Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Leaders unite to extend Government invite

Political leaders opposed to plans for a single unitary authority in Oxfordshire have requested an urgent meeting with the Government Minister responsible for deciding their future.

Last week a letter was sent to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, on behalf of the leaders of Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council and West Oxfordshire District Council.

The leaders are united in their opposition against Oxfordshire County Council’s proposals for a unitary authority and have requested an opportunity to discuss the plans with Mr Javid before any decision is undertaken.

In a joint statement, council leaders Cllr Barry Wood (Cherwell), Cllr Bob Price (Oxford) and Cllr James Mills (West Oxfordshire) said: “These proposals affect all of Oxfordshire so it is vitally important that all of Oxfordshire has the opportunity to have their voice heard before any decision is made. We three councils stand united against the proposals for a unitary council which we maintain are flawed and will disregard the specific needs of each individual city and district.

“Cherwell, Oxford City and West Oxfordshire are similar in that we are three strong performing councils but we are different in the way we operate and that is what’s key to our success. By operating at a local level we can tailor services to meet the needs of our individual communities and address challenges specific to our own areas. It is this approach that makes us so successful but this would be lost if a unitary model were to proceed and Mr Javid needs to be aware of the devastating consequences before any decision is made.”

Under Oxfordshire County Council’s proposals, the area’s city and four district councils would be disbanded and replaced with a single unitary authority tasked with delivering all services across Oxfordshire.

In the letter to Mr Javid, the leaders stipulate four of the county’s five MPs have joined them in opposing the proposals and reference the “growing levels of opposition” and “concerns about increases in council tax” which have been expressed by local residents.

They add that they “want to avoid committing taxpayers’ money to commissioning further studies and analysis in response to the county’s proposals” given there is “no realistic chance of a consensus being achieved” between the city, district and county councils.

In ending the letter, the leaders request an opportunity to meet with the Minister and local MPs, stating it is “essential that such a decision should not be undertaken without robust and independent evaluation of the proposals and their deliverability”.

The leaders are now waiting to hear back from Mr Javid’s office regarding the invitation to discuss the plans.  In the meantime residents can find out more about the campaign to oppose the proposals at:

• Cherwell District Council: www.cherwell.gov.uk
• Oxford City Council: www.oxford.gov.uk
• West Oxfordshire District Council: www.westoxon.gov.uk

Monday, 27 February 2017

A Massive thank you, we hit 5000 signatures

Dear All,

I just wanted to say a humongous thank you to you all for giving up your precious time to help with the Hands Off Oxford City campaign. So far I have received over a thousand hard copy signatures and I’m 100% certain that all your efforts have contributed to the on-line petition too, which has almost reached 5000 on-line signatures and is steadily rising.

Can I ask if any of you have any good stories that you’ve heard whilst you have been out and about, if you have can you please email them to me. If you have any hard copy petitions in your possession, can you let me have them by tomorrow, here in the Unison Office in the Town Hall or leave them with the receptionist for my attention. I’m on leave from Wednesday the 1st March, Jo Sadler our Admin Officer will be in the Office from 10am till 14.00hrs Monday to Thursday.

The campaign will continue so watch out for any up-dates as to what’s next. Once again thank you and some of those that helped may not be on my email list, if that’s the case and you know who those individuals are. Can you please pass this message on. 

Best wishes

Caroline

P.s as I have been writing this we just hit 5001 on-line signatures!!!


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

Sunday, 26 February 2017

DISRESPECT NOBODY

There’s a person attached to every body, respect both.

Healthy relationships are all about respecting each other. You should feel loved, safe and free to be yourself.
Relationships can be confusing and it can be difficult to understand what is and isn’t normal behaviour.
But disrespectful and unacceptable behaviour can come in many forms. It isn’t limited to just physical behaviour; it can also go way beyond that. For example, it’s not OK for someone to try and pressure you into sending a nude pic, or to expect the same things to happen that they’ve seen in a porn film. If someone makes you do something you don’t want to, makes you feel scared, intimidated or tries controlling you, it’s not acceptable and is never OK.
Read up on the different types of abuse, get advice and have a look at the organisations that can help.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

What is devolution and why is it important?


