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          Issue 20

 The Newsletter for all UNISON Stewards and Activists in the North West Region                                   Autumn
The Newsletter for all UNISON Stewards and Activists in the North West Region

                                       30 years on...

                                                                                                   People’s march for
                                                                                                   public services
                                                                                                   26th March 2011
                                                                                                   Hyde Park, London

                                                                                           u   k
                                                                                 .   o rg.
                                                                             n nw
                                                                    is   o
                                                     i   tw
                     a ti
           Fo r
           2	        intouch winter 2010

Page 4
Cuts news from Greater Manchester
Page 5
Credit unions - how do they work?
Page 6
Angry and noisy in Rochdale
Page 7
‘Slumponomics’ - a personal view
Page 8
                                               A first-time lobbyist’s view...
FE Matters
Page 9                                         Lobby of Lib Dems Conference in
Lancashire Police Branch fight
Page 10                                        Liverpool: 19 September 2010
World AIDS Day
Page 11
UNISON Welfare
Page 12
                                               F   irst of all I would like to say this
                                                   is my first lobbying event in
                                               Liverpool let alone my first under
                                                                                          many more. The little area we were
                                                                                          “corralled” into (so our safety was
                                                                                          monitored) was not the biggest but
Organising: Community Service Group            the UNISON banner. The lobbying            it held 4,000 union members and
Page 13                                        took place at Salt House Dock at           members of the public.
Personal injury case study                     around 12pm. Before the lobbying               The speeches went well. Dave
Page 14                                        began Dave Prentis appeared and            Prentis likened the two coalition
Health & Safety under attack                   spoke to all of the UNISON people          leaders to politics answer to
Page 15                                        there including myself and we had          Jedward which got a good laugh.
Medical Secretary Review                       a little chat. He mentioned he was         He also suggested that no one could
Page 16                                        happy with the fact young members          now trust a Lib Dem as they have
Regional Communications Survey                 wanted to get involved in this as it       gone back on their promises several
                                               affects everyone up and down the           times since the election. He said
                                               scale. Dave Prentis also asked how         they have sold out their party and
Diary Date!                     MARCH
                                               I was finding the event and he also
                                               gave me some advice about how to
                                                                                          the members of the public for five
                                                                                          seats round the cabinet table.

Countdown to National                          lobby successfully.                            So in short with the weather as
Demonstration against                               The police presence was huge          British as it was (rainy) I believe we
the Coalition’s Cuts                           (at the arena where we were not            sent a message to the Lib Dems:
Hyde Park, London                              allowed) as the police couldn’t            if you think we will be stopped by
Saturday 26 March 2011                         “guarantee our safety”(!) but they         not letting us protest near you we
The TUC has called a national demonstration    could guarantee the safety of              will protest anyway, If you think we
against the cuts for Saturday 26 March         the bed fellows of the Tories and          will be stopped by the rain you are
2011. This event is to demonstrate the depth   also the safety of the Hope Street         sorely mistaken. If you think we will
of opposition to the Coalition’s programme     festival that was going on. They also      back down you are sorely wrong.
of cuts and attacks on public services and
we therefore need to ensure maximum
                                               had the resources to monitor our               As someone new to the “fight” I am
turnout for this event from the North West     every move but not the resources           looking forward to my next lobbying
region. Further details of the event will be   to let us protest near the stadium         event to send them a clear message
circulated to branches in due course, but      - which is a poor excuse at best.          they can take back to the political
we would be grateful if you could put the      (In my opinion the Lib Dems were           sell-outs. “We will never back down!”
date in your diaries and promote the event     scared of the protestors).
in newsletters, at AGMs, branch meetings, to
your family and your friends etc.
                                                    I was amazed by the number            Martin Nelson
                                               of other unions that turned up:            National Young Members’ Forum
                                               UNISON, UNITE, GMB, PCS, NUT and           North West Rep, Sefton Health Branch

Welfare                                                                                                  Diane Daniels,
                                                                                                         June Pool and
                                                                                                         Anne McAleer

Centenary Dinner
T   he North West Welfare
    Committee worked hard
over the last few months
                               pay their bills and maintain
                               viable pensions. One
                               hundred and sixty people
to organise a fundraising      helped us to celebrate
Centenary Dinner at the De     UNISON Welfare and its
Vere Whites Hotel at the       history with a special
Reebok Stadium in Bolton.      raffle, an auction of shirts,
Bolton is of course the town   pennants, guest speakers
where Jabez Darricotte         and a disco.                    her to another event in the       We extend many thanks
started a welfare fund             Guests included the         future.                       to those who supported
for widows and children        Head of Welfare Julie               A bottle of champagne     the committee, those who
one hundred years ago. In      Grant, Angela Ishmael           was donated by the TUC,       donated, the branches,
this time of the Coalition     who provides a service to       the winner, newly engaged,    helpers, affiliates, sponsors
Government’s cuts and          employers on Diversity and      celebrated with panache.      and all the members and
attacks on our welfare         Dignity at work and Dave        The dinner went very well,    friends who rocked the night
system, UNISON Welfare is      O’Brien a case worker who       the food and service was      away and who made the
keeping the focus on those     has researched the history      excellent with a disco to     night such a success. Special
UNISON members who are         of UNISON Welfare. Both         round the evening off in      thanks to Diane Daniels and
affected and will need help    Angela and Dave were            great UNISON style. The       June Poole who worked very
and assistance.                our speakers on the night       amount raised on the night    hard to ensure the night was
    The aim of the night       - Angela a last minute          was £910, this total will     such a special one.
was to raise substantial       rescuer when Jane Clack         increase substantially from
funds at this time when        from Payplan took ill. We       ticket sales when we have     Anne McAleer
many our members are           wish her a speedy recovery      paid out the expenses         Chair, North West Regional
fighting to keep their jobs,   and hope we can invite          incurred.                     Welfare Committee

              A message from                                   presented by the Tories and
                                                               their craven changelings
                                                                                             come under threat. Every
                                                                                             day there are individual
              Frank Hont,                                      who used to be known as
                                                               the LibDems.
                                                                                             members worrying about
                                                                                             their future and the
              Regional Secretary                                    Our National Executive
                                                               Council ( NEC ) have
                                                                                             prospects for their children
                                                                                             and grandchildren.

