Hello again. The months certainly seem to be flying by. I hope that everyone is keeping well.

The Branch Office continues to be very busy dealing with a multitude of cuts to terms and conditions in Schools, especially in respect of Teaching Assistants. The Children’s Services restructure continues to throw up numerous employment concerns and there will likely be a lot of casework to deal with over the coming months.

The public sector has been starved of financial resources for over 11 years now and the budgetary shortfalls are beginning to become evident. It strikes me as ironic that the Government has relied upon state services to get them and us through the pandemic after the Government wasted billions of pounds giving contracts to their business friends.

The Private Sector also continues to throw up employment challenges where employers want to maximise profits over the welfare of their staff.

We always need more UNISON Stewards, Workplace Contacts and Health and Safety reps. If you are reading this and are not already a Branch representative, please get in touch.

If you are experiencing any work related difficulties please let us know at the Branch Office on 01785-245000 or unison@staffsunison.org.uk

NEC Elections

Voting is due to start on 04/05/21 and will run through to 27/05/21. The results will be known on 11/06/21. Please look out for your ballot papers through the post and make sure you fill them in and return them. Ask your member colleagues to do the same. Democracy within UNISON is very important.

Staffordshire UNISON Nominated the following candidates for the NEC:

Regional Seats – 2 female seats

Caroline Johnson – from Birmingham LG Branch

Carol Sewell – from Walsall LG Branch

Regional Seats – Male Seat

Mike Vaughan – from Staffordshire LG Branch

Regional Seats – Low Pay Reserved Seat

Mandy Buckley – from Birmingham Branch

National Young Members – Female Seat Nominations

Isla Watson – from Stoke LG Branch

National Young Members – General Seat Nominations

Jess McGuire – from Lincolnshire LG Branch

Female National Local Government Seat (2 seats to be nominated for)

Andrea Egan – from Bolton LG Branch

Sarah Feeney – from Coventry City Branch

Male National Local Government Seat

Paul Holmes – from Kirklees LG Branch

National Disabled Members Female Seat

Neelo Farr

National Disabled General Seat

Angela Hamilton

National Black Male Seat

Hugo Pierre – from Camden Branch

National Black Female Seat

Manjula Kumari

National Black Low Paid Reserved Seat

Abiola Kusoro – from Great Ormond Street Hospital Branch

 

Elections-County Council/Police and Fire Commissioner/Metropolitan/Parish

Please vote on 06/05/21. Democracy is at stake.

 

Sandwell UNISON Branch industrial action.

Sandwell Branch industrial action against “fire and rehire” cuts to terms and conditions initiated by Sandwell Leisure Trust-Strike on 30/04/21 with other days of action likely to follow. I have written to the Sandwell Branch to express solidarity with them. The Donations Committee has agreed to donate £200 to their Hardship Fund.

The “fire and rehire” cuts to terms and conditions have now been used against 9% of the workforce according to the TUC, and against 30% of all young workers under 25. This is unacceptable. The employers include Heartlands NHS Hospital and British Gas. Trade unionists need to stand together against this gross infringement of worker rights.

 

UNISON Local Government and National Conferences 2021

These will take place virtually on 13/06/21 and between 15/06/21 to 17/06/21. Kindly look at the main UNISON website for details of the agenda and important motions due for discussion.

The Branch motion requesting that the proposed Branch funding formula be reviewed again and postponed for 12 months was declared invalid by the UNISON Standing Orders committee for what I believe are incorrect reasons. Other Branches with very similar motions also had their motions rejected.

Amendments to the NEC motion supporting a postponement of the introduction of the formula are to be raised at the April Branch Executive meeting. 

All delegates should have had their attendance confirmed by now.

UNISON membership     

Overall membership continues to grow locally, regionally, and nationally. Workers turn to trade unions for support and protection at times of crisis. A sad indictment of many employers.

Workers Memorial Day 2021 on 28/4/21

The Staffordshire event was held virtually and was very moving. There was a specially written Poem read by the Staffordshire Poet Laureate, Mel Woodend. I also attended 3 other memorial events on behalf of the Branch, organised by Wolverhampton Trades Council, East and North Staffs Trades Councils and also the TUC. All were very moving and sadly even more poignant this year because of the deaths and health damage caused to NHS staff, Care staff, Public transport staff, Cleaners, Retail staff etc.  

 

Stay safe and healthy!

Mike Vaughan

Staffordshire UNISON Branch Secretary