BRANCH REPS

2017 TUC Terry Rodgers Workplace Rep Award

The TUC recognises the importance of representatives such as Shop Stewards and Office Reps in building the Trade Union movement in the workplace.  There are hundreds of representatives in the region who devote much time and energy protecting and improving wages and conditions of their members.  Often they deal with wider subjects such as pensions and redundancy while they invariably have to deal with the specific problems of individual members.  Their role is essential for trade union organisation and recruitment. 

This is not a competitive award and the purpose is to recognise the contribution made by workplace representatives generally. 

The award will be made at the 2017 Regional Conference, which takes place at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead from 6th – 7th May 2017.  Closing date Friday 10th February.

Further details in the nomination form.

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Recognising the Work of Branch Reps

Not every workplace rep can expect a TUC Award but their contribution can still be recognised within the branch.

If you are a branch rep (Steward, ULR, H&S, whatever) please consider some of the questions on the TUC nomination form and how you might respond to them.

Please send your responses to the branch office for posting on the branch website. That will be not only an acknowledgement of your contribution to the branch but also a record of your activity for future reference. It might also inspire others to take an active role in the branch.


EVENTS

Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year. It’s a time for everyone to pause to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the HolocaustNazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. On HMD we can honour the survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today. 

27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

Events in Newcastle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2017


THERE FOR YOU

Get help staying warm this winter

With rising fuel costs and another cold winter looming, many members are worried about how they’re going to pay this year’s winter fuel bills.

Help is at hand

There for You, UNISON’s own charity has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income by way of a one-off payment of £50 per household.

This year eligibility includes those in receipt of housing benefit and the amount of the grant has risen from £40 to £50 per eligible household.

Priority will be given to those who have not previously received this grant and no grants will be paid out until after the closing date of 17 February 2017.

To apply download the forms or contact the UNISON branch office.

Q&A   Application Form


LOCAL NEGOTIATIONS

Council Withdraws Proposals

The council has withdrawn its proposals to:

The Council will not reintroduce these proposals in the 2017-2020 budget timeline i.e. the next 3 years.

On this basis the UNISON Campaign Group has decided to call off the lobby of Labour Group arranged for Monday 5 December.

On behalf of the members who would have been affected UNISON has thanked all those who supoprted the short but vigorous campaign against the proposals.

UNISON believes the council were testing the staff’s resolve and now has to rebuild the staff’s trust and confidence in its employer. While UNISON will assist with that process we should not underestimate the worry and concern that staff directly affected by the original proposals have felt. UNISON believes that the council should have considered ALL alternatives before presenting the proposals to attack staff terms and conditions. Clearly there are alternatives.

Read more in the Fightback 3 bulletin


LOCAL NEGOTIATIONS

Council Unions Consider Industrial Action

The Council is proposing to:

UNISON members directly affected have reacted with fury and are demanding the council withdraw these proposals immediately.

 The joint trade unions in Newcastle City Council have served notice on the employer that they refuse to negotiate on any attack on staff terms and conditions.

 Paul Gilroy, Branch Secretary of UNISON Newcastle said “Our members have made their dismay and anger clear. A Labour council placing the burden of Tory austerity on to hard working council staff by cutting their pay is the final straw”.

He went on to say that “industrial action seems inevitable unless the council withdraws this proposal immediately”.

 The online petition has more than 1000 signatures and UNISON has also distributed a paper version for use in workplaces. Please sign the petition as we intend to hand it in at the next council meeting on 11 January.

The BBC are monitoring the campaign and are very interested in interviewing staff who are directly affected by the proposals. This is just the coverage we need as there is nothing more powerful than staff explaining the impact of losing money on them and their family’s lives. Please contact the UNISON branch office if you’re willing to share your story.

In addition, if you’re happy for the Branch to feature your story in this campaign bulletin, please get in touch with us too.

Read more in the Fightback 2 bulletin


MEMBERS' BENEFITS

Free entry to Local Tennis Leagues for staff of Newcastle City Council

New players in the Active Newcastle Singles Tennis League are being offered free entry to celebrate Andy Murray's fantastic achievement in becoming World Number 1!

The league organised players into groups at a similar level and is open to people of all standards. Players arrange their own matches between Thursday 24 November 2016 and Wednesday 1 February, 2017. All you need to do to have fun and improve your game at the same time is register here for a free place, complete the playing standard questionnaire and enter FREE OFFER NEWCASTLE COUNCIL under How You Heard or email info+newcastle@localtennisleagues.com.


LOCAL NEGOTIATIONS

The Time Has Come To Fightback

Newcastle City Council has released a proposal that:

Council staff say NO

UNISON say NO

Newcastle Council says it wants to "protect" vital services, but its solution is to attack the very staff delivering those services. Council staff are facing pay cuts of up to a third which would mean that many staff could not remain in these posts in the future. The reality for staff would be pay cuts forcing them in to debt, homes at risk, misery for them and their families.

