Sunday, 30 December 2018

Out of hours help

UNISON have an online KNOWLEDGE BASE which has a great deal of information about your rights at work and commonly asked questions.

You can also call our national helpline, UNISONdirect, on 0800 0 857 857.
Lines are open from 6am to midnight on Monday to Friday and from 9 am till 4pm on Saturday. 
There is also a textphone number for members with hearing difficulties – 0800 0 967 968.


Thursday, 20 December 2018

Free Christmas draw

As a thank you from your branch, all members of Oxford City Branch of UNISON will be entered into a free prize draw, first prize will be a £100 voucher for John Lewis and partners, donated by Direct services Simon Howick, 20 others members will win £25. to be announced in the New Year.

So if your not a member and what to be able to be entered into the draw join today at www.oxfordcityunison.com





Friday, 14 December 2018

We are so proud of all our members.



We're proud to represent people employed in all areas of local government – from libraries to parks, from schools to housing, from youth workers to care workers and everyone in between! They work for our communities in difficult circumstances

Merry Christmas from Oxford City Branch of UNISON






Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Office Phone Number

We have an issue with our main office phone, so until further notice the new office number will be01865 253892





Check out our new facebook page 
for lastest news from your branch.







Saturday, 8 December 2018

15% off any holiday or short break for UNISON members


UNISON owned and operated Croyde Bay Resort, in North Devon, offers 15% off any holiday or short break for UNISON members, rising to a huge 50% off for low paid UNISON members.

The resort features a modern 56 bedroom hotel as well as self catering cottages and summer chalet b&b rooms.
The brilliant location next to the fabulous Croyde Beach, matched with top quality 4* rated accommodation, lots of free facilities and a super friendly welcome, have all contributed to Croyde Bay Holiday Resort winning a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the last 3 years!
This popular surfing mecca has a well-earned reputation with all age groups and makes a great base for exploring all that beautiful North Devon has to offer, on land and sea.





Friday, 30 November 2018

Six signs of a pension scam


Lighthouse Financial Solutions



Pension scams are on the increase in the UK and if you are taken in by a scam you could lose all of any defined contribution pensions you have and it would be very hard to get it back. We explain what to watch out for.
Usually, a pension scam begins with an unexpected phone call, email or text from someone claiming to represent a financial services firm or Government body. The tactics used are increasingly sophisticated, but there are a few simple signs that can help you avoid being ripped off:
1. You are contacted out of the blue
If you receive unsolicited cold calls, texts and emails from an individual or firm about your pension they are unlikely to be legitimate. You should be suspicious of anyone who contacts you to discuss your pension planning and claims to work for a Government body, such as Pension Wise or The Money Advice Service.
You should only discuss any defined contribution pensions with a pension provider, a regulated financial adviser or a Government body, contacting them using the details on their website. For the latest guidance on pensions visit www.pensionwise.gov.uk or www.moneyadviceservice.co.uk.
2. You receive an offer that’s too good to be true
Schemes that offer exceptionally high rates of returns are usually very high-risk, and fully guaranteed returns are rare. Treat such offers with caution. You should be wary and suspicious about language such as ‘pension liberation’, ‘loophole’, ‘limited time offer’ or ‘one-off investment’ as this kind of language is rarely used by legitimate advisers. Such offers are unlikely to be genuine.
3. Access to your pension before you turn 55
Only in very specific circumstances will you be able to access any defined contribution pension before you reach the age of 55. Participating in a scheme that provides access to any defined contribution pension before then is likely to result in severe tax penalties and possibly losing your funds.
4. You are asked to invest in an unusual asset
These types of pensions are usually linked to funds that invest in shares, fixed interest securities and cash. The assets in which your money is invested should be familiar and it should be easy to find information about them.
If you are told you must invest in an unusual asset – perhaps an offshore hotel development – to take advantage of a pension “opportunity”, you may be being scammed.
5. You’re asked to withdraw money first
Beware if you are asked to withdraw money from your defined contribution pension for an investment opportunity. It is important that your money remains within a pension wrapper until you decide to start drawing retirement income. Your defined contribution pension is likely to be already invested in a range of funds or investments that your pension provider makes available. This ensures your returns are tax-free and well protected. Furthermore, withdrawing money early could result in tax penalties.
6. You are told to act quickly for the best deal
Decisions about your defined contribution retirement fund should not be rushed and any offers of immediate investment for a one-time offer can be risky. You should take your time and obtain suitable advice and guidance about managing any such pension properly. If you are contacted about an opportunity, research the scheme and its promoters thoroughly. Being pressured to reach a decision before the offer closes could indicate that it is a scam.
Find out more
If you have any concerns about your pension savings get in touch now. 
Call 08000 85 85 90 or email appointments@lighthousefa.co.uk.
The value of your investments, and the income you receive from them, can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you put in. A pension is a long-term investment and inflation will reduce how much your income is worth over the years. Your eventual income may depend upon the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Survey on the experiences of UNISON Black members in local government

Survey on the experiences of UNISON Black members in local government - including members in privatised services

 Please spare 10 minutes of your time to complete

The closing date is Friday 21 December 2018.


