#UNISON Winter Fuel Grant Update

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UNISON Welfare…

The Winter Fuel Grant has been temporarily paused.  As expected, demand for this was high.  We expect an update next Monday.

The Covid Response Fund offers grants of up to £500 for eligible members who have suffered loss of income due to Covid.  Apply here: www.unison.org.uk/covid-19-response-fund-2/

You can still get help for financial hardship due to unexpected circumstances. In an emergency we can usually sort something in 24 hours. Help with shopping bills is possible. We can refer you to local food bank network or apply for shopping vouchers. Contact branch for details of the above.

We can assist with debt. Our debtline is 0800 389 3302.  Service details are here: www.payplan.com/unison/

UNISON Benefits Calculator: https://unison.entitledto.co.uk/home/start

We don’t just deal with the financial side of things.  Our charity There For You provides a confidential service for members over the phone if you are experiencing personal difficulties, such as long-term illness, recovering from surgery, domestic violence or abuse.  

Contact the branch or call: 020 7121 5620

SCHOOLS: URGENT: Section 44

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The DfE has informed the LA that UNISON has withdrawn section 44 advice to its members. We’ve seen a copy of this letter. (Section 44 is the legislation on the statute books that gives employees the right to withdraw from an unsafe workplace without detriment, as used in our model letter for school employees).

We have been told by national UNISON that Gavin Williamson has misrepresented UNISON’s views.

The LA has advised schools earlier today that the section 44 advice has been withdrawn.

The branch has received no advice from head office that our section 44 advice has been withdrawn.

We expect that UNISON will make a national statement on this later.

#UNISON – #Coventry Branch #AGM

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Our AGM this year will be slightly different. At the moment, we are planning for a “virtual” AGM to be held via teams on Friday 12th March. More details with the links will come in writing in a few weeks time.

The last year has proved how vital it is that we have active members engaged in their workplaces and their unions.  We have a variety of rewarding roles within UNISON and if you want to get involved, there is no better time.  We will train, support, and help new reps so if you want to get active, why not get in touch for a chat about what we can do together to help members in your workplace.

For more information on the sort of roles available, please visit
http://www.unison.org.uk/get-involved/

UNISON Coventry City Branch

Call us on 02476 550829
email us at office@unisoncoventry.co.uk

UNISON – We Won’t Look the Other Way!

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UNISON is aware that the COVID crisis and restrictions have played a part in the increased incidents of domestic abuse.

Whilst the majority of people experiencing domestic abuse are women we are aware that men can be in need of support too.

We are sharing the experience of one of our members who, with help, has changed her life and left her abusive partner.

Your branch welfare officer, Chris Burrow, can also be reached on 02476 521126.  He would like to remind you of UNISON’s ThereForYou charity, which can support members with domestic abuse issues including providing financial assistance.

 
My Story…A real-life experience of domestic abuse from one of our members.
My marriage was abusive and the majority of that abuse was coercive control.  He has both physical and mental health problems and I was his carer as well as being primary carer to our children and the only earner in the household. 

For many years I made excuses for his behaviour but over time his treatment of me just got worse.  I spent much of my time at home feeling like I was walking on eggshells just waiting for the accusations and blame that were sure to come.  As the children got older and didn’t need me to take them to friends’ houses or to the park anymore then my reasons for leaving the house reduced to going to work, doing the shopping and any errands my husband wanted me to do for him.  I would cling onto the little moments of happiness, the fact that I loved him and he needed me, and not think too far ahead and so the days, months and years passed.

Family gatherings (including Christmas) could quickly switch from being wonderful to traumatic because of how unpredictable he could be and I was always on high alert to subtle changes in his mood.

I remember going to see my GP (during a period of sick leave from work due to home life stress) and being told that my husband was being abusive.  At the time I just thought “that’s not helpful because I still have to live this life” but it was helpful because it acknowledged what was happening and contributed to me recognising the abusive behaviour.  What would have helped even more would have been signposting me to services like Coventry Haven who gave me considerable support later on.  It took me a long time to accept the reality that I was living with an abuser but once I did it was a stepping stone to being able to leave.  Although, to begin with, I wasn’t sure that leaving would ever be possible I did begin to dream of a life of my own. 

Eventually, with the help of family and friends I was able to leave and we now have our own home where we feel safe.  One of the people who supported me was my line manager.  She helped me to process what had happened and to make decisions about how to change my life.  I have now, two years on, found belief in myself and am enjoying a life where I make the choices I want to make.

UNISON recognise the impact that domestic abuse has on our members’ lives. Support and understanding from your employer can make all the difference if you are a survivor, or if you are trying to escape.

We take the lead in negotiating workplace policies to support and assist staff experiencing domestic abuse, in a confidential and safe way.

If you need help, we are here for you; please get in touch with us confidentially so we can help. 

UNISON Coventry City Branch
 
Call us on 02476 550829
email us at office@unisoncoventry.co.uk

UNISON Opposed to a pay FREEZE for Public Sector Staff!

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Branch Consultation shows that UNISON members overwhelmingly want decent pay!

Thank you to all UNISON members who took part in our recent consultation on what our pay claim should be for 2021/2022.

UNISON, the largest public service union, has responded with dismay to news that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is considering the implementation of a pay freeze for public sector staff, including thousands of Coventry residents.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said today (Friday):
‘Key workers across all public services remain at the heart of the fight against Covid…pay restraint …would be a cruel body blow to health, care, and public service employees working tirelessly to get us through the pandemic. It would also backfire badly with the public. The government must do what’s right next week and announce the wage rise all staff have more than earned. Anything less, risks destroying morale when the entire country is counting on them’.

