Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Local government and school support workers to strike again

Local government and school support workers to strike again

UNISON's local government and school support workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to hold a second day of strike action on Tuesday 30 September.

The announcement follows the strike on 10 July, which saw around a million public service workers walk out in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay.

The union is calling on the Local Government Association to engage in further talks to resolve this year's pay dispute. The current offer would see 90% of local government and school support workers receive a mere 1% increase, on the back of three successive years of pay freezes and below inflation rises in 2013 and 2014. Pay has declined by 18% since 2010 and most councils have also imposed severe cuts on conditions such as unsocial hours payments.

UNISON Head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield, said:

"The strike on 10 July sent a strong message to the employers that local government and school support workers are fed up and angry with being exploited.  It is a disgrace that so many workers and their families are forced to live on poverty pay. There was widespread public support for our members, the majority of whom are low paid and part-time women workers whose good will has been taken for granted for too long.

"Despite four years of vicious government cuts, they continue to educate and support children in schools, maintain crucial local services, keep our communities clean and safe places to live and protect the homeless and vulnerable.

"No local government or school support worker should be paid below the Living Wage. It's time for the employers to come back to the negotiating table and work with us to secure a decent offer for our members and end this damaging dispute."

ends

Friday, 18 July 2014

UNISON calls for an immediate ceasefire by both Israel and Hamas

UNISON calls for an immediate ceasefire by both Israel and Hamas

UNISON calls for an immediate ceasefire by both Israel and Hamas and the resumption of peace talks, based on an Israeli withdrawal to the lines of 1967 and the formation of a viable, sovereign independent Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.
 
The United Nations has calculated that 77% of the Palestinian casualties in Gaza are civilians and that there are now over 17,000 displaced people in Gaza due to Israeli military action.
 
The military escalation in Gaza, where civilians are being killed and homes destroyed, while Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel is a direct result of the continued illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the collective punishment of the people of Gaza and a refusal by Israel to enter into meaningful talks on the creation of a Palestinian state which is a pre-condition for lasting peace in the Middle East.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Message from Jane Doolan to all UNISON members

Jane said:
"I want to extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all our members who took strike action on July 10th. 
It was one of the most successful  days of action our branch has taken.
UNISON knows that taking strike action is not easy. our members have had pay cuts over the past four years of 20%.
We serve the most vulnerable in our society and the service our members provide to the community and in schools which is second to none.
It was tremendous to see how well we can work when we work together-not just with our sister unions but within our own union.
There are difficult times ahead but if we keep strong and keep working together - we will win - because we are Worth It."

FBU support us


Unity!





Schools out!

Rosemary Plummer, Sarah Perrett and colleagues picket outside Richard Cloudesley Senior Department

White van deliveries

Jane Doolan delivering supplies from her "White Van" at 6.40am

Early morning pickets




Saying it all...


Images of #J10




Picket line piccy's

Picket line outside the Municipal Office

More #J10 pictures


Rally on #J10

Jane Doolan, Branch Secretary, addresses the mass rally outside the town hall on #J10


Message about the strike

I would to thank the Branch leadership for organising such a successful strike on July 10th. From the pre-strike publicity and communications, to the support on the picket lines and the rally at the Town Hall – everything ran like clockwork and meant that the strike had more impact. It helps when members are kept informed about plans and also creates a sense of solidarity across services and directorates. This is an important struggle not only for Fair Pay but also for the future of the Trade Union movement and last Thursday I was proud to call myself an Islington UNISON member.

Tony Brown, Libraries

July 10th: A huge success

Jo Cardwell and the pickets at Dingley Place (Youth Offending Service)

We are going to post a number of pictures and reports here on the amazing strike on #J10

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Big Strike is tomorrow

All

Dear colleagues

We are now into the final few days before the huge strike for our demand of £1.20 an hour in London and £1 an hour elsewhere.

As you know this is a one day on Thursday 10 July.

The strike for us is based on our just pay demand of £1.20 an hour in London and £1 an hour in the rest of the country. It is vital to reiterate this and the employer has offered 1%!

All the major Local Government unions: UNISON , GMB  and Unite are out and the NUT is out in the schools as well

UNISON leaflets and postcards etc have been dropped at all major workplaces and the rest will go today. If you need more then email me or phone the office or Tweet us. All details at bottom of this.

There will be picket lines at all major sites, and a local rally around 11am on the town hall steps

Find attached the flyer for the London wide rally. This is assembling outside the BBC at 11.30 to march to Trafalgar Square for a rally at 1pm

The strike will be joined by several other major trade unions including the PCS and FBU all fighting for pay rises or against attacks on their pensions as well. Hence the Civil service and firefighters are out with us and the teachers.

