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General Secretary Election – Southend nominates Paul Holmes

General Secretary Election – Southend nominates Paul Holmes

  • Southend branch has nominated Paul Holmes for General Secretary because we know he wants change.
  • Unison nationally is not delivering for members. Branches currently only get 25% of our subs and no say over national and regional resources. Paul wants half of Unison resources directed to us and our members. 
  • The Government is coming at us with more attacks. Paul has the best track-record of leadership in fighting for members and winning – on pay, jobs, safety, racism and discrimination .
  • Paul is the grassroots candidate and will take the job on his current wage of £32,000, not the £138,000 salary advertised.

    Photo of Paul Holmes
    Paul Holmes

Have You Used Your Vote?

Have You Used Your Vote? –

November newsletterYour completed ballot paper in the election for the next General Secretary of UNISON must be posted in time to reach our independent election service (CES) by 5pm on 28th November!

If you haven’t got your ballot paper in the post to your home address yet, if you’ve lost your paper, or if something is missing from the pack you’ve received you can call UNISON’s national helpline on 0800 0 857 857 between now and the 20th November.

You can find our latest branch newsletter with the details here.

It’s important that you use your vote and have your say and it’s important for our union’s democracy that we have as high a turnout as possible from all our members.

There is more information about the election on UNISON’s national website.

 

Schools and Lockdown – UNISON says more action needed!

Schools and the ‘Second Lockdown’ – action needed for staff and student safety!

classroom photoIf you work in a school or have school-age children, UNISON believes urgent actions are needed over and above current government policy to support suppressing Covid 19 in our community and to safeguard staff, students and families.

If you have concerns about your school, or want help and support implementing safe working, contact UNISON at unison@southend.gov.uk

UNISON’s national Schools Committee believes that to help bring the national rate of infection down, to ensure the safety of pupils, staff and the community, and to prevent further damaging ad hoc closures, schools and nurseries should instead return to the position of the first lockdown – open only for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers.

To ensure effective home learning, the government should urgently fund all necessary equipment for pupils that need it, so that high quality education can continue. We are firmly committed to getting pupils and staff safely back into schools once national infection rates are under control.

In the meantime, we believe the following safety steps should be implemented immediately:

  • Reduce risks by maximising social distancing and implement existing
    contingency plans for reduced class sizes and home learning (schools alreadyhave these plans in plans in place).
  • Reduce bubble sizes and introduce rotas to reduce risks.
  • Staff remaining within one bubble; so reducing the risk of spread across the
    school.
  • Moving whole bubbles to home learning where a pupil or member of staff
    develops coronavirus symptoms or receives a positive test.
  • Ensure that all school staff have priority access to the test and trace system.
    Require all pupils and staff to wear face coverings while at school (including
    classrooms) as is policy in other countries e.g. France. Clear face masks to
    be made available so that pupils and staff who need to read lips are not
    disadvantaged. There should be exemptions for pupils and staff who cannot
    wear face coverings.
  • Move all clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), clinically vulnerable (CV), staff over 60 and pregnant staff (3rd trimester) to home working as they are at the highest risk from becoming seriously ill if they catch the virus. CEV and CVstaff who cannot work from home to stay at home on full pay.
    Individual risk assessments for staff in other higher risk groups, such as Black staff, older male staff and those with weight issues, who are at increased risk of adverse outcomes if they contract the virus. Staff identified as being at particular risk should also be allowed to work from home.
  • Permit and encourage staff (and pupils aged 16 and over) to use the NHS
    COVID app in school, including classrooms, as per DfE guidance.
  • Stronger measures on school transport and at the school gates to stop
    mixing, ensure social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.
  • Increase funding to schools to cover the increased costs of cleaning

You can read our statement in full here.

Schools Return – Latest Advice

Dear Members,

With some schools open already and the rest set to follow in the next couple of weeks, here is the latest information from UNISON about safety in schools and early years.

