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.

UNISON: Fighting for fair pay

March in London

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Branches urged to follow the momentum for a living wage (11/09/14)

Branches could be "pushing against an open door" in trying to persuade public sector employers to pay the living wage, UNISON says.

"They're just waiting for us to ask them," suggests Charlie Carruth, a regional officer with the union's Yorkshire & Humberside region. "And that’s what branches should be doing. Make a living wage pay claim. Just ask."

Mr Carruth's optimism is based on the strides made by the union and others in turning Sheffield into a living wage city across public services, while also making inroads throughout the region.

Sheffield City Council is already a living wage employer and is committed to making all would-be contractors agree to the living wage in their contracts.

UNISON has made successful living wage claims to Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust, which has agreed to bring 2,000 staff up to the living wage from January 2015, as well as a clinical commissioning group in the city.

Other bodies, such as Sheffield University and the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust are proving harder to crack. But in these cases UNISON is playing the long game, says Mr Carruth.

"Our strategy is to put living wage claims in across the board, backed up with statistics on pay and the cost of living. If we get a positive, then great. If not, we don’t go straight into battle, but build pressure by getting others to sign up.

"We're trying to pick employers off strategically, keeping the pressure on."

Elsewhere in the region, Rotherham NHS Trust, the Yorkshire NHS Trust and four CCGs across South Yorkshire have also agreed to pay the living wage.

UNISON learned from the cash-strapped Rotherham trust that although it couldn't afford the living wage itself, when it approached its CCG the commissioners agreed to pay the difference - thus revealing another approach for the campaign.

"Any trust could do this," says Mr Carruth.

"Employers are realising that they can do a lot of good and it's not costing them a lot of money. Plus, it's making them look good. It’' a virtuous circle. And the momentum is building."

Wanted: Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough PPC candidates (09/09/14)

Labour Link - PPC advert

Speak out on 18 October 2014 (04/08/14)

Mobilise for the "biggest demo this country has ever seen on 18 October" - that is the rallying call from general secretary Dave Prentis as the union gears up for the TUC's Britain Needs a Pay Rise demonstration.

The demonstration - plus one in Scotland and possibly one in Northern Ireland - will come just days after local government and school workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland take co-ordinated industrial action over pay.

Ballots for industrial action are also taking place among Scottish local government workers, English and Welsh NHS members, academy school staff and meat hygiene workers.

"This autumn is where we make a stand on pay - this far and no further," said Mr Prentis.

But 18 October is not just about specific groups of UNISON members, or even all UNISON members.

Afetr four years of austerity, everyone - and the economy - needs fair pay, Mr Prentis said.

The message from UNISON to every region, branch and member is simple: "Our nation needs you there. We need you to make it happen."

Doncaster Care UK workers vote for 14 days strike over pay (04/08/14)

Care UK Workers on strike

Care workers in Doncaster will start 14 days’ strike action from 7 a.m. on Tuesday July 29.

The UNISON members voted for the action to support the pay claim for Care UK to introduce the national living wage rate of £7.65 an hour – above their current rate of just £7 – and a meaningful pay rise for all staff.

The latest action means the strikers will have taken a total of 48 days strike action since September 1 last year.

Regional Organiser Jim Bell said members at the company had suffered four years of pay freezes when they were employed in the public sector.

In addition, Care UK has slashed income by attacking income and conditions of service.
He said: “In total they have seen their pay cut by up to to 35 per cent in this period which is a massive hit and makes it impossible for them to meet the most basic costs of living.
“We are calling on Care UK to give them a meaningful pay rise and start the minimum pay rate at £7.65

“Care UK makes profits from bidding for publicly owned and tax payer funded public services. It then pays our members so little that they often have to turn to tax payer funded benefits just to survive.

“The company is making huge profits subsidised by all of us who pay tax. Meanwhile these most dedicated of public servants, who care for the most vulnerable people in society, are forced into crippling financial hardship.

“The company has forced our members to take strike action. They do this reluctantly and it causes great personal hardship and anxiety.

