International Womens Day 2022

International Womens Day Events

Watch for announcements of local activities and join these national events:


Webinar: Eve of International Women’s Day Event – Fighting For The Right To Choose; 7 March, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
IWD Empower
On the Eve of International Women’s Day, UNISON’s National International Committee and National Women’s Committee will be hosting a webinar on defending abortion rights.

Speakers include Kerry Abel, Abortion Rights UK, Renee Bracey Sherman, We Testify, USA, Mara Rivera from Argentina and Naomi Connor from Alliance for Choice, Northern Ireland. Our General Secretary Christina McAnea will also say a few words and we have a wonderful musician Juanita Euka performing to open and close the event. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

Join Zoom Meeting


Find out more

Webinar: Building Safe and Healthy Workplaces for Women; 8 March, 4:00pm – 5:45pm
IWD H and S
On International Women’s Day, UNISON’s National Health and Safety Committee and National Women’s Committee will be hosting a webinar on the hazards in women’s work.

We will hear from a variety of speakers looking at the hazards women face in the workplace and how we can organise around them. We will be joined by international speaker, Professor Karen Messing, from the University of Quebec whose ground-breaking book ‘One Eyed Science’ published in the late 90s exposed the lack of research and protections for women workers.

You will need to register in advance to take part. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Register Now

Find out more

Lunchtime protest – Postponed!Defend Business Support Jobs and Services

Friday 17th December 12-1pm

This event has had to be postponed to the New Year due to the surge in Covid cases

Business Support Restructure – Don’t let Jobs and Services get Scrooged!

Join our ‘festive’ protest! Meet on the steps of the Civic Centre – photos, carols and mince pies at 12:30!

Business Support jobs and services across Southend Council are under threat from a restructure involving a planned 25% cut in resources. Staff have been left in the dark about what their jobs will be and how services will be delivered. All teams and service users across the Council will suffer as their admin is taken away and cut back.

Scrooge Postponed


#fightthecuts #nocuts #defendjobsandservices

Schools – Online Campaign Day 9th December

Protect Pupils, Protect Education campaign day – 9 December

Schools picThe rapid spread of COVID-19 is disrupting the education of many children, and there are now concerns about the Omicron variant. We’re calling on the Government to keep pupils safe to help keep them in school.

On Thursday 9 December, we are asking parents, staff and the wider community to urge their MPs to tell the government to bring in additional safety measures for schools in England to protect face-to-face education.

#ProtectPupils #ProtectEducation

Support this campaign day – click this link to take action!
More schools news from UNISON-

August Newsletter

Southend UNISON Newsletter August 2021

Follow these links to individual articles:

Local Government & Schools Pay
Mandatory Vaccinations for Care Staff
SBC Business Support Restructure

or download a pdf here  

Aug news front page

Local Government & Schools Pay

Unions recommend REJECT in consultative ballot

Reject Pay Offer 2021

 The trade union side of the National joint Committee (NJC) met  on 28th July to discuss the  Employers’ Side’s final pay offer, and to agree next steps.

The offer is for a 1.75% pay increase from 1 April 2021, with 2.75% for those on spinal column point 1. The offer also included commitment to complete the term time review, discussions on joint guidance on homeworking and mental health, and incorporation of new statutory provisions of neo-natal leave and pay into the Green Book.

This offer affects local council employees, most schools staff and other organisations which follow the NJC pay award.

This offer falls far short of what members need and deserve. Local government staff have suffered years of real terms pay cuts, and inflation is now 3.9%. So the 1.75% for everyone above pay point 1 will cause local government pay to fall further behind the cost of living. Our members have shown how indispensable they are throughout COVID, often putting their own health and safety at risk so as to continue to provide services. This pay offer is far less than they deserve.

There is more informstion about the pay claim and the consultation here:

The trade unions have agreed to launch a consultation of members on this pay offer. On 6th September, you should receive an email with details of the electronic consultation. Check your spam folder as well as your inbox!  Please make sure UNISON has the right contact details for you, including the email you want us to use – you can do this yourself at

UNISON and the other unions agreed strongly to recommend that members vote to reject the pay offer.


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Mandatory Vaccines for Care Staff

Covidvax image

New legislation covering care homes comes in to being on November 11th 2021. If you have not had your second Covid vaccination in time to be effective by this date you could be subject to having your contract with your employer ended unless you have a valid medical reason for not having the vaccination.

