12 July 2016

Branch Womens Group Meeting


Women members

UNISON has almost one million women members - more than two thirds of our union. Women still earn a lot less than men and face sex discrimination and harassment at work. Our members also juggle work and home commitments. Many have caring responsibilities and almost half work part-time. This is why UNISON takes a lead on negotiating and campaigning on women's rights at work and in the community.

Women's Officer:  Caroline Collinson    Women in UNISON    Women Members Archive

Walk to Run lunch time taster session

As part of the This Girl Can initiative Active Newcastle are holding a lunch time running taster session on 12 December for women who don't currently run or who don't feel comfortable running.


Women’s Network AGM

Date:  4 February

Time:  09:30 (breakfast and tea/coffee available from 9.00am)

Venue:  UNISON Regional Office, 140 -150 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6TH


Nominations form


Women’s National Conference

Date:  16-18 February 2017

Venue:  The Brighton Centre, Brighton

Booking:  Liz Jackson

Closing Date:   Thursday 1st December.   

Public services are under constant threat and cuts to public services have impacted on women disproportionately.

Women’s National Conference brings together women from all over the country and where they have the opportunity to debate motions on the things that affect women members.

If you are interested in attending please contact Liz Jackson by Thursday 1st December.   


7 July 2016

Women’s Network Update

  1. 1.    Articles of interest including:
  1. 2.    Women’s policy weekend
  2. 3.    Durham Miners Gala

Articles of interest

Affirming democracy: trade union action meets work fragmentation

Tory MP to propose homelessness law

National Statistics fuel poverty report

Women’s Policy Weekend

A reminder that the next women’s policy weekend has been arranged for Friday 9th and Saturday 10th September 2016 at the Durham Rad Blu hotel. Please find attached booking form which needs to be completed and returned to Ann Lewins by Monday 15th August 2016.  

If your require childcare we will also require names, ages and sex of the children. Agreement must be given by the branch secretary. Accommodation, meals and childcare costs will be met. Travel costs must be met by the branch. Places are limited so will be based on first come first served branch. Any queries please contact Ann on 0191 2450855 



Theme - Dealing with Stress at Work

Date:  Tuesday 12 July

Time:  12:30 – 14:00

Venue:  Committee Room, Newcastle Civic Centre

On-going cuts and tightened budgets mean women are having to deal with more pressure both at work and at home.

More and more women are sitting at their computers during lunch time and not having a proper break – due to increased workloads and less staff.

We feel it’s really important to address these issues, as a women’s group we can offer peer support.

We will discuss introducing exercise as a way of dealing with stress, how Bridges to Learning run courses that look to help to deal with stress and how our welfare officers can help.

There will also be the opportunity to take part in a yoga taster session – using yoga as a way of dealing with stress.

Please confirm your attendance with Liz Jackson,   Branch Women’s Officer.


Women’s Rights – the Risks of Brexit

Britain’s membership of the EU has led to significant improvements in the rights of women at work. EU law has extended rights to equal pay and strengthened protection from sex discrimination. It has improved the treatment of pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace and introduced new entitlements for parents to take time off. Many women also benefited from basic rights, like paid holiday, that were introduced at EU level – many of the two million workers who had no paid holiday before the Working Time Directive were women working part-time. 

Equal pay and sex discrimination

In 1984 the UK government was forced to include equal pay for work of equal value in the Equal Pay Act 1970 after it was taken to court by the European Commission. The original Act had only given women a right to equal pay with men doing the same work or in the same grade as them. The right to equal pay for work of equal value allowed women to challenge lower pay for jobs that were seen as ‘women’s work’ compared to ‘men’s work’ of a similar level of skill, effort or responsibility. Many landmark cases followed: cooks comparing themselves with craftsmen; cleaners and dinner ladies getting equal pay with refuse collectors; and speech therapists getting equal pay with clinical psychologists. 

EU law also helped women working part-time gain equal pay and benefits compared to full-timers (on a pro-rata basis). It ruled that to give them less would be indirect sex discrimination as mainly women work part-time. This led to about 400,000 part-time women workers in the UK gaining an occupational pension for the first time. 

Risks of Brexit

There would be a great deal of uncertainty following a vote for Brexit. But a government that is keen on cutting ‘burdens on business’ would be unlikely to leave workers’ rights intact.  Rights that are kept after Brexit may be made less effective. For example, EU law says that compensation for victims of sex discrimination must not be capped. But Conservative MPs and advisers have said that they want to limit discrimination awards. And the limit on unfair dismissal compensation (which is not protected in EU law) has recently been lowered.  Many of the improvements in working women’s rights have come from EU case law – court rulings that then had to be followed in similar cases across all member states. But if Britain left the EU, the UK government would be free to override any judgement that improved workers’ rights.

And, if we left the EU, British women would not benefit from any future gains. For example, a new consultation of trade unions and employers has just begun at EU level on a new package of rights to improve work/life balance, including proposals for carers’ leave, flexible working and stronger protections from dismissal for new mothers. 


