby of Council - 4th March 2015

“If the Council aren’t listening, then we need to shout louder!”


12 month Secondment Opportunity  - April 2015 – March 2016

Assistant CVS Organiser


2015 Annual General Meeting

Agenda for the meeting on 16 March.

Outlines, February 2015


Civic Centre Refurbishment

UNISON raised the issue of trade union and staff involvement in the planning of the Civic Centre refurbishment with the Deputy Leader and the Chief Executive, and we’re pleased to say that subsequent meetings have taken place between the UNISON Branch Secretary and Council Officers dealing with the refurbishment. In addition, the UNISON Branch Secretary has been invited to a visit to South Tyneside alongside Council Officers to review their implementation of agile working, he will report his experience in the next edition of “Outlines” – the Branch publication.

Construction work has now commenced on the 9th floor. If ypu have any query please contact the Branch Office.


Soulbury Pay Agreement

Agreement has now been reached on pay for 2014-16. The pay settlement is over 18 months from 1 March 2015 to 31 August 2016 and consists of:


A Joint Education Services Circular will be issued shortly with revised pay scales.


Say No to Unfair Parking Charges in Newcastle

The City Council will meet on Wednesday 4 March to approve the proposed changes to parking charges.

All UNISON members are invited to an urgent meeting to consider what further action, if any, we want to take.

Date: Thursday 26 February

Time: 4.30pm

Venue: Committee Room, Civic Centre

You do not have to be disabled or a driver to attend the meeting but should be supportive of UNISON’s campaign. 

You can request facility time from your line manager to attend.

Refreshments will be provided so please let the Disabled Members Officer know if you will be attending.


Sign the petiion

Say No to Unfair Parking Charges in Newcastle at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-unfair-parking-charges-in-newcastle


Newcastle City Branch Annual General Meeting

Monday 16th March, 5.00 pm, Council Chamber, Civic Centre.

(Buffet 4.00 pm – Pandon Room – please confirm your attendance with the branch office for buffet numbers)

Members are asked to make every effort to attend the AGM which comes at a key time for UNISON members. The attempted destruction of Local Government by the current Coalition Government hasn’t slowed since last year’s AGM, but the end could be in sight. 2015 brings a General Election, and the chance to vote out a party ideologically opposed to the Public Sector; propped up by a party that has lost its electoral credibility.

The Branch continues to challenge the Council’s cuts plans, as well as ensuring that members are consulted widely on any proposals, and given an opportunity to comment and shape the future of their services, in addition to the day to day representation offered tomembers in disciplinary, sickness, performance and a host of other issues.

The Branch will have Ged Grebby as our guest speaker at the meeting. Ged is the Chief Executive (and UNISON member) of Show Racism the Red Card. Show Racism the Red Card is the UK’s anti-racism educational charity and was established in January 1996. The organisation utilises the high-profile status of football and football players to help tackle racism in society

This year the Branch has produced an annual report detailing the work done during the year, and the AGM is an opportunity for UNISON members to reflect on the past year and askquestions of the Branch leadership. The annual report will be available by email, or viathe Branch website, with paper copies available at the AGM or in advance on request at the Branch Office.

AGM Agenda


New courses for members

Go to the members' training page for new learning opportunities:

Course calendar


News from the Schools Convenor

New posts on the Schools page include:


Households below a minimum income standard: 2008/09 to 2012/13

The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) defines an ‘adequate’ income based on what the public think people need for a minimum acceptable living standard.

The proportion of people living in households with an income below MIS increased by nearly a third between 2008/09 and 2012/13.

In the same period in the North East the risk of being below 50% MIS increased from 4.2% to 7.2%.

These are some of the findings reported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in a paper which:

A minimum income standard for the UK in 2014

Households below a minimum income standard: 2008/09 to 2012/13


Staff Canteen to Close

Are you willing to get involved in a campaign to oppose the closure of the staff canteen?

As you will be aware, 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?

We are aware that a petition has been opened and would recommend that UNISON members add their names.

Please get in touch with the Branch office.



The December issue of the branch newsletter includes:

You can’t have consistently rising debts, and consistently falling incomes. The two must collide at some point. That means a crisis!

Since the newsletter was compiled, the Council’s financial position has worsened with the announcement that the Council is facing a further reduction of £800,000 in the money from Central Government. The Leader of the Council is predicting “even more cuts for the council in the months ahead”.

UNISON has opened formal negotiations with the council to persuade the council to retain an enhanced redundancy scheme.

Outlines, December 2014


Bridges to Learning

New Lunch and Learn Taster Sessions and CPD workshops have been added to the course calendar.



UNISONPlus Membership Services

UNISON has appointed 16 companies as UNISONPlus approved suppliers. To get this endorsement, not only must they be able to offer members savings and added value offers, but UNISON also requires them to operate very high standards of customer care and to support the union's aims and objectives.

UNISONPlus approved companies must agree to:

Each year more than 500,000 of these services are used by UNISON members – look for the UNISONplus logo.

UNISONPlus leaflet

Exclusive deals and offers



Nominate your Branch Officers and Stewards

The branch Annual General Meeting on 16 March 2015 will be your opportunity to elect the UNISON branch officers and stewards who will run the branch, run the Self-Organised Groups and represent you in 2015/16.

On the Branch Officers page you can click on a branch officer post to see the duties and responsibilities of that post. You can click on the name of the current branch officer to see the reports he or she has submitted to the branch committee over the year which will give you some idea of the current priorities and activity.

"In order to increase participation and encourage increased member involvement in the running of the branch, members will only hold one Branch Officer Position in addition to shop steward.

Only members who are ERA accredited will be considered for election to Branch Officer positions.  In UNISON, an ERA accredited representative is one who has completed the stage 1 steward’s course."

Branch Rules and Standing Orders

To nominate a member as your steward or as a branch officer please complete and return the form to the branch office before Friday 23 January 2015.

Steward nomination form

Branch officer nomination form



Holiday pay should reflect additional payments.

If you work on commission, work overtime, receive a bonus, shift premium or any other payment that is not paid for holiday periods then you might be entitled to claim back pay. But act quickly before your entitlement to claim expires.

The European Court has ruled that workers ought not to suffer financially when they take annual leave.

UNISON’s case of Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd concerns the payment of commission in respect of periods of annual leave. However, it potentially affects any payments for time or activities at work that are not paid for periods of annual leave (bonus, overtime, shift allowance etc).

But there's a time limit. If more than three months elapse from the last time an individual was underpaid (i.e. received holiday pay that did not include additional sums) then that individual may be unable to pursue a claim.

Employers are are aware of this and some are now attempting to limit their liability in respect of claims by including sums for these additional activities in workers’ pay, thereby triggering limitation with the intention that claims go out of time.

UNISON members should contact the branch office if they:

a) Receive extra payments that are not paid in respect of holiday periods or

b) Have begun to see additional sums included in their pay/payslips.

Read more:

'Outlines, November 2014'

Branch Secretary's letter.

UNISON: Holiday pay too low? Act now


BUDGET 2015/16

UNISON engages with management briefings

UNISON Branch Officers intend to be at all of the meetings as managers across the Council deliver  briefings to staff on the publication of the budget policy document for the Newcastle 2020 programme; “Fair Choices in Tough Times”. 

On occasions when the Council has several meetings scheduled at the same time it may not be possible for a Branch Officer to be present, but we will try to ensure that the shop steward for that section is there to answer any initial queries members have.

If neither can attend, or where there isn’t a shop steward, members can contact the Branch after the briefing and we’ll respond to queries.

The Branch has publicly stated we would like to see the detail shared with staff as soon as possible, certainly prior to December 23rd, when the papers for the Council meeting in January will be published.



Local Government members vote to accept pay offer

Members of all three local government unions have voted to accept the pay offer put forward by the Local Government Association.

The proposals cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016.

