The 2017 K&C Branch AGM

The 2017 Branch AGM was held on Wednesday 15 Feb in the Small Hall at Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall.

Sean Fox, Haringey Branch Secretary & National Joint Council Member for Greater London was the speaker at yesterday’s Branch AGM. Sean sits on the UNISON national committee that negotiates on pay with the local government employer.

NJC scales are local government pay scales, which are extensively used in the voluntary sector. They areagm-pic-one a result of negotiations between trade unions. Due to government restricted pay increases spinal points have begun to bunch up. Negotiations on a revised pay spine will begin in March, after the pay data to be used to model alternatives has been finalised and jointly agreed with the LGA.

Last year’s nominal 1% increase was actually wiped out by the 1 1/2 % increase made by the government to our members National Insurance contributions.

In 2010 and 2011 there was a national pay freeze in local government and no pay increase was given. Since then there has been an annual 1% pay increase and we are currently in the second year of a two-year 1% pay deal. The government (under Chancellor Osbourne) restricted local government pay increase to 1% until 2020. This would mean that earnings for our members in local government would be worth 1/3 less than in 2010.

Additionally this pay suppression is further impacted by higher inflation.

The UNION and its members will have to take action if they are to achieve a decent offer. If this fails to happen we run the risk of becoming accustomed to annual 1% increases and continual pay deterioration.  

A copy of the AGM booklet can be downloaded here.

 

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Pay Update

moneyNational Joint Council (NJC) Pay Spine Review

As part of the 2016-18 pay deal, the NJC agreed to review the NJC pay spine and established a working group to conduct the review. UNISON’s NJC Executive members and an NJC Committee low paid member represent UNISON on the working group.

At its first meeting on 11 January, the working group agreed (on a without prejudice basis) to proceed according to the three principles below:

  • That a revised pay spine should look similar to the existing one: i.e. individual pay points linked to a specific salary figure
  • That the differentials between each of the pay points should be consistent
  • That a revised pay spine should be extended beyond the existing maximum pay point 49

We anticipate negotiations on a revised pay spine will begin in March, after the pay data to be used to model alternatives has been finalised and jointly agreed with the LGA.

NJC Pay Claim 2018/19

The NJC Committee has agreed to make our pay aspirations clear to the LGA while the negotiations on the pay spine take place. The intention is to lodge the 2018 pay claim by June this year, subject to agreement with GMB and Unite.

Our proposed timetable for agreeing, discussing and lodging the claim is:

27 April: NJC Committee discuss and agrees draft claim for consultation with branches and members

2 May: Start of consultation over the claim

26 May: End of consultation

31 May: NJC Committee meets and agrees UNISON’s proposals for the claim

June TU Side meets soon after and agrees the claim for submission

The NJC Committee has also considered our campaign for more funding for both the pay spine review and future pay increases above 1%. The Committee believes the current situation calls for:

 A union-wide campaign calling for an end to public sector pay restraint

 An NJC campaign, based on a claim for 2018 -19, which demonstrates our pay aspirations to the LGA and highlights low pay in local government and schools to the public

 A widespread political campaign to get recognition of the need and support for additional funding for the pay spine review and NJC pay in the longer term

We have already taken some steps to raise the issue within the LGA Labour Group, amongst MPs and with the DCLG Select Committee. We will also need significant political pressure from Regions and branches. Campaign details will follow.

pay-banner-2017

 

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Winter Fuel Grant

Get help staying warm this winter –

With rising fuel costs and another cold winter many members are worried about how they’re going to pay this year’s winter fuel billsfireplace

Help is on hand

“There for You” has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income by way of a one-off payment of up to £50

To apply and download the application form here.

Eligibility: To be considered for a grant, you must be able to show that you meet the following criteria:

Either

You are in receipt of housing benefit
Or
Your household net income is less than £18,000

And

Neither you/your partner have savings in excess of £800 (including rolling bank balance)

You have not received a grant from UNISON There for you in the last 6 months.