DON'T BE LEFT IN THE DARK


Devolution is one of the most fundamental changes to the way decisions are made for local areas and how public services are funded. click the below link to read a non bias explanation from the Local Government Association.

Click to Shine a Light on the Answer  

National march to save the NHS from destruction - March 4th.

National demonstration
called by HealthCampaigns Together and supported by most major unions
  • For a fully funded, publicly owned, NHS & social care service
  • No cuts, no closures, no privatisation
  • End the pay restraint for NHS staff
Book your seat on the Oxfordshire transport online http://ouh.org.uk/bookings/March4.html or call 07503169657
Transport organised by Oxfordshire UNISON Health branch and Banbury GMB.
We must fight to save the NHS from destruction. The threat is real. It is happening now. Hospitals, GPs, mental health, ambulance and community services are on their knees.
Rather than address the crisis in the NHS the government is accelerating it with planned cuts of £22 billion pounds with its 'Sustainability and Transformation Plans".  These plans will see whole departments, even hospitals close.  

In Oxfordshire 200 beds at the Oxford University Hospitals Trust are earmarked for closure, along with downgrading of Horton maternty services , community hospitals and mental health services.

Private companies are gaining an ever greater foothold within the NHS. Years of pay restraint has seen the value of NHS staff salaries reduce by 14% since 2010. The Government’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans are a smokescreen for a massive programme of hospital and community service closures, and are its latest instrument for privatisation.

The NHS is one of our greatest achievements. We cannot allow it to be undermined and ultimately destroyed. Join us on Saturday 4 March and send a clear message to this Government.

“the NHS will last as long as there are folk with the faith to fight for it.” Nye Bevan - founder of the NHS




Fight against tribunal fees goes on

Fight against tribunal fees goes on

The long-awaited government review of the introduction of employment tribunal fees has finally been published by the Ministry of Justice.
The review finds that: “While there is clear evidence that ET fees have discouraged people from bringing claims, there is no conclusive evidence that they have been prevented from doing so.”
Public services union UNISON is taking the fight against the introduction of fees through the courts and its case is due to be heard in the highest court in the land — the Supreme Court — at the end of March.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The introduction of fees was a terrible decision. The Lord Chancellor should be big enough now to accept her department got this one badly wrong.
“Tribunal fees should be scrapped immediately, before any more law-breaking employers escape punishment because wronged workers simply don’t have the cash to take them to court.
“Unfortunately it’s now much harder for people who’ve been treated unfairly at work to seek justice. Women have been the biggest losers, bad bosses the undoubted winners.
The review’s findings were also slated by the Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales.
Law Society president Robert Bourns said: “The minister asserts there is ‘no evidence to suggest’ the fees are limiting access to justice — but the evidence in his own report suggests that tens of thousands of people are slipping through the cracks.

“The truth is employment tribunal fees have had a chilling effect on the number of people able or willing to bring a case against their employer.


Apprenticeship - know your rights

Apprenticeship - know your rights eNote


The new interactive eNote “Apprenticeships – know your rights” explains why a quality apprenticeship is a great way to earn money while developing skills for a rewarding career. It explains that new apprentices will be entering the world of work but learning as they do so, studying for a qualification, and possibly a degree.
This eNote is a self-contained module that contains a mixture of text, video and quizzes. It lasts for 10 minutes and can be returned to as many times as you like

Apprenticeship Enote

UK Pride dates

UK Pride dates

The dates for 2017 Pride events taking place across the UK can be found by following the link below.

The TUC want as many LGBT+ activists and allies at Pride events to demonstrate the trade union commitment - and continued fight - for LGBT+ equality.

UK Pride website

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

National Demonstration






Unison

South East Region

20 February 2017





National Demonstration
#ourNHS no cuts|no closures|no privatisation
Our National Health Service is at breaking point. On the backdrop of continued cuts and closures, private companies seek to gain even more of a foothold within the NHS. Continued pay restraint has since the value of NHS staff salaries reduce by 14% since 2010 and there are now 25,000 nursing and 3,500 midwifery vacancies in NHS England alone.
Join UNISON and other health unions on the 4th March in London and march to protect YOUR NHS


Date: March 4 2017
Time: 12pm
Location: Tavistock Square
If your branch has organised a coach please tell us so we can organise a UNISON South East block on the day.