UNISON Head of Local Government Heather Wakefield said, "We will continue to campaign for the Living Wage to become the minimum rate of pay in local government ..."

Read more



New 2015 Living Wage Rates Announced

Newcastle City Council has said it will increase the amount it pays to its lowest paid workers by setting a Newcastle Living Wage of £7.75 an hour - up 20p from the current rate of £7.55. 

This month the UK Living Wage rate has been set at £7.85 per hour.

Read more



Branch votes to accept pay offer

Members of this branch have voted by 942 votes to 189 to accept the employers pay offer.

The ballot numbers represent around 23% of those balloted.

These results have been submitted to the regional office and will be combined with the other Local Government branches across the region, and then included in the national responses. The union’s NJC committee will meet this Friday to consider the consultative ballot results.



Vote Yes to a campaigning voice for UNISON

UNISON campaigns hard to defend jobs and decent employment standards, to promote public services and equality, and to protect the health and safety of our members.

To do this we need to be able to campaign in the political arena, at Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, in Europe and at a local level too.  The law says that unions must have a specific political fund to pay for such work and that a ballot has to be held every 10 years for it to continue.

UNISON is unique in having two parts to its political fund.  You can choose whether you want your political fund payment (which is a small part of your normal subs rate and does not cost you anything extra) to go into the General Political Fund (GPF), the Affiliated Political Fund (APF), or not to pay into the fund at all.

The APF is known as Labour Link, and it funds work to take UNISON’s policies to the heart of the Labour party, promoting the Living Wage, decent pay and defending the NHS etc. 

Look out for your ballot papers in this this month's U magazine.



Consultation ballot on pay proposals

The UNISON NJC Committee’s view is that the employers’ pay proposals for 2014/16 fall far below the aspirations in our 2014/15 pay claim and what members deserve.

However, the Committee believes it is the best achievable by negotiation and that only sustained all out strike action could achieve an improved pay offer.

Branches are consulting members on this basis and asking them to vote in a ballot that closes on Tuesday 11 November. The UNISON NJC Committee will be meeting on Friday 14 November to consider the results of the consultation.

GMB and Unite are also consulting their members on the basis that the proposals are the best achievable by negotiation.

Read more on the Pay page and in the latest issue of 'Outlines'


Frequently asked questions

The branch secretary has provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the proposals and what they mean to different groups of workers. They also cover some aspects of the negotiations, the industrial action and the conduct of the consultation and ballot.

Local government NJC pay proposals 2014-16, Frequently Asked Questions



The council have released their budget policy document for the Newcastle 2020 programme; it is titled “Fair Choices in Tough Times”. It is UNISON’s view that council employees will be left with:

Tough Choices in Unfair Times!

I’m sure like me you will all be dreading this time of the year. Instead of looking forward to planning for Christmas, we’re facing another round of cuts. As the last knockings of a Tory/Lib Dem Coalition Government continue with their public sector austerity measures, the council launches the initial proposals that will result in cuts of £40 million in 2015/16, and £90 million in total over the next three years.

These proposed cuts come on the back of £100 million cuts over the last three years. And what have we seen? Have the residents of Newcastle got “used to the word no”, as expressed by the Leader of the Council in November 2012? UNISON isn’t so sure. With many staff still trying to sustain valuable services, significant staffing reductions have resulted in:

The future for Local Government is not a positive one, the existing Tory Government forecasting a further three years of austerity if they stay in power beyond the next general election, the Labour Party stating they will stick to the Tory spending plans if elected in 2015.

In the face of a desperate situation, UNISON will:

UNISON officers, committed to public service, committed to our members. 


The NJC trade unions expressed their disappointment at the LGA’s refusal to consider our counter proposal but believe the pay offer is the best achievable by negotiation and have agreed to consult our members on it. UNISON, GMB and Unite are now meeting separately in early January to decide their position on the offer and to agree their union’s consultation process.

Bridges to Learning

Open University Pilot Offer

Invitation to trial a brand new free online course run by the Open University, with a £50 voucher as a thank you!. 

Each course takes about 15 hours to complete, which you can carry out in chunks over a couple of weeks. For the trial, we will be allocating a three week window for you to complete the course and complete a short feedback form. You will then receive your £50 voucher.

There are four short courses to choose from:

Supporting Children’s Development

A course which will introduce child development, and might be helpful if you are interested in becoming/ supporting your role as a teaching assistant): Piloting for this course will happen in March 2016.

Introducing Practical Healthcare

A course which will introduce the basic healthcare assistant role and healthcare practice, and might be interesting to those of you who work as, or are thinking of becoming a healthcare assistant): Piloting for this course will happen in March 2016.

Planning a Better Future

A course which will help anyone considering changing jobs, wondering how to move up the ladder, returning to work after a break or those who might be looking to aspire to better things): Piloting for this course will happen in April 2016.

Caring for Adults

A course which will introduce some of the important features of caring for adults, and will be relevant to those working in paid caring roles, as well as unpaid carers supporting family or friends).  Piloting for this course will happen in May 2016.


The offer closes on 19th February and it’s not known how many places there are but its first come, first served.  For queries and expressions of interest with details of which course(s) you are interested in joining, contact Jane Yugire.


New on Site


Labour Research Department Fact 78/25

Adverse impact of tribunal fees

'Reckless' to scrap NHS bursaries

Missing out on pensions and benefits

Call for 14-day self-certification period

Fathers missing out on paternity pay


Labour Research Department Fact 78/24

Average earnings fillip on back of living wage

Retail price inflation rises in May

UK unemployment rate at 11-year low

Modern slavery judgment against firm

Employers don't have working carers' policy


Orlando Vigil

Please come and join us in our vigil supporting and remembering the victims of the recent atrocity. Saturday 18 June, 6pm at Newcastle Civic Centre.


Labour Research Department Fact 78/23

Dementia in workplace

Thirty execs rake in £70 million

Deaths after Johnson's fire service cuts

Value of inward M&A hits seven-year high

UK factory output 'recovers'

Climbdown on police spying on unions


Members' training

New courses and taster sessions have been added to the course calendar for June and July.

Labour Research Department Fact 78/22

Rise in numbers working from home

Economic growth confirmed for start of year

Remuneration for two totals over £55 million

Euro 2016 advice

Planes, trains and drones and lasers

Equal pay progress at Scottish council


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 13 June.


NOCN Level 1 Award in Information Advice and Guidance

A five week blended training course free to UNISON members.

In the papers

Austerity is far more than just cuts. It’s about privatising everything we own

Vote Leave’s campaign of fear will cause lasting divisions

NHS regulator to scale back hospital inspections after budget cuts

North East GP crisis leaves services at 'breaking point', it is claimed today

Labour Research Department Fact 78/21

Gross pay packages for top executives

Presenteeism — sick and at work

Trade union membership 2015

UK behind Scandinavia on gender equality

UCATT votes for merger with Unite

Missing data


Branch Lottery

Winners in May.


National Conferences

Delegate list and final agendas.


School Restructuring

Several Newcastle Schools are going through a re-structure due to budget reductions.

School Support Staff Seminar

Support staff working in schools make up over 340,000 of our members, making UNISON the largest education union in the UK. Teaching Assistants are the largest worker group in UNISON. Lori Wilson reports from this seminar in Manchester.

Labour Research Department Fact 78/20

Unemployment falls

Anaemic growth in average earnings

Check-off victory

Inflation down again

Old and in poverty

Check-off victory

Vindictive’ check-off removal ruled unlawful in DWP by High Court.


'Hands Off Our Schools'

Public meeting with Ian Mearns MP. Saturday 21 May.

Social Work in times of Austerity

UNISON invites social work staff to attend their ‘Social Work in times of Austerity’ event on 1 June.

