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UNISON is Britain's biggest and brightest trade union with a membership of over 1.3 million. Yorkshire & Humberside region alone has over 145,000 members. Our members are people working in the public services, for private contractors providing public services and in the essential utilities. They include frontline staff and managers working full or part time in local authorities, the NHS, the police service, colleges and schools, the electricity, gas and water industries, transport and the voluntary sector.

Young members in UNISON

Young Members AGM

UNISON Young Members AGM and Social (16/09/16)

UNISON Young Members Social @ Sheffield Steelers!
Sunday 9th October 2016

UNISON is holding the Young Members Annual meeting at the Royal Victoria Holiday Inn followed by free tickets to the Sheffield Steelers Ice Hockey Match against Belfast Giants.

Please join us: We will start with a free buffet lunch from 1pm at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Sheffield and then move in to the annual meeting from 2:30pm- 4pm.

Then we will make a short 5 minute journey over the road to the Sheffield Steelers Stadium which will start at 5pm.

This is a great opportunity for all young members in UNISON to meet new people and to become more involved in the Union.

All you need to do is contact Joanne Turnbull on 0113 218 2322 or
j.turnbull@unison.co.uk to apply, but hurry places are limited!

 

Latest News

UNISON’s biggest ever homecare legal case over minimum wage (14/09/16)

UNISON’s biggest ever homecare legal case over workers paid as little as £3.27 an hour

Seventeen home care workers employed across the London Borough of Haringey – backed by their union UNISON – are taking care company Sevacare and the council to court in a dispute involving illegal wages over the widespread non-payment of the minimum wage.

The group – all but one of whom are women – are employed on controversial zero-hours contracts and care for elderly and disabled residents across the borough. The women visit people in their own homes and in some cases provide 24-hour live-in care.

The UNISON case – the biggest the union has ever taken involving home care workers – is against Sevacare, which until July was one of the companies commissioned by the north London council to deliver care.

The case against the two organisations – and a number of care companies who took over the contract abandoned by Sevacare – is chiefly over the failure to pay staff a legal wage, as time spent travelling between people’s houses was unpaid.

This can mean, says UNISON, that on a typical day the women might be working away from home for as many as 14 hours, but could receive payment for only half of them. This can leave them earning as little as £3.85 an hour. (The national living wage – the legal minimum for workers aged 25 and over – is currently £7.20 an hour.)

Care workers who provide live-in care can earn even less, claims UNISON. This work means regularly spending an entire week – 168 consecutive hours – living in someone else’s home so they give around-the-clock care. For this the workers can get as little as £3.27 an hour – well under half the legal minimum, and this hourly rate is printed on their payslips.

The workers’ zero-hours status means most have previously been too scared to complain about their treatment, conscious that if they did, they were likely to have their hours reduced or be given no work at all, says UNISON.

One of the women involved in the UNISON case compared her live-in weeks to being in prison because during this time she is not allowed to leave the house of the person for whom she cares.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Without the dedication of these committed and caring women, and thousands of others like them across the UK, our care system would collapse.

“The government, local councils and the care companies all know that social care is in a dire state, that there’s not enough money to pay for the care that’s needed. And with everyone living longer the situation is going to get worse.

“The blame for the social care crisis must be laid at the government’s door.  Ministers must get tougher with enforcing the law so firms aren’t able to cheat their staff. More money must be put into care so that councils are not forced to tender contracts at a price they know decent care cannot be delivered. No wonder 15-minute care visits are now the norm, and there’s widespread payment of illegal wages.

“Those paying the price for the government’s penny-pinching approach are the homecare workers – struggling to make ends meet on pitiful wages – and the people they care for. Their often complex medical needs simply cannot be catered for within the short time allocated by the care companies.

“Meanwhile the companies are coining it in. Last year Sevacare’s profits were over £1m, yet bosses thought it acceptable to pay its staff illegal poverty wages. Unfortunately this sorry state of affairs is not unique to Haringey. Up and down the UK, the experience of other home care workers is depressingly similar.

“That’s why UNISON is stepping up its efforts to recruit care workers so we can help them stand up to their law-breaking employers and put a stop to these despicable practices.”

 

Advice: Right to live & work in UK depends on EU/EEA citizenship (05/09/16)

UNISON has now published guidance for members whose right to live and work in the UK depends on their EU or EEA citizenship.

Nothing has changed at the moment. But the guidance gives practical advice on steps members can take to safeguard their position in the UK.

UNISON will be campaigning for the right to remain for all EU and EEA citizens. Please urge EU Citizen members to get involved in the campaign by joining our Facebook Page on:-

UNISON EU Members Network
https://www.facebook.com/groups/UNISONEUMembers/

You can find the guidance under 'Resources' on the web page on the following link:-

https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/knowledge/vulnerable-workers/migrant-workers/

 

Reserve your place on FREE Return to Learn and Women's Lives Courses

These courses are a fantastic free opportunity for UNISON members who have been away from learning for a long time. The course start this autumn so visit our Education & Training page for more details and to apply.

 

UNISON Active magazine published (Summer 2016 edition)

 

Homecare workers: Failure to honour National Minimum Wage (28/07/16)

Failure to honour the minimum wage is endemic across the care sector as many homecare workers are unpaid for the time they travel between home visits – which can be up to a fifth of their working day, says UNISON.