Come to the lobby of the Labour Group,  5.15  pm Monday 5  December,  Ceremonial Way, Civic  Centre      

Read more in the Fightback 1 bulletin


BRANCH ELECTIONS 2017

Branch officer and stewards elections

Nomination forms for 2017 should be completed and returned to the branch office by 13 January 2017.

Branch officer nomination form

Steward nomination form


LOCAL NEGOTIATIONS

Are you ready to give up shift allowance and weekend enhancements

“The trade unions were informed today of council proposals to cease paying shift allowance and weekend enhancements, and to change the time night rate takes effect from 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm. Council managers will be briefing staff from tomorrow. The trade unions will attend the briefings and then speak to their members afterwards.”

Branch Secretary, 1 November

The proposals, part of the council’s budget for 2017, would result in 30% of the workforce, some 1800 staff, seeing their wages slashed by up to a third.

Be sure to let your UNISON steward know what you think of the council's plans.

Joint Trades Unions press release


PAY

LGA Rejects Additional UNISON NJC Pay Claim For 2017-18

The employers have rejected our claim for a flat rate increase of £1 an hour on all NJC pay points because:

 “The Employers are very clearly of the view that the NJC reached, in good faith, an agreement on pay on 16 May 2016 that covers the period to 31 March 2018”

Pay Bulletin   Employer response

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The campaign for a fair deal in 2018 and funding for the pay spine review begins now!

The NJC Committee agreed that all our efforts now need to go into campaigning for a positive outcome from the review of the pay spine and a decent offer in 2018. A further 1% pay offer for the majority in 2018/19 would not be acceptable. The Committee also felt that the review of the NJC pay spine, agreed as part of the 2016-2018 settlement, needs additional funding to ensure an outcome which is fair to all and tackles inequality in pay within the public sector. NJC pay is the lowest in the public sector, from the bottom to the top of the pay spine.

It was therefore agreed to start a campaign of political lobbying, which will call on branches and Regions to lobby councillors and MP’s for a fairer deal for school and council workers and for funding of the review of the pay spine. The union will also work to establish groups of parliamentary advocates within the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland parliaments to speak out for council and school workers and commission research to support a better deal for NJC workers in future.


LOCAL NEGOTIATIONS

More attacks on terms and conditions

The council’s announcement of their budget proposals for 2017 – 2020 which were presented to staff, UNISON, the public and the press missed out a significant issue, a proposal to remove premium time payments i.e. to stop paying enhancement rates for working weekends and evenings.

No premium payments impact directly on those staff who receive them currently but also opens up the possibility of 7 day working for other staff. You could find your service operating at a weekend without paying you any overtime payment. Would you be happy about that?

UNISON will be campaigning against this proposal and you should too. We’ll provide more details as they are released.

Read more in October 'Outlines'


COUNCIL BUDGET

Three year budget proposals announced

The council has announced its budget proposals for the next 3 years. The headlines are £70M reduction, £30M in 2017/18, £20M in 2018/19 and £20M in 2019/20.

Here’s a link to the Council published budget information, including IIA’s https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/your-council-and-democracy/budget-annual-report-and-spending/budget/budget-2017-18

UNISON branch officers will be offering support to worker groups and individual members affected directly by the proposals. If you need advice or support please contact:

Paul Gilroy - Resources, WCL (Adult), ACX

Nicky Ramanandi  - Communities, I&D

Lynda Hardie – WCL (Children)

Read more


LEARNING

UNISON Get Online Week

17-23 Oct is the tenth Get Online Week and UNISON have arranged a table in the Civic Centre Monday 17 October, 12.30-1.30pm, Why not pop down and have a try at some IT you may not normally use or would like to learn about.  We will also be promoting courses if there is something you would like to do more specifically, or try a Tablet, Kindle or Laptop for the first time - full support will be given.

Why not take the opportunity to visit the new Welford Learning Zone open 10-12 Monday, Wednesday and Friday and receive one to one support to get online, or if you prefer try out a Kindle, Laptop or Tablet for the first time. Please contact Wendy Aitman to check on availability of spaces.

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 6 New Free Open University Badged Courses  

The Open University has launched 6 free online courses for people looking to move up in their career, or considering a change of direction.  Fun, interactive and informative, each course takes approximately 15 hours to complete but can be studied in shorter chunks of time, the courses are:

For further details and how to register please contact Jane Yugire.


PAY

Additional Pay Claim for 2017/18

The branch is consulting members on the question:

Do you agree with the proposal that the additional pay claim for 2017/18 should be for “A flat increase of £1 an hour on all NJC pay points?”

This arises from a resolution of the Local Government Service Group Conference which included an instruction to submit an additional NJC pay claim for 2017/18 and to commence the process of consulting with branches and members on the composition of this claim after Conference. This reopens year 2 of the 2016/18 two-year pay NJC settlement agreed last May.

The additional claim will be a UNISON claim only because the other two NJC unions do not support it. Both GMB and Unite’s National Committees have discussed UNISON’s proposal for an additional claim. In response they have both stated that, given the collective decision of NJC trade unions to accept the 2016/18 two year pay settlement, they will not support a further pay claim for 2017. The Local Government Association has also indicated that they will not consider a claim received from one NJC union only.

