Negotiating disability leave policies with local government employers

Disability leave is