Friday, 20 April 2018

National Table Tennis Day

Save the Date - Wednesday July 18

The date for National Table Tennis Day has been announced! Register your interest to be the first to hear about our exciting plans for the day and how you can get involved! 

Sunday, 8 April 2018

UK bosses are risking workforce stress burnout

With April marking Stress Awareness Month, a new report has found UK businesses are in danger of having their workforces experience burnout, as despite a huge number feeling stressed at work, few bosses are doing anything to help.
For those British adults in employment, work is by far the most common cause of stress (59 per cent). Yet almost one in two (45 per cent) of British businesses do not offer anything to help alleviate this, according to a study of 3,000 UK workers carried out by Perkbox, the UK’s fastest growing employee benefits platform, as part of the 2018 UK Workplace Stress Report.
This is despite the fact that one in four (25 per cent) struggle to be as productive at work when stressed, and almost the same number find themselves disengaged with work as a result. In fact, at least one in 10 (10 per cent) of us will call in sick due to stress, while seven per cent will look for a new job.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Minimum wage and national living wage

The national living wage and national minimum wage set minimum hourly rates that employers must legally pay workers in the UK.
How much is the national minimumwage?
National minimum wage levels vary, depending on your age and whether you are an apprentice. It is reviewed every year, with changes introduced every April.
From 1 April 2018, the hourly national minimum wage rates are:
  • £7.83 for workers aged 25 and above (the so-called national living wage);
  • £7.38 for workers aged 21-24;
  • £5.90 for workers aged 18-20;
  • £4.20 for workers aged 16-17;
  • £3.70 for apprentices under 19, or in the first year of their apprenticeship.

Before this, from 1 April 2017, they were:
  • £7.50 for workers aged 25 and above;
  • £7.05 for workers aged 21-24;
  • £5.60 for workers aged 18-20;
  • £4.05 for workers aged 16-17;
  • £3.50 for apprentices under 19, or in the first year of their apprenticeship.
“National living wage”
The top tier of the national minimum wage, payable to workers aged 25 and over, was labelled as a “national living wage” when it was introduced by the government in April 2016.
The government has set a target for this wage to rise to 60% of average earnings by 2020. However, the wage does not truly reflect a living wage, since it is not based on the cost of living.
Living wage
The Living Wage Foundation, an independent organisation that campaigns for a living wage  based on the true cost of living, announces its independently calculated wage rate at the beginning of living Wage Week, which takes place over the first week of November every year.
The living wage currently stands at £8.75 an hour outside London, and £10.20 an hour in London.
Who is eligible for the national minimum wage ?
Most workers are eligible for the national minimum wage – even if you agree to work for less or your contract says you are entitled to less. Employers are legally required to pay at least the national minimum wage.
What to do if you are paid less than the national minimum wage
If you are being paid less than the national minimum wage, speak to your UNISON representative. They can help you receive the correct amount of pay.

Work related stress - Video interviews - Tony’s Story

This video looks at the story of someone with work-related stress, and how they dealt with it and were supported in the workplace.

Stress Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month takes place every April and has since it first launched in 1992. Throughout this period of time, teams of experts aim to increase public awareness about stress. This includes highlighting the causes of stress, the negative effects stress can have on the mind and body, and how to relieve stress.

Most people will experience stress at some point in their life, but constant or extreme stress is bad for both the mind and body. Stress can be caused by a sudden traumatic event or even just the expectations of daily life.

There are many ways to minimize stress such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, talking about your feelings, and dedicating time to relaxing. If you are suffering from stress, you can find help and resources on the internet, or you can seek advice from a healthcare professional.

If left unchecked, stress can be deadly — in fact, stress is often referred to as the “silent killer” because although its effects are not immediately apparent, it can lead to a number of serious health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. This is why Stress Awareness Month is important — it informs people about stress and provides them with the tools and resources to manage it.

Useful websites and organisations

NHS mood self-assessment quiz
Stressbusting website – for information about stress and techniques for coping
The Be Mindful website – for guidance on mindfulness
• Mind’s Infoline (0300 123 3393/ – for information on support groups and mental health services in your local area
Health Assured’s 4 week programme on sleep

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Today is transday of visibility

⚧  Check out UNISON's great guide to being a good trans ally. It all comes down to listening to trans people, challenging transphobia, and being a good person!