"Inspiring Women" and a Prepare and Share Picnic Lunch

Date:  Wednesday 27 April

Time:  12:30

Venue:  Old canteen at Newcastle Civic Centre.

Cost:  FREE

Booking:  Liz Jackson

Closing Date:   Friday 22 April

A number of the Women's self organized group attended the Regional Women’s policy weekend where activists shared their personal stories. These really highlighted what individuals had been through and many of us found this very inspiring. We have asked some of those activists to come to share their stories with you, and I would really encourage you to attend.  In addition, there will be a shared picnic lunch.  If you want to bring food along for the table that would be lovely, but this is optional, as there will be enough food for everyone to share.

In addition, we will discuss the program for the group for the year.  It is my aspiration that the group really grows and to that end I have opened this meeting up to non members so they can see the good work our self-organised group does.  Please encourage your friends in the workplace to come and indicate if you are bringing along some food to share.


Women’s Network AGM

Date:  Saturday, 19 March, 2016

Time:  10:00

Venue:  UNISON Regional Office, 140-150 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6TH

Cost:  FREE

Lunch will be provided and tea and coffee will be available from 9.30am.


Minutes of The Women’s Network Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 21 March 2015

Nomination form

Nominations for officership and delegates for 2016

In accordance with the Rules and Constitutions for the Women’s Network, nominations are sought for the following positions.  Please note these positions are open to self nomination.

Existing incumbents are Pat Heron (Chair), Helen Winterburn and Helen Kilpatrick (Vice Chairs), Nicky Ramanandi (Labour Link already nominated from another source)

The Network would like those wishing to be representatives on behalf of the Network to ensure that they will be able to get time off to attend those meetings they wish to be nominated for, and this should be done with your employer via your branch. 

Nominations should be returned no later than Monday, 14 March 2016.


Women’s Network Meeting

All UNISON women members in our region are welcome.

Date: 9 January 2016

Time: 10:30

Venue: UNISON Regional Office, 140-150 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8QH


Minutes, 15 October 2015

UNISON Northern, Childcare Manifesto

2015 has been a very busy year for the Network and next year will see further challenges too. On behalf of the Officers to the Network and myself can I wish everyone a good festive season.  I will be attending the meeting and look forward to seeing friends and colleagues past and present to say farewell as I leave UNISON in December. I send all good wishes to everyone. It has been a pleasure to work with you whether at branch or Network level, and I am confident that we will continue to be a force to be reckoned with fighting for the rights of our members.

Ruth Berkley, Regional Policy, Media, Women’s and Equalities Officer


Women’s Network:  December Sleep Out Challenge

Date:  5 December 2015

Venue:  United Reformed Church East Boldon

Booking: or

The aim is for Network women, friends and families to sleep out overnight without home comforts to highlight the plight of the homeless. The idea is to have fun and raise sponsorship money that will help homeless women in need of sanitary products and to reach out to some of the most marginalised women in our communities. This will be a women only event.

Flyer and sponsorship form


National Women’s Conference 2016

Date:  11-13 February 2016

Venue:  Brighton

Closing date:  26 October 2015

Contact: Liz Jackson

The branch plays an active role in the women’s network regionally and this conference is an ideal opportunity to network with women members across the union. 

If you would like to be a delegate to the conference or have any queries please contact Liz Jackson, Branch Women’s Officer


Report to Branch Committee, May 2015

Includes reports and feedback from:


Women’s Network Manifesto

The Women’s Network Manifesto has been written by regional women for women and includes information re General Election on 7 May.

Since the inception of the Coalition Government in 2010 it has been women that have borne the brunt of the austerity measures. The North East has been particularly adversely effected.

Public sector jobs and services have been slashed. We continue to have the highest level of unemploy-ment of any English region, with especially high youth unemployment. 66% of welfare benefit sav-ings have come from women’s pockets. Welfare reform has had a huge impact on women’s lives, especially the introduction of the bedroom tax. Job insecurity has risen and women’s unemploy-ment in the region has increased by 11% in the last twelve months.

Once in every five years women have the opportunity to influence the economic, social and cultur-al future of the region over the next five years. Political decisions affect every aspect of our lives.

The Women’s Network has produced this manifesto for you to use with those seeking your vote in May’s elections. It is based on the main concerns of UNISON women in the region.


Women's Group Meeting

All women members are invited to attend.

Date: Thursday 9 April

Time: 11.30-1.00pm

Venue: Committee Room, Newcastle Civic Centre.

Guest speaker: Cris McCurley - Legal Aid

Legal aid has virtually disappeared since the last election and the amount of women able to access this service is significantly lower than in the past, if the Tories get in again legal aid will be scrapped and this means very vulnerable women and children will not have access to free legal aid.

Cris McCurley is a legal aid lawyer and is coming to talk to us about the devastating impacts the cuts to legal aid have already had on the most vulnerable in society, and what will happen to legal aid and our basic human rights if they get in again on 7 May.