Homecare survey picThe union is urging the government to end the systematic underpayment that it believes is widespread in the sector, by tweaking minimum wage regulations so employers are forced to make pay calculations easier to understand.

Confusing wage slips mean workers struggle to see how they are being paid, so it’s difficult for them to challenge their employers, says UNISON.

Although homecare companies claim to be paying the minimum wage, their failure to pay travel time means that staff are often being paid well below the legal minimum*.

UNISON also wants to see HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) publish a report – commissioned by the government over a year ago – into six major care companies and potential breaches of minimum wage laws.

Most homecare employees work in isolation and rarely see colleagues so it’s difficult for them to compare their experiences. And even when companies are successfully challenged by individuals over their failure to pay for travel time, these tend to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

If caught out for failing to pay for travel time, firms seldom make amends and correct the payments across the whole of the workforce, says UNISON.

The issue of unpaid travel time was recently highlighted when UNISON backed a case against Sevacare – one of the largest homecare providers in the UK – on behalf of Judith Montgomery, from Bury in Greater Manchester.

Judith’s case resulted in an award of £3,250 for withheld travel time payments, equivalent to nearly 500 hours at the then national minimum wage rate of £6.70 per hour, when her case was brought in March 2016.

Judith regularly worked split shifts spanning 15 hours in a day, yet Sevacare did not pay her travel time between client visits. As a result she could start work at 7am and finish as late as 10.30pm (having done breakfast, tea and bed runs), but still be underpaid by up to £60 a week.

UNISON says it should not be for individual low-paid workers (often on zero- hours contracts) to stand up to each employer when the government – and HMRC in particular – should be making sure that employers are paying a legal wage.

And when firms are caught not paying the minimum wage because they don’t pay for travel time, HMRC should step in to ensure that appropriate payments are made to the rest of the staff, says UNISON.

UNISON has started a recruitment drive amongst homecare workers in the North West, Yorkshire & the Humber and the East Midlands to offer them the support of the union and bring individual workers together.

UNISON has been leading the campaign to get the government to enforce the national minimum wage in the sector. The union believes this is the only way to improve pay for all homecare workers, not just those who take cases to court.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Homecare workers support the elderly and vulnerable across the UK, yet they continue to be paid below the minimum wage. The government promised to act, but so far ministers have abjectly failed to help these low-paid workers.

“Homecare firms who only pay their staff for the face-to-face time they spend with their clients are guilty of law-breaking on a grand scale. The increasing use of 15-minute visits places untold pressure on homecare workers, yet their pay doesn’t reflect the importance of the work they do.

“Judith’s case shows just how companies can profit by denying staff payment for their travel time. The government should be doing far more to ensure these firms meet their legal obligations across the board.”

If you are a Homecare worker please fill out UNISON’s short survey so we can help you! https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/UNISONhomecare

 

Regional Education Programme 2016 published

Once again we have endeavoured to offer courses to suit everyone, as Lifelong Learning is still high on our agenda. We have courses tailored to the needs of activists and members alike and there are a number of new courses designed to further develop the skills of our activists.

You can find the Education Programme 2016 here...

Education programme 2016In addition to our Regional Education Team, our Regional, Area and Local Organisers are working with branches, among the other organising duties they undertake, to develop Lifelong learning.

The programme is designed to help you and your branch. UNISON needs more, better equipped and motivated activists. The courses provided are aimed at building confidence and developing abilities.

Courses are available for potential, new and more experienced activists seeking to improve their knowledge and skills. We are sure that both you and UNISON will benefit from the experience. It is never too late to learn.

Branch development is vital in recruiting, organising and retaining members. We are constantly striving to increase membership and provide a better service. Increasing membership and developing new activists from all sectors of the union will make us stronger and more representative of our members.

It is now 6 years since the Regional Council decided to increase the charges to branches of training courses and I am pleased to be able to report that the charges will remain unchanged for 2016.

Unfortunately there have been significant cuts to general further education funding and TUC funding has also been drastically cut. As a result of effective lobbying by the TUC, the previous Coalition government’s intention to remove fee remission was postponed to August 2016 thus enabling the region to keep charges to branches unchanged. Beyond this date future funding arrangements and charges to branches may change.

No one should be out of pocket attending UNISON courses. Branches and the Region contribute towards the cost of courses. Additional travel costs and additional carer costs can be claimed from your branch (details of help can be found in the programme).

This year for clarity we are also issuing a separate Members Only Training Programme detailing the courses, workshops and tasters available to non-activists. You can obtain a copy of this from your Branch Education Co-ordinator or Branch Secretary. It is also available on the UNISON regional website www.unison-yorks.org.uk.

UNISON courses are friendly, relaxed and provide an opportunity to meet new friends, they allow you to network with colleagues from other branches and to gain from their knowledge and experience. Working together with other Trade Unionists to achieve a common goal is an opportunity not to be missed and an experience to be grabbed with both hands! Please enjoy our courses and don’t be afraid to let us know what you think of them, all comments will be carefully considered and used to assist us improve our training programme.

Wendy Nichols
Regional Convenor

You can find the Education Programme 2016 here...

 

UNISON proud to sponsor BARLA

UNISON Yorkshire & Humberside Region have sponsored The British Amateur Rugby League Association for many years and this relationship continues to flourish.

You can find the latest photos here...

 

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