Monday, 20 October 2014

The march in pictures









St Mungos Broadway Dispute

St Mungos Broadway Dispute

Unite members at St Mungos Broadway (from the Unite Housing Workers Branch) will be taking seven days of strike action in defence of their housing association, staff terms and conditions, and union rights, all of which have come under a sudden and vicious attack following a merger. Over 95% of respondents voted to take strike action on a turnout of almost 70%.
Additional protest added:
Please note that on the final strike day, we are calling all strikers and supporters to an additional protest:
Thursday 23rd October, 10.30am, Griffin House, 161 Hammersmith Road, W6 8BS. Nearest tube Hammersmith
- See more at: http://www.housingworkers.org.uk/page/35/st-mungos-broadway-strike.html#sthash.K1vETKOq.dpufSt Mungos Dispute

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Manchester UNISON rejects pay proposal

Manchester UNISON rejects pay proposal

Manchester Branch rejects pay proposals and calls for a special LG Service Group Conference

Manchester Branch have taken the unusual step of requisitioning a special Local Government Service Group Conference.
It is not something we have done lightly but we think there are major issues to be addressed within Local Government and the best way to do it is in a conference setting, where everyone can have their say.
This can be done under Rule 3.4.11:
“A special service group conference shall be convened on receipt, by the head of the service group, within any two month period, of requisitions to that effect, stating the business to be transacted, from branches representing not less than 25% of the service group membership.”
To requisition a special LG Conference we need enough branches representing 25% of the membership to submit a requisition within two months.
All branches need to do is send the same requisition.
25% of the membership is achievable but we need to use the same wording in the requisition.
So if your branch also rejects the proposals we are asking for your help and support.
If your Branch submits a requisition please email Manchester Branch –unison@manchester.gov.uk – your Branch name and Local Government membership total as of 1st January 2014 so we know when the 25% required has been achieved.
At a North West Service Group meeting on 14th October, representatives from a wide spread of branches informally indicated their branch would support the call to requisition a Special Conference by writing to the National Secretary of the Local Government Service Group –h.wakefield@unison.co.uk – in accordance with UNISON Rule D3.4.11 to consider the following business:
  • The 2014-2016 NJC Pay Proposals.
  • The decision to cancel strike action on 14th October.
  • The future Pay Consultation protocols in respect of Local Government pay claims.
  • The best means to secure a decent pay increase for Local Government members and to receive and consider all motions from Branches and Regions concerning the above.
Branches are urged to agree this using the same wording to secure a Special Conference.
Motion Agreed by Manchester Branch Executive

An Appeal to Local Government Branches from Manchester Local Government UNISON



An Appeal to Local Government Branches 

from Manchester Local Government UNISON

We have requisitioned a Special Local Government Service Group Conference on pay.
You can read why we have taken this step and if you agree then we need your help.
For the conference to take place it requires branches representing 25% of the Service Group membership to requisition.
If your branch agrees to do this then send this email to Heather Wakefield, Head of the Local Government Service Group at h.wakefield@unison.co.uk
Dear Heather
I am writing on behalf of our Branch to requisition a Special Local Government Service Group Conference.
In accordance with UNISON Rule D3.4.11 on 2nd October 2014 (02/10/14) our Branch / Branch Executive agreed to call for the requisition of a Special Local Government Service Group Conference to consider the following business:
  • The 2014-2016 NJC Pay Proposals.
  • The decision to cancel strike action on 14th October.
  • The future Pay Consultation protocols in respect of Local Government pay claims.
  • The best means to secure a decent pay increase for Local Government members and to receive and consider all motions from Branches and Regions concerning the above.
Could you then please email us at unison@manchester.gov.uk to let us know and tell us your branch name and Local Government membership total as of 1st January 2014 so we know when we have reached 25%.
Thank you for your support.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sellout 2014

We have just heard that the planned strike action on 14th has been officially suspended.

We haven't got any specific details and as soon as we have will update the blog and let the members know.

You are now NOT on strike on 14th October.

We have been sold out once again!

