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Please see below breakdown by branch of Personal Injury Settlements for October 2017. The breakdown shows the amount of money which UNISON recovered for members in Personal Injury Claim Settlements. In the Region members received £96,959.00 in compensation for personal injuries.

 

WEST MIDLANDS REGION - OCTOBER 2017

BRANCH

AMOUNT (£)

BIRMINGHAM AND SOLIHULL MENTAL HEALTH  

6,500

BIRMINGHAM UNISON  

325

DUDLEY GENERAL  

12,328

HEART OF ENGLAND NHS FOUNDATION TRUST  

9,109

SANDWELL AND WEST BIRMINGHAM HOSPITALS  

28,200

STAFFORDSHIRE BRANCH  

15,544

STAFFORDSHIRE COMMUNITY HEALTH  

3,500

STAFFORDSHIRE POLICE STAFF UNISON  

1,600

UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL UNISON  

2,400

WARWICK DISTRICT BRANCH  

3,000

WOLVERHAMPTON ACUTE BRANCH  

3,700

WORCESTERSHIRE ACUTE HEALTH  

10,752

GRAND TOTAL 

96,959

 
Yours Sincerely
 
Jo Prescott
Health & Safety Officer
UNISON Dudley General

Dec 13, 2017
1. General Principles
This agreement outlines how Labour councils and the local government trade unions in England will work together to safeguard and deliver quality public services and employment. It outlines the principles we will follow to foster good relationships with each other. Trade unions and Labour councillors are part of the same labour movement and share the same values of equality, social justice and solidarity. These values will be reflected in our working relationships.
 
2. Blame for the Cuts
Labour is an anti-austerity party. We believe that austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity. Local government has borne the brunt of the Conservative government’s cuts since 2010. On average, councils have lost 40% of their funding. This is having a massive and detrimental impact on local public services and the workforce. Labour councils will do all they can to shield the most vulnerable from the impact of the cuts, while making clear to all residents that the cuts to local services have been caused by the Conservative government’s austerity agenda. Labour councils and trade unions will work together to explore ways of generating income from
in-house services and maximizing council funds before making cuts. We will unite in solidarity to campaign against Conservative cuts and highlight and secure the funding needed for their areas.
 
3. Promoting Good Industrial Relations
Labour groups and councils will have an ongoing open and comradely dialogue between the unions and the political leadership, as they have with other key stakeholders. Labour councils will be committed to working through existing consultation structures such as Corporate Joint Committees in a positive and constructive way They will work with the trade unions to improve those structures where necessary, to reflect the changing needs of councils and the workforce. Labour group leaders will demonstrate leadership in fostering good relationships with trade unions, and will seek to maintain a dialogue and ongoing discussion with trade union representatives, both on a formal and informal basis.
 
4. Exemplary employment practice
Local authorities should function as exemplars of good employment practice within their local areas and economies. Labour councils will: 
 
  • Practice and promote quality employment policies and procedures for in-house and outsourced employees
  • Consult with trade unions on all employment practices and procedures
  • Strive to become Foundation Living Wage employers for direct and outsourced employees
  • Review and minimise the use of agency staff, to generate savings and provide stable, quality employment
  • “Ensure that exploitative zero-hours contracts are not used – either in-house or in outsourced contracts – and where feasible ensure travel time between visits is paid to all homecare workers employed by external providers
  • Provide training and career development for all staff, to enhance performance, pay and job satisfaction
  • Ensure sufficient, well-trained human resource managers to respond fairly and effectively to current and future challenges
 
5. Local Government Pension Scheme
The LGPS is a well-managed, funded scheme which meets the needs of the majority of employees - not just the highly paid. Labour councils are part of the employers’ side involved in the LGPS and will: 
 
  • Actively promote membership of the scheme to all council employees
  • Involve the local trade unions and staff in discussion on any proposed changes to the scheme
  • Encourage external providers to seek ‘admitted body’ status and commission services on that basis
  • Seek to minimize investment management costs and invest ethically
 