Labour Research Department Fact 78/19

Shareholders unhappy over executive pay

Compensation for blacklisted workers

MPs keep it in family

Non-compliance with minimum wage rules

Industry in recession

Lloyds to offer gender reassignment surgery


Labour Research Department Fact 78/18

Trade Union Bill receives Royal Assent

Losers in move to Universal Credit  

Compensation win for blacklisted workers

Effects of shift work on women and their health

Union wants end to confusion over tips

School assistants struggle to cope

UK growth slows in early 2016

Personal Learning Development Grants for Schools Support Staff

Ten awards of up to £300 each are offered to help pay for course fees.


Labour Research Department Fact 78/17

Tata Steel package

Lloyds Bank offshores and axes jobs

Water industry — the pay gulf

Inflation and earnings forecasts for 2016

Apprenticeship matching scheme

Sickness absence change unlawful

Bulging pay packages for City executives


Labour Research Department Fact 78/16

Rise in unemployment

Guide to make pensions clearer

Growth in weekly earnings nosedives

BAME workers more likely to be jobless

Trade Union Bill — more concessions


In the papers

Protest never changes anything? Look at how TTIP has been derailed

TTIP has been kicked into the long grass … for a very long time

200 Government jobs under threat across the North East, claim Labour

MP tells Parliament debate there is something "severely wrong" with North East Ambulance Service

Labour Research Department Fact 78/15

Young women and the gender pay gap

Top executives in £1m a year pay club

Directors' greed led to death of worker

Retail price inflation increases to 1.6%

Lead In and Out campaigns chosen


Training for Reps

UNISON Northern, in conjunction with Safe Newcastle have developed a 1 day training course to support activists and increase awareness and understanding of the nature and impact of domestic violence and abuse.

Branch Lottery

Winners in April.


Retired Members' Meeting

Papers for the meeting on Tuesday 10 May.

In the papers

David Cameron and ex-union chief join forces on EU

Jeremy Hunt doesn’t understand junior doctors. He co-wrote a book on how to dismantle the NHS

Equality watchdog warns junior doctors' contract is potentially illegal

Northumbria police boss condemns plans to replace cops with civilian volunteers

Those who can’t afford a home are being abandoned

What the great degree rip-off means for graduates: low pay and high debt

EU referendum - your chance to quiz Prime Minister David Cameron

Face it, Britain’s corporate fat cats will party until we turn the music off

The People’s Assembly march was a display of anger – that’s how change starts

Loss of a single council would be betrayal of people, says Labour MP

Mayor and North East Combined Authority is 'untested' and may not work - report reveals

Labour Research Department Fact 78/14

Increase in number of high earners in banking

Low take-up of Shared Parental Leave

Blacklist victims get their day in court

Year-end economic growth uprated

Old and unemployable?

Acas updates guide on sex discrimination

New employers to pay voluntary Living Wage

Above-inflation rise for minimum wage

UK trading deficit worsens in 2015


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 9 May.


Labour Research Department Fact 78/13

National Living Wage and April legal changes

Firms sign women in finance charter

Critical reports on academy trust

Fresh privatisation threat to Land Registry

Disabled people failed by government


Black Members

A report from the Black Members' National Conference.

Women’s Rights – the Risks of Brexit

Britain’s membership of the EU has led to significant improvements in the rights of women at work.

Employers to Pay Voluntary Living Wage

Public and private sector employers are ignoring the lower statutory National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour introduced by the government for workers aged 25 and over and moving to pay staff the higher voluntary Living Wage.

Branch Lottery

Winners in April.

Labour Research Department Fact 78/12

Inflation stuck at 1.3%

Working mothers-to-be face discrimination

Government complicit in gender pay gap

Stiffer sentences over dangerous dogs

Defeats for Tories in Lords over unions

Care home owner faces equal pay claim


Your Pension Funds at Risk

Please sign the petition and pass it on to colleagues – they don’t have to be a UNISON member to sign!

EU Referendum– Q&A

On Friday 29 April Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East, will speak about the benefits of EU membership to the North East followed by a Q&A session.


May Day march and rally

March from Princess Square for speakers and entertainment in Exhibition Park on Saturday 30 April.


UNISON Events for the Festival of Learning

Look out for 2016’s Festival of Learning from 1 May to 30 June. With 42 days of learning activities and events there are lots of opportunities for learning something new.

Courses for members

Introduction to Social Media; Sign Language Taster Session; Dementia Workshop.

Change their life with NCS this summer

National Citizen Service offers an ‘experience of a lifetime’ for young people aged 15-17.


“Inspiring Women” and a Prepare and Share Picnic Lunch

An event organized by the Women’s Group for both members and non-members. Wednesday 27 April,  12:30 in the Old canteen at Newcastle Civic Centre.


NHS Rally

UNISON Northern is one of a number of Health Unions supporting a march and rally called to Save our NHS which will take place on Saturday 9th April from 1.00 pm at the Medical School, Newcastle University.


Free Training for Union Representatives

Starting 19 April, Mentoring, Information Advice and Guidance and Project Management, will be available at NOCN Level 2 Certificate in CPD for UNION Representatives


Lighthouse Financial Advice – General Surgery

Book a free 30 minute consultation with a financial adviser on Wednesday 13 April in the Civic Centre.

Disabled Members’ Policy Weekend

An opportunity for UNISON’s disabled members to discuss how we can work together to ensure disability issues are kept on the bargaining agenda and to update on current issues affecting disabled members.

Branch Lottery

Branch AGM Lottery & Raffle Prize Results, 14 March 2016.

Labour Research Department Fact 78/11

MPs reject Sunday shopping change

Unemployment cut by 28,000 in January

Budget 2016 — the economic background

Changes to inflation's shopping basket

Swings in earnings growth


Free Distance Learning Course

NCFE level 1 Certificate in Well Being. Start date 4 April – Submission of Workbook 9 May.

Labour Research Department Fact 78/10

Trade Union Bill moves closer to becoming law

Factory output falls

Too many not putting enough into pension

Mergers and takeovers

Motherhood penalty on earnings

Pension disadvantage of different workers

Pay in manufacturing — no change on 2% rise


Action for Children

Members vote to strike over unilateral pay offer.

Tyne Tunnel

Pay negotiations continue - seeking to match Local Government 1% offer.


ERA Modular Stewards Course

This course is aimed at newly elected UNISON representatives and will include the role of the UNISON structure, representation and communication skills and equalities.

Branch Lottery

Winners in February.

Abortion Rights

Recent news from the national pro-choice campaign.

Labour Research Department Fact 78/9

UNISON can continue fight against fees

Economy slows at end of last year

Lords say dilute union fund proposals

National Living Wage — productivity and pay

Period policy


Women's Network

Regional AGM, 19 March.

Disabled members

Agenda for the Regional Group meeting on 9 March.


Branch Annual General Meeting

The Agenda and Annual Report for the AGM on 14 March.


Labour Research Department Fact 78/8

Rise in childcare costs

Discriminatory advertising

Commission ruling favours workers

Public school tie still dominates in top jobs

Trade Union Bill misinformation

Threats to workers' rights from Brexit

In the papers

Health chief: letter backing 'whatever is necessary' on contracts was not agreed

Four in five NHS staff thought about leaving

The NHS can be saved. We just have to decide how to do it

We are on the brink of a homelessness crisis among young people

Newcastle's political heavyweights line up against £300m funding snub

Political opponents on Darlington Borough Council vow to unite to 'save our market town'

Labour Research Department Fact 78/7

Inflation moves upward

Unemployment on downward curve

Vice-chancellors of universities get 3%

Earnings growth going nowhere fast


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 7 March

Retired Members

Papers for the meeting on 8 March

Core training for activists and members

UNISON Northern Region 2016 Course Programme for Activists and Members.

Immigration and Racism – What’s the Story?

Show Racism the Red Card will offer a safe and non-judgemental environment to explore this often controversial but important issue.

