Friday, 14 December 2012

NJC pay claim 2013-14

The pay claim for 2012 has been lodged with the employers. We are calling for a substantial flat rate increase on all scale points as a step towards the longer term objective of restoring pay levels and achieving the living wage as the bottom NJC spinal column point. The three-year pay freeze means that, since 2009, pay for the NJC workforce has fallen by a shocking 13% and is now more than 10% below where it was in 1996. Our aim is to restore pay levels, bring them in line with inflation and the cost of living, and in the longer term achieve a living wage as the baseline for NJC wages. A substantial pay increase in 2013/14 as the first step towards this pay structure is vital if our members are to receive a living wage, on which families can live, not just exist. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas appeal with Oxford City Council

Here is the correspondence documentation relating to the recent dispute over Christmas arrangements.

Please click links:-https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B2C4mqiujgdDVk5obnBjUW5mVW8/edit




Friday, 23 November 2012

Public sector pay

UNISON, the UK’s largest union said that the latest figures from the ONS on the public / private sector pay divide were in danger of being used out of context to peddle a myth that public sector workers are overpaid for the same work as those in the private sector.

Across the public sector, workers such as hospital cleaners, cooks and porters or home care and residential care workers have been contracted out of the public sector, but still work in it. These lowest paid privatised jobs are counted as private sector workers - skewing the pay figures. Where public sector workers do get paid more, it is a reflection of the professional training necessary to carry out their jobs such as teachers and social workers or reflect high paid jobs such as army generals, judges and senior civil servants.

UNISON assistant general secretary Karen Jennings said:

“It is time that we nailed the myth of public sector workers enjoying a pay premium once and for all. The opposite is true as they have been hit hard by the Government’s pay freeze and many are fighting an uphill battle just to make ends meet.

“The great divide that the government would like us all to believe exists is a fallacy; their disastrous economic policies are the reason workers and their families across the UK are struggling. It is the old trick of divide and conquer to justify yet more swingeing cuts to the public sector and it must be challenged and exposed at every opportunity.”

A new factsheet from the union on this very issue highlights the key points that it said were frequently missing from the analysis of public / private sector pay, including:

The impact of outsourcing: A high proportion of the lowest-paid public sector workers have been outsourced. A catering assistant in an NHS hospital for example, will be counted as a private sector worker

The number of professional staff: Many public sector roles, including those relating to healthcare delivery, education and the emergency services require workers to have specific professional training. Average pay in the public sector reflects the specialism needed for many of these roles.

The cost of bonuses: Neither the Labour Force Survey (LFS) nor the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data covers the main bonus period in the private sector, which can exaggerate the ‘pay premium’ of the public sector.

Friday, 16 November 2012

UNISON official app

UNISON has launched its official app for iPhone - it's the one place for members and non-members alike to find information on their workplace rights, as well as its campaigns.

The app has made it to The Guardian's list of top 20 apps.

The app has information to help you understand your rights at work because UNISON believes all its members have the right to be treated fairly.

UNISON campaigns for a decent society; one where we all benefit from good public services. From cleaner streets to better schools, to care for the elderly and the NHS; our public services make life better for everyone. We believe investing in public services that save, protect and enrich lives will boost our economy and strengthen our communities. That's why, as well as rights information, we've included some ways to find out more about supporting public services in the 'take action' and 'news' sections.

The UNISON app offers the following:
  • Up-to-date advice on your rights at work
  • Inside news on protecting public services
  • Animations
  • Get active - information and advice on how to fight austerity
  • Update your membership details
  • Join UNISON


The Android version is now available to download Link to another websitehere.

The Blackberry version is available Link to another websitehere.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Help with winter fuel bills


