Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Jane discusses the gender pay gap on LBC

Jane Doolan

Sheila Fogarty

Caroline Dinenage MP

Jane was a guest on the Sheila Fogarty phone in last week, 14th July, discussing the Gender Pay gap, with a Government Minister, Caroline Dinenage.
Jane pointed out that the Government should have made the publication of pay in compabies compulsory as part of the 2010 Equalities Act.
She said that David Cameron's promise of eradicating the Gender Pay Gap within a generation was just "kicking it into the long grass."
Its been over 40 years since the Dagenham Machinists took action leading to the Equal Pay Act.
Direct and Indirect discrimination still exists.
Since 1997 the gap has gone down from 27.5% to 19.1% - but still higher than any country in the European Union where the average is 16.4%


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Glasgow strikers in Islington

Glasgow striking case workers in Islington
Pictures courtesy of Dean Ryan

Letter to Glasgow case workers from Islington UNISON

Thank you Angela,

On behalf of the Islington Local Government Branch we’d like to send you and your members all our solidarity, best wishes and a speedy and successful resolution to your dispute.

Your members were an absolute inspiration to our all our conference delegates who marched with you in Glasgow, also to our BC members and everyone else we’ve spoken to about your dispute.

All our very best wishes and our Solidarity

Fiona Monkman
UNISON Islington Branch Chair

Islington UNISON Open Day

All members of Islington UNISON

Please try and attend the Branch Open Day on Friday 17th July from 12-5
Committee room 1
Islington Town Hall

Monday, 15 June 2015

Camden wins the London Living Wage for Dinner staff

At last! School dinner ladies set to win fight for a London Living Wage

    School dinner ladies campaigning outside the Town Hall earlier this year
    School dinner ladies campaigning outside the Town Hall earlier this year
    Published: 11 June, 2015
    >>NEW JOURNAL COMMENT: Dinner ladies’ pay deal is a victory for common sense (click here)
    HUNDREDS of the lowest-paid workers in school kitchens across Camden will be paid an extra £2.55 an hour, following a four-month battle backed by the New Journal.
    Around 300 dinner ladies at 51 schools will be paid the London Living Wage (LLW) of £9.15 from September, thanks to the campaign which saw Camden Council and school meals contractor Caterlink come under increasing pressure to end the so-called “poverty pay”.
    Union leaders and kitchen staff last night (Wednesday) praised the New Journal’s “continued and tenacious coverage” as it was revealed that Town Hall managers had secured the pay increase following lengthy negotiations with Caterlink.
    The agreement will mean 232 of the lowest-paid school kitchen workers will be around £1,500 better off. Other staff, including supervisors, will also see their pay increase as a result. The deal will cost around £500,000 in total, which will be met jointly by Camden and Caterlink, with a small increase in the cost of each meal being passed on to parents.
    Council leader Sarah Hayward said it came as a result of “sustained pressure on Caterlink”.
    A deputation of dinner ladies had told a meeting of all Camden’s council­lors in March that their current rate of £6.60 an hour left them struggling to make ends meet, with nothing but jacket potatoes with which to feed their families.
    Despite the sympathetic reactions from many in the council chamber, they were told that they would be stuck on the lower rate until the Caterlink contract ran its course.
    But after weeks of extensive coverage in the New Journal – with the £500million-a-year turnover of Caterlink’s parent company Westbury Street Holdings coming under close scrutiny – Town Hall managers and senior Caterlink bosses got around the table and began hammering out the agreement that will come into effect in 11 weeks’ time.
    Camden Unison led the campaign and branch secretary George Binette yesterday described the pay increase as a “a significant outcome for some very low-paid members”.
    He added: “Our lobby on March 2 was clearly significant in forcing Camden to sit up and take notice, while at the same time the continued and tenacious coverage of the New Journal was no doubt causing reputational damage to Caterlink, forcing them to act.” Mr Binette said Unison wanted to move forward in securing more gains for contracted staff, including occupational sick pay, so their working conditions were “more akin to those of direct employees of the council”.
    Amy Davies, a Caterlink catering assistant who lives in Camden Town, said last night: “I’m really happy about it. It’s going to come in time for Christmas, which will really help. When I worked it out roughly, for me it means my wages go up by about £250 extra a month. It means we’ll actually be able to do nice things, rather than worrying all the time about money and bills.”
    Ms Davies, who became a Unison rep after joining protesters outside the Town Hall in March, added: “The pressure of the New Journal really helped and when the paper got involved I think that really shocked Caterlink – before then I think they thought that no one was taking it seriously.”
    Caterlink will make a “direct financial contribution” to covering the costs, as well as accepting a reduction in the profit they make on each meal. The Town Hall say parents will be expected to face an increase of 14p per meal at primary schools, totalling £26.60 per child.
    Cllr Hayward said: “As nearly 70 per cent of school catering staff and their families live in Camden, I hope that parents and Camden schools will agree with me that this increase of £26.60 over a full academic year is an acceptable cost to ensure their children’s dinner lady, who may be their neighbour, gets a fair salary.”
    She urged anyone receiving benefits to contact their school directly, as they may be eligible for free meals.
    Cllr Hayward added: “We know that meeting our commitment to LLW means making some tough choices, and we are asking schools and parents to join us in helping to contribute to achieve fair pay for all those who live and work in Camden”
    Neil Fuller, managing director of Caterlink, said: “We have worked closely with the council and are pleased to have helped in finding a solution that will enable them to deliver on their pledge.”