Indulge Yourself in an Evening of Luxury Chocolate…

Unwind and savour luxury, artisan chocolates as you discover the art of chocolate-making, all in support of Disability North.


Writing Get Together

The day has changed from Wednesdays to Tuesdays, from 12:30 to 13:20 in the Civic Centre social space (old canteen).


Open University Pilot Offer

Invitation to trial a brand new free online course run by the Open University, with a £50 voucher as a thank you!

Labour Research Department Fact 78/6

Minimum wage cheats named and shamed

Restructuring and its effect on well-being

Shopping free for all in England and Wales

Factory output flat at end of 2015

Managers should take lead over well-being

Wake up and smell coffee over dyslexia

In the papers

Cameron ‘buying off’ Tory MPs threatening to rebel over council cuts

Library campaigners descend on parliament to defend public funding

NHS needs funding rise to make it envy of world again, says healthcare expert

North East housing associations issue dire warnings about 'right to buy' scheme

North East authorities snubbed by government's £300m council fund


Labour Research Department Fact 78/5

Pay gap in black and white — TUC findings

Disgraceful delays over workers' deaths

Council job cuts

Families worse off under Universal Credit

UK economy grows, but annual rate slows

Skill shortages lead to unfilled vacancies

Boost for Boots staff


Health and Social Care Assistants Conference

Thursday 25 February: Professional development conference for health and social care assistants in the Northern Region.

Stop Trident demonstration in London

Saturday, 27 February. Speakers include: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, the Green Party's Caroline Lucas MP, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, and many others.

Colombia: The Peace Process, Transitional Justice And The UK’s Role

Northumbria University Access To Justice Society And The Colombia Caravana Uk Lawyers’ Group invite you to an evening meeting on Wednesday 17 February, 6pm -7.30pm


Labour Research Department Fact 78/4

Huge earnings loss over last seven years

Lords inflict defeat over political funds

Union concern over migrant worker deaths

 Huge bill for unions over Trade Union Bill

Retailers wait on National Living wage

Executive excess shows no sign of waning

In the papers

NHS watchdog signed off doomed £750m contract despite doubts

Our last chance to restrain the housing bill is with the Lords

Spike in mental health patient deaths shows NHS 'struggling to cope'

North East emergency services staff say they are 'overworked' at Newcastle protest

North East Police Commissioners invited to take over the region's fire services

Watch Newcastle city centre busker attacked during racist Far Right demonstration

Labour Research Department Fact 78/3

Unemployment falls across the UK

Some protection for zero-hours workers

Weekly earnings growth still low

Inflation at 12-month high

Blacklisters to miss out on Scottish contracts


Branch Lottery

Winners in January .

Fundraiser for West End Refugee Service

At Cluny, 27 February.

Workers Memorial Day Remembrance Service 2016

To be held on 28 April at Hartlepool.


Trade Union Bill

The Trade Union Bill had it's second reading in the House of Lords on 11 January 2016 and will proceed to Committee Stage on 8 February 2016.


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 1 February.


‘Reject the offer’, says UNISON

The UNISON NJC Committee’s view is that the pay offer falls far short of what our members deserve and the employers can afford. The Committee is recommending Rejection of the offer.

Celebrating Newcastle City Council and their work for human rights

It would be great to see you at the Discovery Museum for this event on 20 February celebrating the human rights heritage of Newcastle City Council and the wider Northeast.

In the papers

Trade Union Bill: Government embarrassed as peers back Labour motion

Private firm G4S 'shouldn't be allowed to profit from refugees' over red doors scandal

A portrait of the National Health Service: 'It's almost like a religion'

For a clear view of the NHS, look past the politics and promises of a cure

Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world's population, says Oxfam

Unison slams Hartlepool hospital bosses for cutting fertility services


Northern Regional Disabled Members AGM

On 4 February 2016. This event is open to any UNISON member who considers themselves to be disabled


Promoting Equality & Tackling Racism in the Workplace

A training day for stewards and reps.

Dementia Workshop

UNISON in partnership with The Open University is running a Free Dementia Workshop.

Writing Get Together

Practice your prose in a word work out on Wednesdays from 12.30 to 1.20 in the Civic Centre social space (old canteen).

Six Book Challenge-now Reading Ahead

Following the success of last year when many of our members and new members took the challenge, we will be running the scheme again in conjunction with the City Library.

Labour Research Department Fact 78/2

Conservative threat to opposition funding

More companies join Living Wage crowd

Hedge fund fat cats

Bosses can snoop on workers' internet use

Whitehall spend on consultants rises

Asbestos company smeared campaigners

Factory output remains weak at end of 2015


Labour Research Department Fact 78/1

Low wage growth expected in 2016

Wealth divide grows ever wider

Workplace trends in the coming year

Fat Cat Tuesday

Britain's rail fares the highest in Europe

Manifesto for disability equality from TUC

Farm workers keep protection of board

Pay cuts at KPMG


Rally to Protect NHS Bursary

Saturday 9 January 2015, 13:00 at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle City Centre

UNISON Northern has organised a rally in protest of the Government’s plans to remove the NHS Bursary which will force nurses, midwives, occupational therapists and paramedics amongst others into debt of over £50,000 by the end of their training.

Free Training for Members

New on the course calendar:

Getting to Grips with Computers.

Mental Health Awareness

English and Maths Course Information,drop-in sessions.

Croyde Bay

Early Season Self Catering Special Offer: £29.50 Per Person for up to 4 nights self catering

Survey on Equality and Trade Union Bill 

A survey from National Disabled Members Conference on Equality and the Trade Union Bill. 


Pay offer

Details of the employers final offer for 2016 - 2018.


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 5 January.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/50

UK unemployment rate at nine-year low

Inflation on rise again

Weekly earnings growth back below 2%

Well-being and work

Prentis re-elected


Free Training for Members

See the course calendar for Bridges to Learning courses available to UNISON members in January/February.


TU Bill/DOCAS Sign-Up Training

A workshop for activists on campaigning against the Trade Union Bill and the withdrawal of DOCAS (deduction of contributions at source).

What it is to be Trans at Work

This training course for UNISON Stewards will look at the laws and responsibilities surrounding transgender matters including the Gender Recognition Act, the Equality Act (which defines gender assignment as a protected characteristic) and public sector equality duties. 

Labour Research Department Fact 77/49

Pensions, poverty and incomes of the older

Flood safety and guidance

Factory output weak

More guidance over transgender workers

Disabled workers with invisible impairments

Mergers and takeovers at low level

More women needed in science and technology

Land Registry sell-off back on agenda


Community and Voluntary Sector

TUPE transfer to Thirteen Care & Support.


TUPE transfer to  Byker Community Trust.


New training courses.

Getting Conference Ready: drafting a motion; writing and delivering a speech

Promoting Equality and Tackling Racism in the Workplace

Campaigning and Organising Around DOCAS

Confidence Building Taster Session

New Union Representative Training

Trade Union Bill

Second reading in Lords scheduled for 11 January.


AGM 2016

Steward and Branch Officer nomination forms to be returned by Friday 12 February 2016.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/48

Millions to be worse off

Work-related violence — get it down

Growth in UK economy is confirmed

Transgender guidance

Firms should have to reveal pay ratios

Freeze in statutory payments next April

Cuts threaten key public services

Is leaveism the new presenteeism?

Action over utility pension closure


Insight Lecture - Pensions and Ageing Society

National Pensioners Convention (NPC) invites you to an Insight Lecture by Baroness Altmann, Minister of State for Pensions. On 9 December at Newcastle University.

Regional Women's Network Meeting

All UNISON women members in our region are welcome on 9 January 2016.

Branch Lottery

Winners in November 2015.


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 7 December.


