Thursday, 28 November 2013

Chief Executive talks to the Guardian

Bit of a late "news" story we know but we would like to welcome the comments in the article especially the quotes attributed towards UNISON.

The article was released in the Guardian on 02/10/2013 and includes many direct quotations from Peter Sloman http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/02/peter-sloman-oxford-city-council-houses

"We have demonstrated that you don't need to privatise services. We've also proved that you can motivate people. We do not want to see our services externalised to a for-profit organisation. We should be an exemplar for running those services,"

"For me, if you want to get the best out of the public service workforce, you're not going to do it by privatising them, by handing them over to companies they can see are not as able to manage services locally as the council themselves,"

There were favourable references to our Pay Deal but with no attributable quote.

UNISON feels the attributable quotes about not needing to privatise services are a welcome assertion; however, UNISON does recognise that the sentence 'We do not want to see our services externalised to a for-profit organisation' does complicate the message.

Does this mean that we have demonstrated that we don't need to privatise services; but if we do, they can only be to non-profit organisations, like Fusion?

What does this say about "part-privatisation"? Using Capita as an ever increasing "overflow" for the Contact Centre or Mouchel for administration tasks. Are these "for profit organisations" and do they pay the Living Wage? How do we know they are "exemplar for running those services"?

UNISON does sympathise with the complexities of these issues and can see how newspapers can blur quotations and mis-represent particular key points. But, we would like to see some clarification regarding (what we can see as) the blurred message which can be in the form of  a re-asserted rebuke and a re-affirmation that at Oxford City Council:

THERE WILL BE NO PRIVATISATION OF SERVICES.



Monday, 11 November 2013

Another Success Story from an Oxford City Council's UNISON Steward

Steward success is not always about successfully defending members in times of crises. They are proactive in seeking the best circumstances for members; representing your voice within meetings where decisions are made about Workforce Management and Performance Management. Unions are the only negotiating party who work on behalf of members.

A success story within Customer Contact is where our Steward (Lorraine Francis) has got into those decision making meetings and tirelessly works on behalf of the members in Customer Contact.

How did she get there? UNISON conducted a survey of members within the Contact Centre. We asked questions about their feelings towards their work and what their confidence is on the current circumstances.

Lorraine, represented the data to management and as a result of this effort she has regular FORTNIGHTLY meetings with management to discuss issues within the Contact Centre. Customer Contact Managers have also agreed, as part of being open and transparent, to send her on the 3 day Work force Management training; which, means she is able to have a more informed perspective on decisions to enable her to be in a powerful position when negotiations take place.

Respect also goes to the Customer Contact Managers who have listened to UNISON's concerns and acted on them in a positive way. Lorraine considers that she has more input now on anything that may become an issue and affect staff morale and she has an input on they way things are being implemented.

If you work in the Contact Centre and if you are are not a Member please feel free to email or approach Lorraine Francis if you would like further information about UNISON's work at Oxford City Council. If you work in the Contact Centre and you ARE a Member please feel free to contact Lorraine if you are experiencing any issuesat work.

If you work in other departments and would like to know more information about who your contact is please email oxfordunison@gmail.com or contact the local branch office at 01865 252522.

And finally, if you are interested in becoming a steward for your area, where you are:
  • Entitled to time off for training
  • Entitled to Facility time
  • Assist members in your area
  • Negotiate on decisions that affects you and your members in your department (see article above)
  • Have the right to vote at branch committee on Council policy decisions and the direction of YOUR union.
Please email the branch secretary Caroline Glendinning at cglendinning@oxford.gov.uk  or call the office on 01865 252522.

Christmas News

Not really news yet; but a decision will be made very soon about what Oxford City UNISON branch is doing for the festive season. Keep checking; it will be very exciting!


Monday, 4 November 2013

Another Success Story from an Oxford City Council's UNISON Steward

UNISON stewards are there to help all members with issues at work and one particular example is when a member is under disciplinary. Oxford City's UNISON branch understand the stress and anguish when this situation occurs to our members and we are very experienced in dealing with a disciplinary. We have officers and stewards trained by the Regional Training programmes and we seek to represent and resolve the issue in the best interest of OUR members.

One of our members was subjected to a disciplinary and one our esteemed stewards recognised that the investigation was not subject to procedure and that our member should have been praised for the work he did during an extremely emotional and stressful time rather than disciplined.

Our Steward got him off all charges and highlighted concerns about management not following procedure at one of our leisure centres. Our Branch Secretary is meeting with the HR department of Fusion (who run our Leisure Centres) and will express the concerns the UNISON Branch have with management not following procedure. We will report on the outcome of this meeting.

