What a start to the new decade!

In-sourcing, strike suspensions, maternity policy improvements and backing Keir Starmer for Labour leader – it’s been a busy month

January’s been busy for UNISON. We started off the year strongly, announcing our support for Keir Starmer as the new Labour leader (above with Dave Prentis) and Angela Rayner as deputy (below).

Angela Rayner

The first campaigning win of the year came for members in Northumbria Police, after the Northumbria office of the Police and Crime Commissioner signed the Dying to Work Charter, which protects individuals at work with a terminal illness.

In Northern Ireland, health workers suspended a strike action after the government offered an improved pay deal. The pay deal was offered after intensive negotiations between UNISON leadership and government officials on pay parity and safe staffing.

In London, cleaning staff at Birkbeck, University of London achieved a huge victory (above) when they won their long-running struggle to have their jobs transferred back in-house.The cleaning staff and their UNISON representatives have campaigned courageously for years for an end to the injustice of outsourcing.

Another insourcing victory followed shortly in Somersetcare workers, catering and domestic support staff working for Sirona Care and Health have been told that their roles will be returning to Bath and North East Somerset Council.The win came after a two-year dispute led by UNISON.

Research from YouGov showed that UNISON is the most influential voice among Labour Party members.

On 22 January, UNISON hosted the launch of this year’s Show Racism the Red Card schools competition, 24 years after the campaign group was founded.

Showing racism the red card

Guests at the event included The Voice winner Jermain Jackman, England cricket star Monty Panesar, former England and Arsenal star Rachel Yankey, Arsenal legends Paul Davis and Perry Groves, and author, poet and former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen.

On Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, UNISON members across the UK remembered the victims of the Nazis – and of more recent genocides.

L-R: Jemma Levene, Dave Prentis, Ruth Levin, Josie Bird, Keir Starmer, MP Keir Starmer, Georgia Gould

An event at UNISON Centre included general secretary Dave Prentis saying that we all need to recommit ourselves to working against hatred and intolerance.

In Scotland, Renfrewshire members paid tribute to Jane Haining – the only Scot to die in a Nazi concentration camp.

Suffolk and Norfolk UNISON police branches celebrated improvements to maternity support leave.

Police chiefs in the region have increased the amount of maternity support leave by a third – and backdated the measure to last autumn.

The third and final in-sourcing victory of the month came from members at Imperial College in London, where UNISON successfully brokered a deal to bring a thousand low-paid porters, cleaners and catering staff back under NHS direct management. Private contractor Sodexo has managed these staff for the last five years.

Here’s hoping that the rest of 2020 brings more insourcing victories and continued Labour Party trust in UNISON!