Solidarity with Rail Unions

Solidarity with Rail Unions striking for Pay, Jobs and Services

rmt picket
UNISON members support Southend RMT picket line

We in Southend  UNISON want to express our solidarity with you all in the strike action you are currently taking.  You are showing this Tory government that we are prepared to stand up and resist the biggest attack on our living standards in a generation and demand that we do not pay for their crisis.

The Tories are very quick to say that it’s our wages that cause inflation, now at the highest it’s been for years, even though working class people have suffered pay cuts over the last decade. If they want to find the cause, they need look no further than their billionaire mates who have got richer during the pandemic. Or just look at how much profit the private train companies have made and how much their bosses are pocketing. As the CWU have said, our bosses use Swiss Banks whilst we use food banks – but your fight is a real challenge to that.

Organising to defend our right to decent pay and conditions and to fight for the services we provide is something we all need to do. We know that without ticket offices and station staff, the service will be less accessible and less safe, especially for the vulnerable. And without enough maintenance workers we will all be less safe. Your fight is also our fight, and you are giving hope across the trade union movement.

The Tories have always protected the rich: as they try to cut our pay, they also remove the limits on City bonuses and they give their family and friends contracts worth billions of pounds. Then they try to divide us with racist policies threatening to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, with sexist polices saying working class women who can’t budget or cook are the reason for foodbanks. But we will not be divided by this bunch of bigots.

The Tories are in a crisis, fighting amongst themselves without a leader, so now is the best time to take them on. We stand in solidarity with you, and your victory can help build the resistance against their attacks.

In Solidarity,

Claire Wormald– Branch Secretary Southend  UNISON

Louise McDermott-  Branch Chair Southend UNISON

Stop Rwanda Flights


Southend UNISON supports this Twitterstorm called by the TUC, Care4Calais and Stand Up To Racism. Stop the inhuman (and useless) policy of flying asylum seekers and refugees to be held in detention in  Rwanda.

Reshare this!

Branch secretary Claire Wormald says:

Claire Stop Rwanda







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

Council and Schools Pay Ballot Starts

pay21 xma

Council and schools workers have already seen a 25% cut in real pay since 2010! We’ve now got inflation at 6% (the RPI rate) with gas, electricity and petrol prices soaring. That’s why our pay claim in 2021 was for 10%. It’s above inflation and would have started to undo some of the damage of the last eleven years.

We’ve been offered an insulting 1.75% (2.75% for the lowest grades) and the employers won’t shift, so we’re now balloting for industrial action and you will be getting a voting paper in December. We think now more than ever it’s time to take a stand.

Whatever your view, it is more important than ever to use your vote – The law has been changed so we now need at least 50% of all members to return their ballot papers in order to get a valid result.

Of course, we hope you’ll vote Yes! That way we can take the action that will show the employers that enough is enough and that we mean business. #VoteYes #EnoughisEnough

We wish every member, their friends and families a happy and healthy Xmas!

Scan this QR code for more information on the pay campaignQR code for pay
or visit

July Newsletter

Southend UNISON Newsletter July 2021

Follow these links to individual articles:

Council Cuts
UNISON Financial Assistance
Disabled Members’ Officer
Black Members’ Education Weekend 2021
National Conference Report

or download a pdf here

Council Cuts and Restructures

Picture of civic centreSouthend Council aim to save £1 million a year by restructuring ‘business support’ services across the organisation. This affects 157 existing posts and threatens to cut 28 jobs. The plan is to centralise roles which are considered to be ‘admin’, hoping to make savings by cutting across specialisms.

UNISON is supporting members who face uncertainty and the threat of redundancy and will give everyone the individual representation they need. We are also questioning the impact of the proposals. ‘Admin’ and support jobs aren’t just filing or paper shuffling – they’re a vital support for front line services.

We wonder what will happen in your team when your ‘admin’ colleagues are removed and put into a generic ‘business support’ team? We bet we all have to shoulder the added tasks that they can no longer do!

