Winning battles big and small: November in UNISON

In the heat of the general election fight, let’s take a moment to recognise all of the other brilliant battles (and awards) that UNISON has won this month

November kicked off with a team of UNISON members winning a Nursing Times award for their transformative work on a secure psychiatric ward in Wales (see picture above).

Then, disabled members’ conference came around and assistant general secretary Christina McAnea told delegates from across the UK that eliminating pay discrimination for workers with a disability was a key priority for the union. Members also called for mandatory disability pay gap reporting.

After facing years of cuts and job losses, Northamptonshire council staff had a huge win when they were promised a 4% pay rise from April – their first increase in three years.

Striking drug and alcohol workers from Leigh and Wigan visited London to picket the head office of employer Addaction. Staff have been missing out on around £1,000 a year after Addaction refused to pass on a three-year pay rise awarded to NHS workers in 2018, says UNISON. The fight continues.

Halfway through the month, yet another general election was announced, which Dave Prentis named the “fight of our lives”. The Labour party kicked off its campaign with two flagship pledges targeted at working women: to end the gender pay gap by 2030, and expand free childcare and open 1000 new Sure Start centres.

Then the annual UNISON LGBT+ conference came around, with passionate discussions around suicide, domestic abuse, hate crime and the gender recognition act.

Yet another health award was won by a UNISON member, this time by Pauline Symington, a neonatal ward assistant at Ulster Hospital. Pauline won the Our Health Heroes awards (below).

Cleaners, caterers and security guards at Birmingham University Hospital secured a hard-won pay increase following a series of campus strikes. Staff voted to accept a pay offer of more than 4% for lowest paid workers, and 3% for highest paid.

To the joy of health workers in Bradford, plans by the local NHS Trust to transfer porters, cleaners, security staff and others into a private company were scrapped.

With just over a week to go until the general election, UNISON activists across the country are doing all they can to support Labour, equipped with our election campaign guide. 

In 10 days’ time, we’ll be going to the polls. Until then, it’s all to play for.