Friday, 17 February 2017

Get active in your branch

Why get active in your branch

Getting involved in your branch offers a chance for you to influence the decisions of the branch – and in turn make a difference in your workplace.
Volunteering brings personal benefits too:
  • you can get free training and learning opportunities – and time off work while you learn;
  • you gain valuable experience in new areas;
  • you can create a better workplace and better public services;
  • it looks good on your CV.

How to get active

If you want to help out, why not offer to lend a hand from time to time? What you do depends on how much time you have. You might be able to help get the room ready for a meeting, hand out information or put up posters advertising branch meetings. Just  speak to your local branch. Whether it’s a particular campaign that interests you, or a group, or just being part of the everyday running of the union, your branch will be able to help you get involved.



We are here for you.

Every member of UNISON belongs to a branch. Why not get active by going along to a branch event to meet other UNISON members and find out what the branch is doing? You’ll be made very welcome and it’s a great chance to find out more about what the union is doing for you.

email us on office@oxfordcityunison.com  and come and join us

Tuesday, 14 February 2017



For some reason this link only works when you use Google Chrome and not widows, i am working on a solution.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Please support us and Oxford City Council, working in partnership

One Oxfordshire's proposals to create a unitary county will mean the voice of Oxford will be lost, and could see services under threat. Our petition says: #HandsoffOxfordCity!


Sign the petition -hands-off-oxford-city here


We want to make you aware of a massive threat facing Oxford City.
Oxfordshire County Council has put forward proposals to abolish Oxford City Council, along with all the other councils in Oxfordshire, to create a remote unitary county council covering all of Oxfordshire.
Our concern is that these proposals will mean the voice of the City will be lost; Oxford will no longer have control of decisions over vital services in the City.
You may not agree with everything we do, but we are proud of our record.
Please sign this petition to register your opposition to the unitary county council proposals.
This is not about what political party you vote for, it is about whether Oxford remains in control of local services for local people.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

'If it ain't broke don't fix it': Councillors launch campaign to save Oxford City Council from Control

COUNCILLORS have launched a campaign to prevent Oxford City Council from being sucked into unitary rule.
Members of the council's Green party are fighting against the One Oxfordshire proposal, which would abolish district and city councils and replace them with one 'super council'.
Leader of Oxford's Green group Craig Simmons insisted that, while other authorities might be struggling to make ends meet, the city council has been 'efficiently' dealing with its own business.
He said: "The city council is a cost effective, efficiently run local authority that pursues its own agenda. While other councils in the county, and the county council itself, has been cost-cutting and privatising services, the city council is unique in retaining control over service delivery.

Great reading, makes lots of sence

Message from Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council:

"The belief that children are our future is not just a line from a popular song – it’s a true fact and statement.

"Cherwell and Oxfordshire County Council both offer services for children but the key difference between the two authorities is their commitment to investing in these services.

"Oxfordshire County Council is responsible for education – which is obviously a statutory service - but it also has a responsibility to provide “sufficient” children’s centres. However, the county has taken this responsibility lightly – cutting the number of council-run children’s centres in half from March this year.

"The impact of this is far reaching; it’s not just the children who suffer but the parents who find support and companionship in such surroundings. Quite often, the most vulnerable members of society find solace in these services; yet the county has still made the decision to ignore protests from the public and cut the funding.

"Is that a council you want running all services in the future?




Friday, 10 February 2017

Disappointment with County Labour Councilors

Please see our updated post, to show our solidarity with the city Labour councilors, who we have for many years worked in partnership with.


