In this issue... Building
UNISON’s Young Members
in the community Branches
and voluntary sector Doing the basics
The Campaigning Newsletter of UNISON Activists in the East Midlands
Issue no. 13 AUTUMN 2004
Throughout October, a new UNISON advert will be seen
on ITV and Channel 4. This is the second time UNISON's
General Political Fund has sponsored TV advertising. Like
the famous Ants & Bear ad, this one will focus on the key
message that you're better off in UNISON.
What the ad will do is to remind non-members that we're here.
What it won't do is to actually recruit them into membership.
That's where you come in!
It's important that, especially throughout October, UNISON
is visible in the workplace, and that application forms are
easy to get hold of and to return. We need to make sure every
UNISON notice board is up to date, that our literature is in
the staff room, the canteen or wherever staff go. We need
to ensure that members and non-members know what we
are doing and what we've achieved by talking to them, telling
them about some of the issues dealt with in this newsletter
or your branch newsletter. The TV advert represents a major
financial investment by UNISON that we must not let go
Branch Secretaries have been sent an order form to ensure
that you have lots of the specially produced posters and
promotional items. Its still not too late to order more, so if
you've not had your share, get on to your Branch Secretary
today. Good luck and Happy Recruiting!
UP, UNISON's hot air balloon took to the skies for the first time at the
Northampton Balloon Festival. The huge mass of balloons were
a spectacular sight over Northamptonshire during the three-day
event. Equally impressive, the balloon glow saw UNISON's balloon
UP illuminated against the dark night sky.
Northamptonshire branches and regional staff ensured crowds
visiting the UNISON marquee went away happy with lots of free
AND goodies. The tombola and games organised throughout the
weekend helped raise £280 for UNISON Welfare.
The UNISON hot air balloon is available for local UNISON supported
events. For more details contact Karen Holloway at the Regional
AWAY Office on 0115 8475431 or e-mail email@example.com.
If you need this text in an alternative format
please contact Karen Holloway on (0115) 847 5400 www.unisoneast-midlands.org.uk www.unisoneast-midlands.org.uk
or text phone (0115) 847 5462
Region Welcomes LIFELONG
new regional secretary LEARNING
When I was asked to write 350
words to introduce myself as the
new Regional Secretary in the East
making a difference
Midlands I concluded that perhaps Learning provides a fantastic organising opportunity and by
the best way to introduce myself getting people back into learning we are: improving their working
to a whole lot of people I haven't lives, giving them more confidence, changing the attitudes of
yet met was to tell them about the employers, promoting the role of the Union, recruiting, retaining
things that are important to me. members, addressing inequality and getting more people to be
active within the Union. As part of this Lifelong Learning feature
Number one on the list is my there are several articles which outline the work which has been
family - Annie Mae who's four, going on across the East Midlands.
Jack who's two and Peter their
Dad (who'd rather I didn't mention
his age!) - but as much as I love
them to bits, it'd probably bore
everyone else rigid.
So number two on my list is
stewards - recruiting more of
them, supporting them better,
training and developing them. Although it's a
long time since I was a steward (nearly 20 years!) I can still
IN A PRIMARY
remember what it felt like. I can remember that there weren't
enough of us to do all the things that we wanted and needed CARE TRUST
It's not easy organising in PCTs where everybody is so spread out.
to do in my hospital branch. I can remember that what I
needed was easy and quick access to good information and But Tracy Litherland, Branch Education Co-ordinator, used Lifelong
advice when I was trying to deal with a member's problem Learning to reach those parts that others can't. Tracy explains
or negotiate with a manager. And I remember that often I just how she did it:
needed someone to bounce ideas off or to reassure me that
I was approaching a situation in the right way.
"It's always difficult to organise and recruit in Primary Care Trusts
(PCTs). Everybody is so spread out in health centres and doctors
When I talk to workplace reps I get the impression that needs surgeries. But looking back over the six months since I came back
haven't changed that much but that the demands on reps from maternity leave I can see just how Lifelong Learning can
have got greater and that's why one of the key issues for me make a difference to our members. A number of people are now on
is to make our Region a star performer in relation to increasing courses who wouldn't normally have had the chance and I've recruited
the number of workplace reps, supporting them better in 15 people to the Union because of Learning.
their role in the workplace, training and developing them.