N    ext year we face the
     biggest challenge yet
to public sector jobs and
                               implemented the coalition
                               proposals will destroy the
                               Health service we have
                                                               agreed a simplified set of
                                                               objectives for UNISON in
                                                               2011.Look them up on our
                                                                                                 Our job - both elected
                                                                                             officials and employed
                                                                                             staff of the union – is to
the services our members       nurtured and developed          website. They are short and   empathise with those
provide – the essential        since 1948.                     sharp and make sense for      workers and oppose
services which ensure that         So, for 2011 we have        the difficult times we are    the attacks with all our
communities function day       one priority. We have to        living in.                    strength.
by day. All public services    ensure that all our energy,          Every day we have            Have a great Christmas
are under threat but we        all our ingenuity, all our      members whose jobs are at     and lets come back in 2011
will have to be at our         experience is aimed at          risk. Every day terms and     ready to work together and
best to defend the NHS. If     meeting the challenge           conditions of employment      build the union.
     4	        intouch winter 2010

                                Cutting all over…
                                Here’s a snap shot of the latest news
                                from around Greater Manchester.
BOLTON (Labour control)         with Rochdale (Call centre)       Looking at shared legal          Trafford/Wigan/Stockport HR
Were looking at shared legal    and outsourcing of fleet          services with Manchester         & Payroll set up.
services with Bury but this     management.                       and shared vehicle
seems to be increasingly                                          maintenance/depots with          WIGAN (Labour control) £55m
unlikely. £60million cuts and   ROCHDALE (8 Lib Dem               Trafford and Manchester.         over three years. Compulsory
1500 jobs on the line.          Councillors have resigned         Looking to replace computer      redundancy not ruled out.
                                leaving Labour as the largest     system which all three           Redeployment policy imposed.
BURY Council is imposing        party) The previous Lib Dem-      currently use – may replace      Looking at asset management
a three day lock-out at         Tory coalition proposed up        with a single system that        joint venture with Stockport
Christmas where staff will      to £220m of cuts in schools       could be developed into          and Trafford.
be forced to use three days     and 1,600 out of 5,000            a single joint service
of their annual leave. The      non-school staff at risk. The     call centre in the future.       TAMESIDE (Labour
council is also proposing       council is thinking of also       Reorganisation of children’s     controlled). £100m cuts
no incremental progression      imposing 2.5% pay CUT on all      services. Cull of 3rd tier       over 4 years with as much
next year. 550 redundancies     staff (5% for Exec Leadership     managers. 500 job cuts.          as £36m next year. No
announced last week.            Team but as they are already      Compulsory redundancy not        compulsory redundancies
Consideration of merging        on 40% tax bracket this           ruled out.                       planned but out-sourcing
out of hours services, winter   largely means cheating                                             of facility management
gritting, street lighting and   the taxman rather than the        STOCKPORT (Lib Dem               and other services being
pest control with Bolton        leadership team). The council     control) The council is now
perhaps. Pest control with      also seems keen on ripping        saying that there will be
Rossendale?                     up the Green Book national        redundancies. Outsourced
                                                                                                   LIBRARIES PROJECT
                                conditions completely. AGMA       home support workers and
                                                                                                   Timetable already slipped.
MANCHESTER (Labour              is believed to be waiting to      property management. 150-
                                                                                                   23 upper tier councils in
control) Rapid developments.    see whether they can get          400 jobs to go by April 2011.
                                                                                                   North West – counties and
No compulsory redundancies      away with it at Rochdale          £53m over 4 years cuts.
                                                                                                   Mets are investigating a
announced yet but the council   before inflicting this sort of    Council is said to be looking
                                                                                                   regional library service – or
will face one of the biggest    thing elsewhere. Rochdale         at joint working with Trafford
                                                                                                   2 or 3 sub regional services.
reductions in government        has particular problems being     across Highways & Transport.
                                                                                                   Maybe it will end up merely
grant in the country.           already in a difficult position
                                                                                                   as clusters of authorities.
                                even before the recent cuts       TRAFFORD (Tory control)
                                                                                                   Pulling library services
OLDHAM (Labour) 800 job         were announced.                   £60million cuts over 4 years.
                                                                                                   together aims at reducing
cuts. Council said to be                                          800 jobs to go. Care homes
                                                                                                   management tiers and
looking at shared services      SALFORD (Labour control)          closing. Looking at joint
                                                                                                   senior library officers.

Meanwhile at                    100 posts are going. After
                                removing vacant posts from
                                                                  December. The branch has
                                                                  lobbied Burnley M.P., junior
                                                                                                   - the week before it was
                                                                                                   all cut! Birtwistle also told
Burnley                         the equation there will be
                                79 redundancies by the end
                                                                  treasury minister Gordon
                                                                  Birtwistle (Lib Dem) who
                                                                                                   teenagers who lobbied him
                                                                                                   on tuition fees that the Lib
Borough                         of March, to be selected          assured the lobbyists that       Dems weren’t in charge – it
                                from 108 currently “at            Burnley would still get a        was all the Tories fault. So
Council...                      risk”. The selection process      decent chunk of Housing          much for transparency and
                                will be completed in early        Market Renewal money             truth!

Schools’ Support Staff
Negotiating Body - Abolished                                                     Union welcomes
                                                                                 withdrawal of
T   he ConDem government has
    abolished the SSSNB. The
SSSNB was set to be the national
                                        terms and it will lead to a lowering
                                        of professional status in the
                                                                                 jobs threat
negotiating body for school support         We must however continue our         UNISON has welcomed an
staff– something UNISON has been        work in schools, strengthen our          announcement from Accenture to
fighting for for decades.               structures and continue to develop       withdraw the threat of redundancies
     The Secretary of State             a strong local network of school         from employees working on their
for Education said that the             support staff in each branch.            Scottish Power contract.
SSSNB “did not fit well with                As In Touch went to press initial        After several months of detailed
Government’s priorities for greater     soundings of members in the              negotiations and discussions between
deregulation”. Support Staff are        region suggested that generally          trade unions, Accenture, Scottish
already undervalued and want the        school staff may consider a              Power and parent company Iberdrola,
recognition for the important role      work to rule or only working to          Accenture announced that they have
they undertake. But the decision        contracted hours as a protest.           secured significant new project work
will help head teachers push more       However UNISON’s lawyers now             and extended the scope of their
unpaid hours on staff, and continue     appear to be saying that we cannot       support contract with Scottish Power.
to create “temporary” jobs and split    ballot for any sort of industrial            This outcome means that
contracts. And when the financial       action because legally no trade          hundreds of employees who were
belts are tightened it will be our      dispute exists.                          facing redundancy and the insecurity
members who will take the brunt             We await further clarification       of unemployment as Christmas
of it. This decision will put school    from headquarters on this                approached can now look forward to
support staff back further in pay       important issue.                         a more stable flow of work and job
                                                                                 security for the foreseeable future.
                                                                                 Regional Organiser, Paul Summers
What is a credit union                                                           said this was excellent news and is a
                                                                                 testament to the hard work of all those

and how does it work?                                                            involved in trying to prevent job losses
                                                                                 at a time of great economic uncertainty.
                                                                                     For more information please contact
                                                                                 UNISON Media Team on 0161 831 1623
C   redit unions are local, ethical
    and not-for-profit ‘community
                                        A credit union may suit you if:
                                        • you are having difficulty opening
banks’ which are owned and
controlled by their members. They
                                            a high street bank account, or
                                            you don’t want one;
                                                                                 Personal injury update
are different to high street banks      • you want the flexibility to save       Settlements approach
                                            what you can;
and other financial institutions
because they have no external           • you prefer a local cooperative.        £2 million
shareholders and because of this,
                                        How do you join a credit union?          More great success with members’
money is kept within the local area. 
                                        To join a credit union, you must share   personal injury claims. For the period
                                        a ‘common bond’ with its members.        from March to September this year,
What services do they offer?
                                        For example, you must live or work in    306 members benefited to the tune of
The main purpose of a credit
                                        the same area or work for the same       £1,943,606 with individual settlements
union is to offer savings, loans and
                                        employer. Once you have become           ranging from £337 to £100,000. Our
financial advice to its members.
                                        a member, you get a say in how           consistent message to all our branches
Dependent on the size of the credit
                                        the credit union is run. For further     and activists is to make full use of this
union, some will offer other services
                                        information, or to find your nearest
such as current accounts, child trust                                            fantastic membership benefit as part of
                                        credit union, visit
funds, and ISAs.                                                                 your recruitment strategy.
                 6	             intouch winter 2010

