UNISON South East Region Women’s Forum 2016


2016, Equality, Events, South East Region, UNISON, Women, Women Members , , , ,

Stars In Our Schools 2016



Celebrate support staff on 25 November 2016 – Visit the Stars in our schools website

Stars in our Schools is a celebration of school support staff. UNISON has organised the day to celebrate the wonderful work they do every day and to make sure the world knows just how vital they are to children’s education.  Schools across the UK hold awards ceremonies, put on special assemblies and some staff even dress up as super heroes.

School support staff keep children safe and healthy

Children need to be in a safe and healthy environment to flourish. There are many people who work together to make this happen: supervisors; crossing patrol officers; child protection officers; cleaners; caretakers; janitors; catering staff; and parent support advisers.

School support staff help children learn

Great teachers combined with great support staff equals students who excel. There are many types of support staff that help children learn: teaching and classroom assistants; learning support assistants; learning mentors; librarians; science technicians; ICT technicians; food technicians; and design and technology technicians.

School support staff keep schools running smoothly

Schools are complex organisations that need to be managed with the upmost precision. School support staff do this, they are the: School business managers; cover supervisors; examination officers; school attendance officers; admin assistants; finance officers; and secretaries.

Nominate A Star Online — Stars in Our Schools

Do you know a school support staff worker who is an absolute star and deserves recognition?  If so, nominate them for this year’s Stars in our schools competition and you could both win a £25 M&S voucher each

We have 24 £25 M&S vouchers to give away – one for a Star in each region and one for the person who nominates them.

The deadline for entering is Friday 2 December

2016, campaigns, Community, Events, Local Government, Schools, UNISON , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Work Watch 2016


UNISON is teaming up with Community Care to run the second ‘Social Work Watch’. On 21st September we want as many social work staff as possible to take part by filling in a survey to tell us about their day. We will ask you to give details of your caseload on that day, how many hours you worked, what you did, how it made a difference, and the pressures and challenges you faced.

We will use the findings to highlight for the public and policy makers the challenges and pressures social work staff face every day. We will also use it to celebrate the value and importance of the work you do, in spite of the cuts, staff shortages and media hostility.

About the survey

  • The survey is open to qualified social workers and other social work staff who do casework such as social work assistants, family support workers and care managers.
  • In advance of the Wednesday 21st September UNISON will email details of the initiative to all social work members across the UK  where we have an email address.
  • In the meantime, staff can also pre-register and get sent a reminder by emailing socialwork@unison.co.uk stating ‘Social Work Watch’ reminder (see attached flier).
  • Staff will be asked to fill out the survey at the end of the day on Wednesday 21st September or no later than a couple of days after.
  • Participants who want to will be entered into a free Community Care prize draw to win an iPad mini.

Social Work Watch 21st September 2016 Flyer

2016, campaigns, Events, Local Government, Social Work, UNISON , , , , , , , ,

What Did UNISON Oxfordshire County Ever Do For Us?


What Did The Romans The Greeks The Victorians The EU UNISON Oxfordshire County Ever Do For Us?

As well as being one of the largest unions in the UK, campaigning for worker’s rights and improvements in terms and conditions your local UNISON branch offers day to day support for members with workplace issues and questions. It is understandable that people on low pay need to be especially careful with their financial outlay but when you consider that the average hourly rate of an Employment Law solicitor is at least £250 which is more than 2 years subs of £9.70/month if you earn between £14k-£17k/year and more than 1 years subs of £17.25/month if you earn £25k-£30k/year you need to ask whether in fact you can afford not to join a union.  For the full list of subs rates per annual income see here.

Why Do Our Members Contact UNISON Oxfordshire

General Advice
Disciplinary Proceedings
Grievance Matter (Against You)
Grievance Matter (Filed By You)
TUPE Transfer
Sickness Absence
Contract Changes
Workplace Injury

93% of members who answered our survey felt that the UNISON Oxfordshire rep had influenced their case positively.  83% were ‘Very Satisfied’ with the UNISON Oxfordshire branch overall with a further 10% being ‘Satisfied.’

Amongst the hundreds of member’s cases we deal with each year here are some of the tangible examples of the ways UNISON Oxfordshire County branch has helped our members showing our experience in all the areas that may affect our members in their workplaces:

Safeguarding & Criminal Issues

When several of our members have been accused of safeguarding and other potentially criminal issues and have been questioned by the Police UNISON have provided approved solicitors for the criminal investigations who have had the members released in as little as 45 minutes whilst UNISON Oxfordshire have worked alongside to represent the member in the employer’s proceedings and with the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) if necessary. – 2016

Bullying & Harassment Issues

On several occasions when a group of our members have raised serious concerns with safeguarding, bullying and harassment and other issues UNISON Oxfordshire have supported these members raise collective grievances or in serious cases Whistleblowing to take the case to the top levels of management. – 2016

When a group of our members had issues with mismanagement in their workplace UNISON Oxfordshire helped convince the employer to move the manager to a different workplace with supervision put in place. – 2015