This winter, many UNISON members will be worried about paying their gas and electricity bills as prices go up and wages stay the same. And they're not alone. Fuel poverty in the UK is increasing and today one in four households are in fuel poverty.
UNISON can help.
We've set up an energy switching scheme - a new way to save on gas and electricity bills. It works by getting as many UNISON members as possible to register their interest in taking part so that we can go to the energy companies and negotiate a competitive energy deal.
The more members that register, the better the offer we can get and the more money you can save, it's as simple as that.
There is no obligation when you register to sign up to the new offer, so please register your details so we can send you more information. You can find out more and register at unison-switch.co.uk. Registration closes on 25 November, so please register now.
As a UNISON member, you could also save up to £175 on your energy bills with free loft insulation and up to £135 with free cavity wall insulation from British Gas. Call 0800 107 2547 quoting IUM001 or visit britishgas.co.uk/insulation for more information. You need to apply by 30 November.
In addition, UNISON's charity There for You can help. There for You will be offering a winter fuel grants programme - members whose net household income is less than £18,000 a year can apply for help with their fuel payments. The application form will be available on the web at www.unison.org.uk in December.
We also know that we need to tackle the issue of high fuel costs head on. That's why we've joined forces with the Energy Bill Revolution to campaign to end fuel poverty.
The campaign aims to use the billions of pounds raised by the government's carbon emissions tax to end fuel poverty, create jobs and help the economy to grow.
Please take two minutes to sign the petition at energybillrevolution.org and ask all your friends and networks to do the same. This will help put real pressure on the government to sort out fuel poverty, and not a moment too soon.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Christmas leave arrangements 2012

You will all be aware by now that the Council have changed the dates of the 3 days taken during the Christmas/New Year period.

Unison had not agreed to this happening as suggested and was under the impression this was still being negotiated.

It has never been the case that each year there is agreement on which dates will form the prescribed annual leave days for the closure of some offices/services between Christmas and New Year. The normal practise of Oxford City Council is to use these days between Christmas Day and New Years Day and because of this people have already made plans to be with their family or go away on those days.

We have informed HR that we are not happy with this new arrangement and there will be an Emergency Branch Committee meeting on Wednesday of next week to decide what course of action Unison will/can take about this.

If you have any comments or issues with this please speak to you Steward or leave comments below


Assistant Branch Secretary
Oxford City Branch Of UNISON

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A home for life..... or a lifetime of being ‘home’ less


                                                              

A home for life..... or a lifetime of being ‘home’ less


Public debate hosted by
Oxford International Womens Festival

October 25th 2012 at Oxford Town Hall
630pm – 8.30pm

Lack of social housing, high rent in the private sector, landlord won’t take benefit payment, badly maintained properties, having to live in shared accommodation, overcrowded, can’t access deposit scheme, experiencing discrimination because of your lifestyle or circumstances????
Come and share your experiences of ‘housing’ with Oxford City Council, local councillors and other interested parties.
We also welcome ideas on positive change for the future

Organsior: Debbie Hollingsworth
Contact: oxfordwomen@gmail

Thursday, 11 October 2012

demonstrate the strength of feeling that there is on the coalitions austerity measures.


Dear All,
 
Some of you may not be aware that the TUC has organised a March and Rally in London on the 20th October 2012  to demonstrate the strength of feeling that there is on the coalitions austerity measures. 
 
We need to make them hear us loud and clear, when we tell them that their cruel thoughtless tactics and lies are simply not working! we need to let them know that we don't believe them when they say we all in this together, when it's plain to see that to-date all they have achieved is allow the rich to get richer and its plain to see that more and more people are falling below the poverty line, the longer we allow them to plough on, the worse things will become for people like you and I.
 
We hear stories of children going to school not having had any breakfast, wearing ill fitting shoes because their parents can't afford new ones, we hear stories of disabled people who clearly are unable to work,  being forced on to job seekers allowance, reducing their benefit to such a level that they barely survive, the housing problems are getting worse for people, Housing benefit cuts are pushing people out of their cities because rents are too expensive. What ever they can attack to make life even more unbearable for those who already struggle, they will!!
 
We see reductions in government grants to our local authorities putting pressure on not only our service users but also those individuals that deliver those services, threats of job losses. We also face a fifth year without a pay rise, on a daily basis I see people frightened, stressed out worrying about when is it their time to be made redundant, what's going to happen next year, or the year after that, employment laws are changing to make it easier for employees to be sacked, terms and conditions are being slashed to save our services, jobs etc.
 
 
If you agree with any of the above we would love you to join us in London on the 20th, we have two coaches booked for us and the county, The

Departure Points
Beaumont Street / Ashmolean Museum 8:00 am
Headington Shops / London Road Bus Stop 8:15 am
Thornhill Park & Ride 8:25 am
 
If you would like to go then please can you email me asap.
 
In Solidarity 
 
Caroline Glendinning, Branch Secretary
Oxford City Branch, The Old Police Cells, Oxford Town Hall, St. Aldates
Oxford, OX1 1BX
 
01865 252522
07795 332563

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

AUTO-ENROLMENT into your pension schemes


From October 2012, employers will start to automatically enrol all staff into a “qualifying workplace pension scheme”.  This is being done incrementally, with the biggest employers affected first.  UNISON has produced a briefing at www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/14625.docx which explains what this involves, so please read it.  Publicity material and bargaining and organising guidance will be produced shortly, and the government has also started a publicity campaign.