I started by talking to people who may be interested in becoming
The key to achieving this for me is by recruiting more members a Lifelong Learning Adviser (LLA) but, because of Agenda for
- more members means a bigger pool of potential reps, it Change and heavy workloads it was hard to encourage them. I was
means more resources to provide the fast easy access to very disappointed and a little lost at this point.
quality information and advice that reps need to do their job
However, Learning at Work week gave me an opportunity to try
effectively and to provide the training and development that
another route. I set up 'Roadshows' to promote courses such as
reps want and need. Most importantly however, it means
'Return to Learn'. We recruited new members and asked members
strength - which is what gives us credibility and influence
who had already done a course whether they'd like to become a
not just in negotiations in the workplace but in the wider
LLA. I felt inspired and wrote a Lifelong Learning Agreement to
world as well. October is recruitment and organising month
create a clear commitment by the PCT to Lifelong Learning.
on the back of the TV Advertising Campaign - this is an
opportunity not a chore - let's seize it! I've set up taster sessions to be run throughout the year at lunchtimes.
These will include Indian head massage, sign language and cake
Helen Black, Regional Secretary
decorating and hopefully show that learning doesn't have to be dull.
I also recognised the importance of talking to all new starters and,
BOB MOODY instead of having a dull presentation, I've devised a game which
shows the barriers there are to learning as well as giving information.
Sadly missed My role as Learner Rep will continue to grow, recruiting new
members, acting as adviser and advocate, liaising with other learner
but never forgotten reps and advisers and taking education forward on all levels. The
branch are behind this and, with my colleague Steve Bruce who is
The East Midlands Region extends it's also a ULR, recognise the importance of Lifelong Learning
sincere sympathy to Bob Moody's because of the Knowledge and
family and members of the Skills
Nottinghamshire County Branch who Framework.
knew and respected Bob Moody who
passed away suddenly on 28 June. I see my role
Bob was a long standing trade cover lifelong
unionist, active in the NUM before learning across
joining NUPE as a Ranger at all four PCTs
Bestwood Country park. acting as an
"Bob was one of the most caring, kind advocate but
and generous individuals that have come to give their time and also encouraging
energy to the Nottinghamshire UNISON Branch. members to take
As the Branch's Welfare Officer, Bob made sure that out members educational
in times of difficulty had his tireless support and as Branch Chair experiences
he acted with characteristic honesty and integrity. This earned him forward to others
the respect and support of all those who come in contact with him. by becoming
Bob, you will always be in our hearts." lifelong learning
reps or advisers."
Regional Convenor and Branch Secretary
- Nottinghamshire County Branch
If you are interested in finding out more please contac
10 Steps to a learning branch
At Lincoln City Branch we've been working on creating a
learning team for the last couple of years. It's taken a lot
of work and patience but we feel we are really making
headway in making our branch a Learning Branch. Amongst
our successes are; a regular team meeting of Union Learning
Reps, a Learning Agreement, a learning event where over
200 people attended, and with the other Unions, we have
successfully applied for funding for a worker to go out and Branch Education Team address
National Conference on Learning
promote Lifelong Learning. attended by Dave Prentis
These are the 10 steps Lincoln City UNISON took to get there:
1 Put Lifelong Learning on the 6 Write a Learning Agreement
This made sure that we could have our say on what the
We simply talked about Lifelong Learning, invited the Regional council were doing and set up courses which we felt were
Field Worker to come and chat and decided how we wanted needed. The best thing in our agreement was the commitment
to take it forward from there. It seemed quite daunting at the by the employer to aim to give all members of staff paid time
start but we discussed amongst ourselves what we wanted off for Skills for Life courses.
7 Create the structure
2 Recruit a Union Learning Rep (ULR)
We did this two ways:
We knew that the first thing we needed to do was to recruit
at least one ULR to get the ball rolling. The Branch Secretary a) As a branch. We want to make sure that the ULRs
and Education Co-ordinator became ULRs to get a better and LLAs get support so we meet regularly to discuss
understanding and to encourage others to give it a go. what we are doing, and the help we need. It's also
a good way to tie into the rest of the branch.
