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LATEST NEWS

 

If you have a problem……..

 

 Please don’t wait until the last minute to contact the Branch Office for help and advice. 

 

If you are called to a Meeting and you need advice or representation at the Meeting it’s important that we know as much in advance as possible so we can arrange for a Rep to accompany you. 

 

If you work for LB Croydon, please visit our Branch Reps Page, to contact a local Rep in the first instance or if you work for one of our Private Contractors or the Private Sector then please contact our Branch Support Officer, Julie O’Maley on 07873 301803.

 

UNISON does have a qualifying period of membership before we can advise or represent you and also to access our Legal Services should you need this advice.  In order to access UNISON’s services in regard to representation, you must have been in membership for at least 4 weeks BEFORE the incident or problem has occurred.

 

If you are unable to reach a local Rep, please call the Branch Office on 020 8760 5435 or xtn 65435 if calling internally.  The nature of the work carried out in the Branch Office does sometimes mean that due to attendance at Meetings, there might not always be someone there to take your call but please make sure you leave a message and a contact number and we will call you back as soon as we can.

 

 

Christmas and New Year

 

The Branch Office will be closed from Thursday 22nd December and will reopen on Tuesday 3rd January 2017. 

 

All of us in the Branch Office would like to wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Healthy New Year.

 

 

 

Message from Yvonne Green, Branch Secretary

 

Firstly I would like to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on 9th November following the tragic events that unfolded that day.  Our thoughts go out to those who lost their lives and their families and friends. 

 

I would also like to pay tribute to the emergency services and staff of Croydon Council and members of our union who helped during this difficult time. 

 

The Council continues to face significant cuts in grant funding and both myself and the Assistant Branch Secretary have dealt with a number of re-organisations and outsourcing proposals.  We have also worked with HR in relation to the Positive Action Plan which is being implemented to address equality issues within the Council.  We have also welcomed back this year some of our colleagues from Interserve who were TUPE transferred back into the Council.

 

Here in the Branch, a successful application submitted to UNISON’s Regional Pool for financial assistance enabled us to employ a temporary Branch Case Worker.  Julie O’Maley started work on a part-time basis in May representing our members in the Private Sector and she is doing a tremendous job.  Julie has thrown herself into this role and has had several successes as well as increasing our membership.  James Young has also been very helpful and providing ad hoc support to the Branch and for this we are extremely grateful.

 

Recruitment is an ongoing process and you can assist if you know members of staff in your workplace who are not members of any union, we will supply the relevant forms and leaflets for you to pass on to them.  As part of Branch Mapping we will be identifying areas where we need more members and we will be asking Stewards to assist in recruiting.

 

I would personally like Tony Vass, our Joint Retired Members Secretary, who is finally stepping down from his role, to thank him for his dedication and commitment to the Branch and the Union, and to wish a colleague and a friend every success for the future.

 

Last but not by any means least it is with great sadness that the Branch was faced with some very difficult decisions this year and one of them was having to begin a process with Karen in respect of having to make her role of Branch Administrator redundant.  Karen, as many of you may know, has worked for the Branch since 1989 - popular films at that time were Batman and Driving Miss Daisy, and popular musicians were Elvis Costello and Phil Collins. 

 

Karen joined the Branch working with Sue Jones the then Branch Secretary and then on to working with three other Branch Secretaries, including myself. I have worked with Karen for several years now and I have found her dedicated, committed and supportive and extremely professional.  The Branch will not be the same without her as she is a font of knowledge and has a memory that goes a long way.   Karen provides excellent support to the Branch and Committee members and a special thank you to her for this.  You only have to ask Karen a question or query and whether it was last month or 3 years ago, Karen will have the answer.  During our working relationship I have developed a considerable amount of admiration and respect for Karen and having to make the redundancy decision has not been an easy one, not only is Karen our Branch Administrator I have formed a close relationship with her. She is a very loyal person and it feels like the end of an era, I shall miss Karen more than words can express and it has been an honour and a real privilege to work with someone of Karen’s calibre and I would like to take this opportunity of wishing her every success for the future.