UNISON will where possible support our members in negotiating with the employer to secure redeployment if that is practicable. If you feel you are not being treated fairly by your employer let us know and we will offer support and advice wherever we can.

UNISON believes that employers should offer staff paid time off to get the vaccinations as part of the national effort. They should also support their employees to enable them to abide by the new legislation while continuing to do their jobs. We would also encourage employers not to count any time off due to any side effects of the vaccine towards sickness.

We understand that some people have concerns about vaccines, but UNISON urges all employees who are called forward to be inoculated to ensure that they take up the opportunity as soon as possible. We have always opposed compulsion, believing that persuasion is a much better way of increasing vaccine take up. However, we will be working to support and protect members who are affected by the new legislation.

Remember although the vaccines are effective, they do not completely stop the infection transmitting from person to person so all appropriate health and safety measures should still be taken by your employer. These measures will include personal protective equipment (PPE), for instance masks and aprons and also continued social distancing where it is appropriate. If you believe any of this support from your employer during the pandemic is not forthcoming – let UNISON know!

You can download further information here (Word documents):

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SBC Business Support Restructure

 UNISON has been supporting members in ‘Business Support’ across Southend Council, where a loss of 28 FTEs (Full Time Equivalents) is planned and 157 staff are having to reapply for their jobs.

The ‘consultation’ gave no information about the new jobs. This was completely unacceptable and the unions have now obtained an extension to the exercise. The Council will issue new information on the 6th September.

Will this be enough to make the consultation ‘meaningful’? We have met councillors to point out that the information for staff has been poor and that the plan to cut 25% of resources overall will impact services. Watch this space!

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Test of TOC

UNISON Newsletter June 2021

Page 1 of June newsletter

Download a pdf here   or follow these links to individual articles:

UNISON wins extra ‘Covid’ leave day for all SBC staff

Since last year, UNISON has been raising the issue of employers recognising they need to do something to thank all staff who have been working through the Covid pandemic.

Our members have had many different experiences during Covid. This has ranged from juggling childcare and work or taking on a new role to support the changing needs of the pandemic through to carrying and taking the risk of working face to face with the public. All of us have worked to keep the public services this community relies on going.

The Council was not initially interested but we have kept plugging away and now we have won an additional one-off day’s leave for all staff. It’s the least we deserve.

All staff will benefit from this  – so if your colleagues are not in  UNISON ask them to join! There are more battles ahead, whether it’s over safety during the pandemic or making sure we can fight the cuts that are coming down the line from government. The more people who are in the union the better we can stand up for staff and services on all the issues, big or small.

Pass on the link here or ask your colleagues to email the branch for a membership form at

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Employers’ Offer – Local Government Pay Insult

How do you think this government will reward all those public sector workers it spent months clapping for?

In 2020 we asked UNISON members what pay rise you felt local government workers deserved and the answer was 10% .

The employers’ latest offer was just 1.5%! This is an insult! It shows a blatant disregard for our hard work and sacrifices throughout the pandemic.

The employers also rejected the other part of the claim which included a 35 hour week, a homeworking allowance and a minimum 25 days annual leave for all.

UNISON has rejected this ‘offer’ and is calling on the local government employers to enter into urgent negotiations.

Councils need more funding from Central Government. They can afford it – they’ve thrown billions away on the failed track and trace system and schemes like ‘Eat Out to Help Out’. Now we need to see money being spent on public services, including on staff.

We urge every UNISON member to contact your MP, asking them if they support a fair pay rise for local government using this link:

There’s more information on the pay claim and publicity to use here:

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UNISON Black Members Self-Organised Group meeting

All Black members in Southend UNISON are invited to the next meeting of our Black Members’ Group. This is on Friday June 18th from 12.30-1.30pm. We held the first Southend Black members’ meeting in March and it became clear that Black members are facing a number of issues in the workplace. UNISON would like to provide a space to discuss those issues and encourage members to help and support each other in tackling them.

If you would like to attend then please contact the UNISON office on for details of how to join the meeting. Let us know if there are specific issues you’d like to raise.

We hope to see as many Black members as possible at this meeting!