Restructures and cost savings aren’t a victimless crime! They can cost our members their livelihoods but they also make it harder and more stressful for the staff who are left to deliver the services our community needs.
If you want to help defend all our jobs and services for the future – join us!

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Financial Assistance: National Welfare Support

members welfareIf you are a UNISON member and you are experiencing financial difficulties, whether due to coronavirus or other circumstances, our national welfare scheme ‘There for You’ can offer you support, including one-off grants.

You can find details of the benefits and how to apply at our ‘There For You’ web pages – There for You (UNISON Welfare) | Member support and services | UNISON National

School uniform grants
COVID-19 response fund
Other financial assistance
UNISON benefits calculator
UNISON budget planner
Help with debt

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Disabled Members Officer: What I do and  UNISON’s Disabled Members’ Conference

My name is Jill Henson, I am a Business Support Officer in the Department for People, based, usually at any rate, at Civic 1. I am the branch Disabled Members Officer. I am myself disabled, I am Spina Bifida (happy to expand on what that actually is and how it affects me if you wish to ask me; but won’t dwell on it here).

In my role, I focus on issues relating to disability and work to improve policies and practice relating to disabled members within workplaces. I support members in attending Absence Review Meetings, in accessing appropriate equipment and other support to enable them to carry out their jobs and in ensuring that reasonable adjustments are being made by the employer. A great resource for members and their managers alike is the government’s Access To Work service: 

As we all know, the last 15 months has been a very challenging time, but it has also forced managers to be more flexible in their approach to how and where work can be done. This has really helped us as disabled members, as we don’t have the travelling time and all the energy that undertaking and planning this involves. Sickness absence has actually reduced for us – on a day when you’re feeling a little below par and would not be fit enough to travel to the office, we can still sometimes work from home, which is beneficial to both the individual and the employer.

UNISON’s Disabled Members Conference happens once a year and is a space to discuss and vote on issues relevant to disabled members and feed them into the wider union. You can find Conference information here –

Any disabled member can put themselves forward – get in touch if you are interested – it would be brilliant to get our branch represented at this year’s conference. But don’t delay too long! We will meet all expenses and assist in getting time off to attend. Email with a subject of Disabled Members Conference

by Jill Henson, Disabled members officer

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Black Members’ Education Weekend 2021

At the Five Lakes Resort, Colchester Road Essex CM9 8HX
Starts 4.30pm on 12 November Ends 2.00 pm on 14 November 2021

  • Black members logo
    This weekend is open to any Black Member in the Eastern region who is involved in their branch or the Self Organised Group – or thinking about getting more active. There will be a range of workshops during the weekend including:

• Tim Roberts – Regional Secretary
• Thompson Solicitors – Race Discrimination workshop
• Developing future leaders in UNISON
• Developing your confidence and strategies for progression
• Anti Racism – Organising Black workers in the workplace
• Impact of long Covid – resources for Black members

The Eastern Region Black Members Self Organised Group Annual General Meeting 2021 will be held during the weekend.

This event is free for members. Your branch will pay your registration fee, your travel costs and any additional expenses you incur due to childcare or facilitation costs. If there is sufficient demand then a crèche will be provided. Partner rate of £120 is available where you wish to bring your partner and you are sharing a room. The member is responsible for this cost not UNISON and will be asked to pay the hotel direct to secure the booking.

What to do next?
Contact your branch and ask for approval to attend. Complete the application form and then send it to your branch to authorise. Please return your completed form by Friday 23 July 2021 to Any problems, please contact Andrea Shute on or 01245 608905.

