“SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT CLEAR: DONALD TRUMP’S NOT WELCOME HERE”

Photograph of Baby Trump Blimp and placard reading: DUCK OFF DONALD

On Friday 13 July, UNISON members joined hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets in Southend-on-Sea, London and towns and cities across the country to stand up against Donald Trump’s visit and values – a dangerous man that represents bigotry, hatred, misogyny and racism – and threatens both our environment and international peace.

What we saw was a day of celebration, noise and action. A day of joy, love, solidarity and resistance as we stood together in celebration of the diverse communities which make up our great country.

TOGETHER WE SAID IT LOUD, SAID IT CLEAR: DONALD TRUMP’S NOT WELCOME HERE!

Photograph of UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and protestors at the SOUTHEND-ON-SEA AGAINST TRUMP march on Friday 13th July.
UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and protestors at the SOUTHEND-ON-SEA AGAINST TRUMP march on Friday 13th July.

SOUTHEND-ON-SEA AGAINST TRUMP videos.

Claire Wormald (Secretary, UNISON Southend-on-Sea) talks about the importance of standing up against Donald Trump’s visit and values.

UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and protestors at the SOUTHEND-ON-SEA AGAINST TRUMP march.

Protester Tony Groves talks about his own Baby Trump at the SOUTHEND-ON-SEA AGAINST TRUMP march.


SOUTHEND-ON-SEA AGAINST TRUMP march, BRING THE NOISE Women’s March and TOGETHER AGAINST TRUMP National Demonstration in pictures.

Southend Pride starts today!

Photograph of Pride Flag raised at the Civic Centre, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to celebrate the start of Southend Pride. (13.07.18)
Pride Flag raised at the Civic Centre, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to celebrate the start of Southend Pride. (13.07.18)

The first events of Southend Pride start today – TRANSPIRE SOCIAL & OPENING PARTY – visit southendpride.org.uk for details … an exciting week ahead! ❤🧡💛💚💙💜

Photograph by Michael Sargood, Senior Media Relations Advisor, SBC

UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and Save Southend NHS campaigners join the huge Our NHS is 70 Celebration & Demonstration on Saturday 30th June

Photograph of UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and Save Our Southend NHS campaigners at the ‘Our NHS is 70 Celebration & Demonstration' on Saturday 30th June.
UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and Save Our Southend NHS campaigners at the ‘Our NHS is 70 Celebration & Demonstration’ on Saturday 30th June.

UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and Save Southend NHS campaigners join the huge Our NHS is 70 Celebration & Demonstration on Saturday 30th June in London.

We stopped outside Downing Street demanding Theresa May’s resignation en route to a rally where we were greeted by the National Health Singers choir singing “the NHS needs saving, don’t let them break it”.

Photograph of Claire Wormald (Secretary, UNISON Southend-on-Sea) addressing protestors at the ‘Our NHS is 70 Celebration & Demonstration' on Saturday 30th June.
Claire Wormald (Secretary, UNISON Southend-on-Sea) addressing protestors at the ‘Our NHS is 70 Celebration & Demonstration’ on Saturday 30th June.

Doctors, nurses, union leaders, actors and politicians including Jeremy Corbyn addressed around 40,000 people – demanding an end to government cuts and further privatisation of the health service, for staff to no longer be subcontracted to private companies and for social care to be properly funded.

Photograph of Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the Labour Party) addressing 'Our NHS is 70' rally at Westminster, London. (30 June 2018)
Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the Labour Party) addressing ‘Our NHS is 70’ rally at Westminster, London. (30 June 2018)

Our NHS is 70 Celebration & Demonstration in pictures.

Happy Birthday Southend NHS!

Photograph of UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and Save Our Southend NHS campaigners at the ‘Happy Birthday Southend NHS!’ event on Thursday 5th July, 2018.
UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and Save Our Southend NHS campaigners at the ‘Happy Birthday Southend NHS!’ event on Thursday 5th July, 2018.

UNISON Southend-on-Sea members, Save Southend NHS campaigners and Southend NHS staff gathered on the green opposite Southend A&E to celebrate 70 years of the NHS.

This joyous lunchtime event included singing and dancing to a backdrop of supportive honks and cheers from passing vehicles – culminating in the presentation of three magnificent cakes to the extraordinary Southend NHS staff – those everyday heroes – who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out.

It was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives and to campaign against privatisation and financial cuts that will adversely affect the health and well-being of our local community.

For more information and to get involved visit the Save Southend NHS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SaveSouthendNHS/

Southend Pride. Not Long To Go!