    How the New Journal put the living wage row under the microscope

    “CATERLINK your wages stink.” This was the chant on March 2, when schools’ kitchen staff stood outside the Town Hall banging pots and pans on a dark and wintery night.
    They left empty handed and were told they must wait until the outsourced contract expired on March 31, 2016.
    In the following weeks the New Journal kept the campaign alive by dedicating two front pages (below), dozens of column inches and several comment pieces to championing their plight.
    The muscular financial position of Caterlink’s parent company, Westbury Street Holdings (WSH), which reported a turnover of more than £500million in 2013, was exposed in a two-page investigation. It was revealed the firm had recently parted with an unknown sum – estimated to be between £25-30million – to buy Searcys, a chain of high-end champagne bars with an outlet at nearby St Pancras station. Just metres away from the council’s headquarters in Judd Street, where dinner ladies were telling of their dire financial straits, customers had been sipping bubbly at the bar where a single bottle of champagne can cost £1,400.
    After repeated requests for a face-to-face interview with directors of WSH were turned down, the New Journal took the fight to the mansion home of Alastair Storey, the firm’s chairman and chief executive. Reporters travelled to his grade-II listed home in a sleepy Berkshire village.
    No response was forthcoming, but the following evening Caterlink’s managing director Neil Fuller and Camden Council bosses met to try and find a solution that would “satisfy all parties”.
    Cllr Sarah Hayward had consistently supported the dinner ladies’ calls for fairer pay, but said it was the responsibility of Caterlink, not the council, to make up the difference. It was also revealed that at schools in neighbouring Islington, Caterlink staff were around £10,000 better off, with the council on that side of the borough boundary refusing to grant a contract in 2010 unless the London Living Wage be paid to all.
    Today the New Journal reveals that from September all Caterlink staff at Camden schools will be paid £9.15 an hour, £2.55 more than their current wage. On average, 232 of the lowest-paid workers will be £1,500 better off as a result. 

    Local Government conference 2015

    Jane Doolan, Branch Secretary, speaks at Local Government conference in Glasgow

    Jeremy Corbyn for leader

    Corbyn is the only option for Labour

    Monday 15th
    posted by Morning Star in Editorial
    AS THIS paper went to press, Jeremy Corbyn was well on the way to securing the 35 nominations needed from fellow MPs to go onto the Labour Party leadership ballot paper. The deadline is today.
    Some of those supporting his candidature are not best known for sharing his solid left-wing and anti-imperialist outlook, which is all the more to their credit. They are putting democracy first in a bid to let party members and registered supporters have a real choice when the voting begins in August.
    Mr Corbyn has also received nominations from new MPs, who must have known that they were hardly advancing their career in the Parliamentary Labour Party by backing him. Presumably they have been driven by that all too rare quality in the PLP these days — namely, socialist principles. That should help them resist any attempts to buy their silence with minor posts in any new Labour leadership team.

    Corbyn’s name on the ballot paper will at the very least give electors a “red” option alongside “pale pink” and “Tory-lite.”
    Certainly, a contest confined to Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper would have been a dispiriting one not only for Labour Party members. It would also have sent a clear message to many thousands of trade union activists, socialists and anti-austerity and peace movement campaigners outside Labour’s ranks that the party intends to offer no real, consistent and principled opposition to Tory policies.
    Such leadership would most likely be as feeble, contradictory and opportunistic as the old, if not worse.
    It would condemn some of Chancellor George Osborne’s brutal cuts to welfare benefits and public services, but not others — while accepting the bogus ruling-class rationale used to justify them all. It might oppose a new round of anti-trade union laws — while upholding the anti-democratic, anti-working-class legislation already in place, with no pledge to repeal the most repressive anti-union regime in Europe.
    Any new Labour leader might condemn the extension of privatisation, state-subsidised “free schools” and the private finance initiative — but only Corbyn would pledge to reverse it, as well as renationalising the railways and the gas, electricity and water industries, in line with public opinion.
    Furthermore, unless he runs and wins, it is almost certain that Labour will line up behind the Tory Prime Minister for a Yes vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, pro-big business EU. This will look even more absurd if David Cameron is brandishing newly negotiated “reforms” to exempt Britain from some EU social legislation, however minimal, while preserving the privileges of the largely unregulated casino that is the City of London.

    At least the recent formation of the Labour for Britain group of MPs will help to ensure that, together with the RMT union, the Communist Party and the Campaign Against Euro-Federalism, somebody is putting the progressive, left and internationalist case against EU membership.
    Then there is the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system, the cost of which is only outweighed by its futility and immorality. Again, Corbyn alone stands against the political and military establishment in opposing this madness, voicing the sanity shared by half the population in so doing.
    Do Labour members and supporters have the courage and principles to rise to the challenge and vote in large numbers for him?

    Friday, 5 June 2015

    Leading the way forward for Labour

    Leading the way forward for Labour
    Having arrived in Westminster as newly elected Labour MPs, and after speaking to tens of thousands of voters during our election campaigns, we know how important it is for the future of our party to move forward with an agenda that best serves the everyday needs of people, families and communities, and that is prepared to challenge the notion of austerity and invest in public services. Labour must now reach out to the 5 million voters lost since 1997, and those who moved away from Labour in Scotland, renewing their hope that politics does matter and Labour is on their side.
    We need a new leader who looks forward and will challenge an agenda of cuts, take on big business and will set out an alternative to austerity – not one which will draw back to the New Labour creed of the past. Labour needs a leader who is in tune with the collective aspiration of ordinary people and communities across Britain, meeting the need for secure employment paying decent wages, homes that people can call their own, strong public services back in public hands, and the guarantee of a real apprenticeship or university course with a job at the end of it. From restoring Sure Start to providing dignity and a good standard of living in retirement, these are the aspirations key to real Labour values today and will re-engage people across our country in the years to come. We look forward to engaging in the debate in the weeks ahead to secure our party as being best able to meet the challenges faced by ordinary people at this time.
    Richard Burgon MP (Leeds East),
    Louise Haigh MP (Sheffield Heeley),
    Harry Harpham MP (Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough),
    Imran Hussain MP (Bradford East),
    Clive Lewis MP (Norwich South),
    Rebecca Long Bailey MP (Salford and Eccles),
    Rachael Maskell MP (York Central),
    Kate Osamor MP (Edmonton),
    Cat Smith MP (Lancaster and Fleetwood),
    Jo Stevens MP (Cardiff f

    Support our Jezza for leader




    Thursday, 4 June 2015

    The best piece of news in a long time!

    Dear editor

    We are thrilled and delighted at the news announced on  Wrdnesday that Jeremy Corbyn is standing for leader of the Labour Party.