We’ve got an update on face coverings, a reminder about our dedicated guidance page, and important new advice for staff who have serious concerns that returning to the workplace will endanger their health.

Face coverings

The government has been forced to change its guidance on face coverings after weeks of pressure from UNISON and other unions (as well as high-profile scientist Professor Alice Roberts referencing our advice).

From 1 September, head teachers in secondary schools in England will have the “discretion” to introduce face coverings in their schools.

Additionally, in areas of local lockdown, staff and pupils in secondary schools will be required to wear face coverings in corridors and communal spaces. (The same exemptions for those unable to wear face coverings will apply.)

UNISON’s position remains that staff should be allowed to wear face coverings in any educational setting, if you choose to. We continue to pressure the government to issue clearer guidance and we will keep our FAQ on face coverings updated.

New government guidance

Our comment

Get Help with School Uniforms

Get Help with your Scchool Uniforms

help with school uniformsAs many people struggle through the pandemic, the extra cost of sending the children back to school now looms on the horizon.

But UNISON is here to help. There For You, our welfare charity, has launched its School Uniform Grant, offering a one-off £50 per school age child, up to a cost of £150, to help cover the cost of uniforms.

To be eligible, you must meet the following:

  • You are a member and have paid 4 weeks subscriptions before 3 August (the launch date of this programme);
  • You are financially responsible for the child/children and receiving Child Benefit for them;
  • You have total combined (yourself and your partner if applicable) savings/rolling bank balance(s) of less than £1,000, and;
    • Either you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
    • Or you have an annual net salary of less than £18,000 (combined salary with partner must be less than £18,000 p.a. if applicable).

If you qualify, head over to UNISON’s national page to read more small print and apply.

School Uniform Grant

There For You offers the School Uniform Grant every year to help out low-paid public servants. Here’s what a few of the recipients of last year’s grant had to say.

“A big thank you for your help in ensuring my daughter had the best possible start to her new high school, without this support I would have struggled.”

“Thank you so much for the uniform grant it has been a life saver. I was able to buy two new cardigans which she was desperate for! Two ties and the school’s official bag which she has always wanted.”

“Thank you so much for helping us as a family with the school uniform grant. It really took the worry out of shopping. (I’ve cried in Clarks before at the price!)”

“Thank you for supporting me with their uniform costs and enabling me to send them off looking so smart, I’m a very, very proud single mum today.”

As many people struggle through the pandemic, the extra cost of sending the children back to school now looms on the horizon.

But UNISON is here to help. There For You, our welfare charity, has launched its School Uniform Grant, offering a one-off £50 per school age child, up to a cost of £150, to help cover the cost of uniforms.

To be eligible, you must meet the following:

  • You are a member and have paid 4 weeks subscriptions before 3 August (the launch date of this programme);
  • You are financially responsible for the child/children and receiving Child Benefit for them;
  • You have total combined (yourself and your partner if applicable) savings/rolling bank balance(s) of less than £1,000, and;
    • Either you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
    • Or you have an annual net salary of less than £18,000 (combined salary with partner must be less than £18,000 p.a. if applicable).

If you qualify, head over to UNISON’s national page to read more small print and apply.

School Uniform Grant

There For You offers the School Uniform Grant every year to help out low-paid public servants. Here’s what a few of the recipients of last year’s grant had to say.

“A big thank you for your help in ensuring my daughter had the best possible start to her new high school, without this support I would have struggled.”

“Thank you so much for the uniform grant it has been a life saver. I was able to buy two new cardigans which she was desperate for! Two ties and the school’s official bag which she has always wanted.”

“Thank you so much for helping us as a family with the school uniform grant. It really took the worry out of shopping. (I’ve cried in Clarks before at the price!)”

“Thank you for supporting me with their uniform costs and enabling me to send them off looking so smart, I’m a very, very proud single mum today.”