Announcement graphic showing UNISON Southend-on-Sea logo with LGBT+ Rainbow Flag coloured ribbons alongside Southend Pride logo and text reading: "Southend Pride 14–21 July 2018"

Less than two weeks to go till all the Southend Pride events begin including film, comedy and poetry nights. Check out these events and much more on the Southend Pride website: southendpride.org.uk and

All events are FREE!! And don’t forget the Parade up Southend High Street on 21st July, followed by the Festival in Warrior Square Gardens.

UNISON will be marching in the Pride Parade. Get behind our banner and wave a placard.

Assemble at Pier Hill at 11:30 am, for the 12:00 start.

Let’s make some noise! And don’t forget to also join us on the UNISON stall in Warrior Square. 😁

Southend Pride poster showing a stick of rock with RESPECT lettering embedded throughout the length. The poster text reads: "Southend Pride 14–21 July 2018" which appears above associated web and social media addresses. These addresses are repeated in the accompanying posts.

www.southendpride.org.uk       

Join BABY TRUMP at the TOGETHER AGAINST TRUMP National Demonstration on Friday 13th July – the branch will be covering 10 return train tickets!

Photograph showing Baby Trump, a balloon huge effigy of the US president, overlaid with "TOGETHER AGAINST TRUMP" logo.

If you’re a UNISON Southend-on-Sea member and would like to join BABY TRUMP and millions of people at the TOGETHER AGAINST TRUMP National Demonstration on Friday 13th July – contact the branch office ASAP.

The branch will be covering 10 return train tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about the TOGETHER AGAINST TRUMP demonstration please visit the dedicated Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/176581893155207/

HAPPY BIRTHDAY UNISON – 25 TODAY!

Announcement graphic reading: "25 – Happy Birthday UNISON!"

This year, our union celebrates an important milestone — our 25th anniversary. Formed by the merger of three great unions — NALGO, NUPE and COHSE — we were told that it could not be done, that it would not work and that our efforts were doomed to failure. On countless occasions UNISON’s downfall has been predicted and UNISON members were counted out.

Those of us who know UNISON members — who are UNISON members — know how big a mistake that was. As the people who heal us, educate us, keep us safe and ensure that we receive care, support and vital services every single day, UNISON people are special people, and the union we have built together is a special union.

Thanks to you — thanks to all of you.

Through every challenge we have continued to move forwards, not just surviving but thriving. Last year nearly 160,000 people joined UNISON and 80% of them were women — further securing our status as the biggest membership organisation for women in our country.

This is a union led by members and where everything that happens starts and ends with the experience of our members. That’s why we’re not just the biggest union, we’re also the best.

The union we have built together was designed to serve its members and we have succeeded in that. Yet whilst we can look back proudly on a quarter of a century of achievement, we owe it to ourselves and to all of our members to redouble our efforts and ensure that in the next 25 years we are a better union still. A union as fit for the next quarter of a century as we have been since our foundation back in 1993.

Ours is a young union and a vibrant union. So while our proud history stretches back more than a century through our predecessor unions, we are not bound by our past. Our focus has to be on looking forwards and building the best possible union for our current and future members.

We can build on our legacy of inclusivity, tolerance and caring and use our collective power to demand so much more — from government, employers and society as a while.

We can be proud that we’re a union that’s member-led but go further still, putting more power in the hands of UNISON members, especially women members — the majority of our members — whose voices must never be drowned out.

And we can be confident that our traditions of openness, transparency and democracy can be deepened and strengthened so that ours is the most accessible, responsive and visible union around.

In the years ahead we must work together, united by a shared purpose to build that better union — not of a million members but millions of members. A union that always goes the extra mile. A union that is always working towards our next milestone. A union that cares about every single member.

A union that marches forwards together — in UNISON.

Click here to read the NEC Annual Report Celebrating 25 years in UNISON

UNISON Conference Reports 2018 | #ulgc18 #undc18

Photograph of UNISON Southend-on-Sea delegates holding voting card at the UNISON Local Government Service Group Conference 2018. Text on wall behind delegates reads: UNISON Conference Reports 2018.

Tim Fransen – Communications Officer Report

On Saturday 16 June, I arrived in Brighton to attend the UNISON Local Government Service Group Conference held on 17 and 18 June and for the first day of the UNISON National Delegate Conference (19–22 June).

I travelled down to Brighton after the One Year On: Justice for Grenfell Solidarity March in London. Thousands of people joined the Fire Brigades Union as we march to Downing Street with Justice4Grenfell to demand justice for the victims of the disaster.

Photograph of One Year On: Justice for Grenfell Solidarity March on 16 June 2018.
One Year On: Justice for Grenfell Solidarity March on 16 June 2018.