Labour Research Department Fact 77/47

Chancellor climbs down on tax credit

Blocs carve up trade and services

More money saved into workplace pensions

Pay in manufacturing

In the papers

Autumn statement: As reality bites, revulsion could yet sink Osborne and Cameron

Welcome to Austeria – a nation robbing its poor to pay for the next big crash

Another big corporation is flagrantly dodging tax. This must be outlawed

'Conscious cruelty': Ken Loach's shock at benefit sanctions and food banks

Spending review 2015: time for George Osborne to face tough choices

Softening of tax credit blow to be funded by housing benefit cuts

Police cuts deal made despite terror threat, says George Osborne

More spending cuts will damage economy, TUC report warns

Save the library, lose the pool: Newcastle finds self-help has its limits as cuts bite

Spending Review: North East figures call for investment and an end to police cuts

'Old white men' worry for cost cutting Newcastle City Council


“Food 4 Thought”

A series of lunch time presentations for all in Newcastle. Organised by Newcastle University chaplaincy and St Thomas’ church, all are welcome and admission is free at St Thomas’ church, Haymarket.

2 December, 13:00 – 14:00:  “Promoting urban agriculture in Newcastle:   is air quality an issue?” – Dr Claire Walsh;

9 December, 13:00 – 14:00: “Community Organising: Empowering Civil Society in Newcastle and the Northeast” – Rev Dr Nicholas Buxton


TU Bill

Use of agency workers to break a strike.

Government impact assessments "not fit for purpose.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/46

Depressing effects of fit-for-work scheme

Retail price inflation down again

Annual survey of hours and earnings 2015

Roache is new GMB general secretary

Poorest hit hardest by tax credit cuts

Low pay in April 2015

Councils pay Living Wage but £10 is aim


Rally in Newcastle

Northern Public Services Alliance has organised a protest march and rally to take place on Tuesday 24 November, the eve of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

December Sleep Out Challenge

Women, friends and families will sleep out overnight without home comforts to highlight the plight of the homeless.

Free Training Courses

Newcastle Law Centre have a range of free training courses on employment law and the asylum process. Unison members would be very welcome to attend. 


Trade Union Bill

Your right to strike is being threatened.

International Transgender Remembrancer Day

On the 20th November, we remember the people who have been murdered or taken their own lives as a result of their perceived gender identity


Regional Disabled Members Group Meeting.

On 26 November 2015. Open to all disabled members of UNISON.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/45

UK unemployment down again

Average earnings growth punctured

Life's not fair

Reasons behind presenteeism

Sunday trading extension on hold

New earnings data


Reclaim the Night

Saturday 21 November in Newcastle.

Branch Lottery

Winners in October 2015.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/44

New Living Wage rates — but 6m on less

Say No to TiSA

No wage worries for top executives ...

Safety worries over scab agency workers

Bidding for public contracts in Scotland


Car Insurance

Discount offer for UNISON members from LV Insurance.

Decentralisation: what’s in it for the North?

A panel discussion at eh Great North Museum on 3 December.

UNISON Northern Young Members Celebration 2015

This is an open event to UNISON Young Members & to people who are interested in joining/ finding out more about UNISON. 

In the papers

George Osborne ready to bow to pressure to soften tax credit cuts

Labour can’t just gloat over Osborne’s mess – we need a positive alternative

Tax credit system: experts urge Conservatives to phase in planned reform

Tax credits vote: PM accuses Lords of breaking constitutional convention

Even the House of Lords couldn’t stomach Osborne’s tax credit cuts

Most workers 'will be worse off at retirement' under new universal state pension

North-south divide starts with pre-school children, report says

North children are worse off than their London counterparts - IPPR says

Labour Research Department Fact 77/43

Thirty two executives receive over £112m

Time off work when children are sick

UK economy slows

Health and safety statistics 2014-15

Government's plans over gender pay gap

County council to pay Living Wage


Getting to Grips With Computers

Free training for members

In the papers

Poverty goals? No, it’s extreme wealth we should be targeting

Doctors, teachers, the police – public servants are demoralised

Osborne refuses to back down on cuts to tax credits

Osborne is all for renationalisation – so long as the nation isn’t Britain

This isn’t a poll tax moment, and the Tories know it

 ‘This change will be the end of the Open University as we know it’

Junior doctors: 7 in 10 to leave NHS if Hunt pushes through new contract

Lords forced to back down on tax credits motion as Tory rebellion grows

Labour Research Department Fact 77/42

£1m a year executives 10 a penny

Factory output weak

Blacklisters admit guilt

Too many earning below Living Wage

Asbestos — MPs call for eradication law

Grandparents to share parental leave


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 2 November.


National Women’s Conference 2016

Branch calls for delegates to the National Women’s Conference in Brighton,11 - 13 February 2016.


Labour Research Department Fact 77/41

RPI inflation down, CPI negative

Gay couple lose court fight over pension

Unemployment down

Average earnings growth again over 3%

Facebook's 'tax bill'

In the papers

Labour must unify around the anti-austerity message

The Guardian view on Labour’s fiscal policy: mayhem, muddle, but the right call in the end

NHS seven-day plans will fail without more resources, warns doctors' chief


Labour Research Department Fact 77/40

Councils against Trade Union Bill

UK's current account deficit narrows

How to report on gender pay gap

Will low-paid workers be better off?

Support staff with cancer, says TUC

Pay in the boardroom


Disabled Members Group

Regional meeting on 15 October.


Branch Lottery

Winners in September 2015.


Labour Research Department Fact 77/39

No financial fears in retirement for fat cats

Parental leave at top ranked employers

No jail for corporate manslaughter

Factors in measuring gender pay gap

Employment law changes from October

Supermarket to pay above Living Wage

Economy expands


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 9 October


Labour Research Department Fact 77/38

Proposals to improve employment tribunals

Supermarket Lidl to pay Living Wage

Cap on public sector redundancy pay-offs

Forecasts for the economy

Tribunal numbers dive

Price of a life — the price of car?

Who misses out on auto-enrolment

Presenteeism rife


UNISON Croyde Bay Special Offers

Half Term Family Special Offer

Two-night Autumn Getaway, with FREE Spa Treatment

Healthwatch GP Survey

What matters to you when booking a GP appointment?


Redundancy and Protection Policies

Council to press ahead with changes.

Glastonbury and Latitude Festivals

UNISON volunteers for the Workers Beer Company look back on their experience.



Learn to become a Union Learning Rep.

In the papers

If Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is going to work, it has to communicate

Jeremy Corbyn: Conservatives are poverty deniers

The Guardian view on trade unions: part of the answer, not all of the problem

Anti-union Bill will make industrial relations worse, warns Easington MP Grahame Morris

Labour Research Department Fact 77/37

Widening opposition to Trade Union Bill

Jobless total up again

Rebound in average earnings growth

RPI inflation edges higher, CPI at 0%


Probation Service Strike

As part of the 2014 Probation pay dispute and following the breakdown of talks at ACAS, members will be taking further industrial action from Monday 14th September.

TUC National Demo.

At the Tory party conference in Manchester, 4 October. Fee travel for UNISON members.

Training course calendar

There are new courses for members and reps in the course calendar.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/36

Fat cats in banking

Number of zero-hours contracts rises

Trade Union Bill comes under attack

Factory output weakening

You never see a poor bookie — or fat cat


In the papers

Cameron tells Merkel crisis won't be solved by Britain taking more refugees - Politics live

Osborne’s public health cut is a blunder too far

Nursing chief: ‘Nurse shortages are life-threatening’

Police force could lose 22,000 jobs under new spending cuts

Local authorities 'cannot cope with further cuts'

'Mad' apprenticeship targets have consigned a generation to low-skill, low-paid duties

Labour Research Department Fact 77/35

UK plc owned by rest of the world

Fight goes on for abolition of fees

Steady growth in 2015

Gender pay flip-flop

Capability assessments 'not fit for purpose'

Check out the tasty executive pay deals


Branch Lottery

Winners in August 2015.


A free screening of the 2014 hit comedy on 14 September. With a discussion with an original member of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners!


