UNISON's national conferences were held in Glasgow and our branch was represented at the National Local Government Conference by Cath McGuinness, Vikki Brannagan, Lorraine Fernandez, Lori Ashbridge, Lynda Hardie, James Imhoof and Ed Whitby.
At the National Delegate Conference our branch was represented by Cath McGuinness, Vikki Brannagan, Lori Ashbridge, Ella Thorp, Mavreen Ncube, Ed Whitby and Conor McArdle.
Branch Secretary (Paul Gilroy, NEC)
Equalities (Cath McGuinness)
International (Conor McArdle)
Schools (Lori Ashbridge)
Report by Paul Gilroy
A presentation will be provided at the July Branch Committee, but the Branch was well represented at both conferences.
A number of Branch motions and amendments were debated by delegates and supported by the conference delegates in the hall, and the majority of the Branch delegates spoke in debates, sharing the experience of our Branch with the wider union.
Report by Cath McGuinness
At National Delegate Conference 2015, which was held in Glasgow this year, the Northern Region published its conference bulletin “Northern Focus”. In the newsletter it was good to see that Clare Williams, (Regional Convener) and our very own Nicky Ramanandi, (Deputy Regional Convener), gave a mention to equalities; how equality at work is vital to providing a positive culture in the workplace, tackling discrimination and inequality and how that engaging members and stewards in the workplace is key to helping deliver on equality.
They mention how that in the last 12 month we at Newcastle City Council Branch have delivered a series of half day training sessions, facilitated by Ruth Berkley (regional equalities officer), but, forgot to mention that this was also delivered by Wendy Aitman (Branch Education Coordinator) and Cath McGuinness (Branch Equalities) officers. The response has been really positive, over the period, training approximately 40 members including stewards, and community sector members.
For we activists it is important that we have facility time, its not always about red tape, its about delivering for our members, educating members, influencing our children, families, and communities to embrace diversity. I personally feel that one of the best places to educate would be in our schools, it’s NEVER too early to start recognition that discrimination is wrong.
UNISON, is the only union that is dedicated to self-organization which helps to determine the key issues for each of our SOG’s and young members, it operates to inform members on our agendas for negotiation.
Finally, a big WELL DONE to all of our delegation that represented you the members, delivering our speeches with passion and dignity, having our voices heard from Newcastle City Branch and the Northern Region.
Report by Conor McArdle
There were a number of international guests at this year’s conference.
On the Monday evening, trade unionists, labour rights' activists and anti-privatisation campaigners from Colombia, Swaziland, Israel and Nigeria addressed the UNISON international rally. This was a good opportunity to hear first-hand about trade union developments in those countries and how they are responding to austerity and the liberalisation of public services.
On Thursday during the international debates, we heard an excellent speech from Paul Moist, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees on Canada's experience of free trade agreements and the threat posed by TTIP, CETA and TISA.
There were also a number of international fringe meetings on Cuba, Palestine, Colombia and Qatar.
Report by Lori Ashbridge
I went to both Local and National Government Conference and was delighted by the show of support to staff working in schools.
At Local Conference, I spoke in support of Composite B, a combination of motions from the Northern Region and Newcastle City on the importance of organising in schools. I spoke on the fracturing and isolation of schools, the dedication of staff and the increase in sickness and bullying behaviour reports. That is why organisation, recruitment and retainment of staff is so important.
Increasing Shop Stewards to help bolster the presence of the union in schools is also a goal. There were several other speakers in support of the composite; several teaching assistants spoke of being severely overworked and the lack of teaching and support staff.
When a point of order was made to have the motion put, it was overwhelmingly vetoed in order for more school staff to speak. I was glad there was such a show of support; as one speaker put it, ‘we are silenced enough in schools’.
After all had spoken the vote was unanimous in support of the Composite.
On 24th March a special conference of UNISON's Local Government Service Group convened to debate the 2014/16 NJC pay proposals. A number of issues were considered including: the decision to cancel strike action on 14th October; future pay consultation protocols in respect of local government pay claims; and the best means to secure a decent pay increase for Local Government members.
The branch delegation to the conference consisted of Nicky Ramanandi, Lori Ashbridge, Cath McGuiness, Ed Whitby and Lynda Hardie. A number of motions from branches and regions were
submitted, and Newcastle City Branch had submitted 2 motions, however these were not part of the prioritised order of business.
The conference was lively and a number of emotive speeches were made and some of the major decisions that came out of conference were:
All of the prioritised motions were debated. Clearly there now needs to be a discussion at the NJC and the SGE committees about how these motions, and the others that were agreed, are taken forward. A further update will be provided once these committees meet.
New courses for members and stewards.
Inflation leaps to 3.2%
More regulation of gig economy needed
Appalling risk of suicides in construction
Fat cats — the great pay divide
Racist abuse after Brexit vote
Lack of diversity at top in Wales
Papers for the meeting on Monday 3 April.
Meeting on Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 4.30pm.
Nottinghamshire Police have taken the bold step to identify misogyny as a hate crime and Northern UNSION are keen for this to be replicated in our region. The aim of the event is to identify how we can move the issue forward across the region with all three Police and Crime Commissioners.
Swings and scooters of inflation basket
No real improvement in weekly earnings
Cosmetic improvement with Living Wage
Zero-hours contracts at record high
Unemployment falls below 1.6 million
Agenda and annual report.