This is a great example of Oxford City's UNISON being there for members in times of crisis and representing you on your behalf for a positive solution.

If you have any questions about the disciplinary process at Oxford City Council or have any other concerns that we can help with please do not hesitate to contact your Steward or email oxfordunison@gmail.com or contact the local branch office at 01865 252522.


BRANCH COMMITTEE NEWS

Following recent Membership Feedback relating to a previous article (dated 15/10/2013 Attendance Management Policy up for Review); Oxford City's UNISON Branch Committee recognised that members find it difficult to find the time to read an entire 50 page policy. Further to this, the Branch Committee recognises that it is difficult to give feedback when you do not know what changes are being proposed.

The Branch has therefore AGREED to a new process for new and adjusted Policies and Procedures (Terms and Conditions).

The Branch Committee PROPOSES that management:

  1. Send the Branch Secretary a completed form indicating the policy/procedure name and the date of the proposal and date to be implemented. Then each proposed policy or change to existing policy listed to ensure we understand what is proposed.
  2. The Branch Secretary informs the Branch Committee of the form and sends the form to the membership for their feedback on the proposals.
  3. The Branch Committee considers the proposals and the feedback from member to determine the next course of action and what counter proposals can be offered or what can be accepted.
  4. Negotiation Team meets with Management to get the best deal for members.
  5. That 'Best' deal gets voted by Branch Committee
  6. Branch Committee communicates to membership of the result
  7. Negotiation Team meets with Management to ensure the wording in the document reflects the proposals that have been AGREED.
  8. Branch Committee communicates the new Policy and Procedure to the members with the details of what they have won on their behalf.
This new proposal ensures that YOU the MEMBERS have a direct opportunity to provide feedback on changes that are proposed AND you have the opportunity to express your own suggestions for improvements.

If you want to have the ability to vote on these decisions the Branch Committee would welcome any volunteers to join. Please email oxfordunison@gmail.com or call the local branch office at 01865 252522.


AND FINALLY

Oxford City's UNISON Branch Committee is supporting Oxford City Council's 'Best Companies "b heard" survey. The Branch Committee feel that feedback on this level is making a larger impact now than previous survey's and would hope that all of OUR Members voices are represented; you can do it in work time and the City Council will donate £1.00 to Maggies Oxford AND Crisis Skylight for ever survey returned!

For more information call Oxford City Council's HR team on 252848.


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Success Story from an Oxford City Council’s UNISON steward

 
Following fraught negotiations with a manager one of our stewards supported and achieved a reduced hours contract for a member under the flexible working policy. The request was previously refused, however, following advice, guidance and leadership from one of your stewards this was eventually reconsidered in the members favour.

I have recently gone through negotiations of the flexible working policy for childcare reasons and was surprised to find out that under the policy I only have a RIGHT to request for flexible working NOT to receive it. My right to request is only due to the fact that I am:

·         An employee;

·         Have worked continuously for 26 weeks at the date of request made;

·         Have caring responsibilities for the child or adult in respect of whom the request is being made; and

·         Not have made a formal request to work flexibly during the last 12 months (each 12 months period runs from the date when the most recent application was made).

There is a checklist for caring for adults which was something I was not originally aware of and if you are caring for a relative adult or child who you have carers responsibilities for and you would like to know more information about this please do not hesitate to contact us on oxfordunison@gmail.com or contact the local branch officer on 01865 252522.

There are 8 statutory business reasons for rejection:

a)    The burden of additional costs

b)    Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

c)    Inability to reorganise work among existing staff

d)    Inability to recruit additional staff

e)    Detrimental impact on performance

f)     Insufficiency of work during the periods that you propose to work

g)    Planned changes.

In my case, it is worth noting that the Council turned my original request down; however they did offer me a reasonable alternative following a discussion with my Union representative at the time – I was very thankful for being member so UNISON could negotiate a settlement for me.

If it was not for the Unions Stewards keeping those lines of communications open, liaising, putting across sensible reasonable arguments for or against; then such settlements may never be gained for members.

This is one of many success stories that go unreported by our Stewards and Officers and it is time we stop dwelling on the few losses and demonstrate that we are there for you when you need us and we can influence decisions that affect you the members.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Attendance Management Policy up for Review


Currently we have the Attendance Management Policy under review and UNISON Oxford Branch would really like your feedback on the policy – how has it affected you? What would you like included? What would you like to be removed?

If you have any feedback please sent these to oxfordunison@gmail.com or talk/email your suggestions to your Union Steward. Don't know who your nearest Steward is? Please email and we will get them to contact you.