UNISON Local Government Service Group Conference

17 June: I arrived at the Brighton Centre at 9:00am, as a first-time conference visitor I watched the proceedings from a balcony overlooking an auditorium of delegates including our representatives Louise McDermott and Gloria Lawton (pictured above). The comprehensive agenda included motions on ‘The Housing Crisis and Its Effects on Public Sector Workers’, ‘Mental Health in the Council Workforce’, ‘Working for Decent Pensions’ and ‘Raising the Profile of Local Government Workers’ (Composite C, Motions 21 and 22).

Regarding the latter, conference noted that local government services too often suffer from a low profile. The lack of awareness or recognition of the importance of what local government workers do has made it easy for the Westminster Government to cut local government funding at a much greater rate than any other part of the public sector, for example, by 2020, 75% of local government funding will have been cut since 2010.

Conference highlighted we need to develop training to enable branches and members to maximise the positive impact of media engagement and use online media to highlight the realities of our members’ work and the contribution they bring to society. Additionally, holding further days of celebration for particular local government occupations and highlighting those important roles was recommended.

As well as the main conference proceedings, I attended the following fringe meetings: ‘Social Work Against the State Attack on Asylum and Refuge’, ‘Early Years Funding and Workforce’ and ‘Grenfell: A Crime Against The Working Class’. The lunchtime fringe meeting highlighted how social workers and other local government workers are on the frontline of the government’s attempt to create a hostile environment for asylum seekers and refugees. They are increasingly being expected to act as unlawful agents for the Home Office Immigration Service and told to deny social work to people with no immigration status.

Nevertheless, workers are rejecting this role by standing up for ethical practice and building solidarity with those groups the government are attempting to demonise. Amongst the speakers was Kate Grant from Social Workers Without Borders which offers social work expertise and voluntary support to asylum seekers, refugees and those negatively affected by borders. They produce educational materials for social workers and promote social work activism. Kate kindly gave me her last copy of the ‘Practice Handbook for Bristol Social Workers’ (pictured below). This publication is a tool for social workers in Bristol and anyone supporting people affected by borders and will be available to consult at the branch office. Perhaps our branch could help financially support a second print run?

Photograph of some publications and print media collected at fringe meetings: '<a href="http://www.unison-scotland.org/library/refugee-and-asylum-seeker-good-practice-guide-webversion-final.pdf" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Refuge and Asylum in Scotland</a>' guidebook, 'Practice Handbook for Bristol Social Workers' by Social Workers Without Borders and the Grenfell: A Crime Against The Working Class fringe meeting flyer.
Some publications and print media collected at fringe meetings: ‘Refuge and Asylum in Scotland‘ guidebook, ‘Practice Handbook for Bristol Social Workers’ by Social Workers Without Borders and the Grenfell: A Crime Against The Working Class fringe meeting flyer.

On Sunday evening, I attended the ‘Early Years Funding and Workforce’ fringe meeting to hear about the campaign for fair funding for nurseries and issues facing the early years workforce across the UK. This was followed by ‘Grenfell: A Crime Against The Working Class’ with Moyra Samuels (Justice4Grenfell) and Charlie Kimber (Editor, Socialist Worker). Kimber stressed that residents of Grenfell Tower died because they were poor, or black, or both. Further, it was identified that reckless business owners have blood on their hands and that successive governments of all colours created an environment where Grenfell Tower became so fatal.

Echoing Saturday’s One Year On: Justice for Grenfell Solidarity March it was maintained that business owners need to be prosecuted and government ministers must be held to account for overseeing deregulation, privatisation, cuts to council budgets and the closure of fire and rescue stations. The concluding discussion focused on what we have to do to ensure it can never happen again and how to achieve real accountability and justice for Grenfell – Moyra Samuels asked for ongoing support through participation in the monthly silent walks. These are held on the 14th of each month from Kensington Town Hall to the Grenfell Memorial Wall.


18 June: Continuing from yesterday, the main conference discussions and motions included ‘Keeping Pay Equal’, ‘Trans Equality is Everyone’s Concern’, ‘Dealing With the Menopause in the Workplace’, ‘Protecting Disabled Workers’ Jobs’ and ‘Funding for Early Years’.

Photograph of 27 UNISON Members holding up letters to spell out the phrase: Does Your Council Buy Ethically?
DOES YOUR COUNCIL BUY ETHICALLY? Can you spot your UNISON delegates? Clue: OCI

At lunchtime, I attended the ‘Tackling Modern Slavery Through Public Procurement’ fringe meeting. After 40 years of labour market deregulation and anti-trade union legislation, over 40 million people are Modern Slaves world-wide and around 13,000 are in the UK. Annually local government spends £60 billion on procuring goods and services. In a world where workers struggle to make a living and claim their rights, this purchasing power could be used to leverage social good, fairness and transparency.