Louise McDermott and Gloria Lawton

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Point of View: Stop the Police Bill

As UNISON’s Equalities Officer, I spoke to a recent Southend rally against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Here’s a summary of what I had to say:

“If this law is passed, police would be able to put harsh restrictions on anyone protesting. They already have powers where there could be serious public disorder or disruption, but the new law would criminalise even peaceful protest if it causes ‘annoyance’ or is ‘disruptive’. Protests are designed to be noisy and visible so of course they are going to annoy someone!

Every one of UNISON’s protests in Southend, over library closures, care homes or our pay and pensions rallies, could have been illegal under this bill!  Without protest we would never have got the vote for women, stopped the poll tax or repealed unfair laws like Section 28. Protest gives an essential voice to minority groups, starts debate and empowers citizens. Recent protests like Black Lives Matter have highlighted issues, and brought changes in areas we never thought possible.

This Bill also has stings in its tail which would take us back to the bad old days of ‘stop and search’ and make life even harder for the travelling community, already marginalised and discriminated against.

We do not want the Home Secretary or the police to be able to say who can protest in this country.

The establishment is running scared because they have seen what the power of protest can do and they don’t like it one bit. We must keep the momentum going. That’s why I say KILL THE BILL!”

Louise McDermott, Equalities Officer

Read more about why UNISON says we should oppose the new Police Bill here:

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Local Government and Schools Pay Campaign

Employers offer 1.5% pay insult

Pay Claim Graphic

Council and school workers have kept the country going, and after a decade of cuts, it’s time for a decent pay rise. But the Goverment and our employers have offered a slap in the face – just 1.5%!

Support UNISON’s claim for a fair increase – 10% pay rise for local government workers.

We urge every member to email your councillor

Local councillors can voice their support and raise this issue directly with local government employers. It takes one minute using our tool here:  Email your councillor

Our claim is fair

10% would pull the the lowest paid to above £10 per hour – ​lifting them above the ​real ​living ​wage of £9.50 per hour (outside London).

Staff working in local government have seen up to 25% wiped from the value of their pay, after ten years of savage local authority cuts and pay restraint.

Local government workers have kept the country going during the COVID crisis, facing daily risks to do vital work and keep communities safe.

UNISON is clear – it is time for fair pay for council and school workers ✊

On 14 May 2021 the local government employers made a pay offer of 1.5%.

UNISON’s NJC committee – council and school staff elected by members – will meet on Friday 21 May, to decide on our formal response, as well as next steps for the negotiations and the campaign. We will keep this webpage up to date.


Use Your Vote in NEC Elections – Southend Nominations


Elections for UNISON’s National Executive Council (NEC) take place from 4th May to 27th May. Look out for your ballot paper arriving in the post.

The NEC is a body made up of ordinary union members who are elected to run the union between conferences.

You will get a vote for seats representing our Region (Eastern), for your Service Group (Local Government, Community etc) and for national seats representing young workers, Black workers and disabled members.  Some of these seats are reserved for low paid and women members to ensure fair representation across the union.

Please make sure you read what the candidates have to say and vote for those you think will represent you best. Your vote can make a difference!

Southend’s Nominations:

Southend’s Branch Executive Committee looked at the requests for nomination that candidates sent us and agreed to nominate a number of them. Our reason for supporting these candidates is set out below:

“Southend branch has nominated candidates standing on a ‘Time For Real Change’ platform in the elections for UNISON’s governing National Executive Committee (NEC) for national, service group and regional seats.

They want to represent the needs of the grass roots rather than just going along with UNISON’s paid top officials and to shift union resources from the centre towards our local branches as we face the challenge of further Government cuts to funding, services and our rights.

These candidates all have a track record of standing up for members and services over pay, jobs, safety and discrimination.”

The candidates the Branch nominated include the following from our own Region:

Candidate portraits

Sign our Early Years Petition

-Keep Early Years Safe and Funded

Early Years Petition

After the chaos of the return to school after Xmas, primary and secondary schools are now closed to all but vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers. However the ‘Early Years’ sector including nurseries,  is still fully open despite the impact on transmission of the Covid virus.

UNISON and the NEU have set up a petition to demand that Early Years is restricted like all other areas of education and that the government fund the sector properly until it is safe for them to open fully again.

Sign the petition here: Keep early years safe and funded (
Write to your MP:
Tweet at your MP:

#makeEYsafe #makeearlyearssafe #protectcommunities