Thousands of key workers died during the pandemic looking after us.

In the public services nurses, care workers, cleaners and more made the ultimate sacrifice to help others. This was all the more heart-breaking because for years before COVID-19, these public service workers have been undervalued, underpaid and mainly invisible.

Years of neglect made the effect of the pandemic so much worse.  One example of that neglect was the PPE shortage that emerged when the pandemic hit. Another is the fragmented nature of care services for the elderly and vulnerable – where staff frequently experience low pay, insecure employment and impossible workloads to manage.

In our NHS a shortage of nurses and other key staff means there are fewer people to look after patients. This is the result of more than 10 years of spending cuts and austerity. The damage to all the vital services that make our communities strong and resilient, including schools, policing and local government, is plain to see.  

Despite all this, key workers in our public services pulled through for all of us. As we begin to return to normal, it’s crucial for all of us that the same mistakes aren’t made again and we don’t return to undervaluing our public services and the people who provide them. 

This autumn, politicians in Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont will be making important decisions about the future funding of our public services

Early signs suggest the UK government wants to pitch the public sector against private sector and will ignore long term structural problems that got us to where we are now.  

That’s why we’re calling for measures now to:


Rebuild all our public services, by securing long term investment and making money available to employ and train the number of staff that are needed to ensure our services are there when you need them.


Create fairer and safer work places with proper risk assessments.  Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.  Disabled workers need to have the right to work from home if they want to. 


Give public sector workers a decent pay rise because the pandemic has shown how important they are. This would also help the lowest paid out of in-work poverty.


Build a fairer and greener post COVID-19 society, in which the inequalities that have become so evident during the crisis are addressed as a matter of urgency.


Oct 5, 2020

We know many UNISON members are suffering financially due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our West Midlands Regional Welfare Committee has set up a voucher scheme to help members in the West Midlands.

To be eligible, you will need to have been a member for 4 weeks or more and you will need to show a reduction in income, such as from your payslip or by bank statements etc. 
To apply, you will need to fill out both forms and send directly to It is important that both forms are completed and sent as separate documents due to data protection.

It is also possible to send the forms by post, but we strongly discourage this because it will delay your application. The postal address is Private & Confidential, M Price, Secretary to the West Midlands Regional Welfare Committee, UNISON West Midlands Regional Office, 24 Livery Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 2PA.
Please note the fund is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. We therefore encourage applications to be submitted as soon as possible.

With the kindest of regards,
Sep 14, 2020

Black Lives Matter is Walking the Black Country!  Hope you can join some or all of it.  Friday 28th  August  09.30hrs Assemble The Clock, Stourbridge. 10.00hrs  Walk to Moor Street Brierley Hill  Arrive 12.00 hrs Speeches, Music, Poetry 12.30 hrs  Walk to Dudley,  14.30 hrs  Stone St Square -  Speeches, music, Poetry.  Conclude for the day  Saturday 29th August  09.30hrs  Assemble Stone St Square, Dudley 10.00hrs  Walk to Sedgley Arrive 12.00 hrs High Holbourn              (supermarket car pk), Sedgley             - Speeches, Music, Poetry. 12.30hrs  Walk to Wolverhampton via  13.00hrs Beacon Centre on Wolverhampton Road,  13.30hrs Fighting Cocks junction,                 - top Goldthorne Hill A4039/A459                - Walk to Queens Square, Wolverhampton.  14.30hrs - Speeches, music, Poetry. Close.  This is an inclusive event, initiated by Stourbridge Black Lives Matter and supported by Black Country Stand Up to Racism. Speakers and performers from the community are welcomed.   This is a weekend of historical significance in the struggle for racial equality. The anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Britain, the 'I had a dream' speech of Martin Luther King and much, much more.  Join us for some or all of the walk or come and take part at any of the meet points and encourage those walking. Let's play our part in history. Now is the time for real change.  No Justice ! No Peace!