6. Promoting equality
Labour councils recognize that the majority of their employees are women, many in part-time jobs, and that action needs to be taken to ensure that their workforces reflect their diverse communities and other ‘protected’ groups. Labour councils will:
 
  • Ensure that the requirements of the Equality Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty are met and reflected in fair employment practices which challenge discrimination and in workforce data collection and planning
  • Reflect the Part-Time Worker Regulations in their employment practices
  • Ensure that equal pay for work of equal value is maintained through regular equal pay audits and reviews of pay and grading structures
  • Provide equal access to career development opportunities to women and other ‘protected’ groups in the Equality Act
  • Apply equality law and principles when commissioning services
 
7. Promoting In-House Services
Labour councils recognize the value of in-house services and believe that they provide flexibility and, quality, maximizing the use of public funding. In-house services will be preferred providers, subject to the council’s duty to achieve best value. Labour councils will:
 
  • Be committed to consulting with trade unions throughout the procurement process, particularly concerning potential employment and service quality issues
  • Regularly monitor and review outsourced services, subject them to ‘challenge’ and provide relevant evidence - including comparative costs - before renewing contracts
  • Include an in-house option in as many tendering exercises as possible
  • Give in-house services proven not to be delivering value for money every opportunity to make the required improvements to avoid costly tendering and outsourcing procedures
  • Ensure that outsourced contracts are based on provision of decent pay, conditions and pensions, which are regularly monitored
  • Monitor outsourced contracts to ensure payment of – at least - the National Living Wage, travel time and statutory sick pay
 
8. Opposing forced academisation of schools and free schools
Labour councils believe that well run, local schools that provide good education should not be forced to become academies and also oppose diverting public money into free schools. The Government’s agenda is a waste of money, undemocratic and bad for education. Labour Councils oppose the government’s forced academisation and free school agenda and will actively campaign against these changes.
 
9. Opposing the Trade Union Act
Labour councils recognise the positive contribution that trade unions and trade union members make in our workplaces. We value the constructive relationship that we have with our trade unions and we recognise their commitment - and the commitment of their members - to the delivery of good quality public services. 
Labour councils will publicly and actively oppose the undermining of trade unions, deduction of trade union subscriptions thorugh our payroll (DOCAS) and facility time intended by the government’s Trade Union Act. Labour councils oppose the attack it represents on local democracy and on our right to manage our own industrial relations. Facility time should not be determined or controlled by the Government. Labour councils believe that facility time, negotiated and agreed by us and our trade unions to suit our own specific needs, has a valuable role to play in the creation of good quality and responsive local services and good industrial relations. 
Labour councils are happy with the local arrangements in place for DOCAS. We see this as an important part of our positive industrial relations. It is a cheap and easy-to-administer system that supports our employees. This system is an administrative matter for local councils and should not be interfered with by the UK government. Labour councils will:
 
  • Actively promote trade union membership among our employees and external service providers
  • Ensure access to trade union members by recognized trade union officials among in-house and outsourced employers
  • Seek to continue and develop our own effective industrial relations strategies with the trade unions
  • Do all we can to maintain our autonomy with regard to facility time and the continuing use of check-off
  • Aim to reach formal agreements with the trade unions on all aspects of the Trade Union Act, including facility time and check off.
  • Promote union learning agreements and quality training for representatives

Dec 11, 2017

 

UNISON has just released a new report called "Hand in the Till".

The report highlights the fact that since 2010, under current plans, £16bn will have been cut from central government support to local councils in England by 2019/20.

It also draws attention the growing surplus in the central share of Business Rates. The surplus is projected to grow by £1.8bn next year and reach £8.4bn. The report puts forward the simple proposal that in 2018/19, and in future years that growth in the government's share of Business Rates surpluses should be invested in local services and returned to local councils. It would result in billions of pounds being re-invested in local councils in England.


Nov 10, 2017

Following a recent key judgement on payment for sleep-in shifts (LELR 525), the government has launched a scheme to ensure that social care providers now pay workers what they are owed.

