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.

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Winter Fuel Grant - Apply Now (18/12/15)

Winter Fuel Payment

Have any questions? Download the Winter Fuel Grant Q&A sheet

Download the Winter Fuel Grant Application Form 2015/16

Applications need to be submitted by 23 Feburary 2016.

Regional Education Programme 2016 published (18/11/15)

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 shares experience across Atlantic (03/11/15)

Wendy Nichols, UNISON President, Speaks to CUPE conference

(03/11/15) Wendy Nichols, UNISON President (and Branch Secretary of North Yorkshire Branch of UNISON), spoke at the The Canadian Union of Public Employees conference in Vancover this week. CUPE is Canada’s largest union, with over 633,000 members across the country. CUPE represents workers in health care, emergency services, education, early learning and child care, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation, airlines and more.


Drop the Trade Union Bill: Rally shows strength of feeling (02/11/15)

Workers travel from across the UK to tell their MPs their concerns over trade union bill.

“This hard-line trade union bill attacks every worker in this country, union member or not. It’s a bill that is stuck in the past, outdated and not fit for purpose,” said UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis, speaking at a rally against the bill today in London.

But, he said, UNISON will continue to fight it.

“We’ll fight for the underdog, the poor, those who can’t stand up for themselves,” against a bill he described as “cruel, wrong, immoral.”

He followed speakers from across the union and civil liberties movement, including TUC general secretary Francis O’Grady who condemned the “shambles of a bill” and Shami Chakrabarti of human rights group Liberty, who reminded the rally: “Dissent is not disloyalty, and the oldest trick in the book is divide and rule.

“The government is dividing the public and trade unionists.” But, she asked, “Who are trade unionists if not the public?”

TUC president and UNISON assistant general secretary Liz Snape vowed to persuade MPs across the political spectrum that “the trade union bill is wrong. It’s unfair and an attack on our civil liberties.

“Whatever barriers they put in our way, they’ll never stop our movement fighting for a fairer Britain.”

The trade union bill is currently being rushed through Parliament and UNISON believes it is unnecessary, unfair and undemocratic:

  • attacking the rights of workers to take strike action;
  • putting a stop to facility time – the time union reps use to represent their members;
  • allowing nexperienced agency workers to be brought in to cover workers on strike.

Thousands of trade union members had travelled to London to attend the rally, speak up in favour of their rights at work and to speak to their MPs about the bill.

Walking the length of the lobby queue and stopping to talk to UNISON branch representatives, Mr Prentis said: “It is fantastic to see our members standing up for their trade union rights.

“Everyone here today recognises that this government is trying to stifle the voices of working people and we cannot let that happen.

“The turnout from UNISON today shows we are determined to continue to speak up for our members and the public services they provide.”

UNISON member Rory Shannon had travelled from Birmingham where he works as a catering manager at the university.

He is also being an ex-Labour councillor and West Midlands co-convenor for the regional UNISON LGBT group.

He reported having made several attempts to arrange a meeting with his local MP Sajid Javid, the minister in charge of the bill, without receiving a response.

If Mr Javid had agreed to meet him his message would have been: “Why? Why are you pushing this through? No ones asked for it, even your own MPs have their doubts.

“We’ve only been on strike twice in the last 35 years,” said Mr Shannon, “and one of those times we won the living wage.

“It’s a tough decision to make, especially if you’re below the living wage, losing a day’s pay could mean losing a meal for your family.”

Heidi Garside, a prosecution team officer, had travelled from Huddersfield with her colleagues Sue Kelsey, Amanda Rushton and Tracey Scothern.

“They’re trying to take us back to Victorian times,” said Ms Garside. “Annual leave, sick pay, maternity leave: these were fought for by trade unions.

“We aren’t the evil organisation the governments making us out to be. We’re the organisation that fights for working people.”

Ms Rushton was paying a visit to her MP Andrea Jenkyns. Remembering the help she’d received from her UNISON rep when she’d taken out a grievance over her terms and conditions, she feared the consequences of taking away facility time.

Theatre nurse Eleanor Smith explained: “Going on strike is not a decision I ever thought I’d make in my nursing career – but we were backed into a corner.

“On the day we went on strike, we worked with management, we said ‘if an emergency comes through the door we’ll drop our picket and we’ll be there.'”

The employer came back to the negotiating table, explained Ms Smith: “Strike action’s a last resort, but we need it.”

“Social work is a serious job and they’re not taking it seriously” said Aleksandra Mark-Rybner, attending the rally with her social worker mum Kathy.

“We’re here to support workers,” continued Kathy, but the government would “restrict us in helping other people in trouble.”


TUC Young Workers' Month: November 2015 (06/10/15)

YM Month Poster


Leeds City Council signs up to Ethical Care Charter (01/05/2015)

Ethical Care Charter

(Pic: Leader of Leeds City Council Keith Wakefield stands alongside Cliff Williams, UNISON Assistant General Secretary, signing UNISON's Ethical Care Charter)

Leeds City Council signs up to Ethical Care Charter to answer Mayday calls of care workers

Making sure there are minimum standards for care at home for both the people who receive it and the workers who provide it are priorities for Leeds City Council as they become of the largest local authorities to sign up to UNISON's Ethical Care Charter.

The charter commits to carers not having to rush from client to client and that people should keep the same carer wherever possible. It also commits employers to provide guaranteed hours contracts as the norm rather than zero hours contracts, to pay for travel time and a target of paying at least the living wage of £7.85 per hour.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“This May Day is a great opportunity to reflect on the vital contribution care workers make to our communities. We are determined to make sure Leeds City Council is rewarding homecare workers properly for the vital services they provide every day to thousands of Leeds citizens.

"Leeds is the biggest city to sign up to the charter and we are absolutely committed to people in Leeds receiving the high-quality homecare we would all want for ourselves and for our loved ones. That means we need to recognise everyone who receives homecare as an individual person, with their own particular needs.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said:

"This Charter gives a benchmark for the future of homecare in Leeds, and we are very proud to have signed up to it. Providing care can be one of the toughest roles to have, and if we don’t treat those delivering it decently, it makes it harder for them to do the job properly.”

UNISON Assistant General Secretary, Cliff Williams, said:

“We know how tough it is when budgets are under so much pressure, so we are particularly pleased Leeds City Council has been able to adopt UNISON's Ethical Care Charter.

"It shows a clear commitment that staff are properly rewarded and respected for the work they do with vulnerable people in our communities.

"Home care workers are dedicated to providing the best care that they can. The council's adoption of the charter enables good employment conditions and quality training, which helps to reduce staff turnover and improve the quality of care for service users."

Providers will have to minimise zero-hours contracts, pay at least the national minimum wage and move towards paying a living wage of £7.85 per hour. There will also be a commitment to providing training.


UNISON proud to sponsor BARLA (04/12/14)

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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