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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

A leaflet for members on ‘How to work safely’ has been produced and can be accessed here: https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2020/05/26089.pdf

This will be updated regularly as the situation develops.


Jun 8, 2020

The murder of George Floyd is another example of the racism that blights US society. There are those who would claim that the situation in the UK is different, but that’s not true.

Last year, the UK Independent Office for Police Conduct recorded a total of 276 deaths during or following police contact. Black people are overrepresented in cases including use of police force.

Racism, in all its forms, remains a part of our society. It exists when Black workers get paid less than someone else doing the same job or when they’re passed over for jobs that similarly or less qualified colleagues are appointed to. It exists when you’re more likely to be fined for breaching Coronavirus restrictions if you’re Black. And it exists too in the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities.

The current situation in America is horrifying, but sadly it is not surprising, nor is it unique to America.

That is why we all have to commit ourselves to be actively anti-racist in our attitudes and our behaviours. I am proud that UNISON has always been at the forefront of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns since our union’s earliest days.

Honouring the memory of George Floyd – and so many others – demands that we recommit ourselves to the fight against racism in all its forms. And I promise, your union will continue to play a leading role.

Dave Prentis
UNISON General Secretary


Jun 8, 2020

The Leader of the Labour Group on Dudley Council has called on the Council to reward the hard work and commitment of the Council’s key workers by reversing austerity era cuts to terms and conditions, called mandatory unpaid leave. 

The £1.1 million cost of reversing mandatory unpaid leave would be funded from the Council’s improving Council Tax revenues and reserves. 

Councillor Qadar Zada, Dudley Labour Group Leader, said “Council workers are key workers, providing essential frontline services to the public such as our carers, our refuse collectors, Repairs workers, Highways workers, street cleansers, Green care workers - the list goes on and on.

“I am so proud of all our workers who have contributed to providing services and saving lives during the ongoing Coronavirus emergency. 

“I am calling on the Leader of the Council, Councillor Harley, to reverse the austerity era mandatory unpaid leave that was introduced during the period when the Government cut Dudley’s funding by nearly £100 million. 

“What better way to reward our workers, who have risked their own health by continuing to turn up to work during the Coronavirus emergency, than to reinstate fully their paid leave entitlement? Not only should we thank them for their hard work we should put this money back into their pay as well. 

“I’m calling on the Conservatives to introduce this as a bi-partisan, cross Party show of support to our Council key workers, but if the Conservatives won’t do this, then Labour will if we retake control of the Council following the local elections next May.”

Best Wishes

Qadar

Cllr Qadar Zada
Leader of the Labour Group
Councillor - Netherton, Woodside & St. Andrew's
Dudley MBC


Jun 8, 2020

UNISON has produced guides for vulnerable groups in schools and colleges. There is a template letter to send to head teachers or college principals explaining personal circumstances. The guides cover those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable or vulnerable, employees who live with/care for someone in a vulnerable group, black employees, older employees (over 60), employees who have childcare responsibilities, and employees who are feeling anxious.


Jun 8, 2020

A senior Labour councillor has blasted Dudley Council’s irresponsible and haphazard approach to childrens’ safety and in particular, its failure to provide any assurances about the safety of children returning to school following government guidance advising schools that classroom based lessons can resume.

Councillor Sue Ridney, Labour spokesperson for Children's Services said she is angry about the Council’s haphazard approach and is concerned that the Council has yet to respond to the government's guidance. In particular she is concerned that.

  • The Council has failed to provide worried parents with any information about the measures that schools will put in place that will secure the safety of their children.
  • It is not clear whether parents will be fined if they choose not to send their children to school
  • There has been no engagement with families directly about the plans and families have not received any communication from the Authority.
  • No plans have been shared that demonstrate how the children, who will keen to catch up with their friends who they haven’t seen for months, will be socially distanced.
  • No indication has been given that there are sufficient teachers and/or measures to enable a safe return.
  • There has been no detail or direction from the Director of Public Health about the risks associated with a return to classroom based schooling and whether it is safe to do so.
  • The Cabinet member for Childrens services has been ‘invisible’ and does not appear to be providing the leadership required at this pivotal stage

Councillor Ridney added ''I am no clearer about what is going on. The Council has known for some time that at some point there would be the opportunity for children to return to school and during the period of the current lockdown, it has had the opportunity to make plans and implement the necessary changes to enable this to happen without exposing children to unnecessary risks.’’ She added ‘’ The safety of the Boroughs children should be the Council’s top priority.  As a responsible opposition, we will continue to support the parents, we will continue to listen to the advice of the experts, and we will continue to insist to the Council that children are not exposed to any unnecessary risk. Without any of the assurances about the issues we have highlighted, we do not feel that they will be.’’


Jun 4, 2020
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