                                                                 Angry and noisy in Rochdale
Are you ready
for winter?                                                      M     embers of Rochdale Local
                                                                       Government Branch were
                                                                 joined by community groups and
The winter season is upon us, so we                              service users in an angry and noisy
can expect dark nights and cold, wet                             demonstration outside the Town
weather. This makes driving conditions                           Hall on 25th November.  Rochdale
hazardous, so you need to take more care                         MP Simon Danczuk (pictured with
when driving. Britannia Rescue, UNISON’s                         Branch Secretary Helen Harrison),
approved breakdown service, suggests the                         also lent vocal support to the
following tips to prepare yourself and your                      demonstration.  The peaceful
car for any winter journeys:                                     protest went on for several hours,        on some of the most vulnerable
What to check…                                                   despite freezing conditions, whilst       people in the local community. 
                                                                 inside the building members of            Rochdale branch is conducting a
• The lights are in working order                                the Council Cabinet met to decide         vigorous campaign to defend both
• The screen wash bottle is full.                                on Phase One of a savage cuts             vital public services and the pay
• Oil and water levels. Ensure you use the                       programme which, if implemented,          and conditions of the workers who
  correct concentration of antifreeze.                           will have a devastating effect            provide them.
• The tyre tread. The minimum legal tread
  depth for cars is 1.6mm. Remember to
  check the spare too!
                                                                 Defend Council Welfare Rights Services
Be prepared…

• Carry gloves, a blanket, and a torch.
• Keep a set of jump leads in your car in
                                                                 T   he coalition government’s
                                                                     draconian cuts to public
                                                                 services mean that many local
                                                                                                           vulnerable claimants through
                                                                                                           the intimidating appeals process
                                                                                                           when the bureaucratic systems of
  case the battery goes flat.                                    authority welfare rights teams are        government get it wrong.
• Make sure that you have adequate                               currently facing serious cuts.                 If we are not vigilant in
  breakdown cover, as not all breakdowns
                                                                     But a period of dramatic              opposing cuts to these services this
  are avoidable. If you do break down,
                                                                 financial down turn with increasing       role could become a thing of the
  you’ll want to be confident that you can
                                                                 unemployment (including almost            past before we realize it, sacrificed
  get back on the road as soon as possible.
                                                                 500,000 job losses in the public          in the name of efficiency.
Contact Britannia Rescue                                         sector) is exactly the time when                The government intends to
Britannia Rescue offers UNISON members and                       government should be looking to           roll out a number of sweeping
their family cheaper breakdown cover. Call us                    fund services that provide advice         reforms to the benefit system
now on 0800 756 8696 or apply online at                          and support to the most vulnerable        solely intended to reduce costs                                      members of our society.                   by narrowing the criteria for
Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5pm
Calls may be recorded.                                               Without proper advice about           entitlement to benefits. As such
                                                                 benefits and their qualifying             we are already seeing a dramatic
Contact LV=Frizzell
                                                                 conditions, there is a serious            increase in the amount of genuine
LV=Frizzell also offers UNISON members
                                                                 risk that increasing numbers of           benefit claims being refused or
cheaper car insurance. Call 0800 756 8160.
                                                                 legitimate claimants will fail to claim   withdrawn only to be overturned on
Or go online at
8am-9pm Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm Sat, 9am-5pm Sun.                       their correct benefits. This is not       review or appeal.
Calls may be recorded. For Textphone call 18001                  to mention the invaluable support              The short term savings to public
                                                                 provided to people in guiding them        expenditure will not be worth
UNISON acts as an Appointed Representative to the Liverpool
Victoria group of companies for General Insurance. Britannia     through the often baffling process        the long term suffering to the
Rescue is a registered trademark and is a trading style of the
Liverpool Victoria group of companies.
                                                                 of reviews and appeals when their         individual or the cost to our society,
                                                                 claims are initially refused.             both financial and social.
                                                                     The support of the independent
                                                                 advocate is a crucial but often           Elliot Costello - UNISON Steward
                                                                 unrecognised role in helping              Bolton Welfare Rights Service

Salford City UNISON’s Ray Boyle gives his personal view on the Comprehensive Spending Review 2010.

