PRESS RELEASE – Coventry Libraries – An Express service to nowhere?

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Coventry City UNISON condemns the Proposals for Libraries in the public consultation which was undertaken by the library service from 19thNovember to 23rdDecember 2018.

The proposals were to;

  • Remove all hard copies of newspapers and magazines;
  • Open Central as an express model from 9-11 and on Sundays;
  • Remove overdue charges for late return of books for children ages 8-16;

What an express model would look like for service users was not detailed.

What was not consulted on, either by staff or the public, was to introduce single staffing in four libraries – Aldermoor, Caludon Castle School, Canley and Coundon.

UNISON have a major concern over the safety and wellbeing of the staff and users of the libraries if they were single staffed.

This in a time when a Coventry Violence Summit was called on Monday 28thJanuary as victims of serious violence has increased by 17.4 per cent from 2017 to 2018. There has also been an increase of 16.7 per cent in knife crime.

These current levels of violence have been branded “unacceptable” by Martin Reeves.

What does the council see as the purpose for a library? It’s hard to see in the proposals.

The proposed annual cost saving alone of £319,000 for libraries is less than the ‘clean up’ costs for the Godiva Festival at £460,000. The Godiva festival is a wonderful thing for Coventry, and so are libraries which are open and available all year round.

Libraries should be at the Heart of our community, not marginalised and under resourced.

People use then for all sorts of reasons and especially in times of austerity they are more valuable than ever.

The Libraries Taskforce set up by Central Government said;

Libraries are open to everyone. Their staff understand their community’s needs and are trusted to provide reliable guidance and support on a wide range of issues when people need help. They provide a vital role in helping public services reach out into communities.

They bring people together in vibrant community hubs which host local events and provide a shared sense of place for their users – something that is ever more important in an increasingly digital age”.

This is yet another nail in the coffin to a vital asset when we have been awarded the City of Culture 2021. Our Libraries can and should help to further develop the immense cultural and diverse asset which our members and the people of this great city deserve.

Follow @coventryunison on twitter.

 

ENDS

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PRESS RELEASE – Sickness absence at Coventry City Council – ‘Mental Health Matters’

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UNISON welcomes the opportunity to respond to the comments made in the Coventry Evening Telegraph by Councillor Mutton, Cabinet Member for Resources, about sickness absence at Coventry City Council.

We too are very concerned at the upward trend in sickness absence in the organisation. Just a few weeks ago UNISON highlighted the issue of mental health in the workplace and held open meetings on Mental Health in the Workplace, which were well received. The aim of these meetings is to record the issues that affect our members’ mental health and well-being and to begin to address them with our employer.

We have raised questions about this matter with the employer over a number of years, not least as they apply to the Equality Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act. The employer has a duty of care to ensure employees are kept safe at work in all aspects, including health and well-being.

They also have a duty to ensure that those employees are properly supported in order that they can carry out their roles. We have also raised issues about bullying, harassment and cultural issues of discrimination many times with the City Council.

We know that the vast majority of absence is genuine. We also know that austerity and cuts to Council budgets have had a devastating impact on the workplace as employees are asked to take on more work with less staff which simply cannot continue.

Public Service should be respected and embraced. Our members often go above and beyond the call of duty.  That needs to be recognised. For too long our members have been undermined by austerity. To excel, we need to become an employer of choice. Therefore it is important that our members are valued employees regardless of whom they are. The Council could embrace Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We are at our best when everyone feels valued.

Message ends.

Please phone 02476 550829 or email sarah.feeney@unisoncoventry.co.uk  or richard.harty@unisoncoventry.co.uk with any enquiries.

PRESS RELEASE

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Read the Joint Trade Union response to the employer here: Joint_TU_Update050718

06.07.18

The Joint Trades unions of Coventry City Council, UNISON, UNITE and GMB are in Dispute with Coventry City Council regarding proposals to change the employee car parking scheme.

The proposals are to be considered by the City Council on 10 July 2018, in spite of the Dispute being lodged and our request to withdraw the item from the agenda in order to resolve the matter in accordance with the Disputes Procedure. The ill thought proposal will not save money as is suggested, and in fact will potentially cost more to the public purse. The proposals will affect many workers providing frontline services to the people of Coventry, using their own cars, maintained and fuelled at their own expense. We believe that if they had followed the existing procedure correctly the organisation would have made adequate savings in any event.

A spokesperson for the joint trade union side said,

“We see this as a direct attack on our members’ terms and conditions. Workers who have had effectively a 20% pay cut over the last 8 years due to austerity. If every worker who uses their car for work, stopped doing so, they would have to rely on either a very limited number of ‘pool’ cars which will cost £26 per day per car to the council budget or public transport which will slow their productivity down which will have an impact on services. These consequences defeat the object. This at a time of great strain on the organisation in trying to deliver services with less employees. It is all the more unfortunate that Councillors themselves will, we understand, keep their car park passes. What is more the cost savings that will actually be achieved are unclear. What has not been established is exactly who will receive a car park pass. This proposal potentially leaves the council and our members worse off”

The Trades unions will be demonstrating outside the Council House on 10th July at 12.30p.m.  before the Meeting.

