We hope you are well in these difficult times. Please see below some updates from the branch.
NEW GENERAL SECRETARY
Christina McAnea has now taken up her post as the new General Secretary of UNISON after members elected her to the position in the ballot that took place last year. Originally from Glasgow, Christina becomes the first woman to lead UNISON, which is both the biggest trade union and the largest organisation representing women in the UK. Thanking everyone who voted in the election, she said: “I can reassure you that your union – our union – will continue to be there for you, fighting for the public services that hold our communities together, and building a fairer, more equal society.”
You can watch Christina’s message to you here:
The branch has recruited well over 100 new members this month which is fantastic news. Every new member in a workplace makes the voice of the union stronger so please do encourage your colleagues who are not already part of a union to join UNISON. The quickest way to join is online at https://join.unison.org.uk . We are also always keen to hear from existing members who want to get more involved in the union by becoming a workplace rep. To find out more about the roles available, please visit:
and/or contact the branch office.
UNISON members caring for children, young people and adults with profound and multiple disabilities have been threatened with dismissal and re-engagement unless they agree to substantial changes to their contracts. Hollybank Trust wants to cut the annual leave and contracted hours of its longest serving members of staff, which would see already low paid support workers losing out financially. Over 130 members of staff have been asked to give up 7 days annual leave and change their contracted hours. This is on top of changes to shift patterns, which came into effect in January which introduced 14.5 hour shifts.
Our members are absolutely distraught over the changes and many feel they will be forced to leave their jobs, which will cause anxiety and disruption to the children, young people and adults they work so hard to support. What is even more frustrating is there is no financial reason to justify these cuts. Hollybank just want to harmonise contracts – although it is worth noting that these changes do not affect the Senior Management Team or Executive.
Members are being supported by Hayley Reid, Sarah Keig (Area Organiser) and Dawn Millington (Local Organiser). They have issued a press release, which was picked up by the Huddersfield Examiner, are holding regular members meetings via Zoom and Dawn is calling each member to talk to them about their individual situation. They will be emailing out an indicative ballot to members in the next week to try and gauge the strength of feeling amongst the membership for industrial action as well as keeping the pressure on via social media and other media outlets
WINTER FUEL GRANTS
For those members experiencing financial difficulties there is the possibility of assistance from the union in the form of a winter fuel grant of up to £200. You can find out more about eligibility criteria and how to apply here:
You can also find out more about the other financial and emotional assistance that the union can provide to members by visiting
COVID-19 RISK ASSESSMENTS
In light of the new, more transmissible Covid-19 variants that are in circulation we are asking employers to review their risk assessments to determine whether any additional measures need to be put in place. The government’s advice is that employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and also share with the workforce. If you haven’t seen the risk assessments pertinent to your role(s) then you can request to see these.
If you feel that your employer is not keeping you safe at work then please contact your local UNISON rep or call the branch office on 01484 456945 or email email@example.com.
There is also a wealth of regularly updated information at
which includes sector-specific guidance, including the latest UNISON advice for members working in schools
If you are more vulnerable to Covid-19 then you can find additional guidance here:
(joint union advice for school/college staff)
RACE EQUALITY WEEK 1-7 FEBRUARY
Race equality is a UNISON priority every week, but it’s useful to have particular focusses too. This year, UNISON is joining with other organisations to turn the spotlight on race equality in the workplace during the first week of February. There is more information about the Race equality week initiative here:
Information on protecting Black workers during the pandemic can be found at the following link:
Please note that employers and other organisations may use the term ‘BAME’ but UNISON defines Black in its broad political and inclusive sense to describe people in Britain that have suffered colonialism and enslavement in the past and continue to experience racism and diminished opportunities in today’s society.
EMPOWERING WOMEN IN UNISON – LIVE! 17-20 FEBRUARY
As a result of COVID-19, many conferences and meetings have had to be cancelled. With this in mind, the national women’s committee is organising a series of virtual events in place of the usual national women’s conference – online and live!
Empowering women in UNISON – Live! will take place over Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 February 2021. There will be a variety of online sessions that you can participate in during these events. These events are only open to UNISON women members and you will have to register to attend. The registration deadline is 5pm on Thursday 4 February 2021. Click here to find out more:
UNISON members can access a number of free virtual courses during February and March. For further details of the range of courses available and how to book a place, please visit the branch website:
With best wishes