Whatever happened to the silly season?

August, usually a time of lazy days and holidays, the silly season and not much happening… but these are strange times and at UNISON, we’re always busy

The month started with another massive landmark legal win for UNISON in the Court of Appeal affecting hundreds of thousands of employees working part-time and irregular hours.

The case clarified the legal position ensuring all workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid annual leave, even if they do not get given work or paid for parts of the year. In his blog, General secretary Dave Prentis described how the UNISON legal team scour current legal cases for opportunities to “intervene” on behalf of workers  and secure legal victories on rights at work and pay.

Elsewhere, UNISON responded to the government’s consultation  on proposed changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) warning them to “think again”.

The proposals would allow higher and further education employers in England to opt out of providing LGPS membership for new staff members and could threaten the future viability of the scheme as a whole. You can watch our film and take action to defend the scheme now.

The government was also in UNISON’s firing line, for only doing ”half the job” by replacing police officers – the union wants them to replace the 22,000 police community support officer (PCSO) and other police staff jobs axed since the start of austerity.

More positive news saw the West Midlands Ambulance Service win back a contract that will bring back 111 and 999 services and lead to “significant improvements for patient care”; and Bradford members suspend strike action.

Staying with the NHS, UNISON stepped up its campaign against hospital car parking charges and joined other unions in warning that a no-deal Brexit will leave the NHS gasping for breath.

And yes, a no-deal Brexit. How could we do any round-up of events in August and not mention Brexit, a no-deal Brexit and suspension of parliament?

General secretary Dave Prentis said the actions of the prime pinister should send a chill down the spine of everyone who cares about democracy. He also said it “smacked of dictatorship” and added UNISON’s name to a protest of over 80 civil society organisations, saying a no-deal Brexit will be “catastrophic for working people” .

So all in all, not the usual quiet, silly season August.

Give us skateboarding dogs anytime.