A Pay rise is for life not just for Christmas!!!

A Pay rise is for life not just for Christmas!!!

The proposal put by the employers is an insult. It is worth 0.55%. Even less than the original 1% offered and certainly nowhere near £1.20 an hour increase. This insult coupled with a "compensatory payment" of £100 which is not consolidated, does not form part of your pay increase (or cut) or £s reflected in your pension. It is a one off payment and is taxable. It is a joke !!! We need to be clear that for Islington employees this is what is on offer. 

Some members may see the £100 as a help over the festive period but in real terms if we accept this we are taking a year on pay cut of around 20% and they will keep coming back for more until we have had our pay cut by 40%. That £100 one off payment and that slightly over 1/2% will seem like a distant memory. I appreciate that the way the employers are spinning this makes it look as if we have an improved offer. Don't be fooled. If 1% wasn't good enough on the 10th July why would anyone consider settling for 0.55% on the 14th October ?

I rest my case

Jane Doolan
Branch Secretary

Friday, 26 September 2014

TUC : Britain needs a Pay Rise

The Big TUC demo will be on Saturday 18th October in central London.

Please contact the Branch office for more information

Mike and Jane

Prepare for the pay strike

The next day of strike action is Tuesday 14th October

Leaflets and postcards as well as the Joint Union statement will be out next week.

Look out for them or contact the Branch Office.

Jane and Mike

Joint Trade Union Meeting

To all members of UNISON, Unite, GMB and UCATT:

Posters and leaflets have gone out.

This will be held in the Union Chapel on Tuesday 30th September.

12.00-1.00

All members of UNISON, UCATT, Unite and GMB Branches are welcome

Jane and Mike

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Article on latest strikes in Barnet and Doncaster

Care workers in Barnet and Doncaster strike together against low pay

by Raymie Kiernan
Care workers on strike

Your Choice Barnet and Care UK workers protest on Tuesday
Your Choice Barnet and Care UK workers protest on Tuesday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Striking care workers in Doncaster and London brought their struggles together on Tuesday of this week in their fight against low pay and privatisation.
In north London Your Choice Barnet workers, in the Unison union, struck for two days on Monday and Tuesday against a near 10 percent pay cut. 
Unison steward Tom Andrews told Socialist Worker, “The strike is solid. It’s a reflection of our united team who want to express their frustration at this attack on our pay.”
A coachload of Care UK strikers, also in Unison, joined the Barnet strikers’ rally. They are fighting for the Living Wage for new staff and a meaningful rise for the rest. 
The Doncaster workers end a three-week strike on Sunday of this week, which is also set to be their 69th strike day this year.
Both groups of workers bear the brunt of outsourcing care services but are determined to fight to maintain quality of service for those they care for. They are also fighting to defend their own conditions.
Barnet Unison branch chair Helen Davies told Socialist Worker, “These are almost identical disputes and workers have taken the logical step of taking action together.”
Bosses
The Barnet workers could have more strikes to come if bosses don’t back down.
Meanwhile bosses at Care UK met for talks with the union in Doncaster last week. Their derisory offer equated to 14p extra an hour before tax for new staff and nothing for the rest. 
It is clear the strikers will need to find ways of escalating the dispute to win. The strikers’ committee said, “There is no way we will accept the crumbs thrown in our direction. We have come too far to back down now.”
Helen said, “Barnet and Doncaster care workers are offering a lead to everyone who wants to fight back. If this happened nationally and across different unions we could see the back of low pay.”
Care UK strikers voted last week ahead of talks with bosses for a further 21-day walkout, the dates of which were still to be announced as Socialist Worker went to press. 
Workers at Your Choice Barnet also voted for an extra four days of action before striking this week. Both need solidarity from the trade union movement to win their fights.