Retired Members

Newsletter and agenda for 8 September meeting.


Union Reps Training

Courses for new reps or members who are thinking about becoming union reps


Dyslexia Awareness training.

Lunchtime session on 16 September.

Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 7 September.


Anti Racism

The TUC has published online a report on the Migration Messaging project that was run over the last year in partnership with Hope not Hate and Migrant Voice.

In the papers

UNISON General Secretary warns 500,000 further public sector jobs could go by 2020

Market turmoil is yet another lesson in need for international policy cooperation

This leadership race is bigger than Labour: if Corbyn wins, Britain could be out of Europe

Government's trade union proposals not fit for purpose, watchdog says

Labour Research Department Fact 77/34

Union proposals — 'not fit for purpose'

Long-hours culture brings risk of stroke

Moves to increase apprenticeships

When is a pay rise not a pay rise?

Executive excess


Newcastle Mela

On Monday 31 August 2015. The Mela is a free event, based around Pakistani, Bengali, Indian and other South Asian cultures, and is open to anyone who wants to learn more, be entertained and meet new people as well as enjoy different music, art and food in Newcastle.


Trip to Blackpool

Book now for Saturday 30 October.

Panto - Aladdin

Book now at special UNISON rates for 6 or 19 December.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/33

The widening pay gap

Inflation stays at 1%

Rise in regulated rail fares outstrips wages

High cost of bogus self-employment laid bare

More firms commit to paying Living Wage

In the papers

Jeremy Corbyn's rise is a 'game changer' for Labour Party says Unison boss Dave Prentis

North East paramedics assaulted by drunk patients as figures highlight shocking scale of abuse

South Tyneside Council could cut up to 600 more jobs to save £55m by 2020

Jeremy Corbyn is the curator of the future. His rivals are chasing an impossible dream

This war of the generations could yet destroy the left

Jeremy Corbyn is right to blame the banks, not Labour, for the financial crisis

Carillion secures place on major government outsourcing programme

North East MEP Jude Kirton-Darling accuses Government of 'massive centralisation' over Euro cash

Beth Farhat column: Britain’s three million night workers need fair rights to work-life balance

Support the National Gallery strikes while they’re still legal

Students are dashing from A-levels into debt, fuelled by a fear of poverty

Sixth form colleges left on starvation rations by government cuts, says report

In Tory Britain, young people are having their future stolen

Sex abuse charity funding crisis sees up to 10,000 in UK wait a year for help

Jeremy Corbyn would clear the deficit – but not by hitting the poor

Ashington Football Club host TUC rally in support of Qatar World Cup workers

Labour Research Department Fact 77/32

Challenge of finding holiday childcare

Jobless total rises for second month in a row

Average earnings growth down again

Pay rises to average 2% in coming year

Interest rates on hold but rise on horizon


TUC National Demo.

At the Tory party conference in Manchester, 4 October.


The August issue of the branch newsletter.

Redundancy and Protection Policy

Unions consider amended proposals.


Members' discounts

A new page on the web site where you can find local businesses offering discounts to UNISON members.


Labour Research Department Fact 77/31

Millionaire company executives rake it in

Attack on check-off

An appetite for the Living Wage

Presenteeism — not quite an epidemic

Night working grows since recession

Factory output shrinks

Three equality guides from Acas

In the papers

George Osborne's spending cuts letter to civil servants angers North East unions

NHS told to fill only essential vacancies due to 'almost unprecedented' finances

Free to dream, I’d be left of Jeremy Corbyn. But we can’t gamble the future on him

Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters aren’t mad – they’re fleeing a bankrupt New Labour

NHS patients may face widescale charges, warns financial thinktank

Benefit cuts mean this summer holiday has been even more hungry than usual

Jeremy Corbyn has good chance of becoming Labour leader, says Grahame Morris

Public sector workers to lose right to have union fees deducted from wages

Win or lose, Jeremy Corbyn has already changed the rules of the game

One in six jobseekers have allowance stopped by DWP each year

Benefit cut 'could make thousands of vulnerable young people homeless'

Fears North East colleges will close as MPs slam Government review as 'smokescreen' for cuts



Members' Training

New courses have been posted for August and September.

Black Members National Conference

Join the branch delegation to the conference in January 2016.

Branch Lottery

Winners in July 2015

In the papers

Britain’s rich are thrust into the future. The poor get kicked back into the past

More than 2 million children in families struggling to pay for essentials – report

Labour Research Department Fact 77/30

Too much cash directed to shareholders

Economy perks up

Discrimination as mothers lose jobs

Union reforms could harm productivity

Union political funds

Fit note fails to deliver

Labour disputes in 2014


National Conference Decisions

UNISON has published the decisions of the National Local Government Conference and the National Delegate Conference which were held in June.


An Introduction To Pensions

A Free paper based distance learning course for UNISON members.

Money Mentoring Course

Our training is a flexible way to improve financial capability and tackle financial exclusion. 

In the papers

Benefit cuts to hit huge number of children, government figures show.

George Osborne’s assault on welfare must not go unchallenged.

The Tories are callously redefining what it means to be sick or disabled.

Beth Farhat column: Union bill is unfair, unnecessary and undemocratic.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/29

Top pay and decline of union influence

IKEA now a Living Wage employer

New ideas needed on older workers

Review heralds end to pay progression

Council targets rep over privatisation

Increase in number of deaths at work

Labour Research Department Fact 77/28

Retail inflation sticks at 1% in June

'Unnecessary attack' on workers' rights

Rise in unemployment

Average earnings dips


Women’s Network Policy Weekend

You have a voice - we want to hear it. 4/5 September, Newcastle.

UNISON Personal Learning Development Grant

A limited number of grants are available to members who are either School Support Staff or Personal Care Assistants working in private or charity-run/ voluntary aided homes or employed directly by individuals.

Savings for members

£20 discount for unison members on a new car insurance policy with Liverpool Victoria.



Colombian human rights defender Berenice Celeita was kept under surveillance by unidentified individuals after returning from a visit to the USA and Canada to expose human rights violations in Colombia.


National LGBT Conference

Conference takes place Friday 13 – Sunday 15 November in Brighton.

Northern Pride

We need volunteers who will be able to set up the stall on Saturday 18 July and to staff it throughout the day.

Needed urgently!

The Albert Kennedy Trust are looking in the North East for volunteers to be carers, mentors and citizen advocates for young LGBT people who have experienced being homeless.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/27

New contract or old con trick?

Balance of payments shows improvement

Tories fail on child poverty so redefine it

Go-ahead but delay for tax-free childcare

UK economy in better shape in 2015

Manufacturing output flattens out

Regional inequalities increae under Tories


In the papers

Tories have redefined child poverty as not just about having no money

Whitehall not permitted access to two thirds of outsourcing contracts – report

David Cameron abolishes poverty, just like that

Legal aid cuts will hurt vulnerable people, not ‘fatcat’ lawyers

The obscure legal system that lets corporations sue countries

The case for radical change in Europe can’t be left to the nationalist right

Colombia's pipes to nowhere: villagers die of thirst as corruption stalls dam project

Labour Research Department Fact 77/26

Families struggle to close income gap

Midwives join TUC

Time off for antenatal appointments

Health and safety for children

Healthy workplaces

Thumbs up for pensions but ...

Financial pain of Child Benefit freeze

Relax dress codes at work in heatwave


Black members' meeting

Friday 10 July.

Pre-Budget Rally in Newcastle

Tuesday 7 July 2015, organised by the Northern Public Services Alliance together with the People’s Assembly.

Book launch, 16 July

An autobiography by one of the leading activists against apartheid in South Africa.

Branch Lottery

Winners in June 2015


Playfair Qatar

The World Cup of shame.

National Conference Reports

Branch Secretary





MEPs to vote on TTIP trade agreement.