Pensions auto-enrolment provides branches with a massive opportunity for recruitment and organising, especially in sectors where many workers are not in a scheme.  
                                         
The “at a glance” key points are as follows:

·         All employees paying income tax and aged between 22 and State Pension Age are affected.
·         From the 1 October 2012 the very largest employers will have to ensure that eligible staff are automatically enrolled into a qualifying workplace pension scheme
·         By February 2018 all employers should be operating pensions auto-enrolment  
·         Most forms of defined benefit pension schemes are qualifying schemes – as long as they are open to new recruits.  This includes the LGPS and NHSPS
·         Employers using a defined contribution pension scheme must pay “minimum contributions” - 1% for employers rising to 3% from October 2018.  Employees initially pay 1%, rising to least 5% (effectively 4% with tax relief applied) from October 2018
·         Staff will still be able to opt-out of the pension scheme should they wish to
·         Employers will have to automatically re-enrol eligible staff into a qualifying pension scheme at 3 yearly intervals
·         The Local Government and NHS Pension Schemes will remain the default qualifying schemes for staff potentially eligible to join them
·         Employers must register their qualifying schemes with the Pensions Regulator and inform staff of pensions auto-enrolment.  They must not encourage staff to opt-out or discriminate against staff who join a scheme (or those who decide not to).

Friday, 14 September 2012

SERTUC "Ending the Low Pay Culture" seminar


SERTUC "Ending the Low Pay Culture" seminar Congress House Saturday 3 November 10am to 1pm. Register on sertucevents@tuc.org.uk
  • Chair Tony Lennon BECTU & SERTUC Vice-President
  • Speakers
o   Duncan Weldon TUC Senior Economist
o   Helen Kersley New Economics Foundation
o   Heather Wakefield Unison Head of Local Government
o   Enrico Tortolano PCS Research Officer
o   Andrew Murray Unite Chief of Staff
  • Closing Remarks Megan Dobney SERTUC Regional Secretary
SERTUC Regional Council at Congress House speaker Frances O'Grady TUC general secretary designate10am Saturday 27 October. All trade unionists welcome but registration essential: Darren Lewis dlewis@tuc.org.uk

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

UNISON members vote to accept changes


UNISON members vote to accept changes to Local Government Pension Scheme

I am writing to you because UNISON members across England and Wales have voted 90.2% in favour of accepting the proposed changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

We led the negotiations, which resulted in proposals to maintain the current contribution levels for 90% of LGPS members, introduce a 50/50 'low cost' scheme for the low paid, and move from a final salary to a career average scheme.

I want to thank you for the hard work you have put in throughout the negotiations. Together we've managed to ensure that current LGPS members can afford to stay in the scheme and those who could not afford to join it can now do so via the 50/50 option.

This is vital for many of our members whose earnings have gone down as a result of the coalition's pay freeze policies. Contributions are now on a fairer progressive basis.

We will continue to campaign with all of the union, through the TUC, against the proposals to increase the state retirement age.

UNISON will now move into the next stage of discussions on improving the governance of the new scheme which is due to come into effect in 2014.


Yours sincerely




Tuesday, 10 July 2012

New UNISON discount shopping service

UNISON membership services has introduced two new discount shopping services. 

The new UNISON Rewards programme offers online shopping discounts and cashback and the new Prepaid Plus card offers in -store discounts and cashback

Link to a document on this siteUNISON Rewards leaflet (Acrobat pdf)

Link to a document on this siteUNISON Prepaid Plus leaflet (Acrobat pdf)

Friday, 1 June 2012

LGPS 2014 - Negotiations completed: time to have your say


UNISON are pleased to tell you that after months of tough negotiations, the proposals for the LGPS from 2014 have been signed off by ministers for consultation.
UNISON will now start briefing regions, branches and members to let you know exactly what is being proposed from 2014, so that you can have your say.
The other LGPS unions and the Local Government Association will do the same.
You can find a UNISON leaflet and detailed factsheets about every aspect of LGPS 2014 proposals on the pensions section of the UNISON website here.
You will see that there is no change until 2014, 90% of members will pay the same contributions as now and some will pay less.
  • Part-time workers' contributions will be based on actual pay, not full-time equivalent earnings.
  • The scheme is a career average (revalued earnings), or Care, scheme with a 1/49 accrual rate and revaluations indexed to CPI inflation.
  • The normal pension age will be 65 as now, linked to the state pension age.
  • Anyone transferred to an outside contractor under TUPE will have the right to join the LGPS.
  • There is also robust protection for existing members. Find out more in the factsheets.
  • We will be holding meeting soon, please visit this web site regular to find when and where
UNISON will be consulting you about the proposals in a postal ballot. 