 

I would also like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

 

 

Branch Annual General Meeting 2017

 

The Branch will be holding two aggregate Annual General Meetings on Wednesday 22nd February 2017.  The lunchtime Meeting will take place at 12.30 pm and the afternoon Meeting will take place at 4.30 pm.  Both Meetings will be held in The David Lean Cinema, Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street Croydon.

 

You only need attend one of the Meetings, whichever is most convenient for you, and is an important part of Branch democracy where agenda items will include, the Annual Report, the election of our Branch Reps and Officers and any other items such as pay, reorganisations and pensions that affect you.

 

Please put the date in your diary and do come along – if you are an employee of LB Croydon you are entitled to one hour paid time to attend.

 

 

 LB Croydon signs the Ethical Care Charter

 

An agreement was signed on 31st October between UNISON and LB Croydon which promises to deliver improved homecare for residents and more support for the Borough’s homecare workers.

 

The Charter commits the Council to allocating enough time for home visits so workers have time to talk to clients and not rush off to their next appointment.  Visits will be scheduled to meet the needs of the clients so they get the care and support they require.

 

Staff will also receive payment for their travel time between visits and be reimbursed for the costs of travel while at work.  Homecare workers will get regular training so they provide high quality care to clients.

 

 

 

Opposite: Signing the Charter, Councillor Tony Newman (Leader of the Council) with Yvonne Green, Branch Secretary and Dave Prentis UNISON General Secretary

 

 

 

It’s goodbye from him…………

 

Tony Vass, our Joint Retired Members Secretary is finally stepping down from his role.

 

Tony has played a massive part in the Branch for many years and has held many Offices during that time and has been Branch Secretary, Chair, Newsletter Editor and Assistant Treasurer to name a few.

 

Tony has been instrumental in keeping our Retired Members informed and has organised our very successful Retired Members Reunions over the past few years.

 

The Branch owes Tony a huge debt of gratitude for his hard work and dedication and we would like to wish him all the best for the future.

 

At the Retired Members Reunion 2016

Back Row: Kai Pokawa, Branch Chair & Karen Eades, Branch Administrator

Front Row: Laurie Pocock, Tony Vass & Yvonne Green, Branch Secretary

 

 

…..…. and it’s goodbye from her

 

Our Branch Administrator, Karen Eades will sadly be leaving her full time role at the end of January 2017 due to a reduction in funding to the Branch and a declining membership due to the savage cuts to local government.

 

Karen came to work in the Branch Office in April 1989 in the days of NALGO and was employed initially to put membership records onto the new technology – an Amstrad PC!  Karen worked as the Branch Assistant alongside Glenda Burgess, the then Branch Administrator and Sue Jones, Branch Secretary.

 

The role, since those early days continued to develop and when Glenda left for pastures new in 2007, Karen took on the role of Branch Administrator and has kept the Branch Office running and providing support for our Branch Officers, Reps and of course to our members .

 

During Karen’s time in the Branch she has worked as a team with four Branch Secretaries, Sue Jones, Malcolm Campbell who sadly and unexpectedly passed away in 2009, Laurie Pocock, who recently retired and finally Yvonne Green, the Branch’s first Black female Branch Secretary.

 

Karen says “I have always been passionate about the trade union movement and have felt proud and privileged to work for the Branch and to have helped our members in some way.  I’ve been more than blessed to have been able to work with some really dedicated and committed people who believe in fairness and justice, many of whom over the years have become friends.  We’ve had lots of laughs along the way, not to mention more than a few tears and the Branch has been a huge part of my life. 

 

The Union is hugely important - now more than ever with uncertain times ahead of us all – and I would urge our members to get involved and support the Branch.  I wish you all the best and remember don’t get angry – get active!”

 

 

Under pressure, under valued and under stress – Bullying Survey

Recently UNISON nationally surveyed over 2,200 members working in a range of local government occupations and the results reveal a shocking picture of what life is like for our members delivering the services we all rely on.

Teaching assistants, social workers, librarians, carers, professionals and youth workers all say the same thing – stress is through the roof and they’re struggling with ever-increasing workloads.

§                   75% say workload and pressure have increased in the last 12 months.

§                   63% believe morale has declined.

§                   73% report rising stress levels.

Over half of members report that stress in the workplace is affecting their job performance and personal life.