It will be a huge day for us all.

We will update the branch blog shortly with all information and the URL is at the end of this communique.

We also have a twitter page now so please follow us. Info at the bottom of this.

Sandwiches and drinks will be bought round to each picket line and there will be either a fire engine or open topped bus touring the borough. The national union bus will tour the boroughs as well.


You may also have seen the ad on the bottom right of the front page of the Islington Tribune on Friday as well.


The branch has also produced a postcard for use in workplaces and with the public.

If you are not a UNISON member and receive this please consider joining.

Can all reps and stewards ensure that all members receive this communique please?

Good luck and see you on Thursday

Comradely Greetings

Jane Doolan
Branch Secretary

Mike Calvert
Deputy Branch Secretary

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Islington UNISON on Twitter

Our Twitter page is @IslingtonU77

Please follow us!

Mike

Striking back: rally on pay

There will be a joint trade union rally on pay on Wednesday 2 July in committee room 1 at the town hall at 6.30

Speakers include:

Jeremy Corbyn MP and member of Islington UNISON

Kevin Courtney Deputy General Secretary NUT

Heather Wakefield National Secretary Local Government for UNISON

Sean Vernell UCU and Unite the Resistance

Vaughan West GMB London Regional Committee

Also speakers from the FBU and the PCS

It's Official!

UNISON confirmed that its local government and school support staff members in England,Wales and Northern Ireland will be taking one day of strike action on 10 July in support of better pay.

The decision was taken following a yes vote in a strike ballot, announced yesterday.

Local government employers have offered a 1% pay rise.

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis said:

"We have a clear majority for strike action so a one day strike will go ahead on 10 July. We expect to be joined in that action by other unions in local government and will be campaigning amongst our members for maximum support on the day.

" Many of our members are low paid women barely above the minimum wage, who care for our children, our elderly and our vulnerable and they deserve better treatment than they have had at the hands of this Government. The employers must get back into talks immediately to avoid a damaging dispute."

Local government workers have been condemned to three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by below-inflation rises in 2013 and 2014, leaving their pay reduced by almost 20% since the coalition came to power.

Our Branch Committee will be meeting on 26th June at 12.30 in the Gallery at the Central Library, 2, Field way Crescent, London N5 to discuss the organisation of the strike and set up a strike committee. Along with discussing events during the summer before the strike days in September.

If you are interested in coming to the BC but not a member you are more than welcome to attend.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Vote yes to strike action on pay!

Dear colleagues

Please vote yes for strike action on pay
If you have no ballot paper you can get one by calling 0800 0 857 857
Comradely regards

Mike Calvert and Jane Doolan
see

http://islingtonunison.blogspot.co.uk/

Monday, 2 June 2014

Pay latest : vote yes!

The pay ballot is currently proceeding

There are meetings on pay planned all over the borough and have been many meetings already including in NBW, the Youth Offending Team, children's Centres, Schools and in Manchester to name but a few!

If there is a yes in the ballot and Branch officers recommend a yes vote, then the first day of strike action is proposed for 10 July followed by two possible further days in September as far as we know

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Zero Hours Contracts

Zero Hours Contracts


2 May 2014

It’s official. The number of workers trapped on zero hour contracts is growing.

Figures announced by the Office of National Statistics show at least 1.4 million workers are now employed on contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours. Other reports suggest the figure could be as high as 5.5 million workers.

On average, someone on a zero-hours contract works around 25 hours a week compared with 37 hours a week for those not employed on such contracts. Just over a third of those employed on a zero-hours contract want more hours, with most wanting them in their current job.

According to the TUC, the majority of workers on zero-hours contracts earn less than the living wage. The report also found that workers on zero-hours contracts were nearly six times as likely to have differing amounts of weekly pay compared to staff with other kinds of work arrangements. Two in five zero-hours workers reported having no usual amount of pay. This lack of regular hours and income makes it difficult for families to budget and organise childcare, says the TUC.

Young people are finding it particularly difficult to secure permanent employment, says the report. More than two in five zero-hours workers in their twenties said they were working part-time because they couldn’t get full-time employment.

The TUC is concerned that the number of people trapped on zero-hours contracts continues to grow, even as the economy recovers. If this kind of insecure working arrangement becomes acceptable, low pay and poor career prospects will become the norm.

Commenting on the latest ONS figures, Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary said:

The huge rise in these risky employment contracts shows how weak and precarious the labour market is. It is shocking for the Government to brag about a recovering economy when there are more than 1.4 million contracts in use that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours and a regular source of income for workers. These figures show that once again it is women who are bearing the brunt of this Government's austerity agenda, as they make up the majority of the workforce on unfair zero hours contracts. Employers already have more flexibility than they need and workers struggle as a result. People should have the right to regular hours and decent pay.

