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A Letter to All Members

Dear Members

As those of you who attended last year’s LSBU Unison AGM will recall I was elected as Branch Secretary whilst retaining my other position as co-Equalities Officer. I was delighted to take up this leading role as I had genuine aims and ideas to work with the Branch Committee in recruiting more members, to encourage current members to take up service positions within the branch and also to recruit reps amongst our outsourced members in order for them to have stronger recognition and self-sufficiency.

What followed a few months later for me was also a new work role within LSBU which meant more responsibilities and new things to learn. At the time I was involved in representing a few complex UNISON cases concerning both branch and outsourced members which required a great deal of my time. As you may or may not be aware union reps do not get facilities (protected) time to attend meetings, research and support outsourced members and with so few serving reps on the committee I found myself feeling rather overwhelmed. In order to protect my own health and wellbeing, I took the decision to stand down as Branch Secretary.

I want you all to know this was not a decision lightly taken: I believe in our union. I am proud of what UNISON has achieved. I hope we will as a branch, regionally and nationally continue to inspire and accomplish despite this Government’s mandate to reduce our powers in this post-Brexit climate. Let’s face it: people who are insecure or scared of others will often try to diminish and reduce their strengths in order to have power over them. I see UNISON’s strengths and stand firm in my commitment to ensure that our rights, equality and parity of opportunity in the workplace remain the integral part of what we stand for as our obligation to you, our members.

What I would ask of you is not only to keep faith with your branch membership but to encourage colleagues who are not yet members to become so. We are only as strong as our numbers.

One of the great benefits of being a steward-officer is being able to attend conferences and link not only with the Greater London Region but also nationally. It is always an education to listen to other people’s experiences, to learn from them and evaluate on a relative basis, the effectiveness of our collaborative working with the Vice Chancellor, the Chief Operations Officer, the Joint Negotiating Committee plus the UCU and JMB unions.

I believe we are doing well, but there is always room for development. The ability to lead the way in terms of how well unions and employers can work together is a massive responsibility and we are ever in need of our members’ assistance. Currently our branch membership is over 500 strong and yet we have only 4 active stewards. Imagine just 5% of our membership in need of a steward right now: maths is not my greatest subject but that is approximately 6 people per rep. Don’t forget we not only represent individuals but also groups and teams as well. It is a commitment, it is voluntary in addition to our jobs and sometimes it can also be thankless! None-the-less I sleep better at night knowing I belong to a group who will bargain on my behalf for better money/work conditions, who will go into bat for me on Health and Safety issues, who will stand with me if I am ever subject to victimisation, or unfair treatment from anyone in this
organisation, who will ensure the Equalities Act 2010 is a lived and worked experience.

Unlike the popular and negative notion that unions are all about striking, we really are
about talking, reasoning and finding workable solutions. That being said, we have to be
prepared to go as far as our rights within the law will take us but if any of you have been
afraid to become more involved because of being worried by how you will be perceived
then let me assure you that in almost 11 years of working at LSBU there have only been
two UNISON strike actions I can recall. What does that tell you? As union members we
are also protected by the Equalities Act so that no-one can penalise us or treat us
differently because we belong to a trade union. To that end I will ask that you become
more active within the branch: we have a vast range of training courses for reps and
officers. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact us and we
will happily respond.

Thank you for your time and I hope you will show support by attending the AGM on
Tuesday 13th March 2018. I would also like to thank Bev Goring for stepping back into
the role of Branch Secretary, Michael Veitch our Chair and all the LSBU UNISON
Branch committee members who give of their time without complaint and with
dedication.

All the best

Gill Hunte – UNISON LSBU Branch

 

It’s not too late to vote YES to strike action

We’re currently holding an industrial action ballot – and we need your vote. We want you to vote YES to strike action for an improved pay offer.

If you need a new ballot paper please call 0800 0 857 857 before noon on Friday.

Your employer has offered:

  • a one-year pay deal of 2% for most people or £425 (up to 2.7%) (whichever is greater)
  • 2% on London weighting
  • working groups on gender pay gap and casual employment.

But you deserve more.

Last month you were sent a ballot paper along with a freepost return envelope. It was sent to your home address,

If you’ve moved, you didn’t receive your ballot paper or you need a new one for any reason, this is your last chance to order a replacement.

Just call our ballot hotline on 0800 0 857 857 before noon on Friday.

Find out more

A new law means that at least 50% of members who are eligible to vote, must vote for industrial action for it to go ahead. So please vote and be heard – and ask your colleagues to vote too.

Finally, don’t forget you’ll need to return your paper before 10am on 25th October in order for your vote to count.

If you’ve got any questions, please do call the ballot hotline before it closes tomorrow at noon on Friday.

LSBU students – Stand Up to Racism!

 

This Saturday 18 March             #MarchAgainstRacism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NoMuslimBan #StandUpToTrump #TheresaTheAppeaser#EUMigrantsHereToStay #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter#NoToIslamophobia #NoToAntiSemitism #DefendFreeMovement#MigrantsWelcome #BridgesNotWalls #LoveMusicHateRacism

Join LSBU students going to the…..

