Join UNISON on SOS Libraries Day and fight back against library cuts!

On Thursday 19 October UNISON members will be standing up for our public library service, holding events and calling for an end to the seemingly endless assault on our libraries.

Photograph of library interior with bookcases, tables and chairs for both children and adults. UNISON's 'SOS Save Our Local Service' campaign logo is situated in top-right hand corner.

In Southend, we know how important libraries and library workers are to our community. Libraries are a hub and haven in our communities. They offer a place for people to work, relax, discover and think. They are a source of local knowledge and history and give everyone access to books, DVDs, music and more, for free or at a very low cost.

But libraries also do a lot more than lend books. Many hold events, anything from story time for toddlers to yoga classes for adults. Library workers help people look for work, advise on using IT, organise talks by authors and so much more.

In Southend, we had a massive community campaign that helped stop drastic cuts. However the incredible work that libraries do every day to support their local communities is under threat again because of unfair Government cuts to spending on local services.

Libraries have been hit particularly hard by cuts: at least 500 have closed since 2010 and 8,000 library workers have lost their jobs.

The effects of these cuts – closures, redundancies, library privatisation and loss of expertise – are devastating for libraries and for the people who depend on them.

We need to make sure that library services are protected so that communities can enjoy and benefit from them now and in the future.

So we are asking you to tell us what your library does for you so we can let everyone know how important it is to protect libraries everywhere.

Show your support:

  • join your local library if you haven’t already, and make sure you visit and use the great range of services on offer
  • tell us what your library does for you, using this online form
  • take a photo or make a short video that best shows the most helpful or unusual thing your library does and post it on Twitter or Facebook, using the hashtag #SOSlibraries
  • fill out the ‘Tell us your Story’ form on the Save Our Local Services campaign page

Pay Up Now! Campaign

UNISON activists organised a stall on Tuesday to support the national campaign for better pay for public sector workers.

Pay Up Now! Campaign logo.The stall was very well supported and both UNISON members and non-members filled in cards to let their MPs know how pay cuts have affected their lives. Between 2010 and 2016 public sector pay has risen by just 4.4% while the cost of living rose by 22%.

Photograph of Pay Up Now! campaign activists and stall.

If you want to let your MP know about how pay cuts have affected you and your family – contact us and we’ll supply the cards, or fill out this online form.

UNISON members are clear about the dire consequences of the pay cap from struggling to put food on the table and pay rent, to the impact on their pension contributions.

Activists also passed on comments to local councillors – asking them to lobby the government to put an end to this damaging and shameful pay cap.

For more information – join the Pay Up Now! campaign on UNISON’s national website or contact us!

And sign this petition to keep up the pressure.

TORIES OUT | NO MORE AUSTERITY National Demonstration in Manchester, Sunday 1st October.

Photograph of NO MORE AUSTERITY demonstrators at Castle Arena, Manchester. 1st October 2017.
NO MORE AUSTERITY | SCRAP THE PAY CAP FOR DECENT HEALTH, HOMES, JOBS & EDUCATION demonstrators at Castle Arena, Manchester. 1st October 2017.

UNISON Members joined tens of thousands of Labour supporters, union members and members of other left-wing campaign groups with placards, in fancy dress and chanting “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” as they took part in The People’s Assembly demonstration against austerity in Manchester.

Protesters gathered in the Castlefield Arena to hear a number of passionate speeches, followed by a march past the Conservative Party Conference and onto Piccadilly Gardens behind the banner: “NO MORE AUSTERITY. WE DEMAND AN ALTERNATIVE.”

Photograph of NO MORE AUSTERITY protest march from Castlefield Arena to Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. 1st October 2017.
NO MORE AUSTERITY protest march from Castlefield Arena to Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. 1st October 2017.

The major national demonstration was part of the TAKE BACK MANCHESTER FESTIVAL 2017 which has included five days of demonstrations, cultural events, rallies, comedy, music and public meetings demanding NO MORE AUSTERITY and DECENT HEALTH, HOMES, JOBS & EDUCATION.

Castlefield Arena Speeches.

NO MORE AUSTERITY National Demonstration in pictures.

African Migrant Workers Seminar

UNISON African Migrant Workers Seminar

Saturday 14th October, 10:30am to 4pm, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

Map of Africa

UNISON members are invited to this seminar aimed at encouraging migrant workers from Africa to become more involved in UNISON and our branches.

The full agenda will be out later in September but to give you a flavour of what will be on offer, a similar seminar in Scotland in March heard speakers on a number of issues including:

“The current situation in Swaziland, Zimbabwe. Reflections on the anti apartheid movement”, “Organising Migrant Workers” and more.

There is also the chance to meet other members and activists and discuss our ideas and issues.

Southend Branch will try and support any member who wishes to go to cover the cost of travel etc.

If you want to book a place email us at

CALL TO JOIN – National Demonstration for decent health, homes, jobs and education in Manchester on Sunday 1st October

If you are interested in joining us on a coach from Southend to the Tories Out demonstration in Manchester on Sunday 1st October please contact the branch via or contact form with your details – we’ll get back to you with the cost and departure time/location.

The national demonstration for decent health, homes, jobs and education is part of the week-long Take Back Manchester festival organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity to coincide with the Conservative Party conference.

The demonstration will show the huge opposition to the politics of austerity, racism and war and demand an alternative that works for everyone.

Please download the flyer here and visit the People’s Assembly Against Austerity website for more information.

UNISON Southend-on-Sea Members join Not One Day More #ToriesOUT National Demonstration – Saturday 1st July

UNISON Southend-on-Sea Members joined a 100,000 strong Not One Day More #ToriesOUT rally. The protest march began outside BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place before moving on towards Parliament Square. Speakers included Dave Prentis, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Owen Jones – all pointing out the failings of the Tory Government.

Jeremy Corbyn impassioned speech to a huge crowd of over 100,000 people in Parliment Square.

Not One Day More protest in pictures.

Join – Not One Day More #ToriesOUT National Demonstration – Saturday 1st July

Join a national demonstration against May’s minority government organised by THE PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY AGAINST AUSTERITY.

Unfortunately, there is no coach from Southend, but if you want to join others to go to the march, let UNISON know on and we will arrange to meet up.

Image of Not One Day More leaflet.

We invite everyone – from campaigns and community groups across the country, from the trade unions, from political parties, and any individual – to come together in one massive show of strength and solidarity. We’re marching against a Government committed to austerity, cuts and privatisation. We’re marching for a decent health service, education system, housing, jobs and living standards for all. We’ll hold a minutes silence for the victims of Grenfell Tower and a minutes applause for the emergency services who responded so bravely. Join us, bring your friends and spread the word.


Not One Day More #ToriesOUT
Assemble 12pm, Saturday 1 July 2017
BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
March to Parliament Square

Please visit here for more details.