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National Conference Report by Claire Wormald

Virtual rostrumThis year’s national UNISON conference was held online for the first time. Our Branch Secretary, Claire Wormald attended as a delegate and reports on some of the key debates:

• Motion 72: the Branch Resources Review

This branch had mandated a vote against, as we felt what this motion proposed was insufficient, incomplete and we felt all our branches deserve better.
Over 20 people wanted to speak for and against as the decision would impact on the resources for branches and therefore on the ability of the union to organise around cuts and job losses. The review of branch resources had been requested 2 years ago as branches are doing 80% of the work with less than 23% of the funding from national subs. This formula had never been reviewed despite fragmentation and privatisation increasing the number of employers we have to deal with. Over 20 years, our branch has gone from 1 to 118 employers to deal with just as facility time has been cut.
Branch activists were reporting burnout due to the constant tidal wave of case work & ‘restructures’ with ability to push the organising agenda on the edge of a precipice, so this was a heartfelt and passionate debate.
The vote to move conference business was placed early on and was carried, due, many believe, to the gremlins in the electronic voting system. The motion was passed – if we are lucky the 0.5% increase in branch funding this motion offered might buy a few more UNISON lanyards but not much more!

• Motion 25: Securing an Equal and Sustainable Post Pandemic Settlement:

A lively debate with amendments calling on the unions to come out fighting, saying that members cannot carry the financial can for this crisis and that we need to strengthen union solidarity. Another amendment highlighted the importance of the unions being part of an international movement on climate change, with the global south suffering due to the richer countries emitting 50% of CO2 and the global south 7% . This makes the decision by Johnson to reduce the foreign aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% even more despicable as this country adds to the underlying issues creating the poverty and thus the need for aid.

• Motion 59: Tacking climate change:

Another really interesting motion which made me realise how little as a branch we do about this (although we did join in the climate strikes called by Greta Thunberg). We need to get some green reps (yes they exist!) and start organising workers to put pressure on the COP26 summit this autumn in Glasgow and of course influence the council locally.

• Motion 27: No back to normal for disabled workers:

After years of saying no to requests of reasonable adjustments to include working from home employers are now realising this is doable. Disabled members reported back great advantages to this, but also were clear this is not an excuse for the employers not to provide reasonable adjustments back at work and that equipment must be provided for the home environment.

• Motion 6: Trade union recognition for outsourced workers:

A lack of union recognition leads to lowering of pay and worse conditions. It notes the recent fire and rehire tactics emerging in some areas despite the fact that these companies are being supported with public money – but using tactics like this to squeeze profits out of workers. There have been some wins over this recently including Norfolk street cleaners.

by Claire Wormald, Branch Secretary

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April 28th – International Workers Memorial Day

Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living!


Today, Wednesday 28th April is International Workers Memorial day 2021.


UNISON supports the minute’s silence at 12 noon to remember workers across the world who have lost their lives doing their jobs.

The Covid pandemic makes this particularly relevant. Workers in health and front line services of all sorts have put their safety on the line for all of us – often without proper protection. No one should have to suffer unecessarily because of poor conditions, inadequate health and safety, ruthless and penny-pinching employers or failure by government.

There’s information from the national Trades Union Congress here

and from UNISON here

Covid-19 Mass Meeting for Schools and Early Years Members 27th January

Covid-19 – Schools and Early Years Mass Meeting:

UNISON is holding a mass national on-line meeting for schools and early years members in England on Wednesday 27 January at 5pm. We will talk through the issues facing schools and early years workers right now and will be answering members’ questions throughout the meeting.

Southend UNISON urges our members in schools and early years to attend this meeting.

The meeting is on-line and you can find details, including of how to join up  on the national website here.

The latest Covid advice can be found here.
National Schools Meeting

December 2020 Newletter

A Happy and Safe Xmas to all UNISON Members!

Southend UNISON’s December newsletter is now out!

News and articles including:

Dec 2020 front cover

  • Covid Support Fund
  • Health and Safety
  • Fighting for Jobs at Southend Council
  • Public sector Pay

Download your copy here!



Is there a topic you’d like to see us cover in our branch newsletter – or perhaps you’d like to write us a letter or write an article on your issues?

Email with your ideas!



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

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