Thursday, 31 May 2012

New local government pensions proposals released




The Local Government Association (LGA) and trade unions have today announced the outcome of their negotiations on new LGPS proposals (for England and Wales) to take effect from 1st April 2014.

These proposals will now be communicated to scheme members, employers, funds and other scheme interests. Unions will consult their members over these proposals and the LGA will consult employers. The government has confirmed that a favourable outcome of our consultations will enable them to move directly to a statutory consultation later in the Autumn to implement these proposals.

The main provisions of the proposed LGPS 2014 are:

1 A Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme using CPI as the revaluation factor (the current scheme is a final salary scheme).

2 The accrual rate would be 1/49th (the current scheme is 1/60th).

3 There would be no normal scheme pension age, instead each member’s Normal Pension Age (NPA) would be their State Pension Age (the current scheme has an NPA of 65).

4 Average member contributions to the scheme would be 6.5% (same as the current scheme) with the rate determined on actual pay (the current scheme determines part-time contribution rates on full time equivalent pay). While there would be no change to average member contributions, the lowest paid would pay the same or less and the highest paid would pay higher contributions on a more progressive scale after tax relief.

5 Members who have already or are considering opting out of the scheme could instead elect to pay half contributions for half the pension, while still retaining the full value of other benefits. This is known as the 50/50 option (the current scheme has no such flexible option).

6 For current scheme members, benefits for service prior to 1st April are protected, including remaining ‘Rule of 85’ protection. Protected past service continues to be based on final salary and current NPA.

7 Where scheme members are outsourced they will be able to stay in the scheme on first and subsequent transfers (currently this is a choice for the new employer).

All other terms remain as in the current scheme. Future scheme costs will be monitored and controlled to ensure stability and affordability of the LGPS. Further details on cost management and scheme governance will be released once the ongoing discussions in the next part of the LGPS 2014 project are complete.

Heather Wakefield, UNISON National Secretary Local Government, Police and Justice Section said:

“The negotiations over LGPS 2014 have been long and tough and have taken place in a demanding political and economic climate. The process has shown that UNISON, the LGA and the other local government unions can work productively together in the best interests of LGPS members and potential members.

LGPS 2014 is a sustainable, defined benefit scheme, which is designed to protect existing members and be affordable for the low paid and part-time workers who are its majority. Under exacting circumstances, we have achieved the best possible outcome”


Tony Jones Regional Manager UNISON South East 

Friday, 6 April 2012

LGPS would you use a 'low cost' option?

The team involved in negotiating over the 'new' Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) from 2014 has been considering whether to propose a 'low cost option' as part of the new scheme. 

This would enable members to opt for 50% contributions - and 50% benefits - for future service. 

The option would probably apply for up to a maximum of three years, during periods of financial hardship or reduced pay and might also help those members not in the scheme to join for a short period before entering the full scheme. 

At the end of that period, members could either opt out or transfer to the main LGPS. We also want to encourage as many non-LGPS members as possible to join.


Monday, 20 February 2012

UNISON joins High Court appeal over pensions

UNISON, the UK's largest union, will today(20/02/2012) join a group of unions in an appeal to the High Court over which measure of inflation is used to calculate annual pension increases.

In his June 2010 budget, George Osborne announced, without consultation, that the government would use the consumer price index (CPI) instead of the retail price index (RPI).

When the change comes into effect in April 2012 the value of public sector pensions will fall by around 15% because CPI is around 1.2% lower on average than RPI.

This is the latest stage in the unions' legal challenge, launched in October 2011. The unions case is that the switch is not allowed under social security legislation and that it goes back on assurances given by successive governments that the RPI inflation would be used when determining pension increases.

Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary, said:

"The decision to switch to using the CPI instead is a cynical move to pay down the deficit. This move could cost pensioners thousands. They deserve better. RPI is a much fairer reflection of the costs that retired people face - because, unlike CPI, it includes housing costs.