    As members of UNISON in Islington we have always found Jeremy to be a man of principle and very supportive of our members and the branch

    He is an excellent MP and would be a fine leader of the party.
    Jeremy's result was one if the best in the country anywhere and all parties.
    He got a higher vote than anyone in this constituency before him

    Our members and his constituents trust him and his results show that trust returned election after election

    There needs to be a voice of reason in the Labour leadership election, a voice for justice and a voice against the "back to the future" politics of the Blairites who seek to reach an "aspiring middle class" that is a fiction.

    We welcome Jeremy standing and call on all MPs to nominate him so he ensures that there is a real debate about austerity, workers rights, housing costs etc. the issues that would have animated the working class over the whole country on May 7 had it been put to the electorate

    Jane Doolan Branch Secretary
    Mike Calvert Deputy Branch Secretary

    Andrew Berry Labour Link Officer

    On behalf of Islington UNISON

    Sent from my iPhone

    Islington Tribune announces Jeremy's plan to run for Labour leadership

    Corbyn set to run for Labour leadership - long-serving Islington MP to stand on 'clear anti-austerity platform'

    Jeremy Corbyn has been the MP for Islington North since 1983
    Jeremy Corbyn has been the MP for Islington North since 1983
    Published: 3 June, 2015

    ISLINGTON North MP Jeremy Corbyn has announced this afternoon (Wednesday) that he is standing as a candidate for the Labour leadership.
    He is the candidate for the Labour Left faction in Parliament, and said he is standing on a “clear anti-austerity platform”.
    Mr Corbyn said: “This decision to stand is in response to an overwhelming call by Labour Party members who want to see a broader range of candidates and a thorough debate about the future of the party. I am standing to give Labour Party members a voice in this debate.”
    The other candidates in the race are Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper – who has secured the backing of Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry – and former Islington councillor Mary Creigh, the MP for Wakefield.
    Jeremy set to run for Labour leadership on an anti austerity platform

    Wednesday, 15 April 2015

    Remember to register to vote by Monday 20th April for the election.

    Remember to register to vote by Monday 20th April!

    Report from Special Local Government Conference on pay

    The 24 March was a good day for ordinary members of our union and a bad day for the leadership and Dave Prentis. You may recall that Dave Prentis started our last pay campaign smashing a huge frozen sculpture of a pound promising they were going to break the pay freeze. It was a good start and the strikes that we campaigned for across the country in July 2014 were a testament to the fact that UNISON members agreed with the leadership that we were ‘worth it’.

    However, despite our good start, we found ourselves in October undermined by the very same leadership that told us we were worth it and with a general secretary who lost his penchant for smashing the pay freeze, preferring instead to make deals with Labour and our pay masters. We were no longer ‘worth it’. Furthermore, this shoddy deal, presented to us as ‘an offer’, was no better than we had before the strike.

    In all branches across the country where the branch activists recommended rejection, the ‘deal’ was rejected. However, in branches where no lead was given, unsurprisingly the majority of members voted to accept, thinking this was either the best they could get or that there was no strategy to fight for anything better.  

    However, 25% of branches in UNISON, led by Manchester, called for a special conference to take the leadership to task. The conference was held in Westminster, right opposite the Houses of Parliament. A bitter reminder, if one was needed, that the MPs got 11% pay rise and that we are certainly not ‘all in this together’.  Members may not be aware that at the TUC this year, Mark Carney, the head of the Bank of England, thanked British workers for taking the hit in the biggest crisis for decades in the British and global economy. Considering the responsibility for this crisis can be laid fairly and squarely at the door of the banks, it is frankly embarrassing that the trade unions are being thanked for delivering our pay, conditions and services on a plate.

    It tells you something about the spinelessness of the leadership in the large public sector Unions and explains why members are so angry. We don’t expect big business and banks to fight our corner and we know the Labour Party leadership picked sides a long time ago, but our own Trade Unions should do better. If they don’t, the question is, who is going to stand up for us?

    At special conference our leadership got a taste of that anger and disillusionment. The only set of motions they were opposed to were the ones that instructed them to re-open pay negotiations for 2015. After many speeches, for and against, the vote was taken. We all looked around the room and we knew we had won, except the leadership called for a card vote, where each branch has to vote with the number of members it has in its branch.  We waited an hour or so for them to count the votes, but we were proved right and 289,118 members voted to re-open the pay negotiations and 188, 662 voted against.

    It is a significant step forward for democracy in our union and it is a warning for the leadership in the future. It is also pertinent that we have elections for our National Executive Committee starting on April 7. Do we really want more of the same?

    Joanna Cardwell

    Delegate to Special Conference


    Why this Election is vital

    I am sure most people know by now that the General Election is taking place on May 7th and the polls indicate it will be a tight race. It is therefore extremely important that members vote as a future Tory government is proposing to make cuts to the public sector on a par with the 1930's.
    It is clear if a Tory government or a Tory led government gets back in then we will see cuts on an even worse scale  than the last 5 years. Labour may not reflect fully the policies that we in UNISON would like to see but there are policies worth noting such as scrapping the Health and Social Care Act, getting rid of "zero hour contracts" and removing fees from employment tribunals.
    We do need people who will stand up for public services and especially Local Government. One of our  Local MPs, Jeremy Corbyn, who is also a member of this branch has always stood side by side with us in our campaigns against cuts and for investing in services.  Fortunately he's in a safe seat (Islington North) as is Emily Thornberry in the other seat, Islington South. Which is why Islington UNISON Labour Link is organising a campaign evening in Hornsey and Wood Green where Catherine West, the former Labour leader of Islington Council  is standing against an incumbent Liberal Democrat and Government Minister, Lynne Featherstone.  Catherine has stated that the national Labour leadership are not promising enough on Local Government funding. Catherine's article is below on the blog. 

    Please make sure that you are registered to vote by Monday 20th April.

    This can easily be done on line see:


    Andrew Berry
    Islington UNISON Labour Link Officer


    Tuesday, 14 April 2015

    Time to fund Local Government Catherine West Labour's Candidate for MP Hornsey and Wood Green.