Welcome to Con-Dem “Slumponomics”!
The Comprehensive Spending         go through, will shut off the      four years, £6.8 billion to        of a multi-year pay freeze, on
Review of 2010, (CSR 2010),        remaining source of liquidity      £2 billion, in the capital         top of the rising cost of living.
may turn out to be a key           for the economy. Just as a         budget available to Social         Basically it amounts to a pay
turning point in the history of    living organism would die          Housing.                           cut which may lead to many
local government. Purely in        without a blood supply, so our                                        opting out of local government
terms of the projected cuts        local economy is likely to go      The prospect here both for         schemes which in turn may
in public expenditure the          the way of all flesh!              providers of social housing        lead to the collapse of such
Con-Dems are attempting                                               and low income families            schemes. Perhaps this is the
to impose a level of               Welcome to “Slumponomics”          here are truly horrendous. To      true intention of the Con-
retrenchment not seen since        Con-Dem Style!                     start there must be a serious      Dems? After all it would get
the early 1920s. Incidentally                                         question posed to the future       them off the hook of tackling
the cuts of the 1920s like         Over the next four years the       viability of social housing        skinflint private employers
those that we face now,            contribution coming from           providers and assorted             who in increasing numbers are
were made at the behest of         central government to local        Housing Associations. These        closing their pension schemes.
international bankers.             government is scheduled to         cuts are likely to lead to
     In the coming weeks and       drop from £29.7 billion to         a lengthening of housing           • By 2013 Councils will be
months whilst being occupied       £24.2 billion – a cut of 26%       waiting lists with all the         obliged to implement their
with the minutiae of the cuts      over four years.                   attendant human misery and         own regime of Council Tax
there is a danger that we fail                                        anguish.                           benefits “tailored to local
to distinguish the wood from       The main point to grasp here                                          needs”.
the trees – I believe that the     is that local government faces     • Encouragement, in terms
long term effects CSR 2010         a double bind – reduced            of subsidies, for councils         To my mind at least, this is
may ultimately bring the           budgets because of the             who implement multi-year           the real kicker of CSR 2010,
future of local government         recession at a time when           Council Tax freezes.               similar to the measures
into doubt!                        demands for local services                                            announced over child benefit
     A common conceit is           are likely to rise. The scale of   This is a truly perverse           or the cuts in housing
to view an economy like a          the cuts is likely to overwhelm    measure. Hard pressed              benefit. It is a full frontal
living, breathing organism         local politicians. Decisions       local councils will be offered     attack on the principal of
– liquidity; the availability of   made in haste are likely to        blatant bribes to further          universal benefits. Citizens
money performs a function          lead to long term regret.          tighten the squeeze on             in similar economic
akin to a blood supply.                 The relationship between      local communities. Like            circumstances may see their
Basically there are two main       local electorates and their        Gordon Brown’s disastrous          relief for council tax varies
sources of liquidity to an         councils, already poor, will       Thatcherite budget of 2008,        purely by where they live -
economy; the wholesale             become more fractious. Such        such moves will lead to            for example between Salford
market (known to you and           a breakdown may lead to “a         political ruin for councils. Any   and Manchester.
me as “the banks”) and             crisis of legitimacy” – what       local authority implementing            That Nazi toe-rag, Albert
public expenditure.                right have local councils to       such a freeze will be rightly      Speer, once said that the
     Since the onset of the        curtail/remove services that       reviled as “Cameronian             central economic dilemma
credit crunch in 2007, banks       citizens require and value?        collaborators and dupes”!          was between “guns and
have become “financial             Are councils custodians or                                            butter”. Under the Con-Dems
vampires” i.e. they have           proprietors of local services?     • From April 2012 employee         councils will face a stark
been sucking liquidity out              The danger here is that       contributions to the Local         choice between services
of the economy. This is at a       at a future date central           Government Scheme will             and council tax relief. It
time when banks received           government may consider            increase by 3%.                    will pit the absolute poor
government assistance              it a fairly low risk strategy                                         against the poor, against the
amounting to 100s of billions      to abolish local government        Let’s be clear here what the       barely managing and in my
of pounds in both direct           in its entirety. To the right      3% here refers to, it is 3%        opinion, probably constitutes
cash injections and in the         this might be a price worth        of an employee’s salary.           the greatest long term
provision of guarantees for        paying in its crusade to let       Someone on £25,000 will            threat to the future of local
investments deemed to be of        market forces reign supreme!       suffer a contribution hike of      government.
dubious quality.                                                      £750 per annum, this on top of
     CSR 2010, if allowed to       • A 74% reduction over             the 1.5% hike of 2007, on top      Don’t moan, organise!
     8	        intouch winter 2010

Sixth Form Colleges pay offer 2010/11
UNISON members working          pay award.                        context of other recent           £6.41 from September 2010.
in sixth form colleges have         It was also agreed to         public sector settlements,        The rate of payment of the
voted to accept the 2010/11     issue a joint statement           funding difficulties within       Sixth Form Colleges Support
pay offer of 0.75% on all       reminding colleges that           many colleges and the             Staff Standards Payment will
salary points, backdated to     colleges should seek to           continued uncertainty about       remain at £320. If you have
1 September 2010, along         ensure that the rise is paid      future funding.                   any questions relating to the
with an increase in London      before Christmas.                     The rise means that the       settlement please contact
weighting and fringe area           UNISON negotiators            new minimum hourly rate for       Ben Thomas
allowances in line with the     placed the offer within the       staff in sixth form colleges is

Further Education Matters
Further Education                   training to develop their        also be expected in Further      FE news bulletins: http://
                                    workplace skills.                Education including pay
Funding Axed                    •   Adult learners over 25           restraint (it’s hard to see      news/mailinglist.asp
The government has                  who do not posses a              how more restrained            • Finally don’t forget to
announced savage cuts               Level 2 qualification            over pay the sector could        join the UNISON Defend
to Further Education                (equivalent to 5 GCSE’s          be – the 2010/11 pay             Further Education
funding in England. The             at grade A – C) will no          offer is just 0.2% or £50        Facebook page http://
cuts, announced in the              longer be able to study          whichever is the greater).
Comprehensive Spending              for these qualifications                                          php#!/group. php?gid
Review, include:                    free of charge.               These cuts will have a              =142274199135739
                                •   Further Education             devastating impact on
• The FE adult education            students age 24 and           our colleges and our              FE colleges pay
  and skills budget will be         over, taking A Level          communities and they are
  cut by 25%, or £1.1billion,       equivalent qualifications     only the tip of the iceberg. An   2010/11
  by 2014.                          for the first time, will be   increase in fees for adult FE     UNISON members in FE
• The Educational                   asked to pay fees - a         students is also expected.        Colleges have voted very
  Maintenance Allowance,            new student loan system                                         narrowly to accept the
  which provides up to              will be introduced.           What you can do about it          Association of College’s pay
  £30 a week support            •   Adult learners overall        • Write to your MP and            recommendation offer for
  for 16 – 19 year old              face the prospect               urge them to oppose             2010/11. Members voted by
  students from low-                of higher fees and              education cuts. You can         53% to 47% to accept the
  income backgrounds, is            increased debt levels.          find your MP’s contact          AoC final offer of 0.2% or
  being axed.                   •   English for Speakers            details at http://action.       £50 whichever is the greater.
• The Train to Gain                 of other Languages    
  workplace training                (ESOL) funding is to be         speakout/cuts                   ATL, ACM and GMB also
  programme is to be                restricted to “settled        • Write to your local             accepted the offer. UCU
  abolished. Under the              communities”. The               newspaper about the             and UNITE members have
  previous government               government has not              impact these cuts will          rejected. A further meeting
  this programme saw                yet spelt out what this         have on your local              with the AoC is being
  at least a million                means in practice               communities                     sought to try and find a way
  employees receive             •   Further “efficiencies” will   • Sign up for the UNISON          forward.

Lancashire Police Branch: The fight continues
In the last edition of InTouch I wrote about the
uncertain future that some of the Police Community
Support Officers of Lancashire were facing.
I am sad to say that dark cloud has not lifted;
in fact it’s turned into a Thunder Storm. The
situation has worsened, now the whole force’s
400+ PCSOs are facing possible redundancy when
the Chief Constable served UNISON with a 90 day
consultation notice because of the prospect that
ring fenced central government funding may be                                                                             Left to right:
pulled. However, branch officers and members of                      FULL TIME TEAM                         James Tattersall – Ass. Sec,
                                                                     Counting the petition                       Karen Poole – Chair,
UNISON’s Lancashire Police Branch have put up                        signatures                              Maureen LeMarinel – Sec
their brollies and are refusing to get wet.