Paper version
Online Survey

Contact:  Marilyn Bailey, on 020 7121 5789, e-mail m.bailey@unison.co.uk



Monday, 26 November 2018

White Ribbon Day


90% of sexual assault victims are women. 

90% of victims know perpetrator.  

Demand compulsory consent training for young people



Sunday, 25 November 2018

Monday, 12 November 2018

Barnsley's striking school meals staff need your help

Our members at Ladywood Primary School in Grimethorpe, Barnsley, are in dispute with their employer over proposals to make 9 School Meals Supervisory Assistants (lunchtime supervisors) redundant. 



They started with 6 days of strike action in September 2018 and since 4 October 2018 have been on indefinite strike. There are seventeen members in total who are taking action; nine SMSAs and eight Teaching Assistants and Higher Level Teaching Assistants.

We believe that the Ladywood dispute is hugely significant and that its outcome may determine the approach that other schools take to addressing budget difficulties. Our members, through their determination and courage, are showing that low-paid support staff are no longer a soft target when savings need to be made.

We hope you will be able to support our members by sending a message of solidarity tobranchoffice@unisonbarnsleylg.org 

You can also follow us on social media: (on Facebook and Twitter: @UNISONBarnsley).

Every message will be passed on to our members and they really do make a difference. 
Thanks
Robin Symonds

UNISON Regional Organiser, Yorkshire and Humberside
Donate to the strike fund
You can donate by sending money to:
Account name: UNISON Barnsley
Account number: 20031457
Sort code: 608301

Or send a cheque payable to UNISON Barnsley to:
Branch Office, 4 Burleigh Court, Barnsley, S70 1XY.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Entries now open for the annual City and County Christmas Fun Run

Entries are now open for the annual City and County Christmas Fun Run.
The Fun Run will be held on Wednesday 5 December 2018 at 12.45pm in Christ Church Meadows.
Two laps of the Meadows - 2.25 miles approx. Race will be started by the Lord Mayor of Oxford and the Chairman of the County Council.

How to enter

Entries close on Friday 30 November 2018.
Enter as an individual or as part of a Departmental or Business Unit Team. Non Council guests are welcome but please supply an A5 stamped addressed envelope for return of number.
Send requests for entry to: julian.richardson@oxfordshire.gov.uk (07825 052736) or John.Exley@Oxfordshire.gov.uk (07568 563706)
Please state:
  1. Your name and whether male / female.
  2. For the veteran competition we need to know if you are aged 35+ (women) or 40+ (men).
  3. Your department / business unit.
  4. Contact address to post you your number.
  5. Age graded results - tell us your exact age (e.g. 46) and we will publish age graded times and finishing positions.

Prizes

Prizes will be awarded for:
  • First three men
  • First three women 
  • First veteran man (over 40)
  • First veteran woman (over 35)
  • Winning Departmental Team (County or City Council) - 4 Runners to count for each team
  • Women’s Team Trophy - 3 runners to count
  • Fancy Dress - best men’s and women’s fancy dress costumes

Contacts

  • Julian Richardson (07825 052736) - County Council
  • John Exley (07568 563706) - County Council

Sponsors

Sponsored by oxford City Branch of UNISON and fit2run.


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Free Xmas Lunch for service users

For the last two years a very special lunch has been held at the Kings Centre in Osney, Oxford, on Christmas Day. Volunteers and guests totalling more than 500 people sit down together to enjoy a feast of food, good company and gentle entertainment. There’s a link to last year’s film here to give you an idea of the wonderful atmosphere: Link to facebook video

This year we’re hoping to get even more guests along. This is an entirely free event using food supplied by the Oxford Food Bank that would otherwise have gone to waste, at a time when many charities and service providers are closed for the Christmas break.  The Oxford Christmas Lunch volunteers collect anyone who needs transport, chat to them, make them feel welcome, sit alongside them and generally make sure that everybody  in Oxfordshire gets the chance to share Christmas Day with others.

I’d really like your help in making sure that all your service users know they are very definitely invited to the Oxford Christmas Lunch this year. We can arrange transport anywhere in Oxfordshire. If you’d like to meet me to discuss ways of getting the information out to your clients I’d be delighted.

In the meanwhile I attach the flyer for this year’s event for you to print – if you’d like me to deliver some hard copies, just let me know.

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

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.”



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