    "The savagery of the cuts to local government under this Tory-led coalition has been devastating.  Despite the fact that local government is the most efficient part of the public sector and despite the fact that the services it provides from social care to children's centres, libraries to youth clubs are so central to people's lives, it has borne the brunt of George  Osborne's axe. But the blows have not been dealt out evenly.  This government has chosen to cut council funding in the poorest areas far more than in the leafy shires - the ten most deprived local authorities have lost six times per head more than the ten least deprived local authorities. The next government must rebalance this unfairness as a matter of urgency and give the most deprived authorities a better deal.  But with finances continuing to be tight, local government also needs to be freed up to do more of the things they're good at.  Jobs, care and housing would be a good start:
     From my time as a council leader I saw how chaotic and wasteful the current system to get people into employment is.  Government departments, government agencies, private companies and private training providers all have a role to play in providing training, skills and reducing unemployment.  Barely 20 per cent of public spending in this area is under local control, yet local and regional provision is much more effective.  The next government should devolve the budgets and responsibilities of big failing national employment programmes like A4E to local or regional level, so that local authorities who know the local labour market, know what skills are needed and what demand is anticipated play a key role in providing careers advice and getting people into work.  Instead of pouring money into the pockets of big, failing private sector contractors it would go into effective, proven initiatives.  That means more chance of people getting into work because they have the right skills and less money wasted.  
     One of the things I'm most proud of from my time as Leader of Islington Council was working to make sure our home carers received the living wage.  It's a difficult area, notoriously low-paid with contracts awarded far too often on cost not quality.  15 minute visits, poverty wages and a high turnover of staff do not give our vulnerable elderly and disabled people the dignity and care they deserve.  Public procurement can and should be key to progressive positive change.  We showed in Islington how we can use contracts to demand the living wage and more apprenticeships. We also need to see a much greater alignment of local authority and NHS budgets through Health & Wellbeing Boards with basic standards set along the lines of Unison's Ethical Care Charter.  

    Finally, we desperately need more genuinely affordable housing.  Private rent rises and sky-high house prices are making it harder and harder for most ordinary people to get their own home.  We can't continue like this  Local authorities know how to build and they know the houses their area needs.  During my time in Islington we carried out our biggest affordable house building programme for 30 years, but with more freedom we could have done so much more.  I'd like to see a deal from the Treasury on a bigger role for local authorities - lifting the cap on the amount they can borrow with the debt serviced by the income from planned rents.  In parts of the country where housing is less of an issue, then a devolution of transport services - and the funding that goes with it - so that other areas can benefit from the London-style powers to manage bus and train services that we already enjoy."

    Remember to register to vote before 20th April

    Dear members

    You are probably fed up with material about the General election with all the saturated media coverage and we don't intend to add to that but it is very important that you register to vote by 20th April. 

    If you live in Islington and are not registered then go to


    More material will go up soon


    Monday, 30 March 2015

    Manchester Local Government Branch - What we believe

    What We Believe: Local Government Special Conference

    Today UNISON branches from across the country are meeting to find a new way forward and a new agreement on pay.
    This is what we are hoping to achieve:

    1: We believe that lay officials, members of UNISON elected by us, should be able to take part in negotiations with our employers on our pay.
    The door to the conference room should not be locked.

    2: We believe that we should be asked before our strike is called off. Branches should be consulted before decisions are made.
    It’s our choice to strike. It should be our choice to return to work.

    3: We believe our members need a real pay rise. We should submit a new pay claim for 2015/16.
    We are all getting poorer. We can’t wait.

    4: We believe members deserve the truth about how much money they have lost. Let’s give them clear simple figures showing what they have lost compared to inflation.
    Let’s stop hiding the shoddy deals.

    5: We believe we have to be honest with ourselves.

    There’s no point saying that everything is fine because the last pay offer was agreed by the members. It doesn’t mean the members are happy. It doesn’t mean that we have the best protocols for negotiating pay or making decisions about industrial action.

    Even if you believe that the deal was a good one, or you believe that the NJC committee made the right decision by calling off the strike, these are still good changes for us to make.

    They will restore trust and confidence in national pay bargaining and they will bring our service group back together.

    We can put the disagreements and disappointments behind us and get back to doing what we do best. Fighting for a good deal for UNISON Members.

    Branch Officers elected for 2015-2016

    • BRANCH ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER: GASSIMU JAH (elected at Branch Committee)

    Wednesday, 25 March 2015

    Local government delegates agree to continue campaign for fair pay

    Local government delegates agree to continue campaign for fair pay

    UNISON local government delegates from across the UK met at a special conference in London to debate the lessons of the recent pay campaign and agree a set of strong proposals to increase member engagement and democratic participation in every aspect of future pay campaigns.
    During a day of impassioned speeches and strong feelings about the impact of the government’s continuing pay freeze and years of declining pay in local government, a range of composites and motions were agreed.

    Composite A recognised that “years of pay freezes and pay caps in local government mean that many of our members are now forced to rely on in-work benefits or to take on extra jobs…or even rely on food banks”.

    It pledged the union to ensure a UK-wide perspective on all pay campaigning; to put women and gender equality at the heart of campaigning; to work jointly with other unions and to build bargaining and industrial strength through a massive recruitment and organising effort.
    Most importantly, future campaigns needed to increase member participation and engagement in the fight for fair pay.

    Delegates also agreed Composite B to amend the local government service group’s procedures to ensure that “meaningful, clear and transparent” consultation is carried out with branches.
    It also called for at least one lay representative from the appropriate sector committees to have the opportunity to be involved in all pay negotiations.

    Composite C called on the union to lodge an additional pay claim for 2015/16 with a settlement date of 1 April 2015 to include a Living Wage rate as the minimum pay value of the NJC pay spine and an equivalent flat rate pay increase to be applied to all other scale points.

    Delegates agreed motions from Wales and Scotland calling for a range of measures to increase member engagement in pay campaigning and for the development of a “consistent, sustained and coherent political strategy, allied to our bargaining and industrial strategies.

