Thursday, 16 August 2018
Members urged to join UNISON in responding to government consultation on proposals for longer private rent tenancies in England, by 26 August
Do you have any views on how to make longer tenancies easier in England’s privately rented housing sector? Well UNISON is asking you to share them with the government.
Westminster’s department of housing, communities and local government is in the middle of a consultation over proposals on “overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector”. As housing is a devolved matter in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the proposals and consultation only cover England.
UNISON has produced a briefing on the consultation – which ends on 26 August – and the issues, which union activists or anyone else responding to the proposals should find useful.
The union will also be submitting a full national response to the proposals. These cover making tenancies longer, for a minimum of three years, and whether to implement a new tenancy framework by legislation, by introducing financial incentives to encourage landlords or by using education to raise awareness and bring about behavioural change.
We are also encouraging members, especially those who are private tenants, to respond to the consultation and make their voices heard in the debate on housing policy
UNISON welcomes the proposals, while arguing that they deed to go further in providing private tenants with greater security and stability. The union’s full response to the consultation will can for a new tenancy framework based on the Scottish “private residential tenancy”, introduced by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act which came into force last year.
This is open-ended and provides tenants with greater security, stability and more predictability in their rent increases.Click here to find out more and download the consultation paper
Friday, 10 August 2018
Monday, 6 August 2018
In 2017 UNISON won a landmark legal case against the government. It's been hailed as one of the most significant in the history of employment law.
It's one year since UNISON beat the government at the Supreme Court and forced an immediate change in the law.
The case made headlines. Now we can tell the full story of how David beat Goliath. It's a remarkable, epic tale that spans over four years. And it's all true.
We hear from the people who made it happen and the ordinary members who are currently fighting for what's right, thanks to that famous win.
If you ever want to know what difference your union makes, you just need to read this...
Saturday, 4 August 2018
Working in hot temperatures
Although the Great British Summer often doesn't result in hot temperatures there will be times when the sun does come out and workers find themselves working in hot conditions. In the UK there is no maximum temperature that a workplace is allowed to be, rather advice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states "during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable". What is reasonable depends on the type of work being done (manual, office, etc) and the type of workplace (kitchen, air conditioned office, etc).
The HSE offers further guidance on workplace temperatures including details on carrying out an optional thermal comfort risk assessment if staff are unhappy with the temperature - Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Temperature.
Getting to work
Generally hot weather shouldn't affect journeys to work, but occasionally in the UK there might be an impact on public transport if temperatures go over a certain level. Train companies may limit the speed of trains in case the tracks buckle which may result in the late arrival of your train. You should check with your local train company to see if speed restrictions are in place or cancellations are expected and plan accordingly.
Keeping cool in work
While employers are not legally obliged to provide air conditioning in workplaces they are expected to provide reasonable temperatures. If you have air conditioning switch it on, if you have blinds or curtains use them to block out sunlight and if you're working outside wear appropriate clothing and use sun screen to protect from sunburn.
It is also important to drink plenty of water and employers must provide you with suitable drinking water in the workplace. It is important to drink water regularly throughout the day and not to wait until you are thirsty as this is an indication that you are already dehydrated.
Fasting during hot weather
Many Muslims will fast each day from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan as part of their faith. This includes not eating food, drinking liquids or smoking. When Ramadan falls in the summer months it can be particularly challenging as the days are longer. Employees may wish to use annual leave when observing the Ramadan rules, and employers may help by holding meetings etc. in the mornings when energy levels are higher. Where possible employers could consider a temporary change in working hours.
The hot weather can make workers feel tired and less energetic especially for those who are young, older, pregnant or those on medication. Employers may wish to give these workers, more frequent rest breaks and ensure ventilation is adequate by providing fans, or portable air cooling units.
Dress code in the workplace during hot weather
Employers often have a dress code in the workplace for many reasons such as health and safety, or workers may be asked to wear a uniform to communicate a corporate image. A dress code can often be used to ensure workers are dressed appropriately.
While employers are under no obligation to relax their dress code or uniform requirements during hot weather, some may allow workers to wear more casual clothes, or allow "dress down" days. This does not necessarily mean that shorts and flip flops are appropriate, rather employers may relax the rules in regards to wearing ties or suits.
Friday, 3 August 2018
Wednesday, 1 August 2018
The Government has announced that it will not be making a decision on the proposals for a single unitary council for Oxfordshire for the foreseeable future – and that it “would be wrong” to commit to a timetable to consider them.
The Minister for Local Government provided the update in a letter to the Leaders of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils, which the two councils made public yesterday.
In his letter, Rishi Sunak MP said: “It would be wrong for Government to commit now to any particular timetable for considering the unitary proposal, although we remain open to considering the views of any Oxfordshire council about unitary proposals.”
He cited as reasons for the decision the new partnership arrangements between Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council following the restructuring of local government in Northamptonshire, and the successful joint working between all six of Oxfordshire’s councils with the Growth Board.
Mr Sunak said: “The evidence of the progress all Oxfordshire councils together are making on the Housing and Growth Deal clearly demonstrates that the absence of any announcement on the unitary proposal is no impediment to continued partnership working.”
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