Committed to their jobs yet overwhelmingly undervalued, nearly 60% are regularly working beyond their contracted hours and almost a quarter are working unpaid overtime every week to keep our services running.

Alongside this picture of neglect, 63% have faced a review or job reorganisation, leading to cuts in staffing and resources in many cases.

Services seem to be in constant upheaval as councils struggle to balance budgets and the workforce. Finally, as if all this bad news wasn’t enough, those left behind after jobs have been axed must survive on unfairly low pay that is worse than in any other part of the public sector.

Really worrying, too, is the staggering increase in bullying taking place in the workplace.

When UNISON last carried out this survey in 2008, 44% of members reported facing at least one form of abuse such as violence, verbal or physical threats, and bullying or harassment.  Today, 60% say they face such abuse.

Here in the Branch, we would like to get your views and experiences on any bullying you face at work, please help us to help you by taking part in a short survey.  Your replies will be treated in the strictest confidence and we will not be asking you for your name.  Please download and print off the survey here and once completed, please send it in to the Branch Office.

The report was researched and written or UNISON by Incomes Data Research. It is based usable responses from 2,210 UNISON members working in local government services. Most (56%) worked for local authorities, and a further large proportion (34%) worked in schools. Some 2% worked in further education or sixth-form colleges, 1.6% in nursing or residential care homes and 0.8% worked for private contractors.

 

You can read the full report on UNISON’s National Website https://www.unison.org.uk/blogs/2016/08/sos-survey/

 

 

 

Your Email Addresses Needed…..

 

UNISON's Membership database has the facility to send membership emails.  At present, when we send out emails from the Branch, many of you may not be receiving them.  We would like to use the facility that UNISON’s database offers us but there are still a number of records that we don't hold a current or correct email address for.  We will then be able to send you up to date information directly from the database.

 

If you are not presently receiving emails from the Branch and would like to receive them, please contact us in the Branch Office with your email address in order for your record to be updated.

 

 

UNISON Welfare

 

 Did you know that UNISON have a registered charity, There for You, that helps our members in many ways, from School Uniform grants, links to Credit Unions, financial advice, if you find yourself in debt and wellbeing breaks. 

 

Here in the Branch our dedicated Welfare Secretary is Yvonne Green, who can be contacted on 020 8760 5435 or if calling internally, xtn 65435.

 

The new edition of the Welfare Newsletter can be read here. 

 

For more information please visit the Members Benefits section of UNISON's national website www.unison.org.uk

 

 

Croydon UNISON Annual Report

 

The Annual Report was presented to the aggregate Annual General Meetings in February and can be read here.  Hard copies are available from the Branch Office.

 

The Report gives a summary of some of the things the Branch has been carrying out on behalf of the members throughout the year and reports from some of the Conferences delegates have attended.

 

 

Branch Consultation

 

The Branch takes part in consultation meetings with LB Croydon, together the other two recognised trade unions, UNITE and GMB on a regular fortnightly basis.  The Meetings are attended by HR and among the topics for discussion are re-organisations and policies which affect LB Croydon staff.  The trade Unions are also invited to put items for discussion on the agenda.

 

These Meetings are called Corporate Staff Consultation Meetings and form part of the framework for consultation.  In addition to Corporate Staff Consultation, the three trade Unions also take part in Council and Staff Partnership Panel Meetings,  and consists of Members of the Council with the aim to provide a forum for informing and consulting staff through their representatives on a range of service, organisational and employment issues.

 

Details of current Branch Consultations will be updated here soon.

 

 

 

Have You Ever Thought About Becoming A UNISON Steward?

We are always looking to welcome new Stewards and this could be a role that you might be interested in pursuing.

The Branch can organise full training for you, both from UNISON and the TUC and we would not expect you to carry out any representations or to support colleagues until you had undertaken this training.  Our more experienced Stewards and Officers are on hand and happy to offer you advice and support.  

If you would like to find out more about the role then please contact the Branch Office.

 

UNISON in Schools

 

Teaching Assistants

A new career development framework for teaching assistants is available from UNISON and NET – the National Education Trust, but the union has expressed its dismay at the government’s continued delay in publishing matching professional standards.

Those standards had been due out in February after a review that was launched in October 2014. But the Department for Education delayed them stating that “it was a bit close to the election”.