So what’s to be done? The week before the ONS figures were announced, the Labour Party set out their initial proposals for controlling ZHC. Ed Miliband acknowledged the rapid growth and exploitative nature of the contracts and promised to tackle the worst abuses of the system. Unfortunately, the proposals, based on the recommendations of the former Morrisons' HR chief Norman Pickavance, failed to match the promises Ed Miliband made to TUC delegates at the 2013 Congress.

Looking to possible solutions, Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary said "There has to be an end of exclusivity clauses, minimum hours should be specified in contracts and workers should have the right to claim deemed contractual hours on the basis of their average hours over any 12 week period.

An editorial in the Morning Star suggested that Ed Miliband would be better turning to the labour movement’s think-tank, IER, rather than Morrison’s former HR manager for advice on how to improve employment rights for workers. And the IER will be happy to oblige. Simon Deakin, an inaugural member of IER, and his co-author Zoe Adams, are currently preparing a book on Agency Workers, Zero Hour Contracts and Employment Status, due out in the summer. Read their initial thoughts on the problem of zero hours contracts.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Labour wins historic landslide

Labour Party members within UNISON are naturally delighted that Labour won 47 out of 48 seats on the Council. We have written to all Councillors congratulating them on a famous victory, one that is down to standing on a platform of opposition to the coalition government and for fairness and a willingness to "insource" services (bring them back in house).

The huge majority and the wipe-out of the LibDems is a positive step forward but it means that Labour will face scrutiny like never before.

We applaud the implementation of the recommendations of the Fairness Commission, the implementation of the London Living Wage or LLW, the in-sourcing of many services when very other council is doing the opposite, the undertaking to implement the UNISON Ethical Care Charter, the commitment to not use zero hours contracts, the commitment by Labour to clamp down n bullying of staff by management.

These are all positive measures but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. UNISON hopes to enjoy good relations with the new Labour Council and Councillors Watts and Hull in particular but we will be keenly monitoring every move by the Group and by management.

We will be writing more as the new Group settles down and will report back on our discussions to our members.

Mike and Jane 

Message from Ken Muller (NUT) on calling for a Joint planning meeting to coordinate activities around possible united public sector strike action this summer

Dear Colleagues/Sisters/Brothers/Comrades,
Back in the autumn of 2011, in the weeks before the  fantastic 2.5 million united public sector strike against the Coalition’s austerity policies in November,  reps, officers and activists from a number of Islington public sector unions met up at a number of planning meetings and organised a successful joint unions rally in the town hall.
Now that it looks likely that a number of unions, including the UNISON, GMB, NUT, UCU and possibly the PCS, will be coming together again to call national action this summer – possibly on 10 July - Islington NUT would like to propose that we do something similar this time.
To this end, we have booked Islington Town Hall Committee Room 6 from 6.30 pm on Monday 9th June for a planning meeting to discuss how we can coordinate our actions locally - especially whether we should organise a public meeting / rally prior to 10 July - and, if so, who we should invite to speak. (In order to reserve a venue for such a rally, should it be agreed, we have taken the liberty of provisionally booking the large Committee Room 1 at the town hall from 7-9 pm on Wednesday 2 July. Of course, this can be changed if necessary.)
So far, the planning meeting – and possible rally – has been backed by the Trades Council, GMB and NUT and we are waiting to hear from UNISON and other union, including UCU, PCS and FBU.
Representatives of public sector unions currently considering action this summer in defence of their pay / conditions / pensions are especially welcome. But the planning meeting is open to any workers who are – or have recently been – in dispute with their employers or other activists who want to discuss how we can best build solidarity with we hope will this time be a serious fight against the Coalition government’s austerity policies.
Such a united class fight, of course, would be the best possible antidote to the disgusting racism peddled by UKIP and those who are following them to the right on immigration.
Looking forward to seeing you on 9 June.
In solidarity
Ken Muller
Assistant Secretary
Islington NUT

Keith Facey says "Vote Yes on pay strike"

You should all be receiving your vote as we go to press, here is the latest news:

Friday 23rd of May. sees the start of UNISON balloting members over Strike Action (after a consultative ballot returned a 70% majority in favour to reject) over the appalling 1% pay offer. If a yes vote is returned then Strike Action is likely to start in July.

