Friday, 23 November 2012

Public sector pay

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

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

UNISON assistant general secretary Karen Jennings said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 16 November 2012

UNISON official app

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Blackberry version is available Link to another websitehere.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Help with winter fuel bills

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

Let’s say thank you to all our key workers

UNISON has become a partner in the /together coalition, which this weekend will unite the country to celebrate the NHS’ birthday and ...