3 Look at what we want b) With the employer and other unions. This group looks
Its not easy to plan ahead, especially as its always hard to at a wide range of issues and makes sure everybody
get new activists, but we tried to have a plan. We thought knows what's going on.
about what we actually wanted to do, which departments
need a ULR etc. 8 Run a learning session
4 Recruit a Lifelong Learning Adviser This was a massive success. We set up a whole week of
'taster courses' including Indian head massage and digital
(LLAs) photography to prove that learning could be fun. Over 200
LLAs are vital in helping to promote Learning. They are people people took part and all went away with lots of UNISON info.
who have never been active before but are interested in
learning. LLAs can really help to get people into learning as 9 Get an idea of what is needed
they have recently done it themselves and know the barriers and what to promote
that stop people. Also, they're getting involved in the Union We've just got agreement from the Lincolnshire Learning and
for the first time. Skills Council to pay for a project worker who will raise the
5 Meet management profile of learning and complete a skills survey.
To really get things off the ground we met with management 10 Recruit LLAs
to explain what we wanted to do and to try and get them to With more and more courses taking place there's more
support us. Luckily they were very keen and could see the chance to get people to become LLAs and help get the word
benefits we would bring. We agreed to work together by out.
setting up a Learning Committee and drafting a Learning
Agreement. Being a ULR isn't always easy but it is always rewarding.
The more we have the better we can influence what is
happening in our workplaces. If you feel you have something
to offer find out who your Education Co-ordinator or LLA's
are and have a chat to them about how you can get involved.
This is one way you really can make a difference.
It's amazing Lincoln City Branch Education Team
you can learn!
ct Gavin McCann at the Regional Office who will be happy to give you more info or come and chat to the branch. E-Mail g
School dog becomes
WHAT'S BEEN UNISON'S first
HAPPENING four-legged member
ACROSS THE A school dog was
with life membership
REGION? of UNISON in
recognition of his
work with children
Derbyshire County Council who have special
The Union Learner Reps have formed a Branch Education
team which is a huge success.
Smart, a one-year
They: old Cavalier King
• Have recruited around 20 new members as a result was brought into
of talking about learning. the Dronfield
• Have signed a Learning Agreement with the council. School in Derbyshire as a puppy,
after a staff member read about the positive effects that pets can
• Have held information sessions to recruit to a UNISON have on people. Henry's appearance in classrooms has helped
course where over 40 people wanted to take part. to calm pupils and reduce levels of bad behaviour.
• Are having surveys of school staff, in partnership with UNISON represents Teaching Assistants who work at the school
the NASUWT and NUT. This will help find out exactly and is currently in negotiations to improve the pay and conditions
what school staff want to do. of Teaching Assistants across Derbyshire. After hearing about
Henry, UNISON decided to award Henry with honorary
Methodist Homes Ravi Subramanian, Regional Organiser presented Henry with his
membership. Ravi said, "We felt that Henry couldn't miss out on
ULR Garry Chadwick has approached the Learning and Skills the benefits that UNISON membership was offering other staff at
Council in Leicestershire to run Skills for Life courses this the school. In recognition of Henry's excellent services to education,
Autumn for all staff at the home in Leicester. He's hoping that, UNISON is pleased to enrol Henry as an honorary member. Now
if this is successful, they will be able to do it in every Methodist he is a member, we will have make sure that we consult with
Home across the country. Henry over any proposals over the Teaching Assistants' career
review - he may want extra walks or biscuits."
Nottingham Trent University
Following on from the local branch initiative which resulted in
email and internet access being available to all staff within
working time, the Lifelong Learning Advisers set up Skills for
Life courses last year. Over 30 people took part in the pilot
As sponsors of this
and agreement was reached that the university would fund the
year's Nottingham Pride
back-filling of the jobs of the course participants. The course
UNISON had a very
is now being rolled out to the rest of the university staff and
successful day in the
other UNISON courses are to be run during working hours.
grounds of the
The next Union Learner Rep course will run on 5, 12, 19, 26 Arboretum. Our Logo
November and 3 December. (Delegates will need to be able to was prominently
attend all 5 days.) displayed on the
programme and our
prize draw and
attracted people to the
As well as raising our profile we recruited new
members, signed members up to our mailing list and even recruited
a potential Steward (so it was well worth while). We had a fantastic
opportunity to network and have fun. We let people know about
all the fantastic work the Lesbian & Gay group has been doing
and enthused people to come and join.
If you want any more information on what the Regional Lesbian
& Gay group is doing contact Brian Crosby (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or call on 0115 8475400
What can branches do?