  • National Demonstration on UN Anti-Racism Day Supported by the TUC, Unison, UNITE, NUT, CWU, UCU, ASLEF, PCS, FBU, BFAWU, MEND, Love Music Hate Racism, UAF, Woodcraft Folk, Love Music Hate Racism

 Getting there – meeting up at….

Elephant & Castle 11am outside Bakerloo Tube entrance

Brixton 11am outside the Tube station

Other groups meeting-up in Hackney, Islington, Waltham Forest, Islington, Lewisham, West London, look here for your nearest contact point.

Main Assembly Point – 12noon at Portland Place.W1A. Nearest tube is Oxford Circus .Look for the student bloc  Everyone will then march to Parliament Square for a rally at 2pm. Route map here.

Some of the groups who will march together:

Student SUTR has a student bloc on the day (see facebook event here).There are also blocs for Housing, LGBT+, Refugees Welcome. , Health workers LoveMusicHateRacism, environmentalists and many more.

Higher Education Pay Dispute Ballot

You should by now have received your ballot on whether to accept or reject the 2016/17 Higher Education pay offer of 1.1%. If you have still not received your ballot, please phone UNISON Direct on 0800 0 857 857 before noon on 15th September.

Following a consultative ballot earlier this year, LSBU UNISON and UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive are recommending that members vote to REJECT the employers’ offer and vote YES to industrial action to win a fairer pay offer and better working conditions.

LSBU UNSION is holding three drop-in sessions to provide you additional information about the ballot, including a briefing about the pay offer on Tuesday 13th September by our Regional Officer. These events are open to members and non-members, and lunch is provided:

Tuesday 13th September: Drop-in session in Perry Library, 2 East Training Room, 12-1.30pm. Lunch from 12pm, and Briefing on Pay Offer by UNISON Regional Officer Colin Inniss at 12.30pm.

Wednesday 14th September: Drop-in session with refreshments along the London Road Concourse, 12-2pm.

Thursday 15th September: Drop-in session in Technopark, 12.30-1.30pm. Room TBC.

Since 2009, workloads have continually increased and our pay has fallen in real terms by 14.5%, The only pay that has increased in the University sector is that of Vice Chancellors and executive staff. At LSBU, and in spite of the hard work of all of us, the amount spent on staff has decreased by more than £3,000,000 since 2010/11*.

Despite this, £21,848 was spent by LSBU on flights for Vice Chancellor David Phoenix alone in 2014/15, with 65% of those first or business class. This was up from just £130 the previous year**. The University has also committed to spend £100 million in redevelopment by 2024***, and spent £3.6 million on unnecessary restructures in 2014/15****. However, LSBU and the employers nationally won’t commit to more than a 1.1% pay increase.

We think that it is staff not buildings that are the lifeblood of universities, and that rather than spending money on ceaseless restructures and making staff redundant, LSBU and the employers nationally should commit to a full and fair pay increase for staff which recognises our massive contribution to our institutions. Only a YES vote to industrial action can achieve this.

We hope you will vote YES to industrial action to win the pay offer we deserve.

Please contact your local UNISON rep or Branch Secretary Beverley Goring (goringbl@lsbu.ac.uk) if you have any questions.

In solidarity,

LSBU UNISON Branch Executive Committee

Industrial Action Ballot

Dear Higher Education Members,

After our members voted overwhelmingly to reject the inadequate 1.1%, we are now asking you to vote in the industrial action ballot and have your say in higher education pay! Many local branches have been highlighting the huge increases in Vice Chancellor pay, the increasing numbers of those paid over £100,000 and the large surpluses across the sector. If you haven’t used it yet, check out this map and compare the different data across Universities:

https://fusiontables.googleusercontent.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col14+from+1kLu84TmswXfdBXriB89mW2fVTeeHQtUmZSytb0u7&viz=MAP&h=false&lat=55.99169169515241&lng=-1.294038569531267&t=1&z=6&l=col14&y=2&tmplt=2&hml=GEOCODABLE

Click on the blue link at the top for more information from your Greater London Service Group Executive Team and to find out why they are voting Yes to Strike Action and why they are asking you to as well. We believe  it’s important that Universities invest in their staff as well in bricks and mortar!

Do you want to know what your pay would be without recent years of low pay increases? Use our salary loss calculator:

https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2016/08/he-pay-calculator/

The Higher Education 2016/2017 Pay Ballot opens today and your ballot paper should arrive on your doormat in the next couple of days. Whether you vote to accept or reject, please take a few moments, use your ballot paper and pop it in the post.IMG_0927[1]

EU Referendum – UNISON Position

The result of the EU referendum on 23 June is on a knife edge. Given that the polls suggest a very close result and UNISON’s strongly held view that members will be better off if the UK remains part of the EU, we have been writing to members to try and boost voter turn-out.

All the evidence suggests that the lower the turnout on the day, the greater the risk of the UK leaving the EU. We know all members will weigh the arguments very carefully before voting on 23 June and that we respect their views completely.