Electronics Watch showed how public sector organisations can work collectively to protect the labour rights and the safety of workers in their electronics supply chains. Additionally, I highlighted the Fair Tax Mark as another ethical consideration for public procurement i.e. does the supplier pay the right amount of tax, at the right time and in the right place?

Photograph of publications collected at the 'Tackling Modern Slavery Through Public Procurement' fringe meeting: '<a href="https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2018/06/25066.pdf" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Ethical Procurement in UK Local Authorities</a>' research report and '<a href="https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2018/06/Tackling-modern-slavery-through-global-supply-chains-UNIZONE-booklet-June-2018.pdf" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Tackling Modern Slavery Through Global Supply Chains</a>' booklet.
Publications collected at the ‘Tackling Modern Slavery Through Public Procurement’ fringe meeting: ‘Ethical Procurement in UK Local Authorities‘ research report and ‘Tackling Modern Slavery Through Global Supply Chains‘ booklet.

Finally, on the eve of the UNISON National Delegate Conference, I attended the UNISON International Rally and Reception to meet and listen to guest speakers from Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Turkey, South Korea, Colombia, Cuba and the USA.

For further information and resources on the UNISON Local Government Service Group Conference visit: https://www.unison.org.uk/events/2018-local-government-conference/


UNISON National Delegate Conference

19 June: On Tuesday morning, I took the opportunity to visit the UNIZONE* to get some specialist advice from UNISON’s National Data Protection Officer to feedback to the Branch Executive Committee and ensure our branch is complying with GDPR and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). Additionally, I attended a WARMS (Web Access Recruitment and Membership System) demo. WARMS is an excellent GDPR compliant platform with an integrated emailing tool which I hope to utilise to help the branch communicate more effectively with members.

At lunchtime, I attended the ‘Solidarity with Turkey: defending rights, democracy and decent work’ fringe meeting to hear how human and workers rights in Turkey have been rapidly eroded since the attempted coup and the imposition of the state of emergency in July 2016. Shockingly, about 150,000 public service workers have been dismissed or suspended, strikes have been banned and many trade unionists harassed and detained. The talk showed how public service unions are responding to the crisis and called for ongoing UNISON support and solidarity with the workers of Turkey.

In the afternoon (before heading home), I listened to UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis ‘We’re just getting started!’ speech – and he/everyone had a message for the Prime Minister: “Fund our NHS and all our public services. Or call an election and we’ll elect a government that will!”

For further information and resources on the UNISON National Delegate Conference visit: https://www.unison.org.uk/events/2018-national-delegate-conference/ and read Tim Sneller’s conference reflections on International Solidarity, Housing after Grenfell, UNISON Members and the Private Sector and the Windrush Scandal.

* The UNIZONE was an interactive exhibition of UNISON’s key campaigning, bargaining and organising work. UNIZONE featured a great range of interactive sessions, exhibitions, talks and specialist advice.

MORE REPORTS COMING SOON

Conference 2018 – Windrush scandal

The last day of National Conference 2018 marked exactly 70 years since the ‘Empire Windrush’ docked at Tilbury carrying hundreds of migrants from the West Indies.
The anniversary should be a celebration of the contribution these and other migrants made – particularly to our trade union and our public services. However, it happened just when many of the children of those migrants are facing the consequences of Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ for immigration.
In an impassioned debate, the impact on many UNISON members as well as the wider community was spelt out.

Michael Braithwaite
Michael Braithwaite with General Secretary Dave Prentis and his UNISON rep, Hugo Pierre

A video was shown highlighting the case of UNISON member Michael Braithwaite who lost his job as a teaching assistant after 15 years and despite having a ‘British Commonwealth’ passport was threatened with deportation. Now 66, he had come to the UK aged 9 to join his parents. As he said “To think that maybe tomorrow I would not be with my family, or in a place I love, was devastating”. “A campaign has now won him indefinite leave to remain but his life has been turned upside down. There is an article about Michael’s story here.

A speaker from the National Executive Committee moved an Emergency Motion calling for justice for the Windrush generation. Although the Home Secretary had been forced to resign, in reality people are still being denied access to employment and services and a number have been deported. It seems as though the only thing Theresa May is sorry about is that she got found out! It was My who started this policy. Public sector workers are here to deliver services, not to be border guards as the Tories would like.

One delegate from the West Midlands spoke of her friend, who had gone to a meeting to sort out her passport only to be detained with only the clothes she stood up in an held for two weeks before she was allowed a phone call.

Another delegate said that what had happened to the Windrush generation could happen to others – no-one from the Commonwealth was safe.

Conference overwhelmingly passed the motion calling amongst other things for:

  • Campaign for the restoration of full rights for the ‘Windrush generation’ , Commonwealth British residents and their children
  • Campaign for rights to legal aid and full compensation for any losses incurred including injury to feelings
  • Campaign against the ‘hostile environment’