Obviously, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to carry out your recommendations but we will certainly take them on board and consider them.

If you are interested in becoming a union representative (steward) for your area and have a direct input on Council policies and procedures (including voting at branch on passing the policies and procedures) then please contact oxfordunison@gmail.com you will have access to direct support including UNISON training sessions at no cost to yourself.

Become an active part in YOUR Local Union Branch. And be part of the decisions that affect your Working Conditions.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Get ready to answer the call for the NHS

UNISON members will be answering the call for the NHS at the TUC march and rally on 29 September in Manchester. If you're going, or if you can't make it but want to know how to get involved, here's what you need to know:
Coaches
If you are organising or looking for transport to Manchester on 29 September check the False Economy website http://falseeconomy.org.uk/nhs299
The march
The march is expected to move off at 12.15 and will go from Liverpool Road to Whitworth Park.
Access to the route along the way will restricted due to road closures and barriers in place for the Tory party conference. Stewards will be placed at key points around the route including when the route passes under tramlines. Those with large banners and balloons will be advised about lowering these.
Rally
The rally will start at 2.15pm or when the march reaches Whitworth Park, whichever is the later. It is expected to last for approximately two hours with speakers and music.
Accessible viewing area/sign language
A disabled people viewing area will be provided near to the stage to enable clear sight lines to the stage. There will also be sign language provided on the day. This area will be signposted and stewards will direct individuals to this area if required.
After the rally
At the end of the rally coach pick up points and directions to train stations will be advertised on the large screen. These pick up points will be those that coach passengers were advised off on their drop off. Stewards and police will be on hand to assist with dispersal from the park and signposting individuals to coach parking.
Social media
We want to get plenty of profile on social media for the day, so follow @UNISONournhs @unisontweets and use #nhs299 and #nhs999

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

UNISON’s LGBT conference preliminary agenda is now published

ou will need to sign in to read this document. The deadline for amendments to motions is 12 noon on Friday 27 September 2013, and should be submitted using UNISON’s Online Conference System. Further information is available at the LGBTconference webpage


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Unison calls for ban on zero hours contracts

Taken from Dave Prentis ,General Secretary at UNISON, website
Post date: Monday, 5th August 2013

Dave Prentis of Unison on research from the CIPD that there could be one million workers on zero hours contracts.

The vast majority of workers are only on these contracts because they have no choice. They may give flexibility to a few, but the balance of power favors the employers and makes it hard for workers to complain.

Not knowing from week to week what money you have coming in to buy food and pay your bills is extremely nerve-wracking. Having your working hours varied at short notice is also stressful and it makes planning, childcare arrangements and budgeting hard.

The growing number of zero hours contracts also calls into question government unemployment figures.

It is clear that many people working on these contracts are not included as unemployed even if they have no work at all - at the very least we have hundreds of thousands who are under-employed. In turn, this plays havoc with the benefit and tax credit system.


Unison would like to see the use of these contracts banned - at the very least the government needs an official investigation to confirm the true scale of the problem.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

National demonstration to defend the NHS



Sept 29 - Manchester - backed by UNISON, UNITE, GMB and the TUC.
Free transport for UNISON Health branch members and their families. £5 all others (if you are in a union they will be contacted to see if there is free tranport or subsidy to cover the £5)

What you can do to help make this event a success for the NHS:
  • Book your seat on the transport to the national demonstration - click here to book your seat.  Bring your friends and family along - it is their NHS too.
  • Ask your union branch to pay for memebrs to go to the march.
  • Send us your orders for materials to display in your workplace and local shops, libraries and community centres (please specify amount of leaflets and posters and where to send them too).
  • Mail back if you can spare an hour to campaign for your NHS - click here to volunteer
  • Promote the face book event - click here to visit the facebook event (you will need to be signed up to facebook)

Monday, 29 July 2013

UNISON wins right to challenge tribunal fees

UNISON won the right to have the government's introduction of fees for taking cases to Employment Tribunals subjected to a judicial review, in a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice this morning.

The fees, which can be as high as £1,200 for "complex" cases came into force today. UNISON's arguments against them are scheduled to be heard in October.


Full story can be found at http://www.unison.org.uk/news/unison-wins-judicial-review-hearing-into-tribunal-fees


Thursday, 18 July 2013

LUCKY DAY... Enter our latest competition

This month there are £200 worth of holiday vouchers up for grabs! With the long school break just around the corner, what better way to get the summer off to a sizzling start than entering now for free.

