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

PRESS RELEASE – Coventry UNISON condemns the proposals to close Woodlands Academy

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Coventry City Branch of UNISON, that represents most Support staff working at Woodlands Academy in Coventry, today condemned the proposals to close the school.

The decision to effectively close Woodlands Academy without explaining the reasons for doing so with such a short consultation is completely unacceptable.

It’s the first Secondary School Academy in this city to face possible closure causing a potentially devastating impact on our members and their livelihoods. Richard Harty Corporate Representative from UNISON said

“Our entire membership at the school could ultimately lose their jobs. They are devastated by this news, many being long serving, loyal professionals who have given their best in the service of the school and its community”

UNISON are not satisfied that this matter can simply be seen as a lift and shift of pupils from one school to another and cannot simply allow the school to be erased from the map in this way.

“We will be seeking an urgent explanation from the DFE about this matter. We have long stated that the development of Finham Park 2 would have a detrimental impact on the area where there are already surplus places. The DFE have allowed this and they need to explain themselves. After all this is about pupil’s education and the employment contracts of our members, as well as the use of taxpayers money.

We have so many questions to ask. For example, how have we got to the point where an entire school is being closed so suddenly? Why hasn’t there been earlier intervention by the DFE? We understand the school is running a deficit budget – who will pay for staff redundancies?. What happens to staff during the proposed changes?

We are concerned at the potential destabilising effects of these proposals both to the pupils and staff at Woodlands Academy.

These issues reflect the fact that the Academy system x does not work and has not made any real difference to the lives of the pupils and our members compared to the previously local democratic structures that were previously in place. Instead we see a market driven approach where schools have to compete to get pupils, regardless of the impact on the wider community, and see the potentially catastrophic impact on a school with the history and integrity Woodlands has. Unnecessary extra school places are being created using taxpayers money at a time of extreme austerity and cuts in local government of more than 40%.

 

Contact: Richard Harty   024 76521125             Richard.harty@unisoncoventry.co.uk

PRESS RELEASE – Coventry Unison to Build and Support city wide Campaign against Trade Union Bill

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Coventry City Branch of Unison is deeply concerned that:

  • For the first time, employers will be able to break strikes by bringing in agency workers to cover for strikers. This could have big safety implications, lead to worse public services, and will undermine the right to strike.
  • The Bill proposes huge restrictions on peaceful picketing and protests.
  • The Bill proposes attacks on union reps in the public sector, restrictions on how unions collect and spend our money and lots more unnecessary red tape.This week the chief executive of Thompson’s Solicitors told MPs the Trade Union Bill is “unlawful, unwarranted and unworkable” . In his evidence to the Trade Union Bill Committee, Steve Cavalier said it appeared the Bill had been designed specifically to make it difficult, if not impossible, to take the necessary steps to comply with its provisions. He said: “It is an unwarranted ideological attack on internationally recognised rights in this country.”UNISON Coventry City Branch spokesperson Richard Harty said. “Not only is this a moral outrage and direct attack on trade union members in the UK and workers’ fundamental human rights rights, we now have a definitive response from Employment Lawyers that this is unlawful”. Unison in Coventry will work with our sister unions in the City Council, the Coventry TUC, other trade unionists and the public to ensure the campaign against this Bill gathers momentum. For details of our campaign work and future events contact Coventry City Unison via the above address or visit on the web via http://www.coventryunison.co.uk, our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/coventry.unison.
  • Follow @coventryunison on twitter.