This Morning , Bob Price Leader and Deputy Leader Ed Turner of Oxford City Council invited us along to a Labour Group Meeting at County Hall as they see us as being part of the same political family and thought it would help in the meeting, but the Oxfordshire County Councilors took a very different view and asked us to leave.
We were asked by Cllr Price and Cllr Turner to put forward the concerns of our Members/employees and residents from the the City Council. BUT upon arrival we had the door initially shut in our faces!! David and myself, are not only Senior Trade union officials of the branch, but also Labour party members and supporters, we were disgusted that the Oxfordshire County Labour Party could behave in such away, they seem to forget that the Local elections are nearly upon them and this does not help if they are seeking re-election!! we were told in no uncertain terms that they were not prepared to listen to our concerns at this time, regarding their proposals for One Oxfordshire.
If this is the way that they treat their Trade Union Supporters and members and not forgetting their total disregard of the view of the residents in Oxford!!! then how on earth are they going to represent the views of the whole of Oxfordshires residents should their bid be successful! they certainly don't want our respect that's for sure!!!





Thursday, 9 February 2017

No one Oxfordshire


MPs warn Oxfordshire super council 'fails' government tests

OUR Oxfordshire MPs have together warned a plan to create a super council fails a key government test.
They said proposals backed by Oxfordshire County Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council did not have the support of other authorities or 'the majority of MPs'.
The three authorities want to scrap all six of the county's biggest councils and replace them with one organisation, which could save £20m. 
But in a joint statement, Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, Witney MP Robert Courts, Banbury MP Victoria Prentis and Henley MP John Howell said: "We have seen that South Oxfordshire and the Vale of the White Horse are now backing a bid for a county-based unitary authority.
"We have also seen that this is opposed by Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, and West Oxfordshire District Council. 
"So this is not a unified bid across the whole county, does not have the support of the majority of the County’s MPs, and fails the criteria for consensus which the Department of Communities and Local Government are working to."

To read the full story from the Oxford Mail Click here.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

'Super council' plans spark civil war between Tory leaders in Oxfordshire

Great article in the Oxford Times from Cherwell District Council leader Barry Wood and West Oxfordshire District Council leader James Mills.


James Mills, leader of Conservative-run West Oxfordshire District Council, said there was ‘no way’ he would back the plans because it would mean a council tax hike for residents. His authority charges the lowest annual rate of council tax in the county – just £86.63 – but under a super council rates across different areas would be ‘harmonised’ to become the same.

Full story can be found Here .Tories spark civil war  





Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Great words from Andrew Smith MP

Please take note before it's to late.


Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said today in the Oxford Mail (07/02/2017) that the city should have more powers, not fewer.

He said: “In the interests of local democratic accountability and having councils which are in touch with the issues in their area, I have long supported unitary status for Oxford city, ideally on wider boundaries than present so that housing, transport and environmental protection can be planned properly.
“Swindon, Reading and Milton Keynes all have unitary status rather than being swallowed up in a wider county authority, and Oxford residents should have the same right.”
Mr Smith said he had voiced concerns to top government ministers, including Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
The Labour politicians were speaking after Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils announced they were teaming up with Oxfordshire County Council, to submit plans for a super council next month.
This would see council tax made the same for all households in Oxfordshire, with the new authority given sweeping powers to approve major housing developments across the county.
Full story can be found at This is Oxfordshire


Saturday, 4 February 2017

Do you understand the real threat from one oxfordshire?

A real Threat to your social housing

The City Council is the only council in Oxfordshire to retain control of social housing

o 900 new homes in Barton
o £20m to refurbish tower blocks
o £21m to improve council homes in Blackbird Leys and Barton
o £4.2m on our Great Estates programme

Invested £5m to house families in temporary accommodation and secured £790k from Government to help prevent homelessness

Did you know that Oxfordshire unitary would remove control of housing from elected City Councillors?

Oxfordshire County Council has cut its budget for homeless services in the city leading to hostel closures across the city.

Threat to investment in communities

Oxford City Council invests in communities to enhance health and well-being and the quality of residents’ lives, Heavy invested in community facilities, e.g. Rose Hill and East Oxford Community Centres.

Loss of local control would threaten:

o Planned improvements across all 19 community facilities
o Investment in facilities and programmes for young people, e.g. Youth Ambition
o £1.4m of grants to community and voluntary sector groups and to the cultural sector.

Is this what you really want for your oxford?






Friday, 3 February 2017

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...