Remember also that the UNISON "Spring recruitment drive" is under way now and will last until Friday 23rd of May. It is "our duty" to try and recruit as many people as possible to join the largest public sector UNION in Great Britain. Together we can make a difference. And remember, even if you are retired, you can still play an important role, with a wealth of experience built up over the years. You can impart your knowledge to our future generation to make the "work experience" an enjoyable one. Free from bullying, Free from harassment, Free from sexism and Free to be YOUwhatever you may be, be a UNISON member.

So now we move on to the 2014 pay claim. As you are probably already aware, Nationally UNISON membership voted by 70% to reject the 1% "pay offer" made by the Employers. Now UNISON will move towards a formal strike ballot (starting on 23rd of May), and if a yes vote is returned, Strike Action is likely to commence in July. We are well aware that this action is not to be taken lightly, especially in times of austerity, but enough is enough, we have suffered unprecedented pay freezes but at the same time showing good-will to our employers. We continue to provide decent services to our public and uphold all that is good in Local Government. Despite Government claims that "we are on the mend" and the "recovery" is "well on the way", it is you and me that are paying, and still paying, but we are at breaking point and we cannot continue without a decent pay packet. We provide a good service…..

SO PAY FOR IT  (We're Worth It).

Keith Facey

Islington Labour and trade union Staff Manifesto

Islington Labour Staff Manifesto 2014

Consultation and negotiation
Labour council will review and monitor HumanResources and Senior Management to ensure that they take every opportunity to avoid compulsoryredundancies, for instance by:
o
auditing vacancies and maintaining a vacancy database, including posts filled by agency staff
o
job-matchingmodifying jobs and providingrelevant training
o
using flexible retirement, early retirement and voluntary redundancy
Labour council will continue to hold regular joint negotiation meetings with the unions, including todiscuss policy issues (eg equalities) with the appropriate people.
A Labour council will continue to deal frankly and straightforwardly with the unions in relation to any proposed savings.
A Labour council will listen to and value staff at all levels of the organisation.

Beyond the living wage, a charter for fair employment
The Labour council led the way on the introduction of the Living Wage beyond directly employed staff and has shown that a council like Islington can set the nationalagenda.
A Labour Council in 2014-2018 will look beyond LivingWage to setting an agenda for fair employment practice.
A Labour council will continue its commitment that none of its staff will be paid less than the London Living Wage, which, as it rises during the next council term, will catch up with Scale Point 10.
Labour council will use its representation at the Local Government Association to support and defend national pay bargaining and to seek government funding so that Local Authority staff arefairly paid and get regular pay rises.
Labour council will not employ staff on exploitativezero hour contracts.  
A Labour council will seek to ensure a minimum level of employment standards for contractors and agency staff, including: securing the Living Wage;not taking contracts with organisations that have blacklisted and have not self-cleansed, and terminating contracts with contractors who blacklist in the future; paid travel time for carers; family friendly policies; occupational pensions; equality monitoring; robust health and safety provision; and trade union recognition.
A Labour council will not use fixed-term contracts in order to casualise the workforce or to make staff feel more vulnerable to losing a job.
A Labour council will reduce its usage of agency staff and be transparent regarding its use of agencies and consultants.
Labour council will explore the possibility of establishing its own in-house agency.
A Labour council will take a firm line against any bullying in the workplace.
A Labour council will campaign on staff pension rights, including arguing for a high quality, adequately funded, defined benefits pension scheme.
A Labour council will only support councilapprenticeships that provide the London Living Wage for the time spent working (as opposed to training), adequate training and best efforts to find asubstantive job at the end of their training, and it willurge its partners to do the same.

Improving contract procurement, monitoring and compliance
Labour council would strongly prefer the provision of existing council services through directly employed and accountable staff and will look to bring services back in-house where it is in the interests of staff and residents to do so.
A Labour council will look to improve contract monitoring, vigorously ensuring contract compliance, and will be prepared to end contracts when they do not meet service specification.
Contracts will not be commissioned withoutchecking first to see if the requirements can be delivered in-house.
Departments will work together to facilitate the preferred deployment of in-house council services. Schools will be encouraged to do the same.
A Labour council will have fully implemented UNISONs ethical care charter within 12 months of election.




Sent from my iPhone

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 25 April 2014

Message to Islington UNISON from Heather Wakefield, UNISON National Secretary for Local Government

"Dear Jane and Mike

The Islington Labour Staff Manifesto is a fantastic initiative, brought
about by collaboration between UNISON, GMB, Unite and a forward-looking
Labour council.  It demonstrates what can be achieved by Labour councils who
put their employees and good industrial relations at the heart of their
policy making and employment practices. It should inspire others to work
closely with UNISON and the other unions to end the all-too-common bargain
basement approach to pay and conditions and recognise that good employment
practice benefits service users and local economies as well as employees
themselves. Together with UNISON's Ethical Care Charter, it could change the
face of local government employment. At a time when pay is once again a
'hot' issue, it deserves widespread promotion. Well done." 


