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A crane collapse at a construction site in Bow,  East London yesterday has led to the death of an 85-year-old woman, June Harvey, with a construction worker remaining critically ill in hospital. The victim was described as a "very caring woman" who was "loyal to her family" by her great nephew, Sam Atkinson, 28, who lived with her, alongside his mother. Our thoughts are with the families and all those affected by this tragic accident. 

Construction Safety Campaign can be seen protesting outside the site in Bow,  East London this morning demanding an urgent, full, and complete investigation into the circumstances that led to this accident without there being any delay. The CSC calls for the lessons to be learned and followed up by changes in health and safety law to ensure that similar accidents don’t take place in the future.

The CSC said that our country has a dreadful history in the collapse of cranes which has led to so many deaths:

On 21 June 2017, a crane collapsed in Crewe killing two workers, David Newall, 36, and Rhys Barker, 18, and injuring one other person. On 25 July 2017, it was announced that a third man David Webb, 43 years of age, had now died from his injuries.

On 6 January 2017, a manager at a plant hire firm was jailed for two years over a crane collapse in Glasgow that killed one worker and seriously injured another on 20 June 2012. Garry Currie was killed and Mr Nisbet, a self-employed worker suffered serious head injuries when the collapse happened.

In September 2006 a crane driver, Jonathan Cloke and a member of the public, Michael Alexia were killed from a crane collapse on a Barrett’s Building site in Battersea South West London. This this led to the setting up of the ‘Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group’ and further led to our success of getting the “Conventional Tower Crain Regulations” in 2009 and the registration of cranes This was junked when the Tory Government was returned to power in 2010. Disgracefully, it took ten years for the Battersea crane collapse case to go to court.

We need to bring back the rescinded 2009 Crane Regulations but extend these regulations to include all types of cranes.


  • All Cranes should be subject to testing and inspection by specialist crane companies who are independent of the crane provider and operator companies.
  • There should be a shelf life limitation on each crane after which they must be scrapped.
  • Fatigue of crane drivers and daylight limitations must be considered with restrictions placed on the number of hours of worked
  • Consultation must take place with members of the public that could be affected prior to cranes being used on site.
  • Laws must be put in place so that crane operators or any other construction worker should not fear that by making complaints about lack of safety they could be under the threat of losing their job or and being blacklisted from future employment if they raise health and safety concerns. In addition, companies who have been found guilty of such practise is not allowed to tender for either public or private work.
  • Cranes prior to use on site will have a crane safety erection and operations plan along with a permit to work file which must show: The safety plan for the erection of cranes. Risk assessments and methods of work required from each operation carried out by the crane.
  • Far greater amount of visits by Health and Safety Executive Inspectors to construction sites before, during and after cranes are erected, also visits to the company depots that are used to carry out the tests and maintenance of crane's prior to their delivery to construction sites.
  • Greater attention to the testing and examination of bolts is important as they are the weakest link if not suitable and not tightened properly.
  • Competence of erectors and drivers and checks on the competence of substitute crane drivers.
  • Poster/emergency plans to be on site as well as on a database. These plans must involve the immediate local community.
  • Identification of cranes by numbers on the side of these crane's to be linked to a HSE database of history of these cranes, date of manufacture, amount and type of use, record of any damage to these cranes, any past dangerous occurrence resulting from their operations.
  • Larger fines and the use of corporate manslaughter prosecutions for directors of companies whose failure to provide safe workplaces lead to the deaths and serious injuries of workers and members of the public. 

The UK is one of the worst countries for having tower crane accidents. In the decade before the Crane Register the HSE said there were 60 crane accidents, 9 deaths and 25 serious injuries.

Increasingly, prosecutions by the HSE take an enormous amount of time. This is a callous way to treat bereaved families who not only suffer the totally unnecessary and negligent death of a loved one when they are plunged into many years of legal nightmares.  This must change.

Construction Safety Campaign
07500 169 151

Jul 13, 2020

We find ourselves with some colleges starting to reopen their sites whilst others have been required, or have chosen, to begin this process in August/September.

Whilst none of us know what the future holds what we do know is that keeping you safe will be our absolute priority in the coming months, particularly now we face the prospect of local lockdowns, as we have already seen in Leicester.

Never has it been more important to have good reps in colleges. We have many great ones already and need even more. If you would be interested in becoming a rep then please contact your local branch who will let you know the process and talk you through the support and training you will receive.

We have had great success so far in our negotiations with employers employers on health and safety and risk assessments. These talks will continue as the guidance from the government changes.

We will also be focused on other areas that will be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis including:

  • Pay
  • Terms and conditions, including annual leave
  • Job security

You can keep up to date withe the ever changing situation on our dedicated UNISON in Colleges website and our social media.

UNISON in Colleges

UNISON in FE Twitter

The UK economy has been hit hard by this crisis and FE colleges need to be at the forefront of the plan for economic recovery. Never has the need for a skills-led recovery with a particular focus on vocational training and apprenticeships been more important.

We will be campaigning hard on these issues. In the next few weeks you will hear from us again on this so keep an eye out for e-mails. If you would like to contact us in the mean-time please do so at

All the best,

The UNISON Further Education Team

Jul 9, 2020

UNISON has produced a leaflet providing guidance for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnics on COVID-19. Please see link below:

Jul 2, 2020

We will soon ballot members on whether they accept or reject the NJC final pay offer. Due to Covid-19, this ballot will likely take place online. 