Click for more info

Tips for being a good trans ally In general

• Speak up for trans people and trans equality and against transphobia.
• Speak up when there are trans people present. Don’t leave it to trans people to defend trans equality.
• Speak up when there are no trans people present. Transphobia is always wrong and shouldn’t be ignored.
• Do this in meetings, on social media, with family and friends.
• Don’t assume you know who is trans or who is affected by anti-trans discrimination. There may be people with a trans history in your branch or workplace who are now just living their lives. Other colleagues may have trans family members.
• Transphobia is no laughing matter. It’s just as important to challenge it when it is presented in a jokey way.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Thanks to UNISON members, vital public services are still running

The snow and difficult weather conditions of the past week have been challenging for everyone. We’re not a country that is best suited to this kind of weather at the best of times – especially not in March.
However, what has been abundantly clear once again in recent days is how remarkable public service workers are. Winter weather makes it harder to support those who need help in our communities – especially in rural and remote areas – but UNISON members have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that help still arrives.
Thanks to UNISON members, vital public services are still running.
So thank you to the homecare worker, who travels miles from house to house ensuring that the elderly and the vulnerable are safe, warm and cared for – a lifeline for so many, even when its hazardous on the roads.
Thanks to the NHS staff who fight their way into work to make sure our health service keeps running during the cold snap. And to the ambulance staff who carry on undeterred to make sure that an emergency in the snow receives the same care that all emergencies do.
Thanks to those local authority staff, including those out late and night and early in the morning gritting the roads so that the country keeps moving even when the snow is piling up.
Thanks to the school staff, the caretakers keeping schools open and safe where they can, and those managing the process of school closures where they’re unavoidable.
Thank you to all public servants working through the cold and the snow to support everyone who needs you. You are the pride of our union, our communities and our country.

You make all of us proud of our union.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Did you every wonder where UNISON’s colours came from?

Does the colour scheme on the medal look familiar to you? Do you know what it is?  Well, it is actually a hunger strike medal from the women’s suffrage movement and represents the colours of the suffragettes.   In 1908 the women’s Social and Political UNISON or WSPU adopted the colour scheme of purple, white and green which would distinguish them in the political movement. Emmelin Pethick-Lawrence, editor of the weekly newspaper Votes For Women wrote “Purple as everyone knows is the royal colour, white stands for purity in private and public life and green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring.”

UNISON lottery

🤑UNISON members: we've relaunched the UNISON lottery, giving you a chance to win up to a grand and help your fellow members at the same time 👍

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Health & Safety Spot Light.

Strain on employees at work is seen to be a major cause of mental health issues— a government-commissioned report shows that mental health is costing the UK economy almost £100 billion a year and figures show that around 300,000 people leave jobs due to mental health issues.

If work place stress is causing an issue you can approach your Unison representatives/Health & Safety representative in confidence to see if the issue can be dealt with through a discussion with the employer or to offer support.

In solidarity ✊🏻

Monday, 12 February 2018

The RBL needs our help, please share.

Do you know a WW2 veteran who would want to take a free Remembrance tour back to where they served? No database exists of WW2 veterans who are still alive today, so we need your help. If you’re a grandchild, neighbour or carer and know someone who fought in WW2, please tell them about this opportunity and encourage them to sign up! Tours will take place throughout 2018 and veterans will have the chance to their respects at battlefield sites, cemeteries and memorials.

 Find out more here:

Friday, 9 February 2018

Police campaign encourages young people to Protect Your World

 As almost a quarter of 12-15 year olds say they don’t know how to control who can see what they post on social media*, Thames Valley Police (TVP) is encouraging young people to take action to protect themselves online.

The internet is a fantastic place for young people to learn, play and socialise but it’s vital that young people are aware of its dangers and how to stay safe. Identity fraud, cyberstalking, confidence scams, cyberbullying, romance fraud, hacking, and distribution of malware are all examples of cyber dangers.

But there are simple ways to reduce the risks. Here are TVP’s top tips:

·         Make sure you are only connected to people you know on social media networks and that your settings limit the information you share
·         Turn off the mapping feature on social media and apps, as it shares your exact whereabouts and routine
·         Be share aware – your email address, postal address, the name of the school/college you attend and your telephone number are all examples of personal information that you should keep private
·         Always be cautious of internet chats - when you’re chatting online there’s no guarantee you are speaking to who you think
·         Be cautious of fake sites when shopping online. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is
·         Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi - never provide personal information to access it or use sites which are password protected when using it

It’s also vital that parents, carers and responsible adults, such as youth activity leaders, have the tools and knowledge to help young people stay safe online.