Order the UNISON Guide 'Negotiating Equality for Lesbian,
Gay and Bisexual Workers' (stock number 1744) and discuss in
email@example.com and telephone 0115 8475446
ORGANISING AND RECRUITMENT
ORGANISING Building Branches
in the community We so often hear about what our
larger branches are doing that
it's great when our smaller
and voluntary sector branches have something to
The East Midlands has a growing membership of over 2,500 Local reps at Broxtowe branch
members in this sector which includes members in: have been working alongside the
Region to help build the branch.
• Housing Associations There have been workplace
• Arms Length Management Organisations where visits, notice-boards have been
councils have transferred their housing stock and staff updated and a newsletter has
• Large organisations in the voluntary sector been mailed to all members.
such as Mencap and Methodist Homes Members have responded to a
• Independent Schools branch survey and regular
• Non Government Departments (NCO's) planning meetings with stewards are taking place. Brian Crosby,
Regional Organiser, commented: "It's a credit to the efforts being
Last year a regionally co-ordinated organising campaign in made by local stewards - membership is increasing and existing
MENCAP achieved a net increase of 65 new members and 6 members have welcomed our visits to the workplaces."
new stewards. The Region assisted in achieving recognition in The employer has agreed to supply new joiner lists and to include
the national Barnados campaign; Methodist Homes agreed UNISON information in the induction packs given to new staff.
recognition and currently a project is underway in Framework
Housing Association (see feature article) to increase not only The Region has put together a guide for branches entitled "104,000
members, but just as important, more stewards in this Ways to Recruit" and is all about "doing the basics" - just like
organisation. Broxtowe Branch. Great guidance!
Open days for staff in the Community and Voluntary Sector For your copy call the UNISON
will be held this Autumn in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester
Regional Office on 0115 8475400
How UNISON organises in branches and within this
membership is currently being discussed throughout the Region.
If you work in this sector, and have views to express or are Regional Young Members' Forum
prepared to help us develop our work for members employed
in this sector, please contact Margaret Lynch, our Regional
Head leading this work, at firstname.lastname@example.org what we're up to...
The Forum recently agreed
a series of activities to help
raise UNISON's profile
amongst young workers and
“ NOBODY encourage them to get
involved in the union.
Training - this course is open
to anyone who is under 27,
is a representative/contact
or who is interested in finding
out more about being a rep.
Survey after survey suggests the main reason for people not The course will be held at Training for young members
joining a union is the fact that they have not been asked. And, the UNISON Regional
time again this fact is proved by the success in recruitment Centre on Mon, Tues, Weds 15, 16, & 17 November.
when we meet people in their workplace. Branch Visits
After initial interest shown in a questionnaire sent to various The Forum is arranging to visit branches and on 12 October
housing associations we have seen an increase of 50% in young member reps will be going to Nottingham City Branch.
membership within Framework Housing Association, a We'll be visiting workplaces in the morning, organising a Young
Nottinghamshire based organisation. Even better, we now have Members meeting for lunch time and speaking at the Branch
three trained stewards and others wanting to help. Committee in the afternoon. If your branch would like to arrange
some work with the Young Members forum please let Andy
Organising within the community and voluntary sector is never Belfield know.
easy and branch secretaries are often worried about their ability
to assist these members. Recruiting new stewards whenever we Newsletter
recruit in a new workplace is the key. And with a little bit of Our newsletter, written and produced by Young Members in the
planned time to arrange a "tour" around the various homes, region, should be ready very soon. If you would like to put
shelters and offices, the personal approach always pays dividends. anything in future newsletters please let Andy know.
Existing members appreciate the visit also, generally because
we always take a few goodies with us and remind them about Top Tips for branches
all the savings that they can make as members. They also have We're putting together a top tips sheet for branches on what
the ability to chat about their issues, if only to tell us how happy we need to do to be more appealing to younger workers.
they are at work!
What can you do?
Framework's management have been happy to let us meet their
Does your branch have a Young Members Officer? Bet the
staff, and because of this there isn't the fear factor which answer's "no" because very few of our branches do! If you know
sometimes prevents workers from joining or getting involved. a young member who might be interested in finding out a bit
In Framework, the applications keep coming in and we're more and/or being the contact point for the branch, please let
building an organisation with local stewards that will largely Andy know on 0115 8475400 or email@example.com
look after itself.
