Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Employers need to recognise mental health as a workplace issue


Stress is the number one concern for UK workers, followed by bullying, harassment and overwork. On World Mental Health Day, we're calling for employers to start tackling work-related stress and its underlying causes.

https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/employers-need-recognise-mental-health-workplace-issue-1




Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Health and Safety Week

European Health and Safety Week (EHSW) happens every year in the last full week of October (this year it starts on 22 October). The theme this year is healthy workplaces: hazardous substances.

UNISON takes your health and safety seriously and we think EHSW is a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work our safety reps do every day. So we are asking our reps and branches to use EHSW to shine a spotlight on this vital work to keep staff and the public safe, promote better health and safety and highlight the role of the union and our safety reps in achieving this.

More info can be found at https://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/european-health-safety-week-2018/?platform=hootsuite  



Sunday, 30 September 2018

Lighthouse Mortgage and Protection Solutions | UNISON Member Benefits

Independent mortgage advice at preferential rates. UNISON Living’s trusted partner can help you save on the most important thing you’re ever likely to buy.

Click here Lighthouse Mortgage and Protection Solutions | UNISON Member Benefits

Monday, 17 September 2018

#ItsOkNotToBeOk #mentalhealthawareness

Did you know that if you text 07725 909090 when you are feeling really depressed, a crisis counsellor will text with you? Many people don't like talking on the phone & find it difficult to open up to friends and family. Some people would be more comfortable texting. It's a service run by Samaritans. Please copy, paste & pass on (rather than sharing). You never know who might be needing it. #ItsOkNotToBeOk #mentalhealthawareness


Thursday, 6 September 2018

We need to hear your voice

Do you work in the public sector, and would like to own your own home but feel that you’re being priced out of the housing market? If this is the case and you’d be prepared to talk to the media about your experience, please get in touch with the UNISON press office: press@unison.co.uk





Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Message from Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, Oxford City Council



Message from Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, Oxford City Council

Colleagues may have seen news reports that Oxfordshire County Council announced plans for significant changes yesterday. The Leader of the County Council, Councillor Ian Hudspeth, said they wanted to introduce a new operating model to improve efficiency and increase the provision of services online. The County Council says it is seeking savings of £34-£58 million a year by streamlining services. It acknowledges this is likely to involve a reduction in staff numbers over time by up to 890 people, though it said it expected, with staff turnover of about 650 a year, that most of the jobs lost would be taken out of that pool, with a smaller level of compulsory redundancies. The proposals will go before the full County Council meeting on 11 September.

These savings were identified as part of last year’s budget setting process, and the County Council has been working on a plan with consultants for the last 12 months. The City Council set a balanced budget last year, over the four-year budget plan, with savings of around £7m already identified. We are in the process of reviewing the budget for the next four-year planning period, and whilst it’s safe to say we will have financial challenges we are not in the same financial position as the County Council.






Thursday, 16 August 2018

Have your say on private tenancies

Members urged to join UNISON in responding to government consultation on proposals for longer private rent tenancies in England, by 26 August

Do you have any views on how to make longer tenancies easier in England’s privately rented housing sector? Well UNISON is asking you to share them with the government.
Westminster’s department of housing, communities and local government is in the middle of a consultation over proposals on “overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector”.  As housing is a devolved matter in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the proposals and consultation only cover England.
UNISON has produced a briefing on the consultation – which ends on 26 August – and the issues, which union activists or anyone else responding to the proposals should find useful.
The union will also be submitting a full national response to the proposals. These cover making tenancies longer, for a minimum of three years, and whether to implement a new tenancy framework by legislation, by introducing financial incentives to encourage landlords or by using education to raise awareness and bring about behavioural change.
We are also encouraging members, especially those who are private tenants, to respond to the consultation and make their voices heard in the debate on housing policy
UNISON welcomes the proposals, while arguing that they deed to go further in providing private tenants with greater security and stability. The union’s full response to the consultation will can for a new tenancy framework based on the Scottish “private residential tenancy”, introduced by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act which came into force last year.
This is open-ended and provides tenants with greater security, stability and more predictability in their rent increases.
Click here to find out more and download the consultation paper


Monday, 6 August 2018

Justice restored

In 2017 UNISON won a landmark legal case against the government. It's been hailed as one of the most significant in the history of employment law.



It's one year since UNISON beat the government at the Supreme Court and forced an immediate change in the law.

The case made headlines. Now we can tell the full story of how David beat Goliath. It's a remarkable, epic tale that spans over four years. And it's all true.