    UNISON Northern Ireland and Scotland moved a motion calling for future claims to be based on a strong central claim but allowing for local improvement in devolved nations, while opposing any moves to undermine National Joint Council bargaining or move towards regional or local bargaining.
    The conference also agreed a report from the service group executive to alter the union’s pay consultation processes to improve participation - including allowing branches to carry out consultation using electronic polling methods.

    Service group executive Glen Williams said electronic voting and polling was not intended to replace face to face consultation but supplement it.

    “These are principled, practical proposals designed to increase participation,” he said.

    General election - get ready!

    General election - get ready!
    This is where you'll find everything you need to know about UNISON's preparations for the general election.
    UNISON activists will be using pledge cards to gather support for voting for public services in the general election from UNISON members. 
    The pledge cards can be ordered now via the online catalogue, quoting stock number 3510. Once a member has signed the pledge card, you should post it to Jon Besserman at UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY.
    Make sure you’re registered to vote. The online form only takes a few minutes, and it’s the same form for postal votes. 

    Friday, 27 February 2015

    Demo's against cuts this week

    Top picture: Fighting cuts in Haringey
    Middle picture: Homecarers protest last night in Islington
    Bottom: Sonya Howard of Kensington and Chelsea speaking in Islington

    Successful Branch AGM Held Today

    The Islington Local Government Branch held a successful AGM this morning at 10am.
    A full report will go up over the weekend, including photo's and other materials.

    Mike Calvert
    Deputy Branch Secretary
    Below are Jeremy Corbyn MP, Jane Doolan, Fiona Monkman and Mike Calvert

    Thursday, 26 February 2015

    Open Letter to All Islington Councillors : No Compulsory Split Shifts!

    Dear Member
    On 13th December 2013 - Islington Council signed up to the Ethical Care Charter. This Charter was set up to defend and promote homecare services and Homecarers. Islington was the first to sign it and in doing so – promised to ensure its agents paid the London Living Wage and travel time.
    Travel time amongst the In-House Carers is still an issue with little time being given between visits to clients. Islington’s treatment of its complex needs in-house service fall short of the principles of the Ethical Care Charter. As part of a recent re-organisation – homecarers are being forced to undertake split shifts.
    Management are claiming that homecarers have downtime over the lunchtime, our members say differently. It is our belief that our members are getting contradictory information from management. This is causing undue stress and concern. A group of homecare workers met this week with their trade unions: UNISON and GMB.  Not all were present as some were at work – those present made up 460 years worth of experience and service to this Council. Their commitment and dedication seems to mean nothing to management. This is DISGRACEFUL!
    We also have concerns about the amount of clients who are being transferred to London Care. We have asked management about this but our members are telling us something very different. We have been told that clients are being forced to London Care without consultation with the individual clients or their families consent or views.  If this is the case it is OUTRAGEOUS and negates the Ethical Care Charter. Councillors: be assured we will take you to task and not let this go.
    Councillors, you need to ask questions about this service. You also need to listen to your staff and not just your managers. You need to listen to the trade unions. Your managers need to deal with us transparently in the spirit of the Ethical Care Charter and the Staff Manifesto.
    Yours truly,
    Jane Doolan, Branch Secretary Islington UNISON
    Vaughan West, Branch Secretary Islington GMB

    Friday, 13 February 2015

    No to job losses

    Petition to Islington Council
    We the undersigned are opposed to Islington Council making 211 job cuts, of which half are compulsory redundancies, resulting from Government cuts in the name of austerity.
    These include:

    jobs in finance and the Visiting Officers in Welfare Rights.

    There is also an attack on home carers and enablers working patterns despite the Council signing the a Ethical Care Charter!

    We understand that this will inevitably lead to a reduction in the scope and capacity of our valuable public services and lead to increased pressure on fewer staff delivering the remaining services.


    Friday, 6 February 2015

    Future pay Consultation and pay proposals Going Forward

    This is the third motion from the Branch for the Special Local Government conference in March

    This Special Service Group Conference notes:

           The current timetable for pay claims means that members wait several months for new pay deals to come into effect, hitting lowest-paid members hardest, and means lower-paid workers are more likely to accept whatever pay deal is offered at an earlier stage.

             Unison represents some of the lowest paid workers in Britain, for whom industrial action can cause significant loss in pay. 

             Unison’s rules state that strike pay will not be awarded until the fourth day of strike action.

    Resolves that:

             All future negotiations with the employer should involve lay elected representatives of the NJC

             Unison should begin its pay claim process earlier, and demand that employers respond to the union’s claim at least four months before any pay award is due to come into effect.

             Claims should be made annually and no settlement should be accepted for a period longer than one year.

             If employers fail to do this, Unison commits to launching a dispute to win the pay claim through industrial action.

             The question on the ballot paper should normally include strike action and action short of strike / work to rule unless a very clear mandate from branches and regions to do otherwise.

             Any offer made by the employer that is below the level in the NJC claim should be put to a workplace ballot before any action is suspended.

    •.       To win any pay dispute including winning the commitment of our members to take action, we need a clear and transparent programme of action underpinned by a national commitment and preparation to resource and where necessary re-direct resources including an identified pot of money to fund industrial action

             Such a strategy should include:

    o   sustained and escalating programme of industrial action which moves beyond one-day strikes.

    o   Selective action involving groups of workers to maximise impact (e.g., parking inspectors, caretakers, revenue staff, etc.)

    o   Programmes of action-short-of-strikes in between national strike days, including a work-to-rule and overtime ban

    o   Attempts to coordinate where possible with other unions

    o   A commitment to coordinate and distribute hardship payments, levied from both branch and national funds

    o   Encouraging branches to convene local, cross-union strike committees to inform regional and national SGE strategy

    NJC proposals and the decision to cancel the strike

    This is the second motion to be moved by Islington at the special conference in March

    This special service group conference Notes:

             The 2014/15 NJC pay claim was not awarded by the employer.
             Following the strike on 10 July 2014 there was no further action taken by UNISON members in pursuit of the claim.
             The decision to call off the strike due on 14th October 2014 was made on the basis of the promise of a revised offer following a negotiating meeting which did not involve any elected lay members of the NJC Committee.

