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Kensington and Chelsea Branch Meeting, 18 July 2016-07-18

Speaker: Roger McKenzie Assistant General Secretary at UNISON

The referendum has resulted in an increase in racist abuse. Some people where taken in byRoger the rhetoric that divides people, saying some of us are better than others and life would be better without those kinds of people around. Even some people from black community have been heard saying things against Eastern Europeans. It has made for a poisonous atmosphere.

The message has been there’s no point standing together -it’s everyone for themselves.

Many UNISON members working in the UK who originating from the EU report feeling unwelcome in the UK now. “Why do they want us to go?” they ask.

170,000 people join UNISON year.

60% of those who join UNISON come from the private sector. Recognition is difficult in this sector because many private sectors employers are hostile and the only thing we can do it go in on the back of the member’s right to be accompanied. This does not give the union the means to negotiate or consult on pay and conditions with the employer.

On the other side, lots of people have been leaving UNISON because they are made redundant or have had enough of working in public service. Higher workloads caused by fewer staff compounded by continuous job uncertainly and near zero pay increases have all contributed towards poor morale and staff leaving.

Gateshead UNISON says that they now have more staff who want to go on redundancy than there are jobs being made redundant

High levels of Privatisation in the Home Office is a warning that the new prime minister will be pursuing the privatising agenda.

Roger will be doing a number of road shows supporting EU members in the workplaces across the UK Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants. The trade union movement will have to support those under attack.

Now is the time to get the message across to the politicians processing leaving Europe; that we value other EU nationals working in the UK and that we want to retain our employment rights.

UNISON needs to be well organised on the ground with reps to assist members and recruit.

We have shown that we can fight anti-union legislation, managing to stop the removal of DOCAS by the Trade Union Bill. However history tells us that the government will come back for more.

Working people may have their disagreements but we need to stick together. Need to build together and build the movement for working people.


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Professional standards for Teaching Assistants launched

UNISON, working with a range of partners, has produced a Link that will enhance the work and profile of teaching assistants.

UNISON began work on the standards three years ago, working with the National Education Trust. Our work was picked up by the Department for Education (DfE) who set up a working party to develop the standards. Unfortunately the new government decided not to publish the final draft.

The DfE intervention unfortunately wasted two years, during which time we could have implemented the standards and get them up and running in schools. During this period UNISON has been involved in the production of standards for other schools staff including Link and Link

These new teaching assistant standards continue the professional work that UNISON does for our school support staff members.

We have taken the opportunity of reviewing the DfEs final draft and worked with a wider group of partners so the new standards are now produced and endorsed by UNISON, NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers), NET (National Education Trust), London Leadership Strategy, and Maximising TAs, with involvement and support from Rob Webster (UCL Institute of Education), Paula Bosanquet (University of East London), Maria Constantinou, schools-based practitioner, and Dame Kate Dethridge NLE, Headteacher of Churchend Academy Teaching School (home of the Reading Teaching School Alliance) and former chair of the DfE working group that drafted the standards.

You can find a copy of the standards here .

An article on story of the standards appears in Schools Week magazine: Link

The new standards will bring teaching assistants into line with their teacher and head teacher colleagues, both of whom already have their own sets of standards. The standards help to clarify the roles of teaching assistants as well as training and development expectations.

Ruth Levin  

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2016 And 2017 NJC Payscales & Allowances

The NJC Joint Secretaries have now sent official notification to local authorities to implement the 2016-18 pay offer. Details of this notification – with the new rates of pay applicable from

The pay scales for 1 April 2016 and 1 April 2017 can be downloaded here: Pay Scales

The UNISON NJC Committee will meet on 8 June 2016 to consider issues arising from this year’s pay round.

As agreed in the pay offer, the NJC will carry out joint reviews of term-time working and the NJC pay spine. The Terms of Reference and timetables for these reviews will be agreed and published shortly.


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NJC pay – Latest Update

The Employers’ Side of the NJC met on 1 April to discuss the proposal by the three unions for a one-year deal and agreed timetables for implementation of the reviews of term-time working and the pay spine. In response, they said that they are not prepared to make a one-year offer and have only offered a Joint Secretaries meeting to establish a tiMoneymetable for the reviews. The Employers’ letter is attached here.