Disciplinary Issues

When our member was dismissed for Gross Misconduct UNISON Oxfordshire had the dismissal overturned and commuted to a Final Written Warning keeping the member in their job. – 2015

When our member was accused of an offence that could have had them sacked UNISON Oxfordshire had the principle witness statement dismissed for inconsistencies and the case was dropped. – 2016

Performance Issues

When our member was given a Final Written Warning for performance issues UNISON Oxfordshire pointed out that the member had not received appropriate training and the performance process was reset with the promise of the requisite training and a clear plan for development in place. – 2015

Sickness Absence

When our member was being disciplined for what was deemed by the employer as excessive absence UNISON Oxfordshire helped the member to get an Occupational Health assessment and have certain absences removed from calculation due to a condition classed as a disability. – 2016

When our member was dismissed on the grounds of capability without reasonable adjustments having been made for a disability UNISON Oxfordshire assisted the member in taking the case to Employment Tribunal. – 2016


When several members were being made redundant UNISON Oxfordshire negotiated a settlement so that they could receive payment in lieu of notice as well as their redundancy payments. – 2016

When our member was threatened with redundancy UNISON Oxfordshire helped identify other positions that the member could do and the member was redeployed. – 2015

TUPE Transfers

When our member was transferred to a new company involving travelling more UNISON Oxfordshire were able to negotiate for them to receive a relocation supplement per mile. – 2016

When a group of members were being transferred to a new firm and the transferring firm claimed that policies and procedures from them were non-transferable UNISON Oxfordshire negotiated with the transferee firm to ensure that, in line with case law, the policies were seen by default as transferred across. – 2016 

Termination Of Employment & Settlements

In the worst case scenario in the event of irreconcilable differences between employee and employer UNISON Oxfordshire have assisted member in obtaining settlements for mutual termination of their contract.   These agreements have typically been a monetary settlement (often 3-6 months salary) and an agreed reference for future employment. – 2016 

UNISON Oxfordshire is proud of the work we have done in representing our members and we value their feedback accordingly, we are pleased that some have taken the time to fill in our feedback survey to help us continue what we do well and improve on the areas members feel we can.  Examples of things our members have said about us following representation can be found on our What Our Members Say About Us page.

In addition to this UNISON Oxfordshire and UNISON nationally have assisted members to file Personal Injury claims through UNISON’s dedicated service as well as saving members money through benefits such as the free will service – described by one Oxfordshire County member as having saving them over 1 year’s union subscriptions alone!

2016, Employment Rights, Equality, Low Paid Members, Membership benefits, Private & Voluntary Sector, UNISON

Oxfordshire Local Government Pension Scheme LGPS Update

Pension Committee Update Notes as at 1st July 2016

Quieter less radical meetings this year, because now that the decision and submission to Government have been made about future pension investment collaboration, the difficult decisions have been completed. The main work is now deciding how to go forward with the collaboration; this now forms part of the normal day-to-day work of the Committee. The collaboration of the ten funds is known by the administering authorities as ‘Project Brunel’, so if you hear talk about ‘Project Brunel’ you now know what it is!

Pool Funds (Project Brunel). A joint submission from all ten administering authorities (Avon; Buckinghamshire; Cornwall; Dorset; Devon; Environment Agency Pension Fund; Gloucestershire; Oxfordshire; Somerset; and Wiltshire) to form the ‘Brunel Pension Partnership’ has been submitted to the Government and a response is awaited.

The size of the pool, once it is fully operational, will be in the region of £23 billion. However, it will be a few years before all the administering authorities can release their control of funds to the pool. This is due to the long term strategies employed by all of the authorities.

Future Decisions. There is a long list of work that now needs to be undertaken. For instance; where will the new headquarters of the fund be located? How will the governance and the legal structure of the fund be applied?  What is the tax and legal position of the fund? How will it be decided as to which authority ‘owns’ the investments or portions of the investments? Will the pool employ internal investment management? Communications to stakeholders – who will be responsible?

New Pensions Board. Alistair Bastin, UNISON Oxfordshire Branch Chairman and a member of the Pensions Board is keen to keep in contact with members of the scheme and would be pleased to ask and frame questions on member’s behalf. Please get in touch with Alistair if you have any questions.

There is a vacancy on the Board and if you are interested, please contact the UNISON office.

LGPS members are more than welcome to contact their Board to discuss pension matters, and if Unison members please contact the UNISON office in the first instance.’

Pension Statements. New pension statements are about to be issued and with the extra staff employed in administering the fund, all members should expect to receive their statement by the legal deadline of 31 August 2016. Also, you should receive a statement for each post that you hold with your employer.

Self Service. The ability to log in to your pension account has yet to happen but, there will be a big push to get this up and running from September.

Philip Wilde, Senior Branch Officer & member of the Pensions Commitee

2016, Branch news, Local Government, Membership benefits, Pensions, Schools , , , , ,