Southend Unison at Winter Pride!

On Saturday 29th February, Southend Pride will be holding their annual Winter Pride event.

Southend Unison will be supporting, with a stall. All members are welcome to come along on the day to help out or just to enjoy all that this event offers.

Winter Pride is a great family day out which raises the visibility of the LGBT+ community and promotes diversity and inclusion. Southend Unison are proud to support Southend Pride in these aims, and looks forward to seeing members at this event.

World AIDS Day


The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Communities make the difference”.

The commemoration of World AIDS Day, which will take place on 1 December 2019, is an important opportunity to recognize the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.

World AIDS Day offers an important platform to highlight the role of communities at a time when reduced funding and a shrinking space for civil society are putting the sustainability of services and advocacy efforts in jeopardy. Greater mobilization of communities is urgently required to address the barriers that stop communities delivering services, including restrictions on registration and an absence of social contracting modalities. The strong advocacy role played by communities is needed more than ever to ensure that AIDS remains on the political agenda, that human rights are respected and that decision-makers and implementers are held accountable.

Unison and The Terence Higgins Trust will be in the Civic Centre reception on Friday 29th Nov, 12.00-2.00pm for advice, information, and your red ribbon. Come along and show you are part of the community, making the difference.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Every year on 20th November the lives of trans and gender-diverse people reported murdered in the last 12 months are remembered. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is a day where we remember those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, and draw attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

In the past 12 months, at least 369 trans and gender-diverse people were reported killed globally. It is important that these lives are remembered and celebrated.

Unison and Outreach (SBC LGBT+ staff forum) invite you to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20th Nov. The Mayor will raise the transgender flag at 11.00am, and stalls will be in the Civic reception next to Costa Coffee.


Black History is British History



© Gaz de Vere – All Rights Reserved.

UNISON marked Black History Month this year through working with Southend Borough Council BAME staff Forum to create an event on the 30th October.

The focus of the event this year was Black History is British History, with a specific presentation and Q&A session on the more recent scandal of the ‘Windrush Generation’ deportationsdelivered by Sharon Caesar, a campaigner for justice and the sister of, Glenda, a Windrush victim.

Music was provided by  ‘Something in the Lounge’ and stalls from the community provided information and signposted available support networks. The stalls included: Southend  Library Service, South East & Essex Mind, Southend Pride, UNISON, Stand Up to Racism, Show Racism the Red Card, and CAST. Delicious food was also served to attendees.

The Windrush presentation was packed out and listeners were horrified at the impact and sheer cruelty of deportations. Sharon shared the events surrounding her sister, Glenda, who has lived in the UK from a baby, going on to work in the NHS as a nurse, and who was then told one day ‘you’re illegal’. Through the family’s campaigning and hard work,  Glenda won her case and was ‘allowed’ back into the UK. However, this was at the expense of her home, her job, and her health and security. Sharon’s presentation brought home the very personal hurt felt by those affected by the Windrush deportation scandal.

Director, Emma Cooney, who sponsors the  BAME forum, spoke on the importance of recognising Black History and those individuals within the black community who have contributed to the development of the UK. The achievements of individuals and British black history as a whole, is often marginalised and ignored. This is why events like this are so important.

Florence Nyarambi, UNISON’s Black Members Officer,  also spoke.  Here are some of her words:

Black members in UNISON work to improve equality in the workplace and challenge racism and discrimination. We have many of the same concerns as other members regarding access to employment, pay, promotion and training. However, racist discrimination can deepen the impact of problems faced in the workplace and we aim to raise awareness of this.

UNISON has long campaigned and is proud to support Black History Month. But our commitment to inclusion and equality lasts a lot longer than four weeks each year. It goes deep into the heart of our union and helps to explain why we are the UK’s leading public service union.

UNISON’s continued affiliation with Black Mental Health UK, Stand Up to Racism,  The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, Show Racism the Red Card, and UK Black Pride, as well as being one of the main sponsors at the Notting Hill Carnival, and by protecting Public Services through our Champions Campaign, Unison strives to deliver equality for all.

As a trade union, UNISON recognises all members’ and activists’ work and contributions to improve the working lives and defend the rights of our members. The  Windrush presentation today is part of that; but we must ensure that we also remember our legacy, not only through what we do in our trade union and the labour movement, but also in our different cultures and diverse communities across the globe. Today UNISON rightly remembers and celebrates those who have helped forge this legacy and hopefully will inspire us to continue to strive for achievements that benefit us and our members.

In recognising the fact that racist discrimination can deepen the impact of problems faced in the workplace by black workers, UNISON distributed a questionnaire to Black members to find out  where  racism exists and how it manifests itself. We can then together act on this information, root out racism and make the workplace and our society a more equal place.

Many thanks to all those who attended and supported this event

Unison Theatre Trip

Southend Unison invites members and their friends to the Palace Theatre, Southend, on a group trip to see ‘Rent’ on Sat 30th Nov at 7.30pm.

Tickets are at a reduced rate of £16.20, and available from the Unison Office.

Please call Sam or Claire to book 01702 215980


Calling Southend UNISON members – UNISON National LGBT+ Conference needs you!

UNISON holds a national conference once a year for our members who identify with a particular self-organised group (SOG).  This is one way of organising around equality through self-organisation that brings together certain underrepresented groups. These groups are Disabled members, Women members, Black members and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender + members. A separate annual conference is held for each SOG.

This year UNISON’S National LGBT+ Conference is to be held in Bournemouth from 15th to 17th November. And we need you to join us there!

With the continued funding attacks on the public sector, an increase in LGBT+ targeted hate crime and the rise in far right rhetoric, organising around equality and challenging discrimination has never been more important.

This branch supports delegates to attend Conference (accommodation and travel). Delegates represent the branch and keep the branch informed of the debates and issues raised, so that we can collectively look at what we do to improve equalities within the workplace. There is also the option to attend as a visitor, where you can take part in the Conference and workshops, without having to speak or vote. This is a good way for ‘newbies’ to discover what National Conference is all about!

If you identify as LGBT+ and would like to attend, either as a delegate or visitor, please contact the Unison Office. Sam Adams (LGBT+Support) or Claire  Wormwald (Branch Secretary) 01702 215980.


Unison Joins Southend Protest

On Tuesday 3rd Sept Southend Unison members joined the local protest against Boris Johnson’s decision to deny MPs a final vote on a Brexit deal (or lack of a deal) by proroguing Parliament.

This is an undemocratic move to force through Johnson’s No Deal Brexit. The people’s elected representatives should be making the final decision on such a far reaching national issue.

In Southend, as in London, and all around the country, people from all parties and none, and those who voted both leave and remain, demonstrated their opposition to such an attack on democracy.