    •The decision of the NJC Committee to tell members this proposal was the best that could be achieved by negotiation and that the only alternative was significant all out action was taken without any consultation with Branches and Regions on the specific nature of the 2 year proposal

             The 2 year deal nature of the deal does nothing to address the increasing decline in real term pay, but actually prevents members to propose a pay claim & strategy for 2015/16. 

    The conference further notes:
    The service group review on the guidance on pay consultation as agreed at the Local government service group conference 2014. This conference agrees the new guidance should include clear guidelines facilitating branches and regions in making their own recommendation to their members in any future pay consultations in line with Democracy in UNISON guideline

    This special service group conference Resolves to:

    • Censure the NJC for failing to consult branches and regions over the revised offer before calling off strike action.

    • Ensure in the future that decision to suspend strike action must involve a consultation process involving Branches and Regions on an actual offer from the employer

    Principles of a Pay Claim

    The following motion has been submitted by the Islington Branch to the Special Local Government Conference on Pay
    This special service group notes:

    That once again, local government workers have been tied into a pay deal that means we have no chance of seeing any real pay increase until 2016

    That the initial turnout of 13% was low. In spite of this, branches and the SGE/NJC did everything possible to ensure a turnout on 10/7/14

    The lack of the publicity or build up to the next day of action put undue pressure on branches

    Branches worked exceptionally hard during the summer building for the day of activity on 20/8/14

    Indeed, branches were starting to report that previously, where members had crossed picket lines, this would not be the case on 14/10/14

    This special service group conference also notes:

    That the proposal which resulted in an offer was confusing, not only to members but activists, and believes that this is why it was accepted a s a default position.

    The original claim of £1 an hour was a welcome idea but once again by factoring in London at £1.20 ah hour caused confusion and was ultimately divisive

    That the eventual offer may have given the low paid an increase. However, the lack of direction by the national union on the issues of austerity has not helped our claim-as all members are facng hardship due to austerity and not only the low paid.

    The service group review on the guidance on pay consultation as agreed at the Local government service group conference 2014. This conference agrees the new guidance should include clear guidelines facilitating branches and regions in making their own recommendation to their members in any future pay consultations in line with Democracy in UNISON guidelines.

    This Special service group conference resolves:

    That there should be a single flat rate figure claim. This should be every year, and not tied into deals over multiple year claims. Any back pay should be consolidated.

    Pay is about the ability to live, feed our families and pay our bills, keeping a roof over our heads.

    Terms and conditions should not be tied into any pay claims/ award

    Thursday, 18 December 2014

    Pay dispute ends: nothing much for foreseeable future!

    Dear UNISON members

    Many of you have received emails from Dave Prentis,  the General Secretary of UNISON, explaining why the pay "proposal" has been accepted as the "best possible by negotiation".

    As a branch we have led the way in arguing that this "proposal", now a deal, is the worst thing that could happen. This is why we campaigned for a rejection vote.

    Our branch voted by 69% to 31% to reject the proposal.

    The Branch Committee's view is that had the national leadership campaigned as vigorously as the London Branches did for rejection- we would not be in this dreadful position now.

    Nationally the vote was 65% to accept and 35% to reject.

    We are saddled with a "deal" that gives us no back pay, only a so-called "non consolidated" lump sum of £100 to be paid in Islington on 19th December and another in April 2015 of virtually zero!

    The actual award/amount works out around just less than 1% this years and next year!

    This is utterly deplorable!

    Our Branch leadership led the way in calling for a special local government conference to hold the national leadership to account at our Branch Committee on 2nd October 2014. The Manchester branch issued a national call and we now have the required number of branches supporting the call. 


    Our Branch leadership is dismayed by this turn of events and will use the special one day local government conference to express the whole branch's feelings of dismay.

    Many of our members feel let down by the leadership of our union and they came out on strike on the basis that there was a strategy for winning our claim but it became clear early on that there was no strategy. Many local government members feel betrayed by the national leadership and this has left us in a weak position. Once again it is up to the local branches to rebuild that lost confidence amongst our members and as a branch we will continue to work in a unified fashion in the interests of our members and in defence of the services they provide.

    Islington is paying us on 19th December-just in time for Xmas-so you should have your compensatory, unconsolidated payment in your pay. It is subject to tax and NI!

    Comradely greetings

    Fiona Monkman (Branch Chair)

    Jane Doolan (Branch Secretary)

    Mike Calvert (Deputy Branch Secretary)

    For more information see the branch blog:
    And follow us on Twitter: @IslingtonU77
    And on the special conference see:


    Wednesday, 17 December 2014

    For the Unconditional, Total and Immediate Lifting of the Blockade of Gaza

    Appeal of Algeria's UGTA (General Workers of Algerian Workers) and PT (Workers' Party) for the Unconditional, Total and Immediate Lifting of the Blockade of Gaza


    Algiers, 14 September 2014

    To workers, to labour activists,
    To defenders of democratic rights

    The peoples and workers of the entire world have been horrified by the killing and mass destruction inflicted by Israel and its army on Gaza and the whole of the Palestinian people, unleashing a deluge of fire that lasted 51 days. The macabre tally: 2,150 dead, around 12,000 seriously injured; 20,000 homes destroyed, throwing 25 percent of Gaza's inhabitants onto the street; and all basic infrastructure destroyed (schools, hospitals, factories, roads, universities, etc.), resulting in the destruction of 200,000 jobs.

    The peoples and workers of the whole world do not agree that the majority of western governments, beginning with the Obama administration, should arm and support Israel, which is guilty of genuine genocide.

    The workers and peoples do not agree that several governments, especially a certain number of Arab regimes in the Middle East, should serve as accomplices in this crime against humanity.

    Do the Palestinian people have the right to live? Because what the Palestinian people are demanding is what the peoples of the whole world are demanding: land, peace, freedom and re-establishing their unity as a nation.