The winner can pick from Thomas Cook, Thomson or Love2Reward.com vouchers and enjoy fun in the sun, at home or away, without the financial baggage that often goes with it. You can forward the details to as many members as you like. Click here for the entry form and T&Cs. The closing date is August 19th. Good luck!




Monday, 15 July 2013

999: answer the call for your NHS

29 September is a date for your diary for a mass rally to save the NHS at the Tory party conference in Manchester. More info will be available on the UNISON website soon. #NHS999

Monday, 8 July 2013

Is Local government in meltdown ?

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, today added its voice to calls from the Local Government Association (LGA) for urgent action to address the funding shortfall in local councils, or face complete meltdown. The union is warning that it is becoming increasingly impossible to provide vital local services against a backdrop of savage government funding and staff cuts.

The £2.1bn shortfall facing local government each year is down to Tory party politics says UNISON. The tax cut for millionaires has cost the Treasury £2.255bn a year – money that should have been used to provide the essential support services to the children, elderly and vulnerable that the LGA say are under threat because of cuts.



Heather Wakefield, UNISON head of local government, said:

“The cuts are striking at the very heart of local government. They are a false economy, which are not just damaging the services that people rely on but also the economy. While UNISON backs the principle of agencies working together outlined by the LGA, the driving force must be to deliver quality, professional services and not just an excuse for cutting more staff.

“Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost from the local government workforce and the resulting loss in spending power in local economies has hit local shops and businesses hard. When you factor in the loss of tax and National Insurance revenue because of public sector redundancies, the picture is worse. Evidence from all economies is that you need a strong public sector to generate growth and a healthy economy, something that this Government ignores at its peril.”

Monday, 24 June 2013

General secretary's blog...

Why not take at look at the general secretary's blog

New presidential team

Maureen Le Marinel has been elected president of UNISON for the next 12 months. She was elected at the first meeting of the union's national executive council after last week's national delegate conference.

Ms Le Marinel is branch secretary of the Lancashire police branch and is the union's first gay president.

Lucia McKeever, a nursing assistant and branch secretary of Armagh Dungannon health branch, is the new senior vice-president, having been elected to the presidential team last year.

She is the first woman from Northern Ireland to hold this position since the union was formed in 1993.

They are joined by North Yorkshire County Council branch secretary Wendy Nichols as the junior vice-president - making this the union's first-ever all-woman presidential team.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Government mutuals plan

Commenting on the news that the government will sell off dozens of state owned services into so-called mutuals, Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:

“This is privatisation by stealth. The involvement of big private companies makes mutuals just another Tory party ploy to sell off public services. The government is stretching the definition of mutuals to the limit – genuine co-ops and mutuals will be up in arms.

“Staff will be plunged into confusion and could face being taken out of public sector pension schemes and having their pay and conditions seriously harmed. Community organisations will struggle to win contracts without harsh measures such as freezing pay and reducing leave and sick pay.

“Mutuals are dangerously untested in this context. At the very least, we need a serious investigation as to how mutuals would deliver public services in the interest of the public and employees.”

See coverage os Dave's comments in today's Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-great-civil-service-selloff-dozens-of-services-and-75000-staff-set-to-be-transferred-to-private-sector-8598188.html

Monday, 29 April 2013

Legal helpline launches on May Day

UNISON is launching a legal helpline to assist hard-pressed activists needing urgent legal advice. 

The helpline will launch on 1 May and has been set up in response to feedback from UNISON activists. It aims to provide urgent initial legal help on employment matters.

Launching the helpline, general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Our activists are working hard to look after our members and this government is set on making their lives harder. Activists told us they needed access to quick legal advice and this is what the helpline aims to provide."
Join UNISON

The helpline will be monitored and reviewed to make sure the service it is providing an effective and efficient service.

Press to Read more 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Oxford Unite the Resistance Public Meeting


"Trade unions and the fight against austerity: a strategy to win"

Monday, 29 April 2013

Ruskin College, Headington,
Oxford, OX3 9BZ

Speakers include: (personal capacity)
·         Zita Holbourne (PCS NEC / Black Activists Rising Against Cuts)
·         Chad Croom (Branch Sec CWU South Central)
·         Ellen Clifford (Disabled People Against Cuts)
·         Alan Whitaker (former President UCU)
·         Ian Hodson (President Bakers’ Union BFAWU)
   
Speakers from the bedroom tax and other campaigns willl also be attending and the floor will be open to contributions from all.
   
Supported by:
PCS DWP Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire & CWU South Central

Saturday, 30 March 2013

UNISON masked ball photos

The photos can be viewed at http://www.onlinepictureproof.com/king/view-your-pictures/albums/39543  there are some great moments caught and well worth a look. The photographer will give a percentage of his profits to the CF Trust.

