Annual General Meeting Newsletter

branch-squarePlease follow the link below to read our AGM 2021 Branch Newsletter which includes:-

- Update from Branch Secretary
- Covid-19 Response Fund
- Notice of AGM – 9th March 2021
- Branch Nominations
- Message to Retired Members
- Update from Private, Voluntary & Independent Sector Organiser
- Expressions of interest for the National Delegate & Local Government Conferences

Please note that nominations, motions and expressions of interest for the conferences should be sent to the branch (ideally by email) by 25 January 2021.

pdfAGM Newsletter January 2021

pdfAGM Nomination Form 2021

Reality Check: Public Sector Pay Freeze

pay-squareLast week, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced pay cuts for public sector workers, and made dubious claims around 'fairness' and the private sector. UNISON goes through the chancellor's claims and corrects them.

Let's unpack some of the chancellor's statements and see how they stack up when they're checked and given a bit more context.

'Pay has been rising faster in the public sector than the private sector'

Pay rises have been higher on average in the public sector over the last year. However, they have been lower than the increases in the private sector for much of the last ten years.

Averages can be misleading – which was obviously the chancellor's intention.

A recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) study that compared jobs on a like-for-like basis found that the average public sector worker was paid 3% less than a private sector worker in 2019 and had been earning less in terms of gross pay (including overtime and bonus pay) every year since 2014.

Public sector workers only earn more than comparable private sector workers when pensions are added to the comparison, because of the private sector's widespread destruction of defined benefit schemes.

Read more: Reality Check: Public Sector Pay Freeze

Covid-19 Response Fund

there-for-you-squareUNISON's COVID-19 response fund reopened on Monday 16 November, offering grants of up to £500 to help members whose household incomes have been affected in any of the following ways:

 You and/or your partner are currently furloughed
 You and/or your partner are currently receiving Statutory Sick Pay and are either shielding, self-isolating or off sick due to other COVID-related reasons
 You and/or your partner have been made redundant or lost your job due to coronavirus
 You and/or your partner's employer have reduced your working hours, including loss of regular overtime (applicable also where partner is self-employed and loss of earnings can be proven)

Please note that applicants must be a UNISON member with savings of less than £2,500 and have paid at least two months' subscriptions.

Depending on your situation, help will be awarded as follows:
 £350 living costs for applicants who are furloughed or have a salary reduction due to COVID
 £500 loss of employment grant due to redundancy
 Up to £500 housing costs grant – towards rent, mortgage, or council tax arrears that have accrued since March 2020

Read more: Covid-19 Response Fund

We need a public Inquiry & Zero Covid Strategy

Stand Up to Racism

equalities-squareLast week we launched a statement and petition calling for urgent action on the disproportionate impact of COVID19 on BAME Communities, signed by cross party MPs, Trade Union leaders, campaigners and community representatives.

With lockdown in England due to end next week, the UK has seen over 12,000 deaths in this second wave, it is clear that the governments current strategy is not saving lives.

Over 500 people have signed our petition on calling on the government to take on a range of measures including a public inquiry on COVID disproportionate impact, an end to NHS charging for migrants and no recourse to public funds, and a strategy for Zero Covid including a fully functioning find, test, track and trace system led by local public health teams, and lockdown measures that will both reduce the virus and provide proper support to communities.


Read more: We need a public Inquiry & Zero Covid Strategy

Support Islamophobia Awareness Month

equalities-squareNovember is Islamophobia Awareness Month, and events will be taking place across the country to draw attention to the rise in Islamophobic hate crime, the targeting of Muslim communities by governments and the media, and the positive contribution made by Muslim communities.

Stand Up To Racism is supporting #IAM2020 as a partner both nationally, and through local groups putting on events with Muslim organisations such as MEND to bring communities together to discuss the impact of Islamophobia.

In 2019/20, where the perceived religion of the victim was recorded, half (50%) of religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims (3,089 offences)

Islamophobia has been a key plank of Government racism, through the discriminatory and counterproductive Prevent agenda, and outbursts such as Boris Johnson's on the niqab contributing to the continuing rise in hate crime against Muslims.

The Government has also disgracefully attempted to blame Muslim communities for the rise in COVID cases to distract from its own disastrous failings.

Read more: Support Islamophobia Awareness Month

UNISON National Schools Committee Statement – 2 November 2020

branch-squareFollowing the government announcement that in England schools and nurseries will
remain open during the forthcoming lockdown, UNISON's National Schools
Committee met on Monday 2 November and agreed the following statement:

UNISON's National Schools Committee wants the best education possible for children and young people and for schools and nurseries to open in a safe environment. School and nursery staff delivered education, support, food and safe and clean schools for the children of key workers and at-risk children during the first lockdown and worked hard to extend this to all pupils when schools fully re-opened.

Read more: UNISON National Schools Committee Statement – 2 November 2020

General Secretary Election


branch-squareUNISON’s election for its General Secretary is about to start. The ballot begins on 28 October and closes at 5pm on Friday 27 November 2020.  You will receive your ballot  paper through the post to your home address. If you have not receive a ballot paper by 10 November 2020, please contact the ballot hotline via UNISON Direct on 0800 0 857 857. The result of this election will be announced on 11 January 2021.

Each UNISON branch is allowed up to a 100 word address to members explaining why they have nominated a particular candidate. Our 100 word address is below, explaining why we have nominated Hugo Pierre.

Read more: General Secretary Election

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