Libraries and Customer services


October 2016

Ongoing discussions are taking place regarding working with Partners when facilities are closed, a working group has been set up to look at this. In addition, discussion continues regarding the move of the Customer Service Centre to the City Library – a working group has been set up.

Concerns have been raised by members across the service in relation to annual leave, this centres around availability and the length of time staff are having to wait to have leave confirmed. A meeting with the Service Manager and shop stewards is to be arranged.

A Regional Library seminar is to take place and will be held in the Newcastle City Library – this will look at the current issues facing the service and how UNISON responds. Once a date is confirmed further details will be shared.

Budget briefings are taking place across this area but at the time of writing this report no detail has been shared - an update will be provided at Branch Committee


September 2016

Ongoing discussions are taking place regarding working with Partners when facilities are closed, a working group has been set up to look at this. UNISON re-affirmed the members position that closed should mean closed. In addition to this a further working group has been set up regarding the moving of the Customer Service Centre to the City Library, this was part of the 2013/14 budget and the move is due to take place before March 2017. Clearly members will have concerns regarding the implications of the move, and UNSION are involved in these meetings and are supporting members at this time.


July 2016

Discussions in this area are ongoing in relation to what services may be available when facilities are closed, a member meeting took place on Friday 1st July and correspondence will be sent to all members in the division to further seek their views on this issue. Tony Durcan – Assistant Director for CCS, has sent a note to all staff regarding this issue and a working group has been set up.  Angela Forster has been appointed to the Service Manager post, details are still to be shared regarding the restructuring of posts N7 and above.


June 2016

A full members’ meeting was called for members across CCS.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss community hubs and job substitution, and the impact of the new rotas (new rotas have been implemented due to the reduced opening hours across the service). At the meeting the following issues were raised

I met with David Fay, Angela Foster and John Dickson to outline the concerns raised.  I have also written to David and asked a meeting is convened to discuss the issues and see what measures can be put in place to address them.  In addition, the letter also re-affirmed the memberships positon on YHN and Newcastle City Learning staff carrying out any functions outside of their role when CCS services are closed but the shared buildings are open -  members stated again this would be seen as  job substitution and are in complete opposition to this.  A meeting has been arranged for UNISON and management within this area to discuss this.

Details have not yet been shared in relation to the further review of senior management across the service. This information is expected once the service manager is appointment.


May 2016

Budget update

Budget proposals have been implemented and as of 9th May new opening hours will operate across the service. The opening hours are greatly reduced, UNISON have been in discussion with management regarding what service is available on the closed days. Management are in discussion with YHN and Newcastle College about providing support on these days. Management had also intended to staff up the services on the closed days to show the public how to use the self-service machines and to allow access to the internet. Staff would have been deployed from other buildings to provide this support. UNISON have been very clear since the discussions began regarding this issue, that closed should mean closed, and no activity should take place. Therefore, to expect staff to show the service users how to carry out a member of staffs’ role was completely unacceptable, in addition it would also bring with it a cost pressure. UNISON were advised that this would only be a temporary measure until further talks took place with YHN and Newcastle City Learning. UNISON advised this was not acceptable and this proposal would need to be withdrawn.  In addition we reaffirmed the positon on YHN and Newcastle City Learning staff carrying out any functions outside of their role as this was simply job substitution.

Management have withdrawn the proposals on staffing the centres on closed days.  No self-service or internet facilities will be available and a further meeting will be held with UNISON regarding the involvement of YHN and Newcastle City Learning. A meeting is to be arranged for all members in this service to discuss this issue further. The members across this service have stated that if anyone other than a member of staff from within CCS carries out any functions this will be seen as job substitution and it will be something that will be opposed.

As part of a senior management restructure David Fay, Head of Service, is leaving the Council. Tony Durcan, Assistant Director, will now take back responsibility for the service and be supported by a Service Manager, which will be advertised shortly. After the appointment to this post it is expected that there will be a further review of senior management across the service.


April 2016

Budget proposals for this area included a reduction of 32 FTE across a number of workers groups. 2 workers groups have now been through a selection process and 2.5 FTE (2.5staff) are at risk and support is being provided to members. Staff have received new timetables that reflect the amended opening hours across the service. UNISON have stressed that on the days that the library or customer services are closed then these facilities should not be available to the Public. However management are working with partners who already work within the building to explore the possibility of how the public can continue to access some elements of the service. Further updates will be provided when UNISON receive an update on this issue. 


February 2016

Budget proposals for this area were highlighted in January’s report. These included the intention to dramatically reduce opening hours across all centres, with a reduction of 32 FTE. Proposed opening hours have now been shared and the staff timetables that sit behind these will be available from the end of January. A full members’ meeting has been held, and initial feedback will be provided. Once the timetables are shared another meeting will take place with staff.


January 2016

Briefings have taken place across CCS, the following proposals were shared -
Library and Customer Service centre opening times to be greatly reduced, reductions will vary but all locations will be affected. Approx. 32 staff will be at risk and all worker groups have been made aware of the numbers from each group. The new opening times will require public consultation and I will meet with David Fay, Head of Service, in this area to discuss these. A meeting will be held with members in January as part of consultation.
A further update regarding how the Branch responds in relation to the proposals will follow this meeting.


December 2015

A number of outstanding queries were raised with management in this area following a full member meeting, a verbal update has been provided and a written response will be shared with the members, and a member meeting will also be arranged The issues raised were regarding working times, changes to shifts and rotation.

In addition a full round of staff briefings take place in November and it is expected budget proposals will shared at these. UNISON will be present at these.


November 2015

A full member meeting is this area has taken place to provide a response to queries raised by members regarding recent staff moves, integrated working, working times and staff morale. At the meeting it was requested that UNISON meet again with Management to raise further queries and to seek some points of clarity regarding the response. Once this has happened a further meeting with members will take place. In addition a full round of staff briefings take place in November and UNISON will be present at these.


October 2015

A second phase of integrated working out of one location has begun. A number of queries were raised with staff and UNISON met with Diane Scott and Mandy Rudd. A response has been provided, a full worker meeting is arranged to discuss this with staff. Members remain concerned about the issues they raised and the working times for some staff. Once this meeting has taken place I will provide feedback to Branch Committee. (Branch Committee minutes, 9 October 2015)


July 2015

A number of queries were raised with staff and UNISON met with Diane Scott and Mandy Rudd. We are still awaiting an answer to the issues that have been raised.

In addition staff moves are taking place within libraries. Issues have been raised in relation to this and a response has been provided.


June 2015

A second phase of integrated working out of one location has begun. Some staff have raised queries regarding work patterns and locations.

UNISON has met with management and we are awaiting a response to the issues raised. It may be required to hold an open meeting for staff affected in this area. There is regular dialogue with the reps in this area.

UNISON has stressed that a set of principles needs to be agreed regarding rotas and locations. It is anticipated that set patterns of work will be introduced yet this will not be until the autumn.

UNISON has highlighted that work life balance and flexible working requests will need to be considered.


May 2015

A second pilot regarding an integrated service offer is being rolled out. This involves staff trained across a number of services being based at one location, the aim of the new roles were that staff would be able to carry out generic functions across libraries, leisure and customer services, however due to the procurement of a leisure trust this now only involves libraries and customer services. We have asked for feedback on the first pilot and will ask for regular updates as the second pilot runs.


July 2015



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