    On every continent, notably in Europe, in the United States, in Latin America, in the Maghreb, in the Middle East, in Japan, Pakistan, South Africa and elsewhere, powerful demonstrations bringing together tens of thousands -- sometimes hundreds of thousands -- of workers and youth have demanded an end to the killing, an end to the bombing, and the lifting of the blockade that has been strangling Gaza since 2006.

    And while Israeli Jews were also demonstrating in their thousands in Tel Aviv to condemn the war on Gaza, hundreds and hundreds of Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide and their descendants in Europe and the United States declared:

    "As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. . . .

    "Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water. We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. . . .

    "'Never again' must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!"

    They are right. And the international mobilisation has helped the Palestinian people, through their resistance, to force Israel to take a step back, including a partial lifting of the blockade and ending the bombing.

    But the Israeli aggression against the battered Palestinian people is continuing through mass arrests, assassinations, incursions by the Israeli army, the continuation of the blockade and the confiscation of Palestinian land in order to extend the Jewish settlements, while starving and ghettoising the Palestinian populations even further. This is occurring at a time when the inhabitants of Gaza, which is completely devastated, find themselves in total destitution, deprived of a roof over their heads, of food, water and electricity -- in short, they are facing death.

    The General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) and the Workers Party (PT), which in Algeria are organising the labour and popular mobilisation in defence of Gaza, solemnly appeal to all the organisations of the international labour movement, from north to south and from east to west, to all activists, to all defenders of democratic rights, to all defenders of peace and fraternity between peoples:

    - Let us together demand the satisfaction of the vital aspirations of the Palestinian people,

    - Let us support the unanimous aspiration of the Palestinian people: "We do not want to die a slow death."

    There can be no peace without the unconditional, total and immediate lifting of the blockade, without the rebuilding of the factories, infrastructure and homes that have been destroyed, without the unconditional re-establishment of the right to fish, without the right to have ports and an airport, without the means for hospitals and schools to operate, without the right to a job, without the right of smallholders to cultivate their land, without the right to electricity and water. . . .

    There can be no peace without an end to the repression, without the freeing of the detainees, who include 262 children and many women and people who are ill.

    We say: It is the particular responsibility of the organisations of the labour movement throughout the world to put an end to the helping hand provided by every government in support of Israel, its army, and its murderous frenzy.

    On this basis, we call for every necessary initiative to be taken to put an end to this murderous frenzy.


    Louisa Hanoune
    General Secretary, Workers Party (PT)

    Abdelmadjid Sidi Saïd
    General Secretary, General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA)
    Vice-President of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity

    First endorsers in Britain

    Islington UNISON local government branch;
    John McDonnell, MP;  
    Ian Lavery MP;
    Grahame Morris MP on behalf of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East;
    Caroline Lucas MP, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion;
    Katy Clark MP;
    Jeremy Corbyn MP;

    Paul Smith MP;
    Elaine Smith MSP,
    Neil Findlay MSP; 

    David Stewart MSP;
    Claudia Beamish MSP;
    Sandra White MSP;
    Richard Baker MSP;
    John Finnie MSP;
    Jim Hume MSP;
    Simon Thomas MSP;
    Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM;
    Llyr Gruffydd AM;
    Leanne Wood AM;
    Rhodri Thomas AM;
    Alun Ffred Jones AM;
    Nicolette Petersen;
    Ben Soffa, National Secretary Palestine Solidarity Campaign;
    Catherine West Labour Party PPC Hornsey and Wood Green;
    Bob Oram, Chair of the Morning Star Management Committee;
    Robert Griffiths, General Secretary, Communist Party of Britain in an official capacity;
    John McInally, National VP, PCS;
    Ronnie Draper , General Secretary Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union;
    Ian Hodson, National President Bakers', Food & Allied Workers Union;
    Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary, UNISON;
    Heather Wakefield UNISON National Secretary Local Government;
    Denise Bertuchi, Assistant National Officer, UNISON;
    Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary, Unite;
    Diana Holland, Assistant General Secretary Unite, Labour Party NEC member;
    Jenny Formby, National Political Officer, Unite and Labour Party NEC member;
    Davy Jones, Green Party PPC for Brighton Kempton and Unite the Union;
    Cllr Michelle Gregory, Hackney;
    Cllr Richard Lufkin, Hackney;
    Cllr Keith Morrell, Southampton;
    Cllr Makbule Gunes, Haringey;
    Cllr Dean Kirk, Hull;
    Cllr Gill Kennett, Hull;
    Cllr Gary Heather, Islington Councillor and Chair, Trades Council;
    Cllr Darren Williams, Labour Councillor Cardiff;
    Cllr Nick Davies, Swansea;
    Cllr Caroline Russell, Islington Green Councillor;
    Cllr John Taylor, Stockport;
    Cllr Flora Williamson, Islington;
    Cllr William Brown, Lewisham;
    Taryn Trainor, Unite Women's Officer;
    Diana Leach, UNISON NEC ;
    Karen Reissman UNISON NEC;
    Polly Smith UNISON NEC;
    Bernie Gallagher, UNISON NEC ;
    Suzy Franklin, UNISON NEC;
    Tony Wilson, UNISON NEC;
    Jon Rogers, UNISON NEC;
    Max Watson, UNISON NEC;
    Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition;
    Alex Callinicos, Professor of European Studies, King's College London;
    Prof Bill Bowring,International Secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH);
    Sian Davin Solicitor;
    Andrew Berry, UNISON National Labour Link Committee member;
    Paul Mackney,  former General Secretary NATFHE/UCU;
    Haim Bresheeth, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, London School of Oriental and African Studies And Director of Camera Obscura Films;
    Alex Gordon, RMT;
    Mary Stephens, PSC;
    Ghada Karmi, Research Fellow, University of Exeter- Patron Palestine Solidarity Campaign;
    Ian Birchall, writer and translator, UCU retirted section;
    Shacklewell ward Labour Party, part of Hackney North CLP;
    Peter Smith Labour Parliamentary Candidate for South West Norfolk;
    Jane Doolan, Branch Secretary Islington UNISON ;
    Diana James, Assistant Branch Secretary Islington UNISON;
    Fiona Monkman, Chair Islington UNISON;
    Mike Calvert, Islington UNISON Deputy Branch Secretary and ILC;
    Mark Krantz, Media Officer Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition;
    Ann Green British Pensioners & Trade Union Action Association;
    Sue Plain UNISON NJC Committee and Southwark UNISON branch Secretary;
    Mark Still  RMT Waterloo;
    Paul Murphy, Islington UNISON steward & Branch International Officer;
    John Calderon, Labour Party - Hackney CLP;
    Helen Peters, retired lecturer University of London, UCU;
    Doreen McNally  Liverpool Unite Community Branch , Former spokes woman for the Women of the Waterfront;
    Paul Filby, UCATT Liverpool;
    John Flanagan, trade unionist;
    Sheila Coleman, Unite Liverpool Community Branch;
    Mona Baker, Professor of Translation Studies University of Manchester;
    Dr Gabriela Saldanha, Lecturer in Translation Studies University of Birmingham;
    Sue Blackwell, Senior lecturer UCU;
    Bahadur Najak,University of Durham;
    Randy Banks, Institute for Social and Economic Research University of Essex, UCU;
    Mike Cushman, London School of Economics, UCU;
    Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, Oxford University;
    Paul Hudson, retired university Teacher;
    Jo  Ann Rust, Kings Lynn and District TUC, UNISON activist;
    Nat Queen, University of Birmingham UCU;
    George Binette, Camden UNISON Branch Secretary and Chair Camden TUC;
    Sam Grove, Shop Steward, Islington UNISON;
    Tyrone Ballinger, Shop Steward, Islington UNISON;
    Yesim Senler, rep Islington UNISON; Pam Woods, Islington UNISON;
    Denise Facey, Housing Convenor Islington UNISON;
    Roger Silverman, Newham NUT;
    Joanna Cardwell,Shop Steward, Islington UNISON;
    Mandy Berger, Camden UNISON;
    Felicity Dowling, Chester NUT;
    Michael Loughlin, Manchester Metropolitan University; ;
    Richard Carabine, Birkbeck College London, UCU;
    David Halpin retired surgeons, founder of Dove and Dolphin ;
    Dr George Paizis, UCU Retired Section;
    Dee Reynolds University of Manchester;
    Dr Shupikai Rinomhota  School of Healthcare University of Leeds; 