A   wave of campaigning
    has spread across the
branch in such a way that
                                  of showing her how much
                                  the county of Lancashire
                                  care. Roadshows have also
                                                                      to Peers in our region
                                                                      resulting in questions
                                                                      being asked in the
                                                                                                     to have to fight for the public
                                                                                                     services we rely on; not just
                                                                                                     for employment but for the
has never been experienced        been held in 9 major towns          House of Lords.                vital benefits they offer to
before. Lancashire Police         of Lancashire with branch         • On the back of these           society. So, just because you
Branch has a very proud           officers and members                letters we have also seen      may not be affected yet, you
history of excellent industrial   braving the weather raising         an increase in media           could well be tomorrow. If
relations but this has not        public awareness of the             interest with several local    you are reading this, and are
held the team back in the         impending troubles the              newspapers running             not involved in the campaign
face of fights to come, not       Coalition Government are            stories on job losses and      against the cuts, then ask
only to protect the jobs of its   about to bestow on us.              the effect it will have on     yourself what can you do to
members but the valuable               Our Branch Secretary,          policing in Lancashire.        help? Don’t leave it too late
services they provide to          Maureen LeMarinel, has                                             to make your voice heard, we
the communities in which          also started a letter writing     December 9th saw Theresa         must fight now and we must
they live. Karen Poole,           campaign with an array            May address the House of         fight hard.
Branch Chair, has been            of positive responses             Commons, updating them
co-ordinating the campaign        resulting in:                     about the Home Office budget     Clive Haslam, Branch
for our branch, and told          • Questions being put             cuts. Maureen LeMarinel said     Communications Officer,
me: “…the public are very             to Nick Clegg in Prime        “We must not lose sight of       UNISON Lancashire Police
concerned about the loss of           Ministers Questions, and      the fact that over 170 PCSO’s    Branch
the vital services that are           an Emergency Motion           employed by Lancashire
provided by PCSOs - support           being put to the North West   Constabulary are also part       STOP PRESS
to retain numbers has been            Labour Party Conference       funded by partnership
overwhelming...”                      that was passed with          arrangements with local          UNISON is celebrating the
    Campaigning started               immense support,              councils, schools PCT’s and      announcement to retain
back in October with the          • an Early Day Motion             other agencies and therefore     the ring-fenced funding
branch being involved in              being put to Parliament       there is still a funding risk.   for PCSPs for two years.
the TUC co-ordinated Day              and raising awareness         Our campaign will continue       Maureen Le Marinel said
of Action on the Preston              amongst all North West        with a different emphasis on     “we are extremely happy
Flag Market. Since then               MPs asking them to            putting pressure on these        following the announcement
a petition has started and            support our campaign          organisations to continue        in parliament to retain the
to-date has accumulated               and make representations      with their funding.”             funding stream it means that
over 7500 signatures                  to the Home Secretary             There is no doubt, in my     the majority of our PCSO
that the branch intend                regarding the impending       mind anyway, that at some        colleagues look to be safe
to present to the Home                cuts.                         point over the term of this      from redundancy – at least
Secretary with the intention      • She has also written            government we are all going      for now!
           10	       intouch winter 2010

United Utilities Pay Rise
UNISON members employed by United
Utilities have won a terrific 2.75 % pay
rise following pay talks conducted by the
Joint Trade Union Committee.
     This is a major move forward at a time
when pay bargaining is very tight and
represents the largest increase across the          North West delegates to this year’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
national water companies this year. It is the       Transgender members’ conference in November urge activists
culmination of a year of tough negotiation          to ‘Act Aware’ on HIV issues
and hard work by local representatives and
regional officials of the trade unions. UNISON,
Unite, GMB and Prospect were all involved in      ‘ACT AWARE’ on World Aids Day
discussions and as the largest trade union,
UNISON is particularly pleased that our
                                                  By James Bull, North West Regional LGBT Co-Chair
members recognised both the achievement
and the message sent to all workers on the
benefit of union membership.
                                                  A     t the end of last year a total of
                                                        7,729 HIV infections had been
                                                  reported to the Health Protection
                                                                                            employers they were HIV positive felt
                                                                                            they had lost their job as a result.
                                                                                                 HIV is a trade union issue, and
     85% of UNISON members accepted
                                                  Agency in the North West, and by          one which affects every service
the deal in a ballot. UNISON spokesperson
                                                  the end of 2011 there will be more        group of our union.
Joe Degnan said, “This provides a platform
                                                  than 100,000 people living with HIV            From December 2005, workers
to demonstrate to members that UNISON
                                                  throughout the UK.                        living with HIV have been covered
works hard for them even in difficult
                                                        December 1st marked World           by the anti-discrimination provisions
economic times and that with membership
                                                  AIDS Day and it was an important          of the Disability Discrimination
support much can be achieved.”
                                                  time to come together and                 Act and the Equality Act from the
Bolton Boost For                                  remember those we have lost to HIV/       point of diagnosis.  World AIDS
                                                  AIDS, to support those affected by        Day provides an ideal opportunity
School Meals Service                              the virus and raise awareness within      for branches to raise the issue of
Bolton UNISON is supporting efforts by            our communities of the importance         HIV and AIDS with employers and
Bolton Council to encourage local parents         of safer sex, HIV testing, as well as     ensure that appropriate anti-
to make use of a £1 a day meals service           challenging stigma and prejudice.         discrimination policies and practices
for children attending local primary schools      The public sector cuts set out in the     are agreed and implemented.
– despite the Con-Dem Government                  comprehensive spending review                  To assist with this process and
withdrawing funding. All primary school           mark the beginning of a vulnerable        to mark World Aids Day 2010, the
children in Bolton now have the opportunity       period for HIV services and voluntary     North West LGBT Self Organised
to enjoy healthy school meals that cost just      support organisations, especially         Group, along with other SOGs, is
£1 a day or £5 a week. This means that            since the end of local authority          sending a copy of the UNISON HIV
families with two young children can now          ring-fenced grants. Many fear some        Branch Toolkit to every branch in our
save £8 a week - over £300 a year. Bolton’s       services may face closure.                region throughout December. This
successful school meals service not only                As well as funding for support      guide contains practical advice and
benefits local families at a time when many       and prevention services being under       guidance on fighting discrimination,
local families are struggling, it also provides   threat, HIV-positive staff continue to    defending the rights of HIV positive
much needed employment and supports               face discrimination and harassment        members and negotiating policies
the local economy. Bolton School Meals            at work. In 2009, a National Aids         with your employer.
Service provides on average 3.8 million           Trust survey found that over a                 The North West LGBT Self
meals a year to people of all ages including      third of HIV positive workers in the      Organised Group exists to campaign
elderly and disabled adults across the town.      UK have suffered discrimination           for the rights of LGBT members
The service employs over 250 people with          in the workplace because of their         at work and in wider society. For
a further 300 employed as School Meals            status, or fear unequal treatment         more details or to find out how
Support Assistants. It also uses local food       if it were disclosed. Four out of         you can get involved, email Sarah
suppliers, giving much needed support to          ten respondents who experienced           Whitaker, Regional Equalities Officer
various local businesses.                         discrimination after telling              (

