We represent members across a wide range of non-profit organisations ranging from large national charities with hundreds of employees to small grant aided projects employing one part-timer – those employed in charities, voluntary organisations, community groups, social enterprises and housing associations.
These organisations provide a range of services to local communities and campaign on all sorts of issues.
The Northern Region of UNISON has around 2500 members in the community and voluntary sector. The Newcastle Branch of UNISON has over 800 members in the community and voluntary sector in over 170 separate organisations.
Work over the last twelve months has consisted of representing our members in disciplinary hearings, grievances, sickness reviews, consulting on changes to structures, dealing with the fall out of financial cuts – indeed all of the issues which our colleagues in the Local Authority have to face on a daily basis.
UNISON Newcastle want to create a new forum for members working in the charitable sector, and another for those working for housing associations. We will be visiting workplaces speaking to members and handing out a survey which will be asking what you’d like to see at these events and what would make you come along? Whether it be a speaker from the sector and a Q&A or something more like a forum for us to share our ideas and concerns about working in this sector. This is your opportunity to shape the future of the community sector within UNISON.
If you would like to arrange a UNISON visit to your workplace then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org we can come and speak to staff, have a stall or hold a drop in session for members and non-members alike. We can also arrange training, the training we offer is free to members and we can also provide some training to non members. UNISON want to know what you think and how we can help, you just have to let us know. If you have any suggestions or to get more involved simply get in touch.
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.
CVS reports to Branch Committee include the following headings:
Date: 3-5 March, 2017
Venue: Bournemouth International Centre
The conference is open to all UNISON members in the Community Sector and sets the agenda for the coming year.
Thirteen Care & Support – formerly known as Norcare – became a part of the much larger Thirteen Group a couple of years ago. Consultation is currently taking place to try and harmonise terms and conditions for those staff that were TUPE’d into the larger organisation. Members are currently being balloted on the proposals with a recommendation to reject.
Ian Royal has now commenced working in the Branch as CVS Assistant Organiser – Ian has already made a positive impact since his arrival!
We have met with Disability North recently to discuss recruitment of Personal Care Assistants (PCAs). Disability North administer the payroll of around 400 PCAs (those who are employed directly by the person they provide the care for). We will be writing to those who employ PCAs via Disability North’s payroll provision advising them of the benefits of UNISON membership for those they employ and asking them to pass on information including application forms and the benefits of UNISON Learning.
MHM – Currently consulting on further potential redundancies following decommissioning of a service by North Tyneside.
NCVS – Currently consulting on TUPE transfer of staff to Your Voice Counts – Gateshead.
UNISON's work with thecommunity and voluntary sector continues to be case intensive.
Shocking new figures have revealed that the number of people nationwide on zero hours contracts – though previously to be around half a million – is actually 1.4m.
Places for People have lost one of their maintenance contracts to Keepmoat. TUPE consultation has now commenced. Organisation is also being targeted as part of a national recruitment drive/organising project in Housing Associations.
UNISON has engaged with over 70 different organisations over the last twelve months and has had an unprecedented number of disciplinaries where members jobs were at risk. In most of these we were successful in keeping our members in a job!. This sector was also responsible for a large proportion of the Branch’s referrals for legal advice.
Members who provide personal care have seen UNISON nationally taking up their concerns on zero hours contracts, ridiculously low time slots they are given to attend to clients’ needs and the questionable practice of organisations not paying staff travel time between appointments which calls in to question if minimum wage requirements are being met.
We have seen fairly major restructures and redundancies within Dimensions, CQC, Age UK and Mental Health Matters and the unfortunate folding of Learning First.
On a more positive note we have seen the Fabrick Group, which includes our members in Norcare, sign up to paying their staff the Living Wage and they look to further cement their partnership by forming a new organisation with Norcare at its head to bid for future contracts.
Derek Muse assesses the year ahead.
The Community and Voluntary Sector continues to be extremely casework intensive and shows no sign of changing in 2014!
The main issues in this sector over the coming year will continue to be around those who provide personal care with the Branch advising members adversely affected by zero hours contracts - the ridiculously low time slots carers are given to attend to clients’ needs and the questionable practice of organisations not paying staff travel time between appointments - which calls in to question if minimum wage requirements are being met and is something which is now part of a UNISON national campaign.
The difficulties of trying to persuade employers in this sector to pay a living wage as the cuts bite deep into their funding are particularly acute. However with the Branch looking to increase capacity in the support we provide to the Voluntary Sector we can look ahead with optimism that we can grow and organise our membership here over the next twelve months.
Consultation has begun on further restructuring and potential redundancies.
The CVS in general continues to generate large amounts of case work with this year seeing an unprecedented number of disciplinary hearings at which our members’ jobs were at risk.
The UNISON survey of almost 3,000 workers from across the UK, uncovers dangerously underfunded services leading to hardship and exposing children and the disabled to risk.
UNISON is calling on the Government to have a major rethink in its attitude to the third sector. Its sink or swim philosophy is leading to a struggle for survival. Almost unnoticed by the public, many charities have become increasingly financially dependent on winning contracts from the public sector.
A disability worker in the East Midlands reported:
“Users have less chance to go out, have to wear second hand clothes, have no transport, and blind people now have to buy their own white sticks when they lose them.”
A housing worker from the West Midlands revealed that:
“Fewer aids and adaptations are being installed, leaving people at risk in their homes and communities due to budget cuts.”
The union is blaming the Government’s austerity drive for pushing people out of the sector, as it is increasingly difficult to provide even the basic help and support that clients need.
We have a strong membership within Mental Health Matters. Like many C & V organisations the budget cuts have hit hard, contracts have been lost or decommissioned and they are looking further afield to secure jobs and services that they provide. MHM have asked via VONNE (the support body for the voluntary and community sector in the North East of England) to share their wish to talk to other organisations who are struggling in the current difficult economic climate and who are considering their options, which could include collaborations and in some cases merger.
Norcare are one such organisation who have entered into a partnership with Fabrick Group. After many years based in rather dingy offices in Shieldfield Norcare have now moved into new premises in Jesmond. Again we have a good membership in there and have recently recruited two new Shop Stewards to support our members there.
Government suggestions for implementing Regional Pay seem to have quietly slipped off the radar – for good reason! However under their “Embrace For Change” restructuring the Salvation Army are looking to do just that. Their proposals would mean Salvation Army staff in the North East earning in some cases up to £7,000 less than their colleagues elsewhere (not just in London – Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff – the Isle of Man!!) for carrying out exactly the same role. The Regional Office is now considering submitting an impact assessment on the proposals.
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