As many people struggle through the pandemic, the extra cost of sending the children back to school now looms on the horizon.

But UNISON is here to help. There For You, our welfare charity, has launched its School Uniform Grant, offering a one-off £50 per school age child, up to a cost of £150, to help cover the cost of uniforms.

To be eligible, you must meet the following:

  • You are a member and have paid 4 weeks subscriptions before 3 August (the launch date of this programme);
  • You are financially responsible for the child/children and receiving Child Benefit for them;
  • You have total combined (yourself and your partner if applicable) savings/rolling bank balance(s) of less than £1,000, and;
    • Either you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
    • Or you have an annual net salary of less than £18,000 (combined salary with partner must be less than £18,000 p.a. if applicable).

If you qualify, head over to UNISON’s national page to read more small print and apply.

School Uniform Grant

There For You offers the School Uniform Grant every year to help out low-paid public servants. Here’s what a few of the recipients of last year’s grant had to say.

“A big thank you for your help in ensuring my daughter had the best possible start to her new high school, without this support I would have struggled.”

“Thank you so much for the uniform grant it has been a life saver. I was able to buy two new cardigans which she was desperate for! Two ties and the school’s official bag which she has always wanted.”

“Thank you so much for helping us as a family with the school uniform grant. It really took the worry out of shopping. (I’ve cried in Clarks before at the price!)”

“Thank you for supporting me with their uniform costs and enabling me to send them off looking so smart, I’m a very, very proud single mum today.”

Apply today

8th August – Essex March for Fair NHS Pay

Saturday 8th August, March for Fair Pay for NHS Workers-

March organised by local NHS nurses and other staff to protest at being left out of pay rises for some other areas of the public sector (like doctors and police). Part of a national day of demonstrations. Meet 11am at Basildon Hospital for a short socially-distanced march to a town centre rally. #NHSWorkersSayNo
#NHSPay15

8th August NHS March Flyer

UNISON’s response to government spending statement

Money for public services would mean a quicker recovery

UNISON’s General Secretary Dave Prentis issued his response to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Covid-19 spending statement. See the full response here.

Picture of twenty pound note“Proper investment in our public services would help speed the country back to recovery and more prosperous, certain times. It would heal over the deep cracks in care and the NHS exposed by the pandemic.

“With extra funds, national and local public services could provide many more jobs. A much-deserved early pay rise for health workers and council staff would mean money in their pockets to be spent on local high streets.

Solidarity with Tower Hamlets UNISON Strikers

Tower Hamlets Council Workers Strike against attack on Terms and Conditions 3rd, 6th and 7th July

Tower Hamlets Strike PosterOn 3rd, 6th & 7th July, workers for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets will be striking against the imposition of “Tower Rewards”. Their council is seeking to sack 4,000 council workers and remploy them on a new contract with much worse conditions. This is the thanks essential public service workers get during a pandemic! Our colleagues in Tower Hamlets UNISON branch  have published the details on Facebook here.

Show Solidarity – Join the Virtual Picket Line

Tower Hamlets UNISON are holding  online rallies / virtual picket lines at 11.30am on each strike day. We urge Southend members to join the ‘virtual’ pickets and show our solidarity with our colleagues – we all face the same attacks!    You can ‘book’ your place the pickets on Eventbrite here. 

 

Have Your Say On Pay!

Council and Schools Pay Deal – Make up your mind on ‘final offer’

The national employers in local government have made what they say is their ‘final offer’ on the 2020 pay deal. If you work in the council or schools (or other groups who get the ‘NJC’ pay rise), UNISON is arranging for all members to take part in a ballot on this offer. Southend branch will soon be sending out information about how you can vote.

Find out about the employers’ offer – make up your mind whether or not to accept it: You can find information about the ‘offer’ on the national UNISON website here.

2020 pay photos

Have we got your contact details?

If you want to have your say, we need to make sure we have up to date contact details for you. You can update your details online at My Unison