UNISON Welfare: How does the charity help members?
UNISON Welfare is a               officer from Pay Plan is                 change in circumstance             Pay Plan your first phone
registered charity for the        linked to the member,                    results in difficulty in keeping   call.  They can be contacted
benefit of UNISON members         and is available for advice              up repayments.                     on freephone 0800 389 3302 
and their dependants. It is       throughout the repayment                      The important thing           or on the internet at www.
unique in that it is the only     programme.                               to remember is that this 
trade union charity of its             This is a completely                service is completely free.             If any branch would like
size. How does the charity        free service with no hidden              We advise against anyone           a member of the regional
help our members?                 charges. In these harsh                  taking out a consolidation         welfare committee to visit
     Through our network of       times of cutbacks, reductions            loan to pay off several            their branch to talk about
branch welfare officers and       in pay or even loss of jobs              debts because this could           all the benefits of UNISON
regional welfare committees       we urge anyone who needs                 cost dearly in the long            Welfare please contact Angela
we offer a listening and          help to contact Pay Plan who             term. The adverts seen in          Lysons at Arena Point on
support service, personal         can help reduce multiple                 the newspapers and on              0161 661 6205.
advice, debt advice, financial    debts to a single affordable             television all sound very           
assistance and even short         payment, liaise with creditors           enticing and can be seen as        June Poole
breaks and holidays. We           etc. This can be for any                 a way out of your problems         Vice-Chair of UNISON
support members with              amount of debt where a                   but be aware.  Always make         Welfare Board of Trustees  
confidential advice and
financial assistance in
the form of grants, or put
members in touch with other
organisations that can help.            We know that
      Our team of case                  at times life can
workers at national office are
very experienced in giving              be difficult and you
up to date advice on benefits
and sorting out finances.               need a little help.
Grants can be given to
assist with household bills,
to ease debts or even help
                                                                                                 UNISON Welfare is the charity
with the cost of a much
                                                                                                 exclusively for UNISON members
needed break.  (Because we
are governed by the Charity                                                                      and their dependants.
Commission, any assistance
has to be means-tested).
Grants have also been given
to pay for equipment or
disability-related adaptations
and even funeral expenses.
      These grants can give           Whether its practical information,
valuable breathing space for          financial support or debt advice, we are
our members whilst we work            here to help in whatever way we can.
to find long term solutions to
their problems.                       •	 Confidential	support • Wellbeing breaks
     The first port of call for       • Signposting and       • Financial support
                                         information          • Debt advice
assistance should be through
the Branch Welfare Officer or
Branch Secretary.
      UNISON welfare works             Call: UNISON Welfare on 020 7551 1620
very closely with Pay Plan,            Between 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday
which provides free and
confidential advice to help            UNISON Debtline on 0800 389 3302
                                       for immediate advice if you have debt worries
clear debts.  An assigned              Between 8am – 9pm Mon-Fri & 9am – 3pm on Saturday

                                       Or visit our Website:
      12	       intouch winter 2010

Organising in the Community Service Group
Y   ou should now know that we
    have a new service group
for members who work in the
                                  attending. A further meeting
                                  is provisionally arranged
                                  for the 13th of January and
                                                                   Service Group Conference in
                                                                   Telford on the 3 November. The
                                                                   conference was very successful
                                                                                                    Steve Davies of Cardiff
                                                                                                    University and Neil Cleeveley
                                                                                                    of the National Association
community, voluntary, charity     branches with over 100           with 18 motions submitted        for Voluntary and Community
and housing sectors. Most of      members are encouraged to        from branches and the            Action. The Government
these members had previously      ensure they are represented.     Service Group Executive. The     Minister had been invited
been linked to the local          The Community Service            motions were wide-ranging        but had declined the
government and health service     Group is the third largest in    covering personalisation,        invitation because of other
groups and indeed remain          UNISON and at this time when     violence in the workplace,       commitments, which may be
within their original branches.   the Con Dem Government is        funding in the community and     a sign of this government’s
     The regions are now          attacking our members in         voluntary sector, volunteering   commitment to listening
in the middle of setting up       local government and health,     and housing as well as           to the public! The panel
structures for the new service    it is all the more important     motions on the service group     discussion was dominated
group. To this end a meeting      that we are organised in the     structure. There was also an     by the depth of the cuts
was called of all branches        community sector.                emergency motion on the          in public sector spending,
with over 100 community                                            savage cuts announced in         the repercussions for the
members so they could be          First Community Service          the Comprehensive Spending       community and voluntary
involved in the process of        Group Conference                 Review.                          sector and what our response
creating the new structure.            Over 100 members                There was also a panel       should be to the cuts. There
The meeting took place in         including six delegates and      discussion involving Roberta     were also fringe meetings
October with 3 branches           visitors from the North West     Blackman-Woods MP,               on the hidden workforce and
and 1 self organised group        attended the first Community     Shadow Civil Society Minister,   personalisation.

This autumn, leaves haven’t been the only thing hitting the streets

T   housands of workers,
    students and the
generally angry have been
                                  Democrats heard the voices
                                  on the dock front in Liverpool
                                  is open to question but they
                                                                   to form some of the Tory MPs
                                                                   chose to find other business
                                                                   to keep them away from
                                                                                                    TUC rally on 26 March 2011
                                                                                                    is a date everyone who
                                                                                                    cares about public services
out in force with one thing       were not in doubt a month        meeting their constituents       should have in their diaries
in common – opposition to         later when trade unionists       but many other MPs were          to ensure it is the biggest
the Conservative and Liberal      again gathered, this time on     lobbied. In all UNISON           and clearest rejection of
Democrat backed cuts in           the MPs’ own door step in        activists lobbied 44 of the      government spending plans.
public spending.                  Westminster. Representatives     region’s MPs. Particularly
     UNISON members               from UNISON’s North West         in the firing line were the 6    What should branches be
working with other unions         branches turned out in           Liberal Democrat MPs.            doing?
in a TUC-led campaign were        force to meet the region’s            But what next? The          • Set up a campaigning
out in force in a very rainy      MPs, present our alternative     spending review has been           committee.
Liverpool on 19 September to      budget and remind MPs            announced and the cuts           • Organise and recruit
greet the Liberal Democrats       of the damage cuts will          following it don’t appear to       around the issue of cuts.
and put a dampener on the         do to communities and            have diminished in scale or      • Monitor the impact of
air of self congratulation that   services. The lobby of MPs       impact. The answer is the          cuts on services and jobs
delegates demonstrated.           in Westminster took place        campaign continues and has         – the regional office is
UNISON General Secretary,         on the day before George         to grow to be successful.          collecting this information
Dave Prentis, told the crowd      Osbourne presented the                A benchmark was set           so that UNISON has a
of trade unionists who had        Comprehensive Spending           on 10th November when              clear picture of the effects
gathered by the Mersey that       Review and the scale of the      over 50,000 students               of cuts.
unions would lead the fight       cut-astrosphe became a little    and members from the             • Build support with
to defend services and jobs.      clearer.                         universities union UCU, took       community anti-cuts
     Whether the Liberal              Disappointingly, but true    to the streets of London. A        campaigns.

