Kirklees Unison – E-bulletin

Dear Member
We hope you are well. Please see below updates from Kirklees UNISON.

INTERNATIONAL WORKERS’ MEMORIAL DAY – 28th April 2021

This year’s theme for IWMD is Health and Safety is a fundamental workers’ right.  The branch will be marking the day in the following ways.

Wreaths will be laid at Huddersfield Town Hall and Long Causeway, Dewsbury Town Centre and flags at the Town Halls will be lowered to half-mast.

Instead of our usual ceremony which in the past has taken place at the Town Halls, Kirklees Unison’s lead on health and safety will be conducting an on-line event with guest speaker Councillor Turner.  This will take place on the day at 11.55 am and will last approximately 15 minutes, there will be a minute’s silence at 12 noon to remember those who have been killed or injured at work.  The event is open to all Kirklees Unison members and as per previous years it has been agreed with the Council that members who work for the Council will get 15 minutes paid time off to attend.  The event will take place via Zoom and the link will be emailed to members shortly.  If you anticipate any difficulties with getting time-off agreed by your manager then please do not hesitate to contact the branch.

As part of IWMD we would normally have a book of condolence available at the Huddersfield Town Hall which members are invited to sign.  This year we will be doing our book on-line.  Members are invited to submit an entry to the book by contacting the branch, this will then be added to our dedicated website page.  The book will be open from 21st April 2021 – 5th May 2021, members can contact us by email branch@kirklees-unison.org.uk or by telephone 01484 456945 if they wish to make an entry.

To find out more about IWMD visit What is IWMD? | TUC

NJC PAY 2021

UNISON is clear that Council and schools workers deserve a decent pay rise after years of pay restraint and cuts that have seen the value of local government workers’ pay reduced by up to 25% over the past decade. We need UNISON members to support our campaign and stand up to demand fair pay.

The branch held a virtual meeting on 12 April to discuss the pay claim and local actions in support of a 10% pay rise for those covered by NJC pay bargaining arrangements (council, school and most academy employees, amongst others). Please help us to raise awareness of the campaign by speaking to your colleagues about the pay claim and also contacting your local councillor using UNISON’s online tool.

See here for more details of the pay claim, resources you can use and also the councillor email tool:

We will continue to share updates on branch social media so please ‘like’ the branch Facebook page:

HOLLYBANK TRUST – ANGER AT FURTHER CHANGES TO CONTRACTS

After threatening cuts to holidays and changes to working hours which UNISON has campaigned against for a number of months, Hollybank Trust has again angered its workforce by changing the way many of them are paid without securing their agreement. The Trust has moved from paying wages in equal monthly instalments to allowing pay to fluctuate depending on how many hours have been worked on the shift pattern that month. Although workers should still receive the same pay over the course of a year, allowing pay to vary in this way can make it very difficult to manage finances and could also potentially have an impact on benefits that workers are entitled to.

UNISON understands that this change to pay was notified to staff without consulting with them or attempting to secure their agreement. This is another example of the way that Hollybank has been treating its employees recently. This is leading to low morale and we are aware that a significant number of workers have left the Trust in the past few months because of this poor treatment. If you know anyone who works at Hollybank Trust who is not yet a member of a union then please encourage them to join us (http://join.unison.org.uk/). We have seen our membership numbers double since late last year and, the more workers who join us, the stronger their voice will become.

We will be seeking legal advice on behalf of members in light of this latest action by the Trust.

VALORUM CARE GROUP

Another employer on UNISON’s radar in Kirklees is Valorum Care Group who took over the running of a number of services from Leonard Cheshire Disability in 2019. They are currently consulting on changes to contracts which would see employee benefits slashed to the statutory minimum in respect of holidays, sick pay and maternity pay. This is no way to treat staff who have faced the onslaught of Covid-19 in the care sector and the branch is supporting affected members to resist the proposals.

This story recently gained coverage in local media (see https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/19239707.unison-raises-concern-care-groups-plan-urges-rethink/) and we know that there are many other companies across the country who are seeking to cut staff terms and conditions. If you work for an employer who is threatening to make cuts to your contract then please get in contact with the branch.

COVID-19 HEALTH & SAFETY GUIDELINES

As Covid-19 restrictions start to relax, please remember that the virus is still present and is circulating at higher levels in Kirklees than in many other parts of the country. It is therefore still very important that members adhere to the expectations set out in risk assessments. In particular, if you have to carry out your job inside a workplace, please remember the importance of fresh air and keep windows open wherever possible. If you have any concerns about the content of the risk assessment relevant to your role/workplace – or it is not being followed in practice – then please do not hesitate to contact the branch office on 01484 456945.

Although avoiding the dangers of Covid-19 is the main reason for following the guidance, we also do not want to see members facing the prospect of having disciplinary sanctions on their record. Unfortunately, the branch has had to represent a number of members in disciplinary processes over the past few months because of breaches of Covid-19 health & safety measures. Many of these are simply errors of judgement rather than deliberate failures to follow the rules; however, they can still lead to formal warnings so please do be careful.

Regards

Kirklees Unison