Women, Glass Ceiling and  a Living Wage

Date: Wednesday 14 January 2015

Time: 11.00 - 14.00

Venue: UNISON,140-150 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6TH

Are you a woman affected by low pay, casual work, zero hours’ contracts or low status within your work?  Or do you work with women facing these barriers?

What needs to change so that women can break through the glass ceiling? How can women benefit from the introduction of a living wage? How can part time and casual work attract better recognition and pay?

It would be great to see you at the next NE Women’s Network consultation event from 11-2 on Wednesday 14th January, hosted by UNISON at their Newcastle offices at 140-150 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6TH

The event is for women’s organisations and individual women involved in issues relating to women and the economy in the northeast.   Come and contribute to an Oxfam / NE Women’s Network Charter for improving women’s economic status in this region.

This is the third in a series of four consultation sessions, where NE Women’s Network supported by Oxfam Routes to Solidarity, wants to develop an influencing tool for public, private and third sector partners to sign up to. Future sessions will take place around the region and cover:

The outcomes of these sessions will be shared in an all-sector programme in March 2015 to launch the Charter.

Register for the Women, Glass Ceiling and  a Living Wage at or email

There will also be a short ‘Women in the Economy’ task group meeting following on from the event at 2pm to look at the next steps for the programme – all welcome.


Regional Women’s Network Meeting

Date: Saturday 10th January

Time: 10.30am

Venue: UNISON, 140-150 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QH

This is a vital meeting for UNISON women members here in the North East as it will be our opportunity to discuss the Agenda for National Women's Conference in February. It is also important that we discuss how we are going to reach more women within our Branches and Communities, and how we will encourage women to realise why it is so important to use their vote.  We will also be discussing our plans around holding events on the importance of women's voices being heard, so please put this date in your diary and come along. 

Please also encourage other UNISON women to come with you as all UNISON women members in our region are welcome. You don't have to be a Rep to attend, your voice counts too

Our Voices Are Stronger Together.


Report to October Branch Committee

Liz Jackson's report covers the Women's Policy Weekend, the Self Confidence Workshop and the branch meeting to discuss the motions and delegations for National Women’s Conference.

Women's Officer report to Branch Committee October 2014


Self-Confidence Workshop for UNISON Women Members

Seven members attended the workshop on 16 September at the Tyneside cinema either to gain confidence at work, for job interviews or confidence in themselves.


National Women’s Conference

Date: Thursday 12 February - Saturday 14 February 2015

Venue:  Southport.

This conference will discuss issues and sets policies that affects women members.

If you would like the opportunity to attend National Women’s Conference please contact Liz Jackson by Friday 3rd October.



The Damage:  Warning – dismantling council services will seriously damage our lives and our communities

“The Damage” is a series of reports from UNISON’s Local Government Section looking at some of the vital services provided by councils.

The latest in the series is “Counting the cost: how cuts shrink women’s lives”, which details the cumulative impact of cutbacks across council services on women.

Read more


MARCH 2014


Age Immaterial, Women Over 50 In The Workplace

A TUC Report

More women over the age of fifty are working than ever before but the generation of women who blazed a trail for women’s equality in the workplace are still struggling to get a fair deal. Low pay, discrimination, the pressures of juggling caring responsibilities and paid work, and difficulties accessing training opportunities are the key issues facing older women at work.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Women in their 50s are the first generation of women to have been protected by equal pay and sex discrimination laws throughout their careers. They were also the first women to have access to paid maternity leave,  though many struggled on their return to work as few employers offered flexible working. Despite these huge strides, women over 50 are paid a fifth less per hour than men, and many are trapped in low-paid work, with an ever-longer wait for their retirement. This generation of women has been let down."

This TUC report considers how things can be improved.

Age Immaterial, Women Over 50 In The Workplace 


Liz Jackson nominated for Women’s Officer

Liz Jackson's nomination for Women’s Officer is unopposed so there will not be an election to this post at the Branch AGM on 10 February 2014.

Here is Liz's assessment of the challenges facing the branch in the coming year.

My priorities are organising women members, encouraging more women to get active in the branch and support younger women to take on a more active role.

We are facing a tough year with imminent job cuts and we know that a high proportion of our membership is women so we need to work together to encourage more women to become unison members and retain membership.

I want to support women members going forward through activity this will include themed quarterly meetings where there will be fun and interesting activities alongside normal business. Ideally I would like to increase participation both in the women’s network and regionally.

I think we have a challenging year ahead and I am really excited to be taking on the role of women’s officer. I would encourage anyone who is interested in coming along to women’s network meeting or getting involved in work in the region to get in touch.



UNISON Newcastle City Branch are having a  meeting on Monday 10th October 2011 at 4.00 pm ,  in a Committee Room, Newcastle Civic Centre, this is being held by the Women’s Self Organised Group   All women members are invited to attend. 


At this meeting we will be discussing delegates and motions to take to Women’s Conference in February  2012.   Please make every effort to attend and get involved with the Women's Self Organised Group. 


Please contact the branch to confirm your attendance/non attendance and also if you have any queries - or tel:  0191 2116980.   

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