Branch consultation will conclude on 3 October 2016.


PAY

Review of the NJC Green Book Pay Spine

As part of the 2016-18 pay settlement, the NJC agreed to conduct a review of the NJC pay spine. The primary reason for this review is the introduction of the National Living Wage.

The terms of reference for the review have now been agreed.

Read more


PAY

Chief Executive & Directors’ Pay

Members will have seen the publicity regarding a proposal to review the salaries of the Chief Executive and Directors from their present position of spot grades i.e. no incremental progression, to one including the provision to move up a scale incrementally based on performance.

UNISON were not involved in any discussion of the proposal prior to the publication of the information by the Chronicle. UNISON were subsequently briefed on the proposal on Tuesday 30 August.

The pay policy statement has been approved by Constitutional Committee, but is subject to agreement by full council on 7th September. The pay policy statement includes the text “The Trade Unions have also been consulted and briefed about the contents”, which is incorrect and the UNISON Branch Secretary has written to the Assistant Director of HR to demand that elected members are provided with a clarification that states that the Trade Unions were briefed post publication on the contents of the pay policy statement.

Following the publication of the review proposals, UNISON’s Branch Secretary met with the Chief Executive and expressed the union’s anger and disappointment that pay increases were being proposed at a time when cuts are being considered to the council’s budget for the next 3 years, and when we have seen an erosion year on year of the redundancy and protection arrangements. In addition, a letter has been sent to the Leader of the Council, and UNISON’s Branch Secretary has also spoken publicly of the union’s position, and this was reported in the Chronicle.

UNISON members who are unhappy at the proposals could assist the Branch by contacting your councillor (in Newcastle), who will be voting on the proposal, and explaining your opposition


LIVING WAGE

A Fair Day's Pay

Newcastle City Branch has challenged the City Council to become an accredited Living Wage employer. This means that the Council would increase wages of the lowest paid in the organisation in line with the increases of the Foundation Living Wage each November.  

In addition we have challenged the council to make provision within its procurement policy to ensure that the contractors and businesses the council employs, include a provision that they also pay the Foundation Living Wage.

Read more


POLITICAL

Labour Party Leadership Election and UNISON Members Entitled to Vote

To register to vote, UNISON members must:

When you register you agree to:

The Labour party will be conducting the election. Queries about the ballot or members wishing to check if their applications have been accepted by the Labour Party should contact the Labour Party

UNISON’s nomination process

UNISON Labour Link, which represents those members who pay into the affiliated political fund, will follow standard procedures for agreeing any nomination.

This will mean:

If you do not already pay into the affiliated political fund (APF) you can transfer using the following form https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2013/06/On-line-Catalogue198443.pdf

To check if you are member of APF you can check yourself here: https://www.unison.org.uk/my-unison or email unison.newcastle@newcastle.gov.uk

For more information about getting involved in Unison Labour link or becoming a Unison delegate to Labour Party CLPs or for general questions get in touch with branch Labour Link Officer:

Ed Whitby ed.whitby@newcastle.gov.uk   or 07740099479

Frequently Asked Questions – Unison members and the Labour Leadership


DISABLED MEMBERS

Disabled Members’ Conference

The UNISON Disabled Members’ Conference 2016 takes place on 29th – 31st October in Brighton.  We are looking for expressions of interest to attend the conference as a delegate from the branch.  Travel and accommodation will be arranged by the branch and subsistence payments will be available. 

Read more


CHARITY WALK

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


MEMBERS BENEFITS

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


 

New on Site

22/01/2017

Women's Network AGM

Agenda and nomination form for the mmeting on 4 February.

Disabled Members

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

Members training

Mental Health Awareness Workshop on Thursday 16 February.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/2

Wales to ditch parts of 2016 Trade Union Act

Inflation rates at highest since 2014

Retail inflation eating into earnings growth

UK unemployment at nine-year low

In the Papers

Public sector pay poised to fall by thousands in real terms, TUC says

May’s promise on workers’ rights is hollow if she doesn’t get a deal

NHS crisis: the one act of self-sacrifice that could rescue our health service

Politicians have ignored the working class for too long

World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%

Crisis, what NHS crisis? Theresa May must stop this denial

Welsh government tables bill to overturn Trade Union Act


15/01/2017

Anne Frank Trust Exhibition

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

Labour Research Department Fact 79/2

Courier's tribunal win against CitySprint

TUC warns over Brexit threat to workers' rights

Lame excuses for not paying minimum wage

High street store fined over safety

Manufacturing output edges higher

Child poverty briefing


13/01/2017

Branch Lottery

Winners in December.


06/01/2017

The Trade Union Act and UNISON's Political Fund

Consultation on political fund review: December-January

Reading Ahead

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

Trade Union Reps courses

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

Northern Region Training Programme

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

Labour Research Department Fact 79/1

'Precarious pay penalty' of zero-hours staff

Plans for a Universal Basic Income

2017 — economic forecasts for year

'Fat Cat Wednesday' has been and gone

Northern Ireland to reveal political gifts

UK's deficit in trade in goods gets ever worse

UK economic growth revised upwards