Kirklees UNISON E-bulletin

Dear Member

Please find below the latest updates from Kirklees UNISON:

NEW MEMBERS AND WORKPLACE REPS

The branch is currently on target for its best year of recruitment on record. We have had 100s of new members join so far this year and a number of existing members have decided to become local stewards and/or Health & Safety Reps – both of which are crucial in ensuring that UNISON retains a strong voice in Kirklees.

Due to the pandemic, some of the recruitment activities that we would usually organise have had to be put on hold and so we would really appreciate it if you could help us in building the union even further. If you know of a colleague who is not yet a member of a trade union then please ask them to join UNISON. It only takes a few minutes and can be done online here:

https://join.unison.org.uk/ or by calling 0800 171 2194

Even if you only speak to one non-member you can make a difference – you don’t need to be a trained recruiter as the main reason that people give when questioned as to why they are not a member is that they have simply never been asked!

We are also always keen to hear from anyone who wants to become more active in the union. In particular, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever that there is a UNISON Health & Safety rep in the workplace. If you would like more information on becoming a rep then please visit:

VICTORIES FOR HOME CARE WORKERS

There can be no going back to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic and UNISON is committed to ensuring that workers who have previously been underpaid and undervalued get a better deal. You may have seen that the national union has recently won a major legal victory for care workers who were being paid less than the minimum wage because their employer did not pay them in respect of their travel time between appointments. This victory has led to an average settlement of £10,000 for the workers involved which shows just how badly treated and underpaid they had been.

The Employment Tribunal ruling made it clear that travelling and waiting time of up to 60 minutes should be treated as working time for the purposes of determining whether someone has been paid in accordance with the National Minimum Wage Regulations. If you are working for an employer at, or close to, the minimum wage and are not paid in respect of travel between appointments then you may have a similar claim. If you think you are being paid illegally in light of this judgement then please contact the branch office. The branch have written to the Council asking them to take action to ensure the private care providers they commission are complying with the law and we hope that this will lead to any unlawful practices being stamped out across the district.

You can find more information about the case here:

More locally, the branch have had success in negotiating a better deal for Council workers in the Short-term Urgent Support Team (previously Homecare) who had been subject to years of inconsistent treatment in respect of what travel expenses they could claim for given that they have no fixed work base. Management were seeking to impose an ‘abatement’ rule whereby the first 6 miles of travel between home and first/last appointments of the day would have to be deducted when claiming mileage expenses. After hard work by UNISON stewards, Stewart Jackson and Kath McHendry, management eventually agreed to reduce the abatement to 3 miles each way. This will have a significant impact for these workers given the amount of travelling they often have to do in their own vehicles caring for the vulnerable.

WORLD MENOPAUSE DAY

This Sunday 18th October is World Menopause Day. This day is to raise awareness of the health issues women face when approaching, during and beyond the menopause.

As the union of a million women in public services, UNISON takes the menopause seriously. It is very much a workplace issue and nearly 8 out of 10 menopausal women are in work.

If you want to find out more UNISON resources on the menopause then please visit:

GENERAL SECRETARY ELECTION

It will soon be time to elect a new general secretary for the union. The general secretary represents you and the other 1.3 million members of UNISON in meetings with politicians across the UK, in discussions with employers and when working with other trade unions. They speak up for you and are the public face of your union, in the press, on TV and on social media.

Dave Prentis, the union’s current general secretary retires at the end of 2020 after 20 years in the job. The law – and UNISON’s rule book – says we have to elect our general secretary every five years. Being a member, or retired member, of UNISON entitles you to a vote if you were a member on 28 July 2020. The ballot opens on 28 October so please look out for your ballot paper, which will be sent by post to your home address.

Please ensure you make your voice heard in this election. For further information please visit:

UPDATE YOUR DETAILS

It is important that we have your up-to-date details. If, for example, you have moved house, changed job, got a new phone number or email address recently then please call the branch on 01484 511826 to ensure our records are accurate. If you know of any member who has not received this bulletin then please ask them to contact the branch to provide us with an email address.

We know this is a challenging time for all our members and so we want to reassure you that we will remain here to support you. If you have any queries about Covid-19 you can find regularly updated information at

Please also follow our Facebook page and website

With best wishes
Kirklees UNISON