  • Barnet: Send messages of support and requests for speakers tocontactus@barnetunison.org.uk Send donations to the strike fund to Barnet Unison Industrial Action Fund, Building 4, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
  • Doncaster: Send donations, solidarity messages and requests for strikers to speak at meetings to admin@unison-dab.org.uk Make cheques payable to Unison Doncaster 20511. Send to Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5GJ

Barnet strikers latest

Solidarity with Barnet strikers


Dear colleagues,

Your Choice Barnet support workers will be taking industrial action 8th and 9th September with more dates to follow, after having a 9.5% pay cut imposed on them by their employer. Like anyone else in Local Government these workers have had pay freeze after pay freeze up to this pay cut!
Your Choice Barnet is a Local Authority Trading Company set up by Barnet Council February 2012. Barnet UNISON always believed the business case was flawed and sadly we have been proven right as YCB has had to borrow £1 million (around 20% of its budget) from Barnet Homes to be repaid at commercial interest rates over the next 3 years. Our members have already had cuts to their terms and conditions as all shift allowances have been cut and the numbers of Support Workers have been decreased whilst the numbers of Assistant Support Workers have been increased.
If your organisation is thinking of outsourcing some of your services you may want to have a read of this Your Choice Barnet (YCB) "The real deal"http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/?q=node/1394
The Your Choice Barnet Care worker cause is very similar to the Doncaster Care UK workers and we believe it is incredibly brave and principled of all of these workers to take this action. Their action throws a spotlight on the travesties of low pay in the care sector and the low quality of care which accompanies this low pay.
We are asking you to get behind this dispute by
1.    Sending in your messages of support to contactus@barnetunison.org.uk
2.    Collecting money for the strikers
3.    Donating money – cheques payable to: Barnet UNISON Industrial Action Fund
4.    Inviting our strikers to speak at meetings/ rallies/ events ( to arrange emailcontactus@barnetunison.org.uk)
5.    Joining our strikers on the picket line (for details emailcontactus@barnetunison.org.uk
6.    Please signing our petition https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-ongoing-destruction-of-services-for-adults-with-disabilities-in-barnet and as your colleagues and other to do the same.
Best wishes
John Burgess
Branch Secretary.
Barnet UNISON

Are we history?

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/aug/31/pride-film-gay-activists-miners-strike-interview

ALL UNIONS OUT TOGETHER ON 14th OCTOBER

STOP PRESS: ALL UNIONS OUT TOGETHER ON 14th OCTOBER

The plan has changed.

The trade unions have now agreed to a day of joint strike action in the battle for £1.20 an hour, billed in variously places as "fair pay"!
The actual mandate given by the membership to the leadership was to strike for £1.20 an hour...no more, no less.

Now we have the following trade unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) taking strike action on 14th October and the big task is for a huge mobilisation on this day, on the TUC demonstration on 18th October, and any subsequent action on this issue.

see :  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28592142

Local Government pay strike: the latest

Local Government pay dispute

Friday, 1 August 2014

Labour councillors vote to support NUT rep made victim of "Nazi" slur


Labour councillors vote to support NUT rep made victim of Nazi slur

Haringey Independent: Labour councillors vote to support suspended union rep suspended by Haringey Council Labour councillors vote to support suspended union rep suspended by Haringey Council
Five councillors are among the members of the Tottenham Labour Group that voted to support a union representative recently suspended by Haringey Council.
Julie Davies, who has been an elected National Union of Teachers official for more than a decade, was suspended for “gross misconduct”.
The NUT claims the suspension is "unlawful" and an "attack on the unions".
The Tottenham Labour Group's general committee last week passed a motion agreeing to “the core Labour values of trade unionism” and “the right of workers to democratically choose their own representatives".
Labour councillors voting in favour of the motion were Gideon Bull, Emine Ibrahim, Stuart McNamara, John Bevan and Reg Rice.
A second motion, relating to comments made by Haringey school governor Gerard Kelly, condemned the comparison of Ms Davies to Hermann Goering.
It read: “This borough has a proud tradition of honouring the memory of victims of the Holocaust and honouring survivors.
“This GC [general committee] therefore rejects any comparison with the experience of people living in our diverse and harmonious borough.
“We reject that a trade unionist of Jewish descent has anything in common with those who committed such horrendous crimes against humanity.”
Both motions were moved by both Islington and Haringey branches of UNISON, the public sector workers’ union.
They were both passed unanimously.
Neither Tottenham MP David Lammy nor council leader Claire Kober, also members of the group, were able to attend the meeting.
Mr Lammy declined to comment on the suspension of Ms Davies.