Under National Minimum Wage (NMW) regulations, sleep-in shifts can count as work for which NMW is payable. However, historically many providers paid a flat rate which was below the NMW. The result is that those providers are now liable to pay (often substantial) sleeping time arrears.

Following an assessment of the risks posed to the social care sector as a consequence of these liabilities, the government has now launched the Social Care Compliance Scheme (SCCS). Social care employers who have incorrectly paid workers below the legal minimum wage hourly rates for sleep-in shifts can opt into the scheme, giving them up to a year to identify what they owe to workers.

In instances where a worker complaint has been received, social care employers will be contacted directly by HMRC regarding the scheme, although they can also self-select where applicable. The SCCS scheme will require providers to conduct a thorough self-review in order to identify and then to repay any wage arrears to workers.

In return, providers will normally be offered a period of twelve months in which to conduct the self-review with access to HMRC technical support, and then up to three months to pay all arrears. Providing all arrears are paid within the SCCS timescales, these employers will not be subject to financial penalties or public naming.

Regardless of when an employer enters the SCCS, the deadline for repaying arrears to workers will not be later than 31 March 2019. Employers who decide not to opt-into the scheme will not be offered any further concessions and will be subject to the full HMRC investigative process – including financial penalties, public naming and possible prosecution where appropriate.

Iain Birrell of Thompsons Solicitors commented: “Sadly this is not the positive move it seems. The problem arose in part because as late as February 2016, HMRC was issuing guidance to its own staff that stated care workers were not entitled to the national minimum wage while asleep, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care providers followed that advice and will understandably fail to see why they should be at risk of censure for following official advice.

The crisis which now exists is exacerbated by the very tight financial margins in the industry, often as a result of the government’s own budget restrictions when awarding local authority contracts. There is little guidance for care providers as to how to calculate their own indebtedness, but the scheme builds-in an incentive for them to minimise it as much as possible.

Once again those who lose out are the workers themselves who have to wait for wages they are owed, and hoping that their employer doesn’t go bust in the meantime. The National Minimum Wage Act has been around since 1998 and this debacle is nothing short of scandalous.”

Click here to read the government scheme in more detail.


Nov 10, 2017

Graph of the week

I knocked up a little graph to compare how the public sector pay cap over the past six years compared to rising prices – it does not make pretty reading.

 

Thing to do #1 – check how YOUR pay has been affected

The above graph only gives the general picture. If you want to see how much money you have lost because of the pay cap please go to the UNISON website at the link below. Then scroll down to take a look at the pay calculator. All you have to do is enter your salary and it will tell you how much money you have lost over the past 7 years since the pay cap was implemented.

https://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/pay-up-now/

Thing to do #2 – sign the petition

What are you waiting for?  At the time of writing we have raced to 80,000 signatures in just over a week – that's 80% of the way to a possible parliamentary debate. If you can get just a handful of friends to sign, we'll soon hit the 100,000 mark and beyond to keep the issue of public sector pay right at the top of the agenda.
Go here to sign it:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200032

Thing to do #3 – attend the lobby of parliament on 17 October

UNISON’s Pay Up Now! campaign is putting real pressure on MPs and the Westminster Government to end the pay cap for all public sector workers, and give everyone the pay rises they need and deserve. The pressure we are putting on Conservative MPs is already beginning to pay off, but we’re saying loud and clear that we need the government to fund proper pay rises for all public service workers, not picking and choosing who gets a pay rise.

That’s why, on 17 October we need UNISON members to take the arguments directly to the politicians in Westminster.
Link to the Facebook page event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1764165350279336

More info here:

https://www.unison.org.uk/events/unison-tuc-lobby-parliament-pay/

UNISON motion agreed at Labour Party Conference

Last week was Labour Party Conference and UNISON submitted a motion on public sector pay that was carried. Details are below.

Composite 2: Public Sector Pay

Conference notes that on September 12th the government removed the public sector pay cap, but only for some sectors and is still only offering below inflation pay rises. The vast majority of public sector workers remain subjected to the punishing 1% pay cap.

Conference notes that CPI inflation stands at 2.9%, according to September 12th ONS data.