Economic forecasts in Hammond's Budget
Mixed fortunes in ethnic women's pay gap data
Company merger and acquisitions in 2016
Numbers on zero-hours contracts at a high
GMB take on DX delivery firm
Former chancellor's nice big earner
Charter to stop violence at work
Saturday 25 March. Hear grassroots, union and guest speakers and watch the Reel News film showing the Durham Teaching Assistants’ story.
Saturday 25 March, to plan UNISON LGBT activities for the year ahead.
A joint training session for trade union and community activists on how to organise to defeat the politics of division. 18 March 2017.
March calendar of events and activities.
Trade Union Act regs come into force
Gender pension gap leaves women short
Violence at work — the nasty truth
Bookseller's £7m salary
Money purchase pension are norm
British Gas denied appeal in Lock case
Government fails in ethnicity review
Papers for the meeting on Monday 6 March.
Papers for the retired members' meeting on 17 March.
Winners in February.
Morning seminar and afternoon remembrance service in Hartlepool on Friday 28 April 2017. There is also an Eve of WMD ‘Gig’ on Thursday 27 April.
Government green paper on pensions
A 'Stern diet' for fat cat directors' pay
Employers — don't miss out on talent
Argos repays £2.4 million to 37,000 staff
Economic growth revised upwards
Work fears of disabled people revealed
Migrants have helped make Britain. It’s time to celebrate us
NHS at breaking point, according to British Medical Association
Councils prepare to cut essential services to fund adult social care
London transport spending equivalent to £1,500 more per head than North East
Minimum wage cheats named and shamed
Inflation hits three-year high
Unemployment at 11-year low
Inflation erodes growth in weekly earnings
Migrants are always the scapegoats. But now they’re taking on Ukip’s lies
I, Daniel Blake is a realistic depiction of life on benefits. Isn’t it?
English social care system for elderly facing 'complete collapse'
North East peers want law to make Government investigate impact of Brexit on region
North East recruitment drive revealed as jobless total in region rises
UK employment growth driven by foreign nationals, figures show
The NHS needs a rethink. Its priorities no longer make sense
Top Labour politicians come to 'UKIP area' Sunderland for Brexit debates and festival
Rothbury Community Hospital inpatient ward closure public meeting this week
Shopping will cost you more as prices rise, but is Brexit to blame?
Campaigners calling for u-turn over Post Office move
UK labour shortages reported as EU worker numbers fall
Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns
Then the Daily Mail came for Gary Lineker, and we said: ‘Enough!’
Brexit survey revealed: What you would do if given second shot at EU referendum
Booming gig economy costs £4bn in lost tax and benefit payouts, says TUC
There will be a shameful betrayal of the Brexit low-paid
Welcome to the new dark ages, where only the wealthy can retire
NHS 'pays £7.5m a year for 20 most expensive agency doctors'
Drive to bring health and social care together is a well-intentioned mess
Sunderland, 19/20 May 2017.
Sign Language (BSL) Introduction, 2 March 2017
Dementia Workshop, 30 March 2017
Regional Education Calendar 2017
A&E in England had worst delays ever in January, leak suggests
Why was Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes the star of Prime Minister's questions?
Number of patients stuck in hospital 'far higher than NHS data shows'
It's time corporate tax dodgers started losing lucrative council contracts
More council housing needed in the North East - government report reveals
Council tax, youth funding and bins: 6 things to look out for from Sunderland budget meeting
TyneMet and South Tyneside colleges merger: What it means for jobs, campuses and its new name?
Review of tribunal fees finally published
Plan to tackle abusive hiring practices
Insecure work on rise
Twenty eight directors share £68.37 million
A list of affiliations and donations that the branch committee has approved since January 2015.
UK faces return to inequality of Thatcher years, says report
NHS ID scheme could deter eligible patients, say MPs
Councils may cut social care provision due to underfunding, LGA says
Nursery schools: ‘What society gives children less chance than their parents?’
Council tax rise planned for Northumberland residents as authority faces £36m cuts
'Trump can't hack Trebs' - the best signs from Newcastle anti-Trump demonstration
Racism at work
Economy grows but there's a shortfall
Advice on gender pay gap from Acas
Tories offer no solution on discrimination
Eight assaults a day in Welsh schools
A quarterly periodical updating branch reps on employment law.
Winners in January.
Northern Region Young Members AGM
UNISON Northern Region Black Members Forum AGM 2017.
Discounted car insurance for UNISON members.
In Newcastle on Saturday 4 February.
Papers for the meeting on 6 February.
Death by a thousand fire service cuts
Guidance on stress
Modern-day slave traders jailed
Fees let bad bosses get off scot free
Top-ranked inclusive employers 2017
Get tough on pay, says pension funds
Agenda and nomination form for the mmeting on 4 February.
Annual Meeting of the Regional Disabled Members Self Organised Group on Tuesday 31 January 2017.
Mental Health Awareness Workshop on Thursday 16 February.
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
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
UNISON have now been allocated two spots on the 16 January to have guided tours around the Anne Frank exhibition.
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
Winners in December.
Consultation on political fund review: December-January
We are having our first Reading Ahead launch at Welford Learning Zone on 11 January between 10am and 11am.
Book now to secure your place on one of the courses for Reps at Newcastle College starting in January 2017.
UNISON courses in 2017. These courses are free and open to all members unless otherwise stated.
'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