A ceasefire in Gaza is essential now

A ceasefire in Gaza is essential now

Harrowing images of death, destruction and human suffering in the Palestine/Israel conflict cannot fail to move even the most hard-hearted cynic.
Pitiful scenes of parents, distraught with grief over the slaughter of their children, cry out for the international community, politicians and Palestinian and Israeli leaders to call a halt.
We in UNISON are horrified at the rising death toll in Gaza, now over 1,200 – the vast majority of them innocent civilians, including hundreds of children. Destruction of civilian and UN infrastructure in recent days, including schools, hospitals and the territory’s only power plant, will have grave ramifications for the Palestinian population now and long after this latest military operation ceases.
The excessive Israeli attacks are unjustifiable and totally disproportionate.
UNISON re-iterates its call for an immediate cease-fire and an end to the blockade imprisoning 1.9 million people. And we want the international community to provide urgently needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, including food, water, medical aid and generators.
Our government must immediately end the arms trade with Israel.  But a lasting peace relies on an end to the illegal occupation and blockade of the Palestinian territories and for the creation of a viable, independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

UNISON encourages members and branches who wish to provide assistance to make a donation to Medical Aid for Palestinians, a charity with a long history of working in Gaza and with whom UNISON has worked in the past.

UNISON working internationally

Official UNISON website press release

Why we're striking

We local government workers empty the bins, clean the schools, educate and care for children, look after the elderly, and vulnerable, conduct marriages and civil partnerships, care for parks, and check the safety of the food on your table.
We do it all despite savage cuts to vital services. Almost half a million of our jobs have gone. Those of us left are doing far more for far less.
We have worked hard to get employers to negotiate a deal, but the employers won’t even talk to us about a better offer, or join us for independent arbitration.
So now we are going on strike 

Most UNISON members are low-paid, part-time women workers, struggling to pay their household bills. Losing pay for strike action is not something they do lightly.
Our members are not asking for the 14% pay increase company bosses and bankers are getting. Or the 11% MPs will see. They are just asking for a rise of at least £1 an hour.
That would mean almost half a million council and school support workers currently earning below the Living Wage of £7.65 an hour could come off in-work benefits.

UNISON members: 5 reasons to go on strike 


1. You can’t afford another pay and pension cut
The current government offer leaves most workers with pay worth almost 20% less than in 2010. Falling pay also means loss of pension for the rest of your life.
2. You are worth fair pay for the work you do
Your pay and conditions are the worst in the public sector - from top to bottom.
3. Taking another pay cut won’t save jobs and services
Despite a pay freeze, jobs have gone and services continue to be stripped to the bone, privatised or stopped all together. There’s no reason to believe a pay cut will stop this.
4. All this will continue unless we act now
Low pay is bad for workers and bad for the economy. That’s why politicians from all parties are calling for an end to low pay. Many local government workers rely on benefits to pay bills. Right now, the taxpayer is subsidising local government to pay poverty wages.
5. Our claim for a minimum of £1 more an hour for all is affordable
Paying all local government workers a living wage will boost Treasury coffers by around £0.9bn every year from increased tax and national insurance take - shifting many off in-work benefits and reducing the bill to taxpayers.
Read the live blog covering the July 10 strike

STOP PRESS: ALL UNIONS OUT TOGETHER ON 14th OCTOBER

The plan has changed.

The trade unions have now agreed to a day of joint strike action in the battle for £1.20 an hour, billed in variously places as "fair pay"!
The actual mandate given by the membership to the leadership was to strike for £1.20 an hour...no more, no less.

Now we have the following trade unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) taking strike action on 14th October and the big task is for a huge mobilisation on this day, on the TUC demonstration on 18th October, and any subsequent action on this issue.

see :  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28592142


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