Four months after that, there is still no sign of them, and UNISON Head of Education, Jon Richards told Schools Week this month: “I have contacted the DfE on a number of occasions to find out when the standards will be published and we are still waiting.  I just do not think this is top of their priorities at the moment, which is really sad for support staff.  A lot of work has been done by everyone involved,” he added, “and it is hugely important we get these standards out there.  It has become a political football, and I just do not know if ministers are interested anymore.”

The Department for Education review – which included UNISON member and higher-level teaching assistant Karen Jackson and Marc Rowland from NET – took over from a joint UNISON/NET focus group.  But the focus group did produce the career framework, which links the different levels of teaching assistants with the relevant qualifications and opportunities for training and continued professional development.

Career Framework and Continued Professional Development for Teaching Assistants is aimed at those who manage or support the professional development of teaching assistants in schools.  UNISON National Officer Jo Coates said that the delay in publishing the professional standards “has been a step back for a profession that has been largely neglected by the government since 2010″.

She vowed that “UNISON will continue to push for their publication, along with greater investment in training and development for all school support staff.  With this year’s publication of the Education Endowment Foundation’s report, Making the best use of teaching assistants, in February, and now UNISON and the NET’s career framework, professional standards are a missing link in the toolbox of continuing professional development for teaching assistants.”

You can read the report here.

We are aware that many of our members in schools can sometimes feel “out of the loop”, working away from the central complex.  If you would like to put yourself forward as a point of contact in your school, please get in touch with the Branch Office.

 

Skills for Schools Website

 

UNISON is delighted to introduce Skills for Schools, a new website, owned and managed by UNISON, that will give School Support Staff a host of information and help about training and career development. 

 

The website provides a central point for information on a wide range of roles available in schools, together with links to useful training resources. 

 

Skills for Schools includes information on roles in schools, covering pupil support and welfare, teaching and learning support facilities, specialist and technical and admin and management.  The website also hosts a library, which includes evidence and research about the role of school support staff and the difference they make in schools.  If you work in a school visit www.skillsforschools.org.uk

 

 

 Do You Work In The Private Sector?

The majority of UNISON members work in the public sector, but after more than 20 years of privatisation and outsourcing, a growing number of our members are employed by private sector organisations. More than 67,000 of UNISON members now work for private companies that deliver public services. 

Our private contractor members include care workers, parks and green space workers, school support staff and catering workers. A growing number of multinational companies operate in the public sector and in the Branch we have members working for Capita, Interserve, Carillion, Quadron Services Ltd, Compass, and Veolia.

UNISON’s private contractors unit provides a coordinated approach to organising in the private contractors’ sector at a national level.  The unit also offers general advice and support to regions and branches on matters relating to private contractors.  The biggest issues faced by our private contractor members are: 

Equal pay  there is widespread pay inequality caused by the outsourcing of services to private companies and the major reviews of public sector pay that have taken place over recent years. If you work for a private company in the public sector and you feel you are paid less than people still employed by the state, UNISON can help you.

Two-tier workforce  it’s not just pay that can be different between the public and private sectors. The terms and conditions offered by private companies are often worse than those in the public sector. Even if workers who transfer from public to private sector have their terms and conditions protected, when those companies employ new people, their terms and conditions are often different. UNISON campaigns to protect our members from the unfairness of a two-tier workforce.

Here in the Branch, our Casework Officer, Julie O’Maley, supports our private sector members by advising and representing on matters such as Grievance and Disciplinary issues and sickness absence meetings, among others.  If you work in the private sector and would like to join us, please contact the Branch Office on 020 8760 5435.

 

 DO WE HAVE YOUR CORRECT ADDRESS?

When you move, it’s easy to forget to update us when there are so many other things to get sorted but it is vital we hold a correct current home address for all our members.   If you have moved recently and haven’t informed us of your new address, please contact the Branch Administrator in the Branch Office so your record can be updated.  We need this information to keep you informed of the issues that affect you and in order that you can take part in any ballot the Branch or the Union nationally holds. 

Alternatively, you can visit UNISON’s National Website www.unison.org.uk and log into My UNISON, where you are able make any updates yourself.

 

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