Social media is a concern for many parents, who can struggle to keep up-to-date with the networks their children are using, so the NSPCC has created the Net Aware website ( This online guide demystifies the content, age restrictions and perceived risk levels of over 30 social media and gaming networks, enabling parents to understand what their children are doing online.

TVP also recommends taking the NSPCC’s TEAM approach:
  • Talk – to your child/children about staying safe online, find out what sites/social media they are using, what worries them and you about them being online, the emotional aspects of social media (jealousy, self-esteem etc)
  • Explore their online world together – the NSPCC has useful tips of how to start the conversation on their website
  • Agree rules about what is ok and not
  • Manage parental controls on all your family’s devices – free helpline available (0808 800 5002)
  • Repeat – make it part of everyday life

If you fall victim to cyber crime or experience an attempted scam report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit

For more information and advice visit

*Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report, November 2017

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Oxford City Branch

Your chance to elect officers and stewards, ask questions, hear about what the branch has been up to, followed by refreshments and networking after the meeting at 16:00 

On Thursday 15 March 2018 
Long Room at Oxford Town Hall
    Starting at 15:00     

Please let your line manager know as soon as possible if you wish to attend the AGM.  You are entitled to paid time off to attend the AGM (up to one hour) and reasonable time off for travel to and from the meeting.

Your voice will make a difference

If you would like to stand as a steward for your area, or would you just like more information? Then come and have a informal chat over a cup of coffee or email

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Monday, 22 January 2018

Pension accounts are going online

The latest edition of Reporting Pensions is now available. 

Please take some time to read it as it contains important information about the Local Government Pension Scheme. 

It includes information about the introduction of My Oxfordshire Pension, providing online access to your pension record. Scheme members will be asked to register and annual benefits statements will be available this way in future. If you cannot access an online system and wish to keep paper as your main method of communication, you need to let Pensions Services know. You can do this by completing and returning a form which is in the booklet. 

The booklet is available here

This issue covers:

  • More on your benefit statement
  • Cautionary warning about pension scams
  • Progress towards My Oxfordshire Pension - the on-line member service
  • Reminders on some LGPS topical issues 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Are you currently receiving Universal Credit?

Are you currently receiving Universal Credit? If so we'd like your help.

To show how the government is clawing back much of the money ministers claim is helping workers on low pay, we're looking for case studies of individuals or families who are on the national minimum wage – currently £7.50 an hour – and who also get Universal Credit.

Between October 2015 and April 2018, the national minimum wage will have risen from £6.50 to £7.83 an hour, an hourly increase of £1.33.

But UNISON has worked out for people who are in receipt of Universal Credit, much of that rise will have ended up not in their pockets, but back in the hands of the Treasury.

If this is you, or describes someone you know, please get in touch by emailing UNISON's media team on or Pete Challis, the report's

We'd need the following information: whether there are one or two earners on the minimum wage in your household, how many hours you (and they) work, how many children you have (if any), and how much you pay in rent, or how much your mortgage is a month.

If you were happy to be named in the report, and possibly speak to a journalist, it would help UNISON bring the campaign's attention to a wider audience. This would hopefully ensure that a greater proportion of future minimum wage increases end up in the hands of those who need it the most.

But the most important thing is to find some real life stories to illustrate the report, so even if you don't want to be named, please do still get in touch, as an anonymous household would still help us out no end.

Many thanks

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Reintroduce Oxford weighting tax.

There is a government registered petition to get an Oxford Weighting Allowance introduced at the local hospitals.  The cost of living is the highest in the UK compared to average salary (even higher than London).   It is really difficult to recruit and retain nurses due to the national standard government pay scales.  The petition is asking for an Oxford Weighting to be added to salaries like the London Weighting.  If 100,000 signatures are reached this will then be debated in parliament. Please pass on the link below:

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils to bring services back in-house

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils to bring services back in-house after outsourcing deal designed to save up to £18m fails

check out the full story at here 

Friday, 5 January 2018

Want to do something more?

Help your colleagues and other members becoming a UNISON rep or workplace contact. 

Being a UNISON workplace rep gives you the opportunity to:

  • make a positive difference to people’s work lives
  • learn new skills and meet new people
  • help create a fairer society

National Table Tennis Day

Save the Date - Wednesday July 18 The date for National Table Tennis Day has been announced! Register ...