You must have paid a minimum of 4 weeks subscriptions before 1st December 2016

Your application must be received no later than 17 February 2017 Applications will then be processed and decisions communicated over the following weeks

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Branch Officers and Stewards Elections – 2017

Kensington & Chelsea Unison will shortly be electing its branch officers and stewards for the forthcoming year (March 2017- March 2018). Please consider standing to serve in the Unison branch if you want to represent your colleagues and press for a better deal for fellow members. Please click on the links link to access the relevant nomination forms.

Steward or Branch Officer

Forms should be returned to the branch office at the Town Hall or by email 3 February 2017.

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Trade Union Act – Consultation

Here is a copy of the UNISON member consultation on the Trade Union Act’s changes to the way members joining unions intentions regarding the political fund are captured.

 The changes will be that a) all new members must actively opt-in to the political fund (whereas they have to opt-out now) and, b) unions will have to remind members annually of their right to opt-out. The implementation date for these measures is 28 February 2018.

If once you have review the document and its questions in appendix 1, send any feedback, queries or answers/thoughts to the Branch office.

 

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Social Workers Overwhelmingly Oppose the Government’s Social Work Reform Plans

A major UNISON survey of 2,858 social workers has revealed that they reject key aspects of the Government’s proposals to reform the sector.

In August and September UNISON social worker members in England were asked tohand-cut-outs complete a survey which asked for their views on the government’s reform proposals contained in their Children and Social Work Bill.

The findings have now been published in this report.

The headline results are:

  • Just 1% of social workers believe that the proposals put forward by the government will address the main concerns that they are facing.
  • Just 10% of social workers think local authorities should be able to exempt themselves from children’s social care legislation, which the government believes will allow for social workers to achieve better outcomes for service users.
  • 69% of social workers believe that allowing local authorities to exempt themselves from children’s social care legislation will lead to more children being placed at risk. Only 8% of social workers believe that it won’t lead to more children being placed at risk.
  • 90% of social workers believe that they should be regulated by an independent body rather than directly by the government.
  • 96% of social workers believe that private companies should not be allowed to take over the running of social work functions from local authorities. Only 1% said they trust the not to privatise social work services.

These findings represent an overwhelming rejection of the government’s proposals.

The Government has already indicated that it will no longer require social workers (adults, children’s and mental health) to be directly regulated by them but it is still pressing ahead with the other controversial aspects of the Bill.

The Bill is being debated by the House of Lords on Tuesday the 8th of November but will be debated by the House of Commons in the coming weeks. Please encourage your members contact your local MP and ask them to speak out about the dangerous aspects of the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill.

Instead ask them to call upon the Government to:

  • The Bill is being debated by the House of Lords on Tuesday the 8th of November but will be debated by the House of Commons in the coming weeks. Please encourage your members contact your local MP and ask them to speak out about the dangerous aspects of the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill.
  • The Government has already indicated that it will no longer require social workers (adults, children’s and mental health) to be directly regulated by them but it is still pressing ahead with the other controversial aspects of the Bill.
  • Abandon the dangerous and controversial elements of the Bill which allow local authorities to exempt themselves from important statutory duties towards children.
  • Agree to meet with a range of frontline social workers and their representative bodies to properly discuss how the challenges facing social work can be overcome.
  • Listen to the views of looked-after children, their families and supporters to learn about their experience of social services and related support.
  • Invest more resources into supporting social work services across England.
  • Ensure that social workers continue to be regulated independently.

 

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Exit Payments in the Public Sector

As part of its attack on public sector workers, the government has introduced a setpublic-secotr of changes to exit payments (including redundancy payments) in the public sector – each set of proposals goes further than the last. All fly in the face of local, and even national, collective agreements, some agreed at the highest levels of government. Some of the proposals will mean re-opening regulations on pension entitlements, breaching the commitment not to alter public sector pensions for 25 years.

UNISON have produced a document which outlines the proposed changes and what they mean for members’ terms and conditions of service. You can view the document here.

 

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