Ban on Trade Union Congress of Swaziland lifted.


In the papers

Cynical about the Tories redefining child poverty? You should be

By scapegoating Muslims, Cameron fuels radicalisation

Child poverty does not only exist in a vacuum filled with hard-done-by urchins

Tory plan to redefine child poverty as figures set to show first rise in decade

Skivers and strivers: this 200–year–old myth won’t die

Tax credit cuts will hit North East hardest and increase child poverty

Labour Research Department Fact 77/25

Pension deficit tops £12bn in 2014

CBI head calls for wage rises

Living Wage for contractor staff

Productivity puzzle — seven levers

Public sector jobs lost and worse to come

Life at the top


Anti Austerity Campaign

Tens of thousands protest across the UK.

In the papers

Anti-austerity protests: tens of thousands rally across UK.

Tory vilification campaign against the poor is so clever.


Labour Research Department Fact 77/24

Living Wage served up

Improvement in average earnings

Inflation on the rise

Unemployment falls

Review of tribunals announced


School Uniform Grant Application

Closing date is 10 July. A change to the published criteria has just been agreed so that the childcare element of Working Tax Credit will no longer be treated as income in our financial assessment. 

Miners Strike 30th Anniversary

Tyneside Cinema, 18 June, a screening of a film made in the North East last year to mark the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike.

In the papers

The NHS needs savings of £22bn? Only a magician could find that

North East devolution: Deal should include voting shake-up and see mayor faces scrutiny

EU referendum: Conservative Party is 'tearing itself apart' over Europe, says Labour

Labour Research Department Fact 77/23

Living Wage milestone of 1,500 employers

Guide to time off for surrogate parents

Rise in factory output — but still below peak

Unions reject blacklists firms' 'derisory' offer

Facility time guide

Toxic air claims made by cabin crew

Little pay restraint shown by top execs


Pay claim

Employers refuse to consider a new claim for 2015/16.

Branch Lottery

Winners in May 2015

In the papers

What if David Cameron is an evil genius?

How far does Cameron want to shrink the state? Ask Barnet’s binmen

Labour Research Department Fact 77/22

Low activity in 2015 mergers and takeovers

'Union premium' on wages gets bigger

Economic growth estimate unchanged

Blowing the whistle — but to who?

Experts say cut time spent sitting in office


Lunch, Learn and Fitness Event

Monday 8 June 2015, 11.30-3pm in the Civic Centre.

Refugee Week

Talk: Celebrating Diversity, Contesting Injustice: Reflections on Multiculturalism and Migration – Monday 15 June, 17.30 at Newcastle City Library.

Reps Training

Introduction to the New Local Government Pension Scheme, 15 July.

In the papers

This battle will define us. We must protect our children from austerity

Look at the alternative Queen’s speech and wonder what might have been

Landlords enjoy £14bn tax breaks as figures reveal buy-to-let expansion

The British left must learn to speak a new language – Spanish

We are no longer paid what we are worth – just look at dog walkers

On the edge: the working families who struggle to make ends meet

Labour Research Department Fact 77/21

Persistent poverty in UK and Europe

'Union effect' in training

University lecturers hit by casualisation

Safety probes at schools

Exclusivity banned in zero-hours contracts

Growth and divide in weekly earnings


In the papers

George Osborne’s ‘northern powerhouse’ project will devastate whole cities

Ukip looks hilarious. But soon we won’t be laughing

Jon Cruddas: this could be the greatest crisis the Labour party has ever faced

NHS England chief: cash shortages could hit plans for seven-day health service

Worried about education? Get stuck in and change it

 Labour Research Department Fact 77/20

Retail price inflation stays under 1%

Increasing pressure on older carers

Reform of executives' performance pay

Crown Estate to pay Living Wage

Co-op Group to continue political support

Tories won donations battle in election run-up


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 1 June.


School Uniform Grant Application

‘There for you ‘ are once again launching the School Uniform Grant programme for 2015.

Anti Austerity March and Rally

Saturday 6 June in Newcastle.

National Demo - End Austerity

In London on 20 June 2015


Labour Research Department Fact 77/19

Tories take power after general election

City bonuses boost earnings growth

Unemployment dips by 35,000 in first quarter

Factory output slows at beginning of 2015

Tory Party resumes its attack on unions


In the papers

The big lie of economic success may still not save the Tories

'Secret' Tory plans for £8bn in welfare cuts exposed by Danny Alexander

GPs are exhausted, A&E is overrun and hospitals are broke. What went wrong?

Young people on Milibrand: did Brand's interview with Miliband work?

Ed Miliband says NHS faces a £2bn deficit in 2015

Meet the invisibles – the wealthy and powerful at the heart of the Tory party

Labour reveals North East health trusts set to overspend by tens of millions of pounds  

Labour Research Department Fact 77/18

Economy slows in first quarter of year

Blacklisted rep in tribunal victory

Top executives enjoy £1m a year packages

Women still face back-to-work barriers

Unequal treatment to end at airport security

Union reps' meetings qualify as working time


In the papers

Recession rich: Britain's wealthiest double net worth since crisis

Life at the sharp end: five families hit by five years of austerity

How the Tories dehumanise low-paid families – or should I say ‘benefit units’

Foodbank set up at Newcastle hospital after financial burden facing parents of premature children worsens

Labour Research Department Fact 77/17

Handsome rewards in executive packages

Epilepsy in workplace

Richard Desmond's UKIP donation

Nationwide says 'pay up' on Living Wage

Union official to head taskforce in Scotland

New qualification right on adoption leave

Strike over Tata Steel's pension closure?


Retired Members Meeting

Newsletter and agenda for the meeting on 12 May.


Against Racism – Against Hatred

Islamic Diversity Centre (North East) to Hold Ground Breaking Conference on Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Branch Lottery

Winners in April 2015


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 11 May.


Cuba Solidarity Campaign

Obama officially asks Congress to remove Cuba off terror list


Bridges to Learning

Professional Development Workshops in June and July.

Peace and Justice in Colombia

11 May - A lively discussion of first-hand experiences and legal opinion to launch the Colombian Caravana delegation report.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/16

Unemployment dips below 1.84 million

Turbans in workplace

CWU gets new gen sec

Earnings data provide little relief

Black and Asians hit by casualisation of work

Whistleblowing case — public interest ruling

2010 and now


May Day 2015

March and Rally in Newcastle on Saturday 2 May.

May Day buskers night

Wednesday 29 April at Magnesia Bank, North Shields

Workers Beer Company

Volunteering at Glastonbury Festival 2015.

Show Racism the Red Card

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker takes part in interview for new anti-racism film.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/15

More union bashing from Tories if they win

Inequalities among ethnic minority people

Factory output slows at start of 2015

Ambulance staff are stressed out

Inflation dips under 1%

Pension changes


Workers Memorial Day Service

Ashington, 25 April

Supporting Colleagues Affected by Domestic Violence and Abuse

This training is being offered to Unison stewards who may be approached by victims and / or perpetrators of DVA for information and support in the workplace.


Special Local Government Conference

The Conference on 24 March instructed UNISON's negotiators to formally submit an additional NJC pay claim for 2015/16.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/14

Employment law changes in April

Compensation scheme an 'unholy mess'

Tory claim on tax rubbished

Living Wage successes

Tory backers named and shamed

Balance of payments - record deficit

Executives in the £1m-a-year pay club

Labour Research Department Fact 77/13

Economic growth is revised upwards

UNISON can appeal over tribunal fees

Call for public inquiry into blacklisting

A promise to end zero-hours contracts

Industrial action at Windsor Castle

Austerity has led to mental health issues


The Women’s Network Manifesto

The Women’s Network has produced this manifesto for you to use with those seeking your vote in May’s elections. It is based on the main concerns of UNISON women in the region.