 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

UNISON to ballot 600,000 local government and school members over insulting pay offer

UNISON today decided to ballot 600,000 local government and school members for strike action after 70% of members rejected this year's pay offer in a consultative ballot.

The pay offer would mean around 50,000 of the lowest paid local government workers receive a rise that is slightly above inflation. However the remainder of the workforce - around 90% - would receive just 1%. 
Local government workers covered by the offer include teaching assistants, planners, administrators, social workers and engineers. 
Local government workers have already endured three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by below-inflation rises in 2013 and 2014, leaving their pay reduced by almost 20% since the Coalition came to power.
UNISON's Head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield, said: 
"Our members have made it clear that this pay offer is the straw that breaks the camel's back after years of pay freezes and below-inflation rises.
"This offer is effectively another pay freeze for the majority of our local government and school members, and they have used this consultation to send a strong message that it is insulting and unacceptable.
"Local government workers have kept services running in our communities in the face of the Government's harsh austerity agenda, and they deserve more than just a bare minimum pay increase." 

ends



Pay Ballot result: the scores on the doors

The consultative ballot that we have just conducted has yielded the following result:

To reject the 1% offer: 211 votes

To accept the offer: 21 votes

Spoilt papers: 3 votes

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Notes on Pay by Claire McNulty



The following notes were used by Claire McNulty, Housing steward, in her introduction at the pay meeting last week at Northway House


1.       Local government workers have suffered an 18% cut in wages since 2010. A pay freeze and eight years of below-inflation pay rises since 1997 mean thousands of local government workers, from across the pay scale, are struggling to make ends meet.
2.      Employers forced to increase bottom pay points in pay offer more than 1% to avoid falling below National Minimum Wage – the lowest legal rate.
3.      Since 2010 councils have saved a quarter of their staffing costs. Their reserves rose by £2.6 Billion to £19 Billion.
4.      The extra £2.6 Billion in 2012 alone would pay for a 10% pay increase.
5.      Inflation is predicted to remain 3% during 2014 and increase to 3.4% in 2017. Average gas and electricity prices are due to rise by 8.2% over the coming year.

What impact does low pay and the pay freeze have?
·         Smaller family and personal budgets, forcing a cut in people's standard of living.
·         Stress on individuals and family life.
·         Increased reliance on benefits.
·         Less money in the local economy.
·         Problems for recruitment and retention of local government staff in vital public sector work.

“We cannot go on forever in a low pay and low productivity world in which all we can say to workers is 'you have got to take a wage cut to keep your job'."

Vince Cable,
The Guardian, September 2013



Thursday, 17 April 2014

Unions and Labour Party launch Staff Manifesto


The trade unions and representatives of the Labour Party in Islington launch the "Staff Manifesto" this afternoon in the Leaders' office.

Pictured in first picture (from the left): Labour Group Leader  Councillor Richard Watts, Mike Calvert (UNISON Labour Link Officer and Deputy Branch Secretary), Jane Doolan (UNISON Branch Secretary) and Labour Group Deputy Leader Councillor Andy Hull.

Second picture includes (from left):  Councillor Richard Watts (Leader of the Labour Group), Vaughan West (GMB Branch Secretary), Jane Doolan (UNISON Branch Secretary), Mike  Calvert (UNISON Labour Link Officer and Deputy Branch Secretary), George Sharkey (GMB Branch Secretary) and Councillor Andy Hull (Deputy Leader of the Labour Group).


Mike Calvert, Islington UNISON Labour Link Officer said:

"This is a good document and hopefully we can get other local Labour Groups to adopt similar documents in the run-up to the elections in May. Wherever UNISON has influence we should be trying to use that."


LETTERS: Manifesto priorities for Islington Labour
Published: 25 April, 2014

LAST week, Islington Labour launched its staff manifesto, endorsed by Islington Unison and Islington GMB.

The 2014 staff manifesto contains key priorities for Unison. It maintains a previous agreement that public services are better and more accountable if run directly by the council.

Other pledges go beyond the previous commitment to implementing the London Living Wage.

The council will now try to ensure contracted-out services do not exploit workers through zero-hour contracts.

Also, that there are decent pension schemes, that health and safety and equalities are robustly monitored and that contractors will support trade union recognition.

Islington Unison has achieved some excellent commitments and it is to be hoped this will encourage other Labour councils to do the same.

ANDREW BERRY
Unison National Labour Link Committee (Greater London rep)