UNISON's NJC Committee believes strongly that the pay offer falls far short of what members need and deserve. Local government staff have suffered years of real terms pay cuts and have shown how vital they are during the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2.75% pay offer does not meet our pay claim, the increase in annual leave will benefit very few people, and there is nothing to meet our demand for a shorter working week. However, some on the committee noted that local government is struggling financially which could impact on jobs and that the offer is higher than inflation.

The Committee is clear that discussions with the employers can go no further, so this offer is the best achievable by negotiation. If members wish to reject the offer, they must be prepared to take significant industrial action in order to achieve an improved offer.

Jun 30, 2020

For our members who work for Dudley Council, please see the below message sent out by the Chief Executive:

The Council recognise as your employer that the emerging Public Health evidence has identified a higher risk related to COVID for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees.  We appreciate that our BAME employees may be feeling an increased anxiety in relation to returning to the workplace.  As part of our commitment to ensuring we have robust arrangements in place which address the range of implications for BAME employees arising from emerging evidence, we want to fully engage with you to aid our understanding of the concerns and issues from your perspective that can be used to contribute to and shape plans going forward.

Whilst we recognise that Covid has created a number of anxieties for staff in other vulnerable groups, measures have been taken to protect the workforce, particularly staff with health and age concerns and are covered under previous risk assessment processes.  In addition, the focussed nature of the conversations during the sessions will address specific needs of our BAME colleagues and therefore for non-BAME colleagues the focus of the meeting will not be relevant.  Should you have any concerns regarding your own position in relation to Covid that you feel have not already been addressed, please speak to your line manager who will discuss these with you and arrange if necessary for an individual risk assessment to be undertaken.

There will be daily two hour sessions, that will be facilitated by an external advisor, starting from Wednesday 17th June until Tuesday 30th June for up to 10 staff per session.  The full list of dates and times are as follows:

  • 17th June – 10am-12noon
  • 18th June – 2-4pm
  • 19th June – 3-5pm
  • 22nd June – 11am-1pm
  • 23rd June – 10am-12noon
  • 24th June – 2-4pm
  • 25th June – 3-5pm
  • 26th June – 11am-1pm
  • 29th June – 10am-12noon
  • 30th June – 2-4pm

To register your attendance at a session please can you book using MyHR.  You can do this by going to the career / development tab.  Search for BAME and choose which session would like to book onto and press “book onto course”.  You will then be sent a link to join the MS Teams session that you have registered to attend.

A number of one-to-one meetings are available for BAME employees who may wish your feedback to remain confidential or may not wish to be involved in the larger engagement sessions, please email for availability of these slots. 

Once all of the sessions or one-to-one discussions have been held our external advisor will collate the information, which will be used to identify key concerns and develop findings, these will inform a report with identified recommendations to be received and considered week commencing 13th July.  A range of short, medium and long term actions which can deliver tangible race equality outcomes will then be agreed.  

I very much hope that you can join one of the sessions that will provide safe space and time to explore your thoughts and feelings about the situation and that you share your experience of working for the council during this time with suggestions of what we can do to improve and plan for your return to work. 

Kind Regards.

Kevin O’Keefe
Chief Executive

Jun 18, 2020

Migrant workers on the COVID frontline deserve our thanks and support

The government has offered free 1-year visa extensions to some medical staff, but has left out thousands of care workers and lower-paid NHS staff, including healthcare assistants, hospital cleaners and porters.

That’s deeply unfair. Migrant workers are looking after us, the government should look after them. 

Ask your MP to vote in support of an important cross-party amendment to the Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament, which will include migrant care and lower-paid workers too.

Email your MP now

Jun 18, 2020

Please see below the latest circular from NJC on Coronavirus and quarantine. 

Jun 18, 2020

The annual TUC Women Chainmakers’ Festival is moving online this year due to Covid-19. It will take place 11:00 Sat 4 July. This virtual event will include:

  1. The famous Mary Macarthur 'Call to Arms' and 'Victory Speech'.
  2. Short chain making related films.
  3. 'Forging new links’ interactive panel discussion.

The panel includes:

  • Zarah Sultana MP, Coventry South
  • Dana Mills, writer and activist.
  • Eleanor Smith, ex- MP for Wolverhampton South West and long standing local activist.
  • Nicky Downes, Joint Branch Secretary Coventry NEU
  • Maureen Scott-Douglas, Unite WM Women's Officer
  • Chair: Kathryn Salt, TUC Midlands Women’s Committee, Chair

The panel will explore how progressives can build wider coalitions to broaden support and secure real and lasting change.

Please note you will need to pre-register for this event here:

Jun 15, 2020

Camden UNISON has organised an online Soul and the Civil Rights Movement event for this week. As you may know, the branch has organised a meeting and fundraising gig for Stand Up To Racism each year at NDC, and this event is on the night that would have been held, Wednesday 17 June.

They decided to organise this event after George Floyd was murdered by the police in the US. Attached is a flyer for the event. There will be an introduction by Roger McKenzie, UNISON Assistant General Secretary, and it will be live streamed from 7pm on the Camden UNISON Facebook page.

Jun 15, 2020

Jun 12, 2020
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