UNISON’s role is to look out for members’ jobs and do everything we can to defend and where possible enhance their pay and standard of living. We will continue to do this regardless of the outcome of the referendum. In fulfilling our role, we have tried to assess the evidence and arguments on both sides of the EU referendum debate – and let members know what we think the impact will be on jobs, public services, employment rights if the UK leaves.

UNISON did not enter onto this position lightly, or in an undemocratic way. The union held an extensive six-week consultation across the entire UK earlier in the year. All branches were invited to take part and send in responses to help shape our approach to the referendum. This process showed overwhelming support for the union campaigning for a remain position.

UNISON is not an uncritical supporter of the EU. The union’s position is that we are better off if we remain and seek to improve the EU from within. In the final analysis we are backing Remain for the following reasons:

  • The regulations we rely on to protect members at work are enshrined in EU law and upheld by the European Court of Justice. Leaving would mean that critical rights – such as paid holiday, fair working hours, equal rights for part-time workers and maternity and paternity leave – are no longer guaranteed. The politicians that are likely to lead the country if we leave the EU are no friends of rights at work.
  • Leaving the EU would put the standard of living of our members at risk. Uncertainty is bad for any economy because it reduces investment and damages consumer confidence. The uncertainty of leaving the EU would hit all of us financially, driving up interest and mortgage rates, increasing prices and threatening jobs.
  • Leaving the EU would threaten public services. As the recent past has shown, a weaker economy leads to reduced government spending on everything from local government to the NHS, and policing to education. With the public sector already struggling to keep its head above water, we feel this is the wrong time to take that risk.

BURSARY OR BUST MARCH: Continuing the fight to save NHS bursaries

BURSARY OR BUST

We have called another march against the cuts to the NHS bursary. We are a grassroots, student led campaign and need your support! March with us for NHS bursaries and for the FUTURE OF THE NHS!

NHS bursaries are a LIFELINE for many – the cuts will affect podiatrists, physiotherapists, dental nurses, speech and language therapists, radiographers, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, midwives, nurses, dieticians and other AHP’s.

We, NHS students, work up to 50% in clinical placements (full time) which is why the bursary is fundamental to us because working part time is very difficult. We are not asking for special treatment, we simply want to keep our financial support in order to be healthcare professionals. If the NHS bursary is cut, it will mean only those who can afford to pay will become healthcare professionals. We strongly believe that a diverse range of people in healthcare professions is important.

We believe that less people will want to train, or retrain, to be healthcare professionals. For nursing, the evidence shows that less equals higher mortality rates. There is currently a deficit of 24,000 nurses which is set to continue to grow. An apprenticeship route has also been proposed for nursing which would mean that those training would recieve approximately £3 an hour. We feel that this is incredibly unfair.

In Osborne’s Autumn spending review, it was revealed that NHS bursaries would be cut and replaced with a loan system. Furthermore, with a freeze on loan repayment thresholds and a rigid Agenda for Change pay scale, NHS students who qualify into their professions will be dealt with further cuts in their pay. The NHS bursary campaigners support free education for all.

The imposition of a loan system is an attempt at breaking the tie between students and the NHS to pave the way for the complete dismantling of the health service in order to privatise and profit. NHS bursary cuts are simply the tip of the iceberg.

Please join us!
Supported by: The Peoples Assembly, DPAC, King’s College London Student Union, Unite, NUS, Unison,the RCN and GMB!

We will have a special performance from the AMAZING NHS CHOIR!!!
SPEAKERS INCLUDING:
Vivienne Westwood
Roger Mckenzie Assistant General Secretary of Unison.
Dr Aislinn Mcklin-Dougherty and Dr Mona Kamal
Our amazing Helen Corry reading some of her wonderful and original poems
Ann Corry a patient and lover of the NHS
More to follow very soon…..watch this space

 

More Details

The Trade Union Bill

Rarely is a government Bill as blatantly nasty, partisan and undemocratic as this government’s proposed Trade Union Bill.  The Bill seeks to:

  • bring in a threshold requirement of a 50% turnout for industrial action ballots and – for “important public sector services – a requirement of at least 40% of all eligible voters in favour of action;
  • end the ban on using agency workers to replace permanent staff during strikes;
  • introduce a mandatory requirement for unions to inform police and employers of strike plans 14 days in advance, including any proposed use of placards or loudspeakers, blogs or social media. The “lead person” on any picket line will have to wear an armband and gives their details to police and employers.
  • regulate and restrict workplace facility time;
  • prohibit the direct deduction of trade union subs from members wages in the public sector; and
  • require all members to give their written consent to opt into UNISON’s political fund – this is the fund that enables UNISON to conduct political campaigns (on pensions, hospital closures, etc.) and (via affiliated funding) ensure that UNISON’s polices are at the centre of the Labour party.

The Bill recently suffered 3 defeats in the House of Lords and has been referred back to the House of Commons.  This means that the struggle to defeat this malicious Bill is far from over.

What Can You Do?   This Bill is a direct attack on working people which means you. It will undermine your ability to have your voice heard loudly and clearly at work, and hand yet more power to employers.  Contact your MP by clicking on the following link, completing the email details and pressing ‘Submit’: E-Mail MP action

Become active in the campaign to stop the Bill by signing up for regular branch Defeat the Bill updates.