"Pensioners now, and in the future are being unfairly targeted to pay down a deficit they did nothing to cause. Meanwhile, it's still bonuses for the bankers. This government may try to claim that we are all in this together - but pensioners will not be fooled."

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Pensions dispute – frequently asked questions

If you are unsure about what's happening to public sector pensions you should find the answer in UNISON's FAQ document.
click to view answers

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

In need of help or advice about work problem

For help and advice at work please contact your local UNISON steward or Health and Safety rep, list of names and numbers available on home page, we are here to help.

If you don't know who your local UNISON rep is, get in touch with UNISONdirect on 0845 355 0845, and UNISONdirect will provide you with the relevant information and help you to make contact with your local rep.







Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Labour's views on public sector pay are a 'slap in the face'

UNISON condemns the Labour Party's suggestion that public service workers should accept more pay freezes and pay cuts as "a slap in the face".

Labour's misguided statement comes at a time when it is predicted that 700,000 jobs will be lost in the public sector by 2017, two thirds of whose workers are women.

"I've been a Labour party member for many years and this has come as a slap in the face" said Wendy Nichols, joint vice-chair of UNISON's Labour Link.

Ms Nichols, a Labour councillor in Selby and a member of the Labour party since 1984, added: "I remember canvassing for Labour at the age of nine with my parents. And this has really shocked me."

She was joined in her anger by Margaret Wilkinson, also joint vice-chair and a longtime member of the Labour Party, who commented: "Many hundreds of thousands of low-paid women working as carers, classroom assistants and in other local government jobs have already suffered two years of pay freeze - and none of us got the £250 that Osborne promised to help the lower paid.

"Now we have our own Labour leaders saying they would support even further pay freezes. Not only are UNISON members shocked by this, but so are Labour party members.

"The two Eds need to be out there arguing for fairness, not following in the tracks of the Tories. We will make sure the party leaders get the message loud and clear."

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said that in the past year, Labour has struggled to get its message across and show that there is an alternative to the coalition's savage cuts in public services.

"Our members need hope and a reason to vote Labour. These have been snatched away," he said.

"We were told by Ed Miliband to be patient, to prepare for the long haul, that their economic plans needed to be careful, cautious.

"We hoped that as the economy worsened, Labour's voice would get louder, more strident, more forceful, and that Ed Miliband would step up and speak out against the tearing apart of communities and families as they face insecurity and uncertainty.

"But at a time when our members needed him most, he panicked and ditched overnight a policy that challenged the coalition. Instead, he has decided to embrace a Tory pay policy that hits millions of public service workers, particularly low-paid women."

Accusing the Opposition leader of "breathtaking naivety", Mr Prentis added: "His comments will have unintended consequences. At a time when hard working families are struggling to make ends meet, the very party which they want to stand by them, has chosen instead to play cheap politics with their lives."

UNISON's relationship with Labour is governed by our democratically elected national affiliated political committee. They will meet to determine the best way to ensure that the Labour Party leadership properly reflects the views of UNISON members, the wider Labour Party membership and those who support Labour.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

UNISON To Continue To Negotiate

UNISON activists have voted to give the union's negotiators the green light to continue discussions with government ministers on changes to public sector pensions.

More than 250 key elected national, regional, rank and file activists met at UNISON's headquarters on 10 January to discuss the details of the proposals for the local government and health pension schemes.

The decisions were taken by the six relevant service group executives made up of elected lay members.

They agreed to the frameworks negotiators have developed with government ministers since 30 November.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: "UNISON is a democratic union, and in today’s consultation, our elected activists from every service group in the local government pensions scheme endorsed the framework proposals we have negotiated, paving the way for more in depth talks.

"Our health members gave their support to talks on the NHS scheme entering a final phase, due to end in late January. When we have a final offer, we will take it back to members in a full ballot.

"Our action on 30 November got ministers back to the table, since then we have made some real progress. No contribution rises in local government until 2014 will be a real boost for many families that are hard hit by the pay freeze, and struggling to cope. The overwhelming majority of NHS scheme members won’t face contribution rate rises in 2012.

"We will continue to campaign to secure the best possible deal, which our members will then be consulted on. Should negotiations fail, our industrial action ballot, which remains live, gives us the option to take more strike action.”

Negotiations on the local government scheme are due to run until April 2012.

Until we have a firm offer, we need to keep up the pressure.

Oxford City Branch of UNISON will post there view after the next Branch committee

Dealing with stress in the workplace

According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), in 2015/16 over 480,000 people in the UK reported that work-related stress was making t...