CAMPAIGNS AND NEGOTIATIONS
for 3 years
- striving for equality
is that it for
The current pay system called Whitley is unequal and unfair
- we need a new system to replace it - and that system is
low paid workers?
Agenda for Change. We all know that low pay is one of the biggest challenges facing
UNISON members in local government but who are the lowest
Health branches are all in the middle of negotiations, practice paid of all? That's right, part-time women in former manual jobs.
matching, etc in preparation for implementation. But the
"But local government workers have just reached agreement on 8.9%
most important thing we need to be doing is making sure over three years so we can't do anything about it now, right?"
all our members have up-to-date job descriptions. Without
this the whole process will collapse. A special conference Wrong!
is taking place on 7th October and the ballot will follow The biggest and best opportunity yet, to do something about
immediately afterwards. inequality in local government pay, was also part of this year's
pay deal - the requirement for all local authorities to conduct pay
But let us not forget why we are doing this and grading reviews by April 2006.
Many of our NHS members continue to suffer from low This means that each local authority has to evaluate all jobs to
pay. The system means that people doing the same or ensure that the skills, knowledge and demands of each job are
properly valued and rewarded. For the first time, skills such as
equal jobs can be, and are, paid differently and can have caring, responsibility for people and supervising others will be
different conditions of service. It means that different groups properly recognised. Where this has already been done, classroom
of staff get different annual pay increases, holiday assistants, housing wardens, nursery nurses and home care workers
entitlements, hours of work etc, and that, in particular, our have won proper recognition for their jobs and pay to match. But
low paid and women members get a raw deal. its not just about women's pay, it's about a fair and equal pay
system for all our members.
Agenda for Change is designed to change all that, and give "What's this got to do with me?"
us a transparent pay and grading scheme that will allow
our members to get equal. These wins will only be achieved if all UNISON members are
involved, if we're seen to speak for all staff by recruiting the non-
There's more too! members, and if your Branch negotiates with the employer to
make sure they evaluate jobs fairly:
Alongside all this is the Knowledge and Skills Framework
• Working jointly with us
(KSF). This: -
• Using the recommended and equality proofed
• Guarantees every member of staff gets a NJC Job Evaluation Scheme
development review (looking at their skills needs)
• Checking that it's worked (ie eliminated inequality)
at least once a year. by conducting an equal pay audit afterwards.
• It gives them the opportunity to get onto the You also need to ensure that your Branch is geared up:
'skills escalator' (ie it identifies a training
• Branch Officers and Stewards need to understand that
programme for them either to progress in their
job evaluation and pay and grading reviews are about
own job, or train for a career change - and then achieving equality and get to grips with the key equality
guarantees them the training) issues involved.
This is a fantastic opportunity to make sure those at the • Members need to understand that this is about
bottom of the scales (who traditionally don't get training achieving equal pay and get involved in fighting for
it to be fully implemented.
and development opportunities) have exactly the same
entitlement to training as those at the top. And what is even "But we've heard about Job Evaluation in other councils - some
better, the employer will be given training targets to make members have lost money and my Branch don't want to get involved."
sure they do this - or risk loosing those all-important stars! Inevitably, some jobs will have already been "overvalued" and
therefore overpaid relative to other jobs. UNISON has to ensure
So - it is really all about equality - and we all need to get that those staff affected (hopefully a small number) are protected,
stuck into making sure that, assuming we win a yes vote but we can't do nothing because:-
in the ballot, it works by at long last giving our low paid
• Lots of our members are underpaid and have been
members what they deserve! for years and years.
AND - it's a fantastic opportunity to recruit new members • These members can take equal pay cases which will
and more stewards. Without UNISON's leadership, there result in lots of cash going to private solicitors and
wouldn't be this second ballot, the scheme wouldn't be to one or two individuals, leaving councils with huge
offering the chances it does, and unpopular unsocial hours financial crises. We want to reach an agreement
which would treat all our members fairly.
proposals would be tied into acceptance of the A4C
proposals. So health stewards - check on which of your Make sure that your Branch discusses its approach to pay and
colleagues are in UNISON and who is not; and with the grading in your local authority and how it can involve members
in winning equal pay. This is a brilliant opportunity to recruit new
confidence that "these opportunities are brought to you by members and get them working together on equality issues.
UNISON", get out and recruit!