    Professor Caroline Rooney, Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow, University of Kent;
    Marc Gibson, Loughborough University UCU Branch Secretary (Admin);
    Graham Durham Unite Branch  Secretary;
    Keith Facey, Steward, Islington UNISON
    Rosemary Plummer, Schools convenor, Islington UNISON;
    Jenny Densham, Schools convenor, Islington UNISON;
    Mary Compton, former National President of NUT, retired;
    Brian Caton, former General Secretary of the POA;
    Tony Phillips, London Fire Authority Branch Secretary UNISON;
    Steve Forrest, GMB;
    Steve Hedley, RMT;
    Yael Khan, Islington Friends of Yibna;
    Gerrard Sables, Peoples Assembly, Devon;
    Henry Mott, Southwark Unite;
    Angie Zelter;
    Dean Ryan, Islington UNISON;
    Siobhan Hawthorne, Islington UNISON;
    Celia Oakwood, UNITE Liverpool;
    Richard Gill, Islington UNISON;
    Jenny Sutton, Chair UCU CONEL;
    John Owen, TUSP Liverpool;
    Frank Fitzmaurice, Merseyside UNITE;
    Unite Branch 6/522
    Mike Arnott, Dundee TUC;
    John Sweeney, UCATT Political Organiser East of England;
    Roger Burt;
    Richard Seaford, UCU University of Exeter;
    Alex Wood, Islington UNISON;
    Matt Wells, PCS;
    Anthony Brain, Birmingham STWC;
    Marian Brain, UCU;
    Norman Druker, UNISON retired member;
    Miriam Wells, freelance journalist;
    Ray Bush, University of Leeds;
    Ed Bober, Norwich UNISON;
    Max Shanly, Young Labour National Committee;
    Alan Wylie, Islington UNISON;
    Louise Whittle, Bristol UNISON;
    Sean Fox, Haringey UNISON;
    Chris Taylor, Haringey UNISON;
    Gerard McGrath, Haringey UNISON;
    Lisa McInerney, Islington UNISON;
    Mick Gilgunn, Islington TUC;
    Philip Lewis, Camden UNISON Vice Chair & Branch Health & Safety officer (PC);
    Sarah Streatfeild;
    Dr Lindiwe Dovey, SOAS;
    Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS;
    Professor Laleh Khalilii, SOAS;
    Maisie Carter, President, Merton and Sutton TUC;
    Dave Carrier, Chair Merton Palestine Solidarity Committee;
    Charlie Kiss, Camden UNISON;
    John Ross  academic;
    Ellen Graubart  Hackney Unite;
    Philip Lewis Camden Unison vice chair & Branch health and Safety officer;
    Steve Hedley RMT;
    Sarah Streatfield ;
    Alex Gordon RMT Paddington N°1;
    Yael Kahn  Chair Islington Friends of Yibna;   
    Atef Alshaer SOAS University of London;
    Val Graham Derbyshire Unison ;
    Mark Krantz Media Officer Greatezr Manchester Stop the War Coalition;
    Mandy Berger Camden Unison ;
    Alex Callinicos Kings College London;
    Charlie Kimber, National Secretary of the SWP;
    Charlie Kiss Camden Unison , Islington Green Party ;
    Carolyn Kagan Professor Emerita,  Manchester Metropolitan University;
    Kevin Stannard;
    Saussan Khalil University of Cambridge;
    Kevin Perkins, Islington UNISON LGBT Convenor;
    Jean Pierre Barrois retired Senior lecturer, freelance translator;
    Andy Richards, Chair of Unison, Brighton and Hove;
    Annette Mansell-Green, Green Trade Unionist;
    Austin Harney, PCS;

    Karolina O'Donoghue, "Palestine Live!"

    Below is original French version
    For more information contact: mikecalvert@blueyonder.co.uk