We hear from the people who made it happen and the ordinary members who are currently fighting for what's right, thanks to that famous win.

If you ever want to know what difference your union makes, you just need to read this...






Saturday, 4 August 2018

Advise about working in hot weather from ACAS

Working in hot temperatures

Although the Great British Summer often doesn't result in hot temperatures there will be times when the sun does come out and workers find themselves working in hot conditions. In the UK there is no maximum temperature that a workplace is allowed to be, rather advice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states "during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable". What is reasonable depends on the type of work being done (manual, office, etc) and the type of workplace (kitchen, air conditioned office, etc).
The HSE offers further guidance on workplace temperatures including details on carrying out an optional thermal comfort risk assessment if staff are unhappy with the temperature - Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Temperature.

Getting to work

Generally hot weather shouldn't affect journeys to work, but occasionally in the UK there might be an impact on public transport if temperatures go over a certain level. Train companies may limit the speed of trains in case the tracks buckle which may result in the late arrival of your train. You should check with your local train company to see if speed restrictions are in place or cancellations are expected and plan accordingly.

Keeping cool in work

While employers are not legally obliged to provide air conditioning in workplaces  they are expected to provide reasonable temperatures. If you have air conditioning switch it on, if you have blinds or curtains use them to block out sunlight and if you're working outside wear appropriate clothing and use sun screen to protect from sunburn.
It is also important to drink plenty of water and employers must provide you with suitable drinking water in the workplace. It is important to drink water regularly throughout the day and not to wait until you are thirsty as this is an indication that you are already dehydrated.

Fasting during hot weather

Many Muslims will fast each day from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan as part of their faith. This includes not eating food, drinking liquids or smoking. When Ramadan falls in the summer months it can be particularly challenging as the days are longer. Employees may wish to use annual leave when observing the Ramadan rules, and employers may help by holding meetings etc. in the mornings when energy levels are higher. Where possible employers could consider a temporary change in working hours.

Vulnerable workers

The hot weather can make workers feel tired and less energetic especially for those who are young, older, pregnant or those on medication. Employers may wish to give these workers, more frequent rest breaks and ensure ventilation is adequate by providing fans, or portable air cooling units.

Dress code in the workplace during hot weather

Employers often have a dress code in the workplace for many reasons such as health and safety, or workers may be asked to wear a uniform to communicate a corporate image. A dress code can often be used to ensure workers are dressed appropriately.
While employers are under no obligation to relax their dress code or uniform requirements during hot weather, some may allow workers to wear more casual clothes, or allow "dress down" days. This does not necessarily mean that shorts and flip flops are appropriate, rather employers may relax the rules in regards to wearing ties or suits.


Friday, 3 August 2018

Tell us what’s happening in your area

 If there is something happening that you’d like us to shout about.





Southampton City Council cuts cord with Capita

UNISON has welcomed Southampton City Council's decision to end it's 11 year relationship with Capita and bring a raft of services back in-house. This announcement comes after years of great campaigning and bargaining work by the Southampton District branch.

Read the full article








Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Update on unitary bid 2018

The Government has announced that it will not be making a decision on the proposals for a single unitary council for Oxfordshire for the foreseeable future – and that it “would be wrong” to commit to a timetable to consider them.

The Minister for Local Government provided the update in a letter to the Leaders of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils, which the two councils made public yesterday.

In his letter, Rishi Sunak MP said: “It would be wrong for Government to commit now to any particular timetable for considering the unitary proposal, although we remain open to considering the views of any Oxfordshire council about unitary proposals.”

He cited as reasons for the decision the new partnership arrangements between Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council following the restructuring of local government in Northamptonshire, and the successful joint working between all six of Oxfordshire’s councils with the Growth Board.

Mr Sunak said: “The evidence of the progress all Oxfordshire councils together are making on the Housing and Growth Deal clearly demonstrates that the absence of any announcement on the unitary proposal is no impediment to continued partnership working.”



Tuesday, 17 July 2018

National Table Tennis Day on 18/7/2018

As part of the celebration of National Table Tennis Day on 18/7/2018, you can attend Cowley Table Tennis for free !

Cowley Table Tennis is located at Temple Cowley Reform Church, Oxford Road, Cowley (opposite
Cowley Police Station) OX4 2ES, between 7pm and 10.00 pm.

5 tables, equipment provided.
Take on the club robot with Robo Pong’s four bat challenge-and win
a free entry to Ping ! Oxford All-comers summer competition.