Wheelchair user
compensated after                                                             Under 27?
shower seat collapse
A man who was badly injured when a poorly                                     I f the
                                                                                answer is
                                                                              yes then you
installed disabled shower seat collapsed under                                are classed
                                                                              as a young
him has been awarded £3,900 in compensation.                                  member.
                                                                              UNISON wants young members to
                                                                              play a full part in the union. At the

J  ames Allison, 70, of Arnside in     Thompsons Solicitors says: “The        same time we know for many young
   Cumbria, was on vacation at         disabled shower facilities had         people it can be difficult getting time
the Holgates Caravan Park in April     recently been refurbished and the      off work for union activity, being
2009. He had been for a swim and       shower seat had clearly not been       taken seriously, or speaking out with
was taking a shower when the           installed using the correct wall       confidence in a room full of older
                                                                              people who can give the impression
disabled shower seat he relied on      fixings to ensure that the seat
                                                                              they know it all.
as a wheelchair user completely        remained firmly in place when the
came away from the wall and            seat was in use.”
                                                                              That’s why we have created a young
dropped him hard onto the floor.                                              members organisation which is
                                       “Holgates Caravan Parks had a          designed to:
Mr Allison suffered injury to his      duty to ensure the safety of their
thumb, lower back, left elbow          guests whilst using their facilities       encourage participation by young
and left ankle. The injuries to        by ensuring the shower seat was            members;
his left thumb and wrist caused        fitted correctly.”                         provide a voice for young
significant symptoms which                                                        members;
aggravated his arthritis.              It’s never much fun getting injured        give young members the chance
                                       through no fault of your own,              to develop their skills and
“After the accident I had a splint     but it’s a lot easier to get fair          knowledge;
on my right hand from my fingers       compensation if you’re a union             support young members in
to about four inches above the         member. It’s great to see life             becoming active in the wider
wrist joint. The bruising was          members like James making use              union.
about eight inches by three on         of UNISON’s free legal services.
my spine, and I was completely         Although retired and suffering         You can get involved at branch level
immobilised for about three            from the effects of multiple           by becoming your branch’s young
weeks. I couldn’t even fasten my       sclerosis, Mr Allison continues        members’ officer.
own shirt buttons, and for quite a     to play an active role in his
                                                                              At regional level there are regular
few months I couldn’t drive. One       community, including volunteering
                                                                              young members meetings, where
of my great joys in life is cooking,   as a disability and welfare rights
                                                                              you get the chance to meet young
but I couldn’t cope with that          adviser in his spare time.             members from elsewhere in the
because I couldn’t hold anything                                              North West and discuss your
in my left hand, the pain was just     Thompsons legal advice line is         experiences and ideas. You also get
excruciating.”                         08000 224 224.                         to plan young member activities and
                                                                              get support from other members in
As a life member of UNISON, Mr                                                the region. If you want to find out
Allison was able to receive free                                              more get in touch with James Rupa,
legal assistance from Thompsons                                               the regional young members contact,
Solicitors, which pursued a                                                   on or call him
personal injury claim against the                                             on 0161 661 6779.
caravan park. Jill Griffiths from
      14	       intouch winter 2010

Health & Safety under attack
The last few weeks have been particularly
troubling for those of us involved in health
and safety. A prolonged attack has culminated
in two recent events. First, the publication
of the “Common Sense: Common Safety”
report by Lord Young of Graffham, and
second the announcement stemming from
the Comprehensive Spending Review of 35%
cuts to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
over the next 4 years.

Y    oung’s report was
     pretty much as
expected however we
                                  the quality of health and
                                  safety in Britain, and in the
                                  areas where UNISON is
                                                                  He also suggests that there
                                                                  should be a shift from risk
                                                                  management to risk benefit.
                                                                                                 them up. Buy and wear the
                                                                                                 T-shirt, talk to colleagues
                                                                                                 and most importantly
must not be fooled                active, have the potential to                                  recruit them! Become
by the rhetoric into              substantially weaken it.        Young and the other Con        active in the union, take
believing that it is actually                                     Dem politicians have, yet      on the role of a safety
common sense or that              He proposes that we             again, proved that they        rep and insist on proper
it is a positive move for         should see offices, schools     know nothing about the         risk assessments. Consult
anyone. Rather it is a            and shops as “low risk”.        real costs of their policies   with both colleagues and
poorly disguised attack,          As such they would not          on working people. The         management – show them
based on Tory ideology,           require detailed risk           recommendations are a          that as far as UNISON is
at working people and             assessments but rather          recipe for a disastrous        concerned, health and
working conditions bowing         we should adopt a more          increase in workplace          safety is important. Let
to pressure from employer         mechanistic approach –          accidents.                     colleagues know what
organisations.                    tick box forms! These are                                      we are doing to further
                                  starting to appear on the       This is compounded by the      the cause of health and
Prior to Young’s demise for       HSE Website and fall well       spending cuts. The HSE         safety. Show them that
opening his mouth once            short of what we would          has already been hit hard      the trade union is relevant
too often, he should have         like to see. He wants to        over the last few years and    and important and is
actually gone a few months        exempt employers who            has reached an all time        determined to fight all the
ago when he outrageously          have staff working from         low on inspections and         way to ensure that their
said “People occasionally         home and self-employed          enforcement activities.        health, safety and welfare
get killed. It’s unfortunate,     people from undertaking         This will further reduce       is not marginalised,
but it’s part of life.” He only   risk assessments.               this activity and leave us     trivialised or constrained
allowed three weeks for                                           all the poorer for it.         by a tick box mechanistic
research into the issue and       In schools, parents will                                       approach that will fall
took about ten weeks to           be asked to sign a one-         We as trade unionists are      short of providing the
prepare his report.               off catch-all form for all      in a good position to fight    proper protection that our
                                  external school activities      back. Firstly we should all    members deserve.
The result of his                 such as educational visits.     join the UNISON-supported
deliberations were a number       And classrooms would            Hazards Campaign “We           Greater Manchester
of recommendations that           see the introduction of a       didn’t vote to die at work”    Hazards Centre website:
do nothing to improve             simplified risk assessment.     – get posters and put

Medical Secretary Review
B    ack in July the Southport
     & Ormskirk NHS Trust
announced it intended to
                                   consequences, such as:

                                   • Reducing the time
                                                                    staff side of the JNC and the
                                                                    JMSNC (Medical Committee)
                                                                    rejected the proposals, while
                                                                                                        senior managers and the
                                                                                                        staff side, with staff side
                                                                                                        being informed that all
implement a new structure            clinicians spent with          the clinician committee in          proposals to date had been
for the provision of medical         patients, as they would now    medicine required that their        unilaterally withdrawn and
secretarial services from 1st        have to deal with tasks that   “anger and disapproval” of          it was agreed a full review
November. The Trust proposed         the medical secretary used     the proposals be minuted.           would be undertaken by
to save £147,000 within the          to carry out                       At a meeting on 21st            the Trust over the next 3
medical secretarial service        • Increasing the workload        October, the Trust presented        months, with both medical
by implementing a ratio of           of the Band 4’s such that      an amended set of proposals         secretaries and clinicians
1 Band 4 Medical Secretary           important admin work           which marginally reduced            involved. We now await the
for every two consultants            around patient records         the downgrading ratio from          outcome of this review.
(and their respective teams)         would be delayed,              50% to approximately 35%,
and downgrading roughly              possibly with damaging         and it was clearly indicated
50% of Band 4 Medical                consequences.                  that no further negotiations
Secretaries to Band 3 Medical      • Reducing the availability of   would be taking place. The
Administrators, the duties of        patient access to clinicians   amended proposals were
which would be restricted to         by being first-line contact.   rejected by the staff side,
typing of clinical letters and     • Losing continuity and          and the Trust was informed
filing of documents.                 patient knowledge as work      that a lobby of the board
     Clinicians and medical          is divided between typing      would be forthcoming.
secretaries unanimously              and administration.                A mass meeting of
expressed concern on the                                            medical secretaries and
proposals. It was felt by all      The campaign against             clinicians took place on 3
involved that they could           the changes developed.           November to discuss the
lead to a loss of clinical         A petition of all medical        required future action in
effectiveness and efficiency       secretaries and 40 clinicians    opposition to the proposals.
and increase the risk to           were submitted to the Trust,     But before this meeting
patient safety. The new            along with 15 letters from       took place the Trust called
structure would see negative       clinical specialisms. Both the   an urgent meeting between

5 out of 7 Nobel Prize-winning economists agree with us!
T   he TV and the press are
    uniting with the politicians
to try and convince us that
                                   long ago for a lot of us to
                                   remember - she wanted to
                                   privatise the NHS. Over the
                                                                    workers’ pay claim.
                                                                        Without that demo, and
                                                                    the other resistance, we would
                                                                                                        is something we don’t
                                                                                                        appear to be doing….can we
                                                                                                        change that?
the cuts are necessary, that       next few years she told a        already have a completely                The NHS isn’t the only
the cuts are inevitable and        series of health ministers       private health service. We          service facing the cuts –
that there is nothing we can       to come up with a plan to        must make the 26th March            and it won’t even be hit the
do to stop them.                   do so, sacking each as they      demo as big or bigger than          hardest in the first round
     We have an uphill             failed. Finally Kenneth Clarke   that. It is more than a decade      – but this example can help
struggle to put the counter        told her that she couldn’t:      since people have realised          change people’s minds about
arguments – even if five out       it wouldn’t be stood for. A      that they need to involve           getting involved, rather than
of seven Nobel Prize-winning       major reason for that was the    themselves in doing things          sitting back in resignation.
economists agree with us!          MASSIVE 1982 quarter of a        (being active) in order to affect   And it is not just the 26th
     But one thing is worth        million-strong demonstration     the policies of our government.     March – there are lots of
remembering: when                  on the banks of the Thames,      This will take a lot of talking     other things to support that
Margaret Thatcher became           not even in defence of the NHS   to get that message across –        are going on before then as a
Prime Minister in 1979 – too       – but in defence of the health   and talking to our members          warm-up.
     16	      intouch winter 2010

A branch secretary writes…
P     at McDonagh,
      Branch Secretary of
the Manchester Local
                             on Wednesday about the
                             Government’s attack on
                                                             financial services and
                                                             a reckless and arrogant
                                                             banking sector.
                                                                                                Around 3000 students
                                                                                              marched through
Government Branch,               As they rightly pointed         This Government              Manchester City Centre
recently had the following   out, it wasn’t spending on      appears happy to allow
printed in the Manchester    education or public services    bankers to continue              from a Cabinet where 23
Evening News. It makes       that caused the financial       claiming their massive,          out of its 29 members are
some great points –          crisis that is wreaking havoc   undeserved bonuses               millionaires. Add to this the
points that we all should    throughout our economy.         whilst it axes Educational       shameless Lib Dem u turn
be making by writing to          Yet the Government’s        Maintenance Allowance for        on their pre-election pledge
our own local paper. Have    plans effectively punish the    young people from low and        to students, and yet who
you written yet?             users of public services,       middle income families.          now cynically support these
    I would like to add      like students, rather               The Coalition                socially destructive policies
our union’s support to the   than attacking the real         Government’s bleat that          for a few ministerial perks.
young people and students    cause of financial crisis -     ‘we’re all in this together’         No wonder young people
who protested loudly but     deregulation, an unbalanced     is already starting to sound     are so angry at this injustice.
peacefully in Manchester     economy over-reliant on         pretty hollow, coming            They are not alone.

Regional Communications Survey – Tell us what gets
to you and you could win £100 of shopping vouchers
S    uffering from
     information overload?
It would be surprising
                             of leaflets, newsletters,
                             magazines and e-mails is
                             useful or even read?
                                                             information they need to be
                                                             effective but a suffocating
                                                             amount of information
                                                                                              communications. This can
                                                                                              be accessed through the
                                                                                              regional website and as an
if, as a UNISON activist,        The regional publicity      doesn’t make sense – we          added incentive everyone
you weren’t constantly       and campaigning                 have to be effective and         who completes the survey
bombarded by information     committee is trying to          efficient in getting the right   before 31st January 2011
from your branch, the        get the answer to some          amount of information out”.      will be in with a chance
regional office and the      of these questions. Chair           The committee has now        of winning £100 worth
national office. But how     of the committee, Ashley        set up an on-line survey         of shopping vouchers
much of the information      Bramwell explained “it’s        to try and measure the           courtesy of LV=Frizzell.
you receive in the form      vital that activists have the   effectiveness of current

Reading this but not a member?
It’s easy to join the North West’s                  Thanks this issue to: Colin Baker, Bolton Branch, Stephen Booth,
                                                    Ray Boyle, Ashley Bramwell, James Bull, Elliot Costello, Paul Foley,
brightest and best public service                   Nick Green, Steve Gwilt, Clive Haslam, Frank Hont, Frances Kelly, Pat
trade union. Phone 0845 355 0845                    McDonagh, Neal Linsky, Angela Lysons, Anne McAleer, Martin Nelson,
                                                    June Poole, Dave Read, James Rupa, Paul Summers, Ben Thomas,
for details and an application form.
                                                    Peter Thorne, Victoria Walton and anyone else who submitted photos
                                                    and articles or who gave encouragement. If you have anything to say,
                                                    then write to us c/o the Communications & Media Team at the
                                                    Regional Centre, UNISON North West, Arena Point, 1 Hunts Bank,                                 Manchester, M3 1UN or e-mail to