Many thanks for making it such a fun night.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Pay Ballot results


To All members,

The result of the pay ballot that we have conducted is as follows;-


93% voted YES for the proposals

7% voted NO against the proposals

Therefore we have elected to accept the proposed new pay deal, which will come into effect as of the 1st of April 2013. Should anyone have any questions on this please speak to your steward where you have one or you can email me.

Regards

Caroline


Caroline Glendinning UNISON Branch Secretary, OXFORD CITY BRANCH, The Old Police Cells, Oxford Town Hall, St. Aldates, Oxford. OX1 1BX.
Tel 01865 252522  

Friday, 18 January 2013

What happens if the vote is NO




What happens if the vote is NO

What will happen:

We will stay on the National arrangements for the cost of living rise

They will still amend the flex leave and revert back to 1 day in a 4 week period

They will still be opening the offices between Christmas and the New Year

They will not offer incremental progression

They will still continue to replace the Casual Car Allowance


What might happen:

They might discontinue the Partnership Payments

They might remove Weekend Enhancement and Overtime rates for all staff

They might not offer the 20% travel concession

They might not increase the minimum wage for Oxford City Council employees

  
The current 2 Year agreement ends on 31st March 2013 so the Council can change any of the items in this agreement from 1st April 2013.


National Pay Award
The government has capped Local Government pay increases to 1% a year until at least 2015; this is to include all costs such as pension, N.I etc.
The union is currently in talks with the local government employers over pay for the 2013/14 round, and is calling for the employers to give staff a decent pay rise. We will therefore be dependant on National negotiators to make a deal for us, the Local Government Association are already indicating that they can not afford any rise for this year, with many Local Authorities less organised and unable to budget for a cost of living rise it is likely to be refused this year.

Flex Leave
The arrangement for the 2 days flex leave in a 4 week period was negotiated and included in the Local Collective Agreement from 1 April 2011; this was a 2 year deal that comes to an end 31 March 2013. Therefore whatever the outcome of the ballot it will stop on 1 April 2013.

If there are any issues where the 2 days flex was used by you for Child Care etc then you should be able to come to some other arrangement with your Manager, this could be in the form of TOIL or flexible working, your manager should seek advice from HR if they do not know what they can offer and you should seek advice from your Steward or the Unison Office if you feel they have not taken into account your request.

Opening offices between Christmas and New Year
This did not have to be part of this deal, the Council felt for transparency it should be include it in this agreement. So if there is a NO vote on the ballot they will still go ahead and open during this time. See 4.7 of the Leave Policy and procedure

4.7 Council offices close during the Christmas /New Year period for 3 designated days, unless your Head of Service notifies you of different local arrangements. All employees are required to set aside and book off 3 days (pro-rata for part-time employees) of their overall annual leave entitlement (excluding bank/public holidays) unless notified otherwise by your Head of Service. The three days of office closure will be confirmed annually.

Incremental Progression
If there is a NO vote for this agreement the Council will not be able to afford Increments for all staff not at the top of the grade. The council will not be able to offer the deal from this agreement unless we vote YES for it.

Casual Car Allowance
The arrangement to replace most of the Casual Car Allowance with a pool car scheme is in the current Local Collective agreement that ends 31 March 2013. Therefore the Council will just continue with this arrangement

The Council will not stop the Casual Car Allowance without first approaching those affected and investigating whether a pool car scheme is viable for the work carried out.

Discontinuing the Partnership Payment
They may discontinue the Partnership payments, unlikely though, the Council say there is evidence that this payment encourages employees to have less sick

Removal of Weekend Enhancement and Overtime Rates for all staff
If they remove these rates of pay then people who are on 5 in 7 contracts and those who have to work at the weekend as part of their job will only be paid at their flat rate. You have to work weekends on a rota basis if you are on a 5 in 7 contract, if this happens many people will lose about £1000 a year and most of these are some of our lower paid workers.

20% travel concession
They do not have to offer this to us

Minimum wage for Oxford City Council employees
They do not have to offer this to us

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Warm up this winter by entering our free prize draw


Warm up this winter by entering our free prize draw with £200 towards your heating bill up for grabs.

As temperatures plummet, the cost of keeping the house toasty invariably soars. Now's your chance to turn up the thermostat guilt-free. Fill in your details here before 31st January and cross your gloved fingers that you get pulled out of the hat first.

Best of luck! Last month's £200 Christmas shopping giveaway was won by Miss Emma Hodgkins.

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...