“But they are trying to protect the service they provide because if the company will not pay a fair rate, skilled and dedicated staff are forced to seek work elsewhere. It is the vulnerable clients and their families who will suffer terribly.”  

For further information contact Jim Bell on 07944 191 738 or Peter Carroll on 07785 620 422

HMIC Report Comfirms UNISON fears over demise of Neighbourhood Policing (22/07/14)

Today’s HMIC Report ‘Policing in Austerity: Meeting the Challenge’ bears out UNISON research showing that more than 3,500 front line police community support officer (PCSO) jobs in England have gone since the start of the coalition government. 

This is despite a commitment from ministers to protect front line policing.

In its report, HMIC expresses concern over the ability of forces to carry out neighbourhood policing. The report goes on to confirm that PCSO numbers have been slashed by 22%, with 10 forces cutting numbers well above the general 20% cut to police budgets.

UNISON's research, published in its Trouble in the Neighbourhood report, shows that nine police forces have cut more than 20% of their PCSOs. This includes a 49% reduction in the Metropolitan police, a loss of 2,280 PCSOs in the capital, almost two thirds of the overall cut, 31% in Merseyside and 28% in Essex.*

Only five police forces out of the 39 in England have maintained or increased their number of PCSOs. ** 

The UNISON research also reveals that 60% of UNISON members working as PCSOs had seen cuts in staff or resources in their police force. ***

As well as a reduction in the number of PCSOs, cuts in supporting roles also impact on front line policing as PCSOs often find themselves covering for these roles and spending less time out in the community.

Ben Priestley, UNISON National Officer said:

“Today's report is yet further proof that neighbourhood policing is dying on the beat. Cuts to neighbourhood teams are putting public safety and confidence in our police in jeopardy. 

"PSCOs play a key role in intelligence gathering, tackling minor crimes and anti social behaviour. They are a reassuring and deterring visible presence in our streets and without them crime is likely to rise, but they are under growing pressure to cover larger beats and often work alone. That is why UNISON is again calling on the Government to fund and maintain neighbourhood policing teams at their 2010 level."

Comments from PCSOs: 

“On my own Safer Community Team, numbers have been cut from 9 to 2; an 80% cut. All of the work we have done over the last decade is unravelling and we are powerless to stop it. Morale is at rock bottom.”

“We now have less staff and higher expectations from the public that cannot be met."

“At times there are very few officers on the street due to cuts. It's a struggle to deal with all the jobs that get called in.”

“Crime prevention officers and practical resources have gone. Posts are not being filled when they become available”
“We no longer work as a team and are left to work alone on a late evening... there is no back up close by if anything should go wrong, so this leaves the PCSO vulnerable.”

“Drastic reduction in vehicles which doesn’t directly impact on PCSOs, but means that warranted officers are further away should we require support. Larger neighbourhoods mean that PCSOs have to travel further on foot and operate more often as a solo foot patrol.”

In contrast to England, there has been a 57% rise in the number of PCSOs in Wales, with an extra 409 posts created, with dedicated funding from the Welsh Government.

* PCSO cuts have been 20% or higher in the following nine police forces:
City of London:         -71.15%
Met Police:               -49.09%
Merseyside:             -31.41%
Essex:                     -28.54%
Cumbria:                  -22.52%
Warwickshire:          -22.46%
Cambridgeshire:        -21.05%
Hertfordshire:             -20.99%
Northamptonshire:     -20.73%

** 87 PCSO jobs were created in England since March 2010.
1 in Wiltshire, 3 in Leicestershire, 24 in Nottinghamshire, 59 in Devon and Cornwall

*** UNISON represents around 6,000 PCSOs in England and Wales. 1,900 of them responded to the online survey – a response rate of almost 30%

The full HMIC report is available here:



Y&H Regional Black Members Upcoming meetings published (25/04/14)

You can find a list of meeting dates and training opportunities here...


Regional Education Programme 2014 published (26/11/13)

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.

In addition to our Regional Education Team our new 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.

Download the 2013 Education Programme and 2013 Calendar here...

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