The news comes as the Coventry City UNISON branch reveals that our members overwhelmingly voted for a 10% pay rise in an indicative consultation. This reflects real hardship for many public service staff, the impact of COVID-19 on hard-working families, and the continued negative influence of over a decade of austerity.

The results of the branch consultation on the 2021/2022 pay claim are below:
There were 3 options


A) 5% or £10 per hour pay rate whichever is greater
B) 8% or £10 per hour pay rate whichever is greater
C) 10%

Members voted as follows

A) 8.1%
B) 9.7%
C) 82.1%

Therefore we have reported back to the national union that our branch thinks the union should submit a claim for 10%.

Quite simply, our members deserve decent pay for providing vital public services.

“Looked after” Children’s Christmas appeal and Foodbank Appeal

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Hi everyone,

As you know for the last 4/ 5 years? Coventry City Council staff have collected at Christmas for both the Foodbank, and for Christmas presents for our “looked after children”.

Every year we’ve been overwhelmed with the sheer volume and generosity of all you kind souls out there. See last years haul in the pic above.

This year things are obviously very different, even father Christmas is socially distancing, and has gone ”Virtual” in the grottos; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-54816579

So instead of buying gifts for our looked after children and care leavers, we can now donate to the “Just Giving Page” that has been set up here:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/michelle-wallace?utm_term=a8vrzyn8e

Its super easy to use, literally takes seconds, and any donation great or small would be hugely appreciated.

They’re aiming to raise £3k by the deadline of 30th November

You can follow them on social media too – @VoicesOfCareCov and @CovVoices

Secondly as ever the Foodbanks are always looking for donations and this time of year is always the hardest financially. You can still donate to supermarket collection points (a complete list is on this website) and you can also donate cash really easily too.

URGENTLY NEEDED FOOD ITEMS

·       TINNED TOMATOES

·       UHT LONG LIFE MILK

·       TINNED VEGETABLES

·       TINNED POTATOES

·       PACKETS OF MASHED POTATO

·       TINNED FRUIT

·       LONG LIFE JUICE

·       SQUASH

·       COFFEE 

·       TOILETRIES – TOILET ROLL, SHOWER GELS, SOAP, HAND SANITISER, TOOTHPASTE, WASHING POWDER PODS

Please help get the message for donations out there!

Let’s make this a bumper year for both Childrens services and Coventry Foodbank, and thank you all so very much.

Save Union Learning!

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The government has decided to scrap Union Learning Fund from March 2021. In 2019–20, the ULF was worth £12m. It supported more than 200,000 learners in workplaces across England – both union members and non-members.

This decision will effectively end union-brokered skills training and will undermine key government skills and retraining priorities at a crucial moment for our economy. UNISON and her sister unions believe this decision is counterproductive and must be reversed.  

Please sign the petition to stop the government attack on our education.

https://covunisonlearning.wordpress.com/

Urgent message for practicing Social Workers…

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Social workers need to renew their registration in their online account before 30 November 2020 or risk being removed from the register.

It is a legal requirement to renew registration in order to continue to use the protected title of ‘social worker’.
Social Work England’s professional standard relating to CPD sets out what the social worker also needs to do maintain their registration.

All social workers who want to continue to practice in England must renew their registration annually. The renewal period is between 1 September 2020 and 30 November 2020.

In order to renew their registration social workers, need to;

  • Activate their online account
  • Check contact and employment details are correct
  • Record CPD on their online account
  • Complete renewal application and pay the registration fee (£90)
  • Social workers must renew their registration before 30 November 2020 or risk being removed from the register.
  • It is a legal requirement to renew registration in order to continue to use the protected title of ‘social worker’.
  • Social Work England’s professional standard relating to CPD sets out what the social worker also needs to do maintain their registration.

If you have any issues doing this please contact Coventry City UNISON Branch ASAP

Message for #Coventry City UNISON members – Make sure you vote now in the Pay consultation!

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We have been receiving many responses to the consultation on the pay offer – we want to hear the views of all members, so don’t delay in getting yours in as soon as possible. 

Some FAQs – 

Q: What was our claim and what is the offer?

A: Our claim was 10%. This is in the context of our pay dropping in real terms by 20% in the last decade! So this was about starting to claw back some of what we have lost. The 2.75% barely scratches the surface and is not the pay our members deserve and that is why your branch is recommending that the offer is rejected. Whatever your view, make sure you vote to ensure your voice is heard.

Q: All well and good, but is the money there?

A: Public sector workers up and down the country have literally kept people alive during Covid-19 and as we face a huge economic crisis our services are going to become even more vital. Politicians clapped us – why won’t they reward us properly for the work we do? We are the 6th richest country in the world, this is about the work that we do being truly valued, or not.  Councils have had their money cut by central government and that is why UNISON has argued that their needs to be a big injection of funds for our services, and that includes our pay.

Q: Aren’t some public sector workers being offered 3.1%?

A: Yes, that is true! Teachers and some other public sector workers are being offered this. To be clear this is still not enough. But to the government, we aren’t even worth the same as others!

Q: Is this an industrial action ballot? 

A: No, this is over whether you think the offer is acceptable or not. 

Q: How long have I got left to vote?

A: The deadline is fast approaching, you have until 4pm on Friday 7th August.