Six Book Challenge

World Book Night is 23rd April and to coincide with the event we are promoting the Six Book Challenge. Why not take the opportunity to read books that you would never normally read? Also we have a selection of books including quick reads which would be a quick way to try out a book?

Unison is launching this exciting challenge which is run by the Reading Agency to encourage our reading habit.


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 13 April.


Durham Miners Gala

11 July 2015

Coach Trip To Lightwater Valley

7 June 2015

Branch Lottery

Winners in March 2015


Labour Research Department Fact 77/12

Millionaire says Living Wage 'irrelevant'

Food and furniture prices cut inflation

Changes to inflation's shopping basket

Downside to being an agency worker

Wealth gap as wide in Scotland as GB

Blacklister stitched up

Take-home pay growth

In the papers

Labour pledges to end dependency on food banks with welfare reforms

Labour, drop the benefits doublespeak and let’s hear your underdog-whistle

16 North-East colleges unite to fight 'devastating' funding cuts


The Accidental Activist

After killing off Margaret Thatcher in the controversial comedy Maggie's End, Ed Waugh presents an anti-cuts comedy that shows there is an alternative to austerity.

Redcar Racecourse

Discount for UNISON members and two UNISON events.

Reps training

Two day discussion leaders course.

In the papers

Living standards squeeze has hit young far harder than old

Report reveals North East among worst hit by Government cuts

Labour's Jeremy Beecham says Vince Cable 'should be ashamed' of £320m RGF cash

Jeremy Hunt visits East Cleveland Primary Care Hospital to discuss facility's future

Protesters picket Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in east Cleveland

Labour Research Department Fact 77/11

Budget 2015 — the economic background

Unemployment down

Police infiltrated five trade unions

No joy in average weekly earnings data

Asbestos in schools


Support the Jarrow Walk-in Centre

Join the rally on 28 March.

Croyde Bay.

Take advantage of our last minute self-catering sale.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/10

Gender pay gap across EU member states

Factory output up, but below pre-crisis peak

Poor mental health of 'blue light' staff

Pay and expenses for top university job

NHS members' links to private healthcare

Mergers and takeovers at record low

Jobs growth for women is in low-paid jobs

In the papers

50% rise in long-term unemployment for young ethnic minority people in UK

Coalition Britain: after the teething problems, will universal credit work?

Half of single parents borrow to pay childcare costs, says charity

Gingerbread says many single-parent families under severe financial pressure, not helped by reduction in tax credit support

Iain Duncan Smith’s family values won’t help the poor

Government accused of breaking promises on NHS cancer treatment

Labour won’t let David Cameron turn the UK into little Britain

TTIP must not allow companies to sue EU countries for environmental laws, say MPs

TTIP must not allow companies to sue EU countries for environmental laws, say MPs

Committee calls for European countries to retain right to protect the environment with impunity in negotiations for EU-US trade deal


Car Insurance

Exclusive discount for UNISON members.


Member's Training

Equalities Taster Session. 17 March 2015, 14.00 – 16.30.

The State of the Unions: union membership and union recognition

An ERS report.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/9

UK growth confirmed

Benefits migrant workers bring to UK

Waste of young people

Zero-hours contracts

More public money needed for care sector

Executive pay levels and public trust

Outsourcing of public services hits quality

In the papers

Newcastle City Council passes £40m budget cuts despite protests

Gap in European funding could be 'body blow' for North East, says Labour

How Yarmouk refugee camp became the worst place in Syria

Mr Osborne’s Economic Experiment: Austerity 1945-51 and 2010- review – an elegant demolition of the chancellor’s policies

Why more men should fight for women’s rights

Almost 700,000 people in UK have zero-hours contract as main job

Figures reveal 28,000 of people in the North East on zero hour contracts for their main job

EXCLUSIVE: Plans revealed to expand Darlington and Durham A&E departments


AGM 2015

The Branch Annual report is available along with the Agenda and nomination forms.


Counter Demonstration to Oppose Pegida March

Saturday 28 February in Newcastle city centre.

Croyde Bay

Easter Holidays are just around the corner!

Exclusive UNISONPlus Member Offer

UNISON Health Plan and a free chance to win an iPad.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/8

Missing a Living Wage

Firefighter deaths

Party donations in 2014

Low paid could get 3% rise in autumn 2015

Factory output slows at end of 2014

In the papers

The bishops’ letter to British politicians is a true act of leadership.

Miliband’s hands are clean, but the Rifkind and Straw sting may still hurt.

West Midlands police face swingeing cuts.

Every vote could make a difference on May 7 - and too many are being lost.

North East jobs: Almost a third of jobs in some areas paying less than living wage, says TUC.

Time is running out for voters to wake up to the Tories’ cataclysmic plans.


Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls, 25 March

A cross cultural and community based approach to tackling violence against women and girls in the North East.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/7

New limits from April

Deficit worse because of wage stagnation

End of year bonuses boost earnings data

Unemployment down below 1.9 million

Fuel and food behind lower inflation


Introducing the Local Government Pension Scheme

A training course for UNISON reps. Those wanting to apply to become member reps on an LGPS Fund Board should attend this course. Knowledge of the regulations and how the scheme and funds are costed is going to be essential.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/6

Fourteen directors on at least £20,000 a week

Tax avoidance the PwC and HSBC way

Zero-hours workers want share of bonus

Setback for shop staff over EU ruling


English and Maths Courses Information Event

The session is aimed at staff thinking of taking English or Maths qualification or wanting to improve existing skills in Math and English.  


Labour Research Department Fact 77/5

Psychological impact of austerity on staff

Care crisis over cuts and pay

Disabled jobseekers face barriers

Fall in real pay

Economy slows

Shame of winter death toll from cold


People's Question Time comes to the North East

The People's Assembly is putting on a nationwide series of 'People's Question' Times - an anti-austerity alternative to the BBC's Question Time. Each is a chance to hear and question a range of prominent perspectives on the big political topics of the day.

UNISON Guarantees to beat your current Home Insurance premium

It’s easy to take advantage of our best ever offer for UNISON members. Simply give us a call, tell us a few details about your home and what you’re currently paying, and we’ll offer you cheaper cover guaranteed.


LGPS Investments and Governance Course

To brief activists on the future development of Local Government Pension Scheme Governance and Investments.

Labour Research Department Fact 77/4

Multi-lingual guide put online by TUC

Unity ceramics union merges with GMB

Flexibility in sickness absence policies

Economic outlook for 2015 rosier

Shop staff still face violence and threats

Another year of executive excess

An earnings measure to include self-employed?

In the papers

Ukip general secretary calls for NHS to be privatised and compares it to Nazi Germany

Miliband and Cameron battleground set with 100 days to go before election

Cameron cuts, and the money is recycled to the rich

Poorest hit hardest by coalition changes, says report


Indulge Yourself in an Evening of Luxury Chocolate…

Date:  March 17 2016

Time:  20:00

Venue:  Disability North, The Dene Centre, Castle Farm Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1PH

Cost:  £10.00

Booking:  Disability North Events

We have limited places left for our luxury chocolate tasting evening on March 17th at Disability North. Indulge in delicious, hand-crafted chocolates as you hear about the history of chocolate and the unique ways in which it is created from a leading, international chocolatier.

On Thursday 17th March at 8:00 P.M. we are hosting a fantastic evening of chocolate at The Dene Centre, home of Disability North. Embark on a unique chocolate tasting experience as our artisan chocolatier draws on her extensive training throughout Europe as an apprentice to Swiss chocolatier Phillipe Burger.

Exclusively this Easter, you will hear how she hand-crafts her famous, luxury Easter eggs using traditional Swiss methods.

Unwind, and savour luxury, artisan chocolates as you discover the art of chocolate-making, all in support of Disability North.

Rise in unemployment

Guide to make pensions clearer

Growth in weekly earnings nosedives

BAME workers more likely to be jobless

Trade Union Bill — more concessions