The Assistant Branch Secretaries each take a lead role with different employment groups. Reports to Branch Committee can be found in the archive pages of the relevant directorates and services or you can click on a name below to find reports by the current post holder.
Lynda Hardie, Derek Muse and Nicky Ramanandi were re-elected unopposed to the Assistant Branch Secretary positions.
In the 2014-15 Annual Report Lynda reviews the key issues of the last year in Wellbeing, Care and Learning. These she identifies as the proposals regarding Sure Start and its inclusion within the wider Family Services Review and the Care Cooperative proposal within adult social care.
In the 2014-15 Annual Report Derek reviews the work of the branch in Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), Community & Voluntary Sector (CVS), Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), Newcastle College and Tyne Tunnel (TT2). Derek dealt with 70 different individual organisations over the last 12 months within CVS.
Looking ahead to 2015 I believe that the major issues and challenges faced by this sector will be: Casualisation/Zero hours contracts – With a general election looming this year both Labour and the Lib Dems have made noises about ending or at the very least changing the ways in which organisations can utilise these types of contracts. Hopefully 2015 will see at the very least the beginning of the end of these contracts in Newcastle.
One of our priorities should be to pressurise the City Council into signing up to an Ethical Care Charter similar to which UNISON colleagues in Scotland have negotiated with Renfrewshire Council – this is a charter which sets out minimum standards to protect the dignity and quality of life for people who need home care and for those who provide it. An ethical care council will only commission work from providers who – among other things – do not use zero hours contracts, pay the living wage, pay workers for travel time and allocate staff appropriate time slots to carry out meaningful visits. This approach is one that can be transferred on to other areas of service provision such as early years/nursery provision.
The renegotiated YHN management fee is likely to see further changes to YHN over and above that of the YYN /NCC Review. A reduction in the management fee is likely to see YHN being asked to carry out “more for less” and the Chief Exec has already written to all staff stating “I acknowledge that now, more than at any point, things cannot stay the same.”
Universal Credit – comes to Newcastle later in the year. As well as increasing pressure on YHN front line staff to maximise its income and debt recovery (which in itself is crucial to retaining jobs) it is likely to have a major effect on some of the more vulnerable in our City who could see overall benefits being reduced as well has having to get used to budgeting for themselves in a completely new way.
Further TWAM fragmentation is a major concern as is the projected savings target for next year of £575,000 – at least £275,000 of which may have to come from staffing levels.
The proposed introduction of an extra resource into the Branch office this year will hopefully allow us to spend more time and effort in addressing our concerns and challenges for 2015 and beyond – especially as the CVS sector still has the potential to increase our membership massively.
Derek Muse has been nominated for the Assistant Branch Secretary post with responsibililty for YHN.
Lynda Hardie and Nicky Ramanandi are nominated for the other two Assistant Branch Secretary posts.
As these nominations are unopposed there will not be an election at the Branch AGM on 10 February 2014.
Below Lynda and Nicky give their assessments of the challenges facing the branch in the coming year.
We are in year 2 of the 3 year Budget Proposals - it is an increasingly challenging time for all. We are as a Senior Branch Team always looking at increasing and retaining membership alongside other responsibilities.
We have appointed a Schools Convenor post to establish and strengthen our links with our school based staff where there is a good opportunity for increasing our membership, alongside our current recruitment campaigns.
We are currently working on our pay claim and intend to visit key locations on 4th February to engage with members connecting to the national ‘You’re Worth It’ campaign. Pay has fallen 18% since 2010, a key concern along with our being asked to do more for less.
The Sure Start proposals are a massive concern both nationally and regionally and we are focussing on a campaign involving staff, members and service users to highlight the invaluable work that is carried out and the effect the proposals could have. Proposals are one million within this year (brought forward) and a further four million next year – the implications are massive and could result in closures of centres and job reductions.
The House of Commons Education Select Committee published a report stating Sure Start Centres are essential and must be seen as a priority, Labour have established a ‘Friends of Sure Start’ campaign and we are committed to highlighting the integral role that centres play in getting the best for children and families in their communities.
The last 12 months have been extremely challenging within the City Council and we know this is set to continue in the year ahead. We are currently in negotiation regarding year two of a three year budget proposal. The budget deficit had been set at £90 million, this in itself has led to significant changes within the council; however, the total has now risen to over £110 million which has meant new proposals have been introduced. The impact this has on services will to be a main focus of activity going forward, this will involve working hard to mitigate against job loss, and to campaign to protect core services.
As part of the senior branch officer’s team we will continue to provide the strategic leadership to the branch. This is a very challenging and difficult time, it is integral we work together as part of a strong, collective team to achieve the best possible support and protection for our members. It is important that members are being represented in restructures and in the union’s negotiating and bargaining agenda.
One of my responsibilities is to work with the Women’s Officer to encourage and support more women to become active in the union. In the year ahead I will also work with members across the branch encouraging them to become activists. In the areas I lead on I will continue to negotiate on behalf of the members, provide representation and support our shop stewards and reps.
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