Your working environment

Workplace temperature


Health and Safety

H&S Officers (Job share): Paul Barwick, Jaci Carden

Assistant H&S Officers (Job share): Vacant

The Health and Safety reps

The Health and Safety Executive calculates that workplaces with an active Health and Safety rep have half the accident rate of those that don't.

Newcastle UNISON branch has around fifty health and safety reps, each with the legal right to inspect their workplace at 3 monthly intervals.

The work of the reps is supported by the Branch Health and Safety Officers who offer advice, training and resources.

If there is not a UNISON Health and Safety rep in your workplace then see if anyone is prepared to give it a go, or offer to do it yourself.

Before you jump in at the deep end you can watch a UNISON video clip about health and safety inspections (on Youtube) and have a chat with one of the Branch H&S officers about the role of the rep.

As a H&S rep you will never know how many accidents you have prevented, or even if you have saved a life, but you will be maintaining one of the great achievements of the trades union movement in making your workplace a safer environment for you and your colleagues.


Our Health and Safety is Not for Sale

Do you know that the incoming Health and Safety Executive head Dr Richard Judge is under government instruction to ‘commercialise’ the HSE watchdog.  But a Hazards campaign is urging the new chief executive to ensure the regulator uses its legal powers, people and skills to protect us at work, instead of flogging its services to all-comers.

Please support Hazards Magazine/Hazards Campaign action against the commercialising of the HSE, which was overwhelmingly endorsed by 350 delegates (many of them from UNISON safety reps and branch safety officers) at the just gone 2014 Hazards Conference at the weekend.

We need to stand up for our health and safety and that of our mates, our families, and our communities now!

We want to get a blizzard of these letters going to HSE now so please go to print off and send the 'Don't Pimp our Watchdog' letters, circulate via your own networks, and on social media.  Get your workmates, branch members, friends and family to send them too.

FIND OUT MORE Read the article Our health and safety is not for sale from Hazards magazine issue 127

Print off and send the 'Don't pimp our watchdog' letter to new HSE chief Dr Judge


Email your letter (sample below) to

Dear Richard

I would like to welcome you to your new job.  

I know when you take up the reins in November, you’ve been tasked with ‘commercialising’ the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

But I think the government’s workplace safety regulator should be using its legal powers, people and skills to protect us at work, not flogging its services to all comers to fill a government-imposed funding gap.

Please don’t pimp our watchdog. HSE should be saving lives, not selling out.

I would like to help you improve HSE’s lifesaving work, so feel free to get in touch.

Best wishes


School asbestos audit urged

UNISON has called on the Labour party to commit itself to carrying out a full audit of asbestos in schools if it forms the next government.

We will be lobbying to make sure that the health and safety of workers is on the agenda of all the major parties for the election campaign," says the union's head of health andsafety Tracey Harding.

The call for a schools audit came at a seminar on asbestos organised by by the all party parliamentary group on occupational safety and health.

Assistant national health and safety officer Robert Baughan also called for the Health and Safety Executive to get the resources it needs to restart proactive inspections of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other public service buildings.

Asbestos in school settings - UNISON advice

Asbestos in schools: a trade union Issue - advice for reps

Asbestos Q and A - health and safety information sheet




Health & Safety Challenges in 2014

Jaci Carden and Paul Barwick have been nominated to share the position of Branch Health & Safety Officer.

Their nominations are unopposed so there will not be an election to this post at the Branch AGM on 10 February 2014.

Here Paul assesses the H&S challenges facing the branch in the coming year.

Hi – my name is Paul Barwick and I will be the Branch Officer for Health & Safety in a job share role with Jaci Carden having previously been the Assistant Branch Officer.

I see 2014 as a very challenging year when it comes to Health & Safety as many organisations including the Health and Safety Executive face massive cuts and re organisation. Here at the City Council we face more than our fair share which itself puts extra pressure on our members as we have to contend with cuts to budget, staff and resources.

I see the main challenges in the coming year as:

Health and safety statistics 2012/13

Published online on 30 October, the latest statistics on work-related health, safety and enforcement in Great Britain 2012/13 include the following key annual figures:


Dark hearts

The government and its business bankers treat your survival as a joke The government says workplace safety laws hold back the economy. Ministers complain safety enforcement is a diversion business could and should do without. But, Hazards says, while this is lapped up greedily by the business lobby and the tabloids, there’s just one problem. It’s a cynical - and ultimately deadly - lie.

Hazards 118 April-June 2012


Related links:


New on Site


Learning at Work Week

15-21 May 2017. The theme this year is Curious and Creative for Learning at Work Week.

Distance Courses

Starting 24 April 2017, these courses can be done online or paper based.


NEC Elections

Branch nominations and ballot details.

'There For You’ Newsletter

This newsletter includes an update on the changes to the Bereavement Support Payment as well as contact details for ‘Down to Earth’, who provide practical and emotional support throughout the funeral process.


Branch Lottery

Winners in March.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/13

Executive pay bandwagon rolls on

Cycle courier entitled to holiday pay

Employment law changes this April

New minimum wage rates kick in

UK lags on maternity

Merger heralds new teaching union

Consultation on caste discrimination



New courses for members and stewards.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/12

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


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 3 April.


Regional Disabled Members Group

Meeting on Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 4.30pm.

Misogyny as a Hate Crime

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.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/11

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


AGM 2017

Agenda and annual report.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/10

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


March/Rally for Durham Teaching Assistants

Saturday 25 March. Hear grassroots, union and guest speakers and watch the Reel News film showing the Durham Teaching Assistants’ story.

LGBT Policy weekend

Saturday 25 March, to plan UNISON LGBT activities for the year ahead.

HOPE Not Hate Event

A joint training session for trade union and community activists on how to organise to defeat the politics of division.  18 March 2017.

NE People’s Assembly

March calendar of events and activities.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/9

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


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 6 March.

Retired members

Papers for the retired members' meeting on 17 March.


Branch Lottery

Winners in February.

Workers Memorial Day

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.


Labour Research Department Fact 79/8

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

In the papers

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


Labour Research Department Fact 79/7

Minimum wage cheats named and shamed

Inflation hits three-year high

Unemployment at 11-year low

Inflation erodes growth in weekly earnings

In the papers

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


Disabled Members Policy Weekend

Sunderland, 19/20 May 2017.

Members training

Sign Language (BSL) Introduction, 2 March 2017

Dementia Workshop, 30 March 2017

Reps training

Regional Education Calendar 2017

In the papers

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?

Labour Research Department Fact 79/6

Review of tribunal fees finally published

Plan to tackle abusive hiring practices

Insecure work on rise

Twenty eight directors share £68.37 million


Affiliations and donations

A list of affiliations and donations that the branch committee has approved since January 2015.


In the papers

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

Labour Research Department Fact 79/5

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.


Branch Lottery

Winners in January.


Young Members

Northern Region Young Members AGM

Black Members

UNISON Northern Region Black Members Forum AGM 2017.

LV Car Insurance

Discounted car insurance for UNISON members.


North East March and Rally for #ourNHS

In Newcastle on Saturday 4 February.

Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 6 February.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/4

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


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 79/3

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


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


Branch Lottery

Winners in December.


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