Category Archives: Branch Meetings

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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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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Kensington and Chelsea Retired Members’ AGM and Lunch 2016

Once again our AGM and lunch was well attended and enjoyed by our members. This was the third successful gathering since introducing an annual general meeting with our retired members’ lunch. The lunch has been a long standing branch tradition since NALGO days. Reports, motions and speakers were all listened to with interest.

 

The buffet lunch

Members arriving

Members arriving taking their places

Raffle and AGM

Apart from the AGM and lunch we have also arranged a number of social visits and outings for retired members. Last summer these included a visit to the BBC, a trip to the BP Portrait Awards at the National Gallery and a day trip to Margate. We hope to continue in the same vein for years to come!

 

Our members are very supportive of our efforts on their behalf and are very appreciative of the hard work the Branch Retired Members’ Committee does throughout the year.

 

Verena Beane and Sue Clark (Joint Secretaries K&C Retired Members)

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Branch Endorses Corbyn

UNISON and the Labour party

A vital purpose of a trade union is to campaign for the protection of its members and for improvement in their terms and conditions.

The protections benefiting trade union members today are the result of many successful campaigns run by trade unions such as UNISON in previous years.

One key method of campaigning is to represent the interests of trade unions to government and politicians, as obviously employment legislation is the biggest factor in determining the terms and conditions of the workplace.

From its earliest days, the Labour Party has received support from the trade union movement because it has delivered legislation and policies to improve the lives of working people.

Choosing a new leader for the Labour Party

Following the recent General Election and the resignation of Ed Miliband the process is now underway to elect a new labour leadersLeader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. The four candidates standing for Labour Leader are Andy Burham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall.

UNISON is affiliated to the Labour Party and because of this all UNISON members are able to participate in choosing the next leader and deputy leaders of the Labour Party by registering as Affiliated Supporters – this is FREE, there is no charge.

UNISON members who have not yet signed up as Affiliated Supporters are still able to do so until 12 noon on 12 August. As an affiliated supporter they will be eligible to participate in the ballot which will be conducted by the Labour Party to select the Labour leader as well as London’s Mayoral candidate. FREE Sign up can be done online at http://support.labour.org.uk/. Remember to answer ‘yes’ to the question “are you a member of an organisation affiliated to the Labour Party?”.

In addition members of UNISON have the option of joining the Affiliated Political Fund which allows some of their subs to be used to financially support the Labour Party – but members must choose to opt in to this, it is not automatic.

Kensington and Chelsea’s preferred candidate, Jeremy Corbyn MP

UNISON is eligible to make a nomination, which is a formal endorsement of a preferred candidate, but it is important to remember that the election itself is based on the principle of ‘one member, one vote’. Labour party members, Labour MPs, trade union members and other affiliated supporters get one vote each and each individual’s vote carries the same weight.

The branch committee of Kensington and Chelsea UNISON met and chose to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as its preferred Corbyncandidate. Branch members who register as Affiliated Supporters (as explained above) are free to vote for any candidate of their choice, but the branch committee recommends Jeremy Corbyn:

  • He is a UNISON member and a former member of NUPE
  • He campaigns against low pay, privatisation and outsourcing
  • He offers a real alternative to the failures of austerity economics

As you may have seen in the news, in nominating Jeremy, the Kensington and Chelsea branch committee have mirrored the views of UNISON members nationally, who have also endorsed Corbyn.

[Luke Metclafe, Branch Labour Link Officer]

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Sue Plain Addresses Branch General Meeting

Sue plain, Branch Secretary of Southwark UNISON, addressed today’s General Branch Meeting on pay:

“This strike may define whether we are a trade union, or a work based advice giving charity. The pay claim UNISON has put in is really just a request to stand still financially.

The dispute over pay is a request to all members and non-members toSue Plain stand up and demand pay justice from the employer. Hiding away will not save anyone’s job.

We need to win over our colleague and fellow members who are wavering on this issue.

The pay claim slogan is £1 per hour. The employer is saying they cannot afford it. This is a myth. Nationally the coffers of local government have grown from 2.9billion to 19billion over the last 4 years so there is plenty of money available.

Furthermore the have substantially cut their wage bill and 400,000 public workers have been made redundant.

The employers wanted to tell us about the 2014/15 pay award in May even though it is due in local government workers’ pay in April! The union rejected this timescale and insisted that the offer be made in March.

This was a strategic move on part of the employers because they were warned that a low pay increase would be illegal – because the National Minimum Wage (NMW) increase that was due would make the lowest spinal points below this amount.

Austerity had been another reason given for four years of pay repression, but low paid workers spend a greater proportion of any increase straight away and in the local economy. Furthermore the government also benefits from increased tax and NI income which offsets any increase awarded.

It is no coincidence that the government has cut benefits to scare workers into accepting reduced terms and conditions.

The real debt is not the national debt, it is personal debt.

Local government workers are paid less than their equivalents in the police service, probation service, health and all other public services. Four years of pay suppression has only served to widen this gap.

We want the best staff and services in local government so it is our civic duty to fight for better pay to retain staff and attract the best talent.

Remember: A pay increase is for life – it is consolidated into you salary year on year and into your pension.”

[Sue plain, Branch Secretary of Southwark UNISON, National joint Council Member and standing for the SGE (Service Group Executive) in the forthcoming election.]

 

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George Binette Addresses May’s Branch Meeting

George Binette, Branch Secretary of Camden UNISON, was guest speaker atGerige Binette last week’s Branch Meeting. He spoke on the background to the pay freeze, the effects of the austerity measures on the local government workforce, and the need to reject the 1% pay offer and make a stand now:

“Camden UNISON is one of only 3 branches in London with over 3,000 members.

Public sector workers in Scotland are balloted separately from those in England and Wales. They have rejected the 1% pay offer and the process of initialling industrial action in now underway. England and Wales are still considered under consultation.

From October this year the National Minimum Wage will rise to £6.31 per hour (for those 21 and over) which means that scale point 4 will fall below this leaving the local government employers little choice but to scrap it. About 25,000 to 30,000 of local government workers are currently on just £6.30 per hour, which illustrates how far public pay has been eroded since the introduction of the pay freeze.

Real pay in the public service between 2009 and 2013 has fallen by more than 15% – where as living costs have grown at a high level: Rents in the private sector in London have risen by 8%; public transport fares have increased by 4%; the average cost of a basket of goods in a supermarket has gone up by a massive 40% in the last 6 years. Therefore all public sector workers have been hit twice with a reduction in pay and an increase in living expenses.

With inflation currently running at between 2.4% – 2.9% the 1% pay increase will actually be a 1.4% – 1.9% pay reduction in real terms.

Under the Labour administration the pay freeze was implemented for local government workers only. In May 2010 when the coalition government came into power the pay freeze became extended across the whole public sector becoming the norm. The Chancellor of the Exchequer held out an olive branch of £250 pay increase for the lowest paid workers but most local authorities did not implement it (only about 1/5 did).

On 7 May the NJC (National Joint Council for Local Government Services) with representatives from all regions, met to discuss the employer’s side final pay offer. They narrowly rejected a motion to reject the 1% pay offer and go for industrial action by 14 to 13 votes.

The wider union membership will be consulted in the next four weeks to ascertain if members will accept the 1% offer. If rejected the unions will have to move towards a ballot for industrial action. This will of course not guarantee success and is costly for members.

However it must be borne in mind that the 30 November 2011 strike over the pension changes to the local government scheme did result in better conditions and outcome (though it did not deliver everything the unions were asking for).

The situation outside local government is that the two biggest teaching unions – the NUT and NASUWT – have announced that they intend to have a programme of regional industrial action. The first set of action will take place on 27 June in the North West.

Furthermore the PCS and the fire brigade unions are also in contention with the government and are about to launch more industrial action to fight for their jobs and pay.

So we would not be isolated if we took action.

As all local government workers are very well aware, the pay freeze has not saved any jobs: Between 350,000 and 400,000 jobs have been lost so far. In Camden alone there have been 550 redundancies.

 If local government does not stand up this year to fight for pay then next year the government will continue to repress wages and it is important that members draw a line under pay.”

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Kensington & Chelsea UNISON Elections for Branch Officers and Stewards 2013

Kensington & Chelsea UNISON is looking for people to put their names forward to serve as stewards and Branch officers. Do you want to gain knowledge and experience of trade union activity? Do you want to help fight for a better deal for yourself and your colleagues? We always need individuals who want to become more involved with the Branch on an activist level.

As a UNISON steward you basically do three things:

  • Keep the Branch informed about developments in your workplace
  • Keep the UNISON members in your workplace informed and recruit new members
  • Represent Branch members who need help

If you want to start on the process of becoming a full workplace steward the first step you need to be nominated by members in your workplace. Your will need to complete this form and ask two UNISON members in your workplace to nominate and second it.

Once we have received this we let the College’s personnel department know about your election as steward/workplace representative.

You then need to attend a training course: Introductory Organising Stewards (3 days). By law you are entitled to paid time off from work to attend these courses.

The courses are held locally in London and we will pay any travel or subsistence costs. A list of course details and dates can be found here.

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