For further details, contact Anne Borrowdale . e-mail ; anne@anneborrowdale.co.uk
mobile ; 07729 999958




Monday, 9 July 2018

Fighting for fairness and equality

Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. The ability to live and work without prejudice is a fundamental right, regardless of your background, colour or sexual orientation.
One of UNISON’s main aims is to help workers fight for fairness and equality in the workplace and beyond. Challenging discrimination and winning equality is at the heart of everything UNISON does.
Besides the right not to be discriminated against or bullied, fair treatment also includes equal working conditions and pay.
📝UNISON members! Take this year's Equality Survey and you could WIN three nights for two people at Croyde Bay Holiday Resort. Look, isn't it lovely! 😎 ☀️ Click here today to take part


Saturday, 23 June 2018

LGBT survey

You guys are amazing! We aimed to get 200 responses to our LGBT Staff Survey and we are currently a cat's whisker away from hitting 400.

Thank you very much to you all, and if you would still like to take part, there is just one week left.

The link to the survey is https://survey.yas.nhs.uk/s/LGBTStaffSurvey18/.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Dave Prentis Speech Full NDC 2018

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis marks the start of the union's 25th anniversary year with a speech recalling some of the battles and successes of the past. 

And he had a message for the Prime Minister: "Fund our NHS and all our public services. Or call an election and we'll elect a government that will." 




What is Anxiety?








Tuesday, 12 June 2018

#Our NHS is 70 - National celebration & demonstration


June 30
Organised by: The People's Assembly, HCT, TUC, Unison, Unite, GMB, RCN, RCM, BMA & BDA
Book free seat on Oxford transport @ ouh.org.uk/bookings/June30.html
or call 07503169657

Say yes to:
● A publicly owned NHS that is free for all
● Proper funding and proper staffing
● Support for our wonderful NHS workers
● World class services for every community

#OurNHS70 - Free, for all, forever
The NHS belongs to us. Access to healthcare is a human right. Our post-war generation created a National Health Service that delivered world class care to all on the basis of need. For 70 years #ourNHS has set a shining example to the world of what can be achieved when we make the choice to look after the collective good.
But #ourNHS is under attack. A decade of austerity, underfunding and top down reforms have stretched our health service to breaking point. Services are being cut and cancelled, hospitals and wards are closing, there are staffing shortages across every part of the system and increasing parts of our health service are being outsourced to private companies.
Never has there been a more urgent time in her 70 year history to stand up and defend what is yours. For what the last generation built. You have paid for it. You deserve it.
#OurNHS is a loved and cherished part of every community. Come out to defend it on June 9th in Oxford and on 30th June in London. Bring your family, your friends, your loved ones and anyone who cares about the future of healthcare in this country.


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Dress codes and sex discrimination guidance

New guidance on Dress Codes and Sex Discrimination has been published by the Government Equalities Offices.

The guidance reminds employers that dress policies for men and women do not have to be identical, but standards imposed should be equivalent.

It also warns that requiring any gender-specific items, such as high heels, make up or have manicured nails, is likely to be unlawful.





Tuesday, 5 June 2018

TUC WorkSmart app

The TUC has launched a pilot version of a new app – WorkSmart – that helps young people to progress at work, build relationships with co-workers, and learn about their rights. 

A thousand workers have already signed up. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Joining together in a trade union is still the best way to get a better deal at work. But unions need to reach out to the young workers in workplaces where there isn’t a union. “That’s why today we’ve launched a new pilot, WorkSmart – to find a way to get the benefits of trade unions to the young workers who need us most.”


Click here to download the WorkSmart App




Helping with the cost of school uniforms

There for You has once again got a limited fund to help members deal with the costs of school uniforms
UNISON is once more launching a scheme to help members on low incomes deal with the cost of buying school uniforms.
Families living on low income with children struggle constantly to make ends meet – and this can be particularly acute before the new school year begins when the extra costs hit hard.
The union’s welfare charity There for You has once again got a limited fund to help members deal with the costs of school uniforms.
Download the applications form Here
The closing date for receipt of completed application forms is Friday 20 July.



Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Survey about cuts to local council budgets and your working lives


We have recently launched a survey of our members about the impact of local government cuts on services, and the impact on their working lives – including workplace stress, use of food banks, and undertaking unpaid overtime.

This forms part of our campaigning and lobbying strategy to secure more money for local government in the Autumn Budget.

It is essential that we receive as many responses as possible from members, so that we have results for all branches that can be used for campaigning.

Please share this survey with your colleagues and encourage them to fill it in. The deadline is 11th June.