Conference notes that this means public service workers – including those employed in the private and voluntary sectors delivering public services - are facing yet another year of real terms pay cuts.

Conference notes that despite widespread public support for public services and those who provide them, the government have still failed to act and deliver the meaningful pay rise all public service workers need and deserve. Services are already suffering from recruitment and retention problems.

Conference welcomes Labour’s commitment in the 2017 manifesto to end the public sector pay cap.

Conference believes that what is best for public services is a return to meaningful pay negotiation/bargaining across the public sector, with pay rises fully funded by the government and a return to at least pre Tory austerity levels of pay across ALL public services.

Conference resolves that Labour’s next manifesto will commit to fully funded, above inflation pay rises across all public services, reversing the impact of the pay cap and restoring public sector pay to at least pre Tory austerity levels in real terms under the next Labour government

Mover: UNISON
Seconder: Bolsover CLP

Cheers
Ravi Subramanian
Regional Secretary


Oct 3, 2017

Unison has won a landmark case in the Court of Appeal that extends unions' consultation rights to all workplace issues that affect their members.

Employers previously only had to consult with unions where the law explicitly required it, such as when employees are transferred from one employer to another, or when workers are made redundant.

But Unison took the London Borough of Wandsworth to task after it made parks police redundant without consulting the union, and the ruling in Unison's favour by the Court of Appeal sets a precedent that means employers will now have to consult their workers over a wider range of issues.

Unions will now need to be involved in issues around working hours and holiday pay, Unison has reported.
General Secretary for the public sector union Dave Prentis said: "It means that employees in any workplace where there's a union will now benefit from greater protection at work.

"The message to bosses is they will have to treat their staff more fairly over pay and working conditions. If they fail to consult unions then they will be acting unlawfully and could be taken to court."


Sep 5, 2017

UNISON has won a landmark court victory today (Wednesday) against the government, which means that employment tribunal fees will now be scrapped.

The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.

From today, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.

The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals. This is since July 2013, when fees were introduced by Chris Grayling, the then Lord Chancellor.

Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200. This has been a huge expense for many low-paid employees, says UNISON.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government is not above the law. But when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.

“The government has been acting unlawfully, and has been proved wrong – not just on simple economics, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too.

“It’s a major victory for employees everywhere. UNISON took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. Unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand.

“These unfair fees have let law-breaking bosses off the hook these past four years, and left badly treated staff with no choice but to put up or shut up.

“We’ll never know how many people missed out because they couldn’t afford the expense of fees. But at last this tax on justice has been lifted.”

UNISON assistant general secretary Bronwyn McKenna said: “The Supreme Court correctly criticised the government’s failure when it set the fees to consider the public benefits flowing from the enforcement of legal rights enacted by Parliament.

“The effective enforcement of these rights is fundamental to Parliamentary democracy and integral to the development of UK law. UNISON’s case has helped clarify the law and gives certainty to citizens and businesses in their everyday lives.”

The decision marks the end of a four-year fight by UNISON to overturn the government’s introduction of fees.

https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2017/07/unisons-tribunal-fee-verdict-victory-everyone-work/


Jul 27, 2017

The Local Government Association (LGA) is consulting councils on our pay claim and holding a series of regional meetings between now and mid August. It is crucial we maximise political pressure on local employers – as well as national - during this period. Given the drastic ongoing cuts to local government funding, we want councils to call on the LGA to make urgent representations to Government for additional funding to meet our claim. The first stage of our campaign is to build awareness of the NJC pay claim at local level with members and councillors.


Jul 24, 2017

Please see the following link for the 2017 Equality Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2V868JJThis survey closes at 5pm on Monday 7 August 2017

Completing our survey entitles members to go into the draw for three nights for two people at Croyde Bay Holiday Resort! (You do need to provide your email address for this purpose.)
 
Making workplaces fairer and more equal for our members is a central part of the work that UNISON does, and this survey will help us find out how well we are succeeding and where we might need to consider making changes to our priorities

Jul 13, 2017

Jul 6, 2017
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