Contact:      Dawn Ward – UNISON – 07535 526062

Mick Shortland – UNITE – 02476 834947

Andy Groves – GMB – 07908 213721

Download this press release via the link below. Thanks

Press Releasecarparking060718

PRESS RELEASE – UNISON legal victory sees employment tribunal fees scrapped

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Employment tribunal fees will be scrapped after UNISON won a landmark court victory against the government on July 26th, 2017. The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.

From Wednesday this week, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court. The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals since July 2013.

Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200. This has been a huge expense for many low-paid employees, says UNISON.

Reacting to this morning‘s decision, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:

“The government has been acting unlawfully, and has been proved wrong – not just on simple economics, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too. It’s a major victory for employees everywhere. UNISON took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. Unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand. We’ll never know how many people missed out because they couldn’t afford the expense of fees. But at last this tax on justice has been lifted.”

ENDS

To keep in contact with Coventry City UNISON visit us on the web via www.coventryunison.co.uk, our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/coventry.unison. Follow @coventryunison on twitter.

Download the press release here and place on your notice board 🙂 jul72617unisonpressrelease

PRESS RELEASE – Coventry City UNISON Response – Government Funding of Schools’ budgets

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The government’s funding announcement last Monday is disappointing. It means a return to smoke and mirrors statements on school funding. UNISON has said that whilst any extra money is welcome, it isn’t enough to stop the huge cuts that schools are making.

Calculations published on the School Cuts organisations’ website show that under the Conservative Party’s manifesto plans for school funding, schools faced a loss of £11.6 billion in real terms between 2015/16 and 2021/22. The extra money pledged today is not sufficient to make up this loss. The government says it will ensure no school faces loss of funding in cash terms. In real terms, inflation will mean schools will be £2.1bn worse off in 2019/20 even after this increase is implemented.

Schools are already cutting curriculum choices, activities for pupils and teaching and support staff posts. Richard Harty, Coventry UNISON Schools’ Lead said “We are calling on the government to find further additional funding to protect all schools and avoid damaging cuts to children’s education…We are already seeing job losses in some schools in Coventry”.

As this is not new money, the government has been forced to reallocate money from a range of areas. For example, £280m will come from the free schools’ programme. The National Audit Office has questioned if this programme provides value for money. Nevertheless, the government now expects local authorities to fund 30 of the 140 planned schools.

This government announcement shows the power of the school cuts campaign run by unions, parents, politicians and local communities. We will continue to build the campaign. We call on the Government to find ‘new’ money to protect all schools in real terms and avoid these damaging cuts to children’s education.”

UNISON National Head of Education Jon Richards said: “Considerable extra money is needed to reverse the damage already done. Teachers and pupils are paying a high price because support staff have been axedThe loss of these jobs with other cuts is placing school children at risk. The government should be investing in their futures.”

ENDS

To keep in contact with Coventry City UNISON visit us on the web via www.coventryunison.co.uk, our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/coventry.unison. Follow @coventryunison on twitter.

DOWNLOAD THIS PRESS RELEASE HERE – jul72417unisonpressrelease

PRESS RELEASE – Childrens’ Services, Coventry City Council

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UNISON Coventry City branch would like to acknowledge the appreciation shown by the City Councils leadership and management teams for the efforts staff members have made to achieve progress in Children’s Services. The significant improvement, reflected in Ofsted’s judgement, has been achieved against a background of government austerity measures through the hard work and dedication of our members.

As the lead trade union in the City Council we are all too aware that our members have shouldered increased levels of responsibility and workplace pressure to support the needs of children and families in our city.

 Dawn Palmer-Ward (UNISON Corporate Representative ) said

“The role of social work professionals has been undermined year upon year by public sector cuts which has led to massively increased workloads with an ever diminishing resource. UNISON will continue to challenge austerity measures that impact so negatively in the lives of the most vulnerable in our city and support our member undertaking their much valued role.”

 

Contact

Dawn Palmer-Ward

Dawn.palmer-ward@unisoncoventry.co.uk

Phone – 02476 521123

07535 526062

Download our press release here:

Press release re Ofsted report 14.06.17

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE -‘Fundamental Questions Not Answered’ – UNISON responds to City Council ‘Connecting Communities’ Proposals

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Coventry City UNISON has responded with deep concern to the recent ‘Connecting Communities’ proposals from the City Council. UNISON believes proposals will severely impact specific groups of Coventry residents such as children, older people and black and minority ethnic origin (BAME) people. It is unclear how the proposed ‘transformation models’ are sustainable ways to deliver crucial services. People will lose access to local facilities – with many older people and children not having the ability to visit a library within easy distance of their home. Those losing face to face access to local libraries to learn and use a computer could be seriously disadvantaged in their ability to receive crucial services as they are increasingly being delivered via IT dominated facilities in Coventry city centre.

UNISON Branch Secretary, Sarah Feeney, states ‘this proposal could have a disastrous effect on young people in our city. We will cease to deliver meaningful services to most young people. It is imperative that the remaining provision should be strengthened and not cut’.

The documents themselves are opaque. It is of great concern that there are so many questions still left unanswered. In some cases, these are large fundamental questions such as what the service will look like and which partners are involved? UNISON believes that this proposal should be withdrawn and that the consultation should be done when a clear model of what will happen is available to be consulted upon.  For copies of our full response visit our website.

Download the press release in pdf format here..dec1516unisonpressrelease