CLICK HERE TO START SURVEY





Saturday, 26 May 2018

Check out www.ambulanceLGBT.org

There's lots to get involved with this summer... Pride events, a photo competition and the first ever LGBT staff survey!






Sunday, 20 May 2018

Remember, if you are stressed or not feeling well, there is help available. Check out the Mental Health Foundation page for advice. Don't stay silent.








Saturday, 19 May 2018

How can I identify the signs of stress?

Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:

  • feelings of constant worry or anxiety
  • feelings of being overwhelmed
  • difficulty concentrating
  • mood swings or changes in your mood
  • irritability or having a short temper
  • difficulty relaxing
  • depression
  • low self-esteem
  • eating more or less than usual
  • changes in your sleeping habits
  • using alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs to relax
  • aches and pains, particularly muscle tension
  • diarrhoea and constipation
  • feelings of nausea or dizziness
  • loss of sex drive.


For a free copy of there book on how to cope Click here


Test your stress


For Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 (14-20 May), we're focusing on stress. See how stressed you are by taking our short test, which uses the evidence-based perceived stress scale (PSS).

Stress is not a mental health problem in itself but it is a key cause of mental health problems like depression and anxiety and is often linked to self-harm and suicide. Stress is also known to lead to physical health problems like muscle and joint pain and cardiovascular problems.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/stress-test



Friday, 11 May 2018

It's almost time for us to Step Up! For Public Services.

Here's all the logistical info you need for the day.

Arriving and forming up
The UNISON block of the march will form up on The Embankment by Embankment Pier. We have been allocated Zone 2 which will be marked out by the TUC with signs on lamp posts, From 9.30am the area will be clearly visible due to the presence of six of large purple UNISON balloons.

The best way to get on to The Embankment by foot is from The Strand via the side streets Surrey Street and Arundel Street

Marchers should access the form up area from the rear and make their way forwards towards Zone 2 and the purple UNISON balloons.

The key tube stations are Blackfriars, Southwark, St Paul’s and Waterloo. Temple tube station is likely to be closed as it is very small, so make alternative plans.

March Length and Route
View the march route here. March lengths are as follows:
  • Long March – Embankment tube to Wellington Arch entrance of Hyde Park - 1.7 miles
  • Short March – St James Street to Wellington Arch entrance of Hyde Park – 0.8 miles

Legal Assistance
In the event of any legal issues, UNISON has arranged a helpline through Thompsons for members on the day: Tel: 0800 587 7530

Rally
The rally in Hyde Park is due to end no later than 4.00pm.



Monday, 30 April 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at UNISON

The GDPR is a EU Regulation designed to give you better control over how your personal data is used. While the major targets of the legislation are the big multinationals, like Facebook and the other big companies that sell your data for a profit, the GDPR applies to everyone including UNISON. Therefore, please take a moment to check the preferences you have given us that will let us keep you informed about what’s happening in UNISON both nationally and at branch level. It’s very simple to do this through your “MyUNISON” portal – for details see how to change your contact preferences below. Please check and correct your other personal details at the same time. Please help us to support you.

How to change your contact preferences:

1.    Go to the national UNISON website (www.unison.org.uk) and click on “My UNISON in the top strap-line (www.unison.org.uk/my-unison).
2.    If this is the first time you have done this, you will need to register, which requires knowing your UNISON membership number. You can get this from your membership card or by ringing UNISONdirect on 08000 857 857.
3.    If you have already registered and have an account, you will need to login (you will need your UNISON membership number and the password you created when you first registered.
4.    Click on “My Details” and then “View full personal details here”.
5.    In the top section titled “About you”, click on “Edit”.
6.    Scroll down the page, completing as many details as you feel happy entering until you get towards the bottom, where it asks for Email addresses.
7.    Please ensure that there is at least one email address (personal or work) entered and preferably enter both – please indicate which one you would prefer us to use.
8.    Please set “UNISON Mail” to “I am happy to receive correspondence from UNISON if appropriate” – if you do not do this, the branch cannot send you the branch newsletter, information about pay increases, etc.
9.    If you wish to receive information from UNISON’s partners, you will need to set “Third Party Mail” to “Allow my details to be available for third party mailings”.
10.    Please tick the box against “Email” or the branch cannot contact you by email.  If you are happy to be contacted by phone and/or text as well, you should tick those boxes as well.
11.    Click the “Save button” and then “Log out” in the top strap-line.




Employers need to recognise mental health as a workplace issue Stress is the number one concern for UK workers, followed by bullying, har...