Aug 27, 2020

Thank you to all members who took part in the consultative ballot on the NJC pay offer.

In the Dudley General branch, 80% of members voted to accept the offer while 20% voted to reject. Nationally, staff in the local government sector voted two to one (66%) in favour of the 2020/21 pay award.

The union’s national joint council committee accepted the offer from employers, but said it fell far short of the 10% claim and did not properly reward key workers for their exceptional contributions throughout the pandemic.

Aug 24, 2020

UNISON has a brand new set of FAQs for members so they know where they stand on a range of issues, including face coverings, cleaning, social distancing, childcare, cover supervision and lots more.

They cover all school settings: primaries, secondaries, special schools, nursery schools and early years.

Risk assessments

Before staff return to work in September, schools must provide a risk assessment saying how they will protect their staff. They should also set aside time to go through this with their staff. 

If you have not been spoken to about your risk assessment or had a risk assessment prior to your school opening in September, you should speak to your head teacher and request that a risk assessment is done before you return to work.

Vulnerable staff

UNISON does not accept the government's position that all vulnerable employees can attend school from September. Under the DfE guidance, little PPE would be provided and social distancing would be very difficult. As a result, schools and colleges will have fewer protective measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 than most other workplaces. Staff who are medically vulnerable or otherwise at higher risk will still therefore be at a greater risk if they contract the virus.

Our joint union guidance therefore calls for 'Clinically Extremely Vulnerable' (CEV) employees to be able to work from home from September if they choose to.

In relation to all other vulnerable and at risk groups, we want schools to undertake individual risk assessments to consider the range of measures needed to protect each individual, and for consideration of home working in these cases.

The guide covers:

  • Extremely clinically vulnerable staff
  • Clinically vulnerable staff
  • Pregnant staff or new mothers
  • Older or male staff
  • Overweight staff
  • Black staff
  • Disabled staff
  • Staff living with or caring for a family member who is medically vulnerable or at higher risk
  • Staff who are otherwise anxious about returning to work and mental health considerations

Joint unions advice on medically vulnerable and higher risk groups


Aug 24, 2020
Planning guide for further education colleges from September 2020
Aug 21, 2020

Sign up to Black Country Needs a Pay Rise here! 

The organisation wants to launch a serious new drive to unionise and organise workers - in particular the young and those in precarious work, and workers most impacted by ongoing issues around COVID-19. 

Aug 10, 2020
NHS WORKERS SAY TO PUBLIC SECTOR PAY AND INEQUALITY   We are calling on NHS staff and supporters to mobilise with us on 8th August to send a clear message to the government. We do not accept your plans to exclude us from the public sector pay increase and we will make ourselves heard until you listen.  This event is a peaceful protest against the governments decision Qp to leave NHS staff out of the recent pay increases.  Please observe social distancing. Wear a mask or face covering  We are feeling undervalued, demoralised, overworked and exhausted. We have lost 540 of our colleagues to COVID-19 and the fight is not over. Stand with us!  Location: Nottingham Market Square Plan of action: Meet at 11am, will have a 2 minute silence in remembrance for all those who lost their lives  @NurseSayNo
Aug 6, 2020

UNISON has launched a new web site, along with a leaflet that explains what a being a Safety Rep involves.

There is also a more detailed guide that explains the role in full, and the powers Safety Reps have at their disposal.

Aug 3, 2020

'We need our union to be stronger than ever'

Dave Prentis told UNISON's national executive council that the union must fight to ensure its members don't "carry the can" for an economic crisis.

The general secretary said the impressive growth in membership during the pandemic had to be maintained, "so we can do what we do best – campaign, organise and support every member that needs our help."

Read the NEC report

Local government pay consultation resources

What's the local government pay consultation all about? We've created a handy new document to explain the key points to members working in councils and schools, to help them decide whether to accept or reject the final pay offer.

Aug 2, 2020
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