UNISON’s NJC Committee met yesterday to consider the Employers’ response. After a lengthy discussion, the Committee voted to continue to pursue the option of taking industrial action later this year. UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee will consider the Committee’s request for a ballot for all-out strike action on 13 April.

Unite also have a mandate for selective action on pay and will be meeting on 21 April to consider next steps. GMB members have now voted to accept the two-year pay offer by 9:1.

As UNISON and Unite remain in dispute over this year’s pay offer, the reviews of term-time working and the pay spine will not start until pay is settled.

The Employers’ response is extremely disappointing. The NJC needs to get on with the important work of reforming the pay spine to deal with the inconsistencies in pay and grading structures caused by the real Living Wage and the National Living Wage. School support staff have waited too long for a review of term time working too.

However, the pay offer means that 60% of NJC employees would receive just 1% in 2016 and in 2017, meaning the value of your pay will fall even further. More than half of the cost of our pay claim could be met from the higher tax and National Insurance income that would come from meeting our claim and from reduced in-work benefits.

The higher increases proposed on the lower pay scales are to ensure that employers comply with the National Living Wage law and to ‘front-load’ some of the increase to meet the £9.35 level which will be needed by 2020. Members have to be paid this – whether or not they were included in the LGA’s offer.

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Pension Increase next April

At April 2016, for the first time in around 35 years, the Basic State Pension is set to increase in line with average earnings under the terms of ‘triple lock’.

The National Average Earnings increase over May to July 2015 (compared with the same three months a year ago) was announced as 2.9%. So unless the government wants to go back on its word this should be the increase for the State Pension in April.

The cost of living figure used for the April increase is the previous September figure.

Under the triple lock announced in 2011 Basic State Pension will go up by the higher of:-

  1. Cost of living
  2. 2.5%
  3. Average earnings

As you can see from the chart below since the triple lock was introduced pensioners have been worse off until now because the government changed the inflation index from RPI to the lower CPI. It means the increases would have been over 1% higher if RPI had still been used for the cost of living for those who have been drawing their State Pension since before April 2011.

Their pension from their employer’s pension scheme is significantly worse off because only Basic State Pension has the triple lock and most pension scheme increases have been limited to the CPI ( although some private sector pensions still use RPI). Up to now those who retired before April 2011 are around 2.5% worse off based on CPI increases. Because CPI is negative this September they won’t get any increase at all in April 2016 so they are around 3.3% worse off from April 2016 (i.e. RPI 0.8% + 2.5%).

For a number of years CPI has also been applied to means tested benefits like Pensions Credit. We would hope this would hope the increase in April will not be zero.

Pension Increases


Triple lock under attack?

Already there are claims now that finally average earnings will be used to increase the State Pension in April this is ‘unaffordable’.

This ignores how pensioners have actually received lower pension increases because of the link to CPI.

It also conveniently forgets how the Basic State Pension declined relative to earnings after the earnings link to increases was last cut in 1980.

Is it fair to future generations? So should the benefits of today’s pensioners be cut back to pay for the future? This argument is flawed

It is the worsening of employer pension schemes and a ludicrously low minimum employer contribution to Auto Enrolment pension arrangements, and ever increasing state pension ages that are the real threats to future generations.

The State Pension (from April the Basic State Pension and Second State Pension will be combined) will become even more important for future generations to have adequate pension income.

So removing the triple lock would see another massive decline in relative value by the time they need a pension – so just about the worst thing you could do for future generations.

Will the negative CPI mean a decrease in pension?

Our advice is that pensions and deferred pensions will not be reduced. However it is possible the Government may try and push through a change as to how earnings in CARE schemes are revalued for public service workers at next April. They would need to get this through parliament where it would lead to negative revaluation.

Would they try and do this for just – 0.1% – we would of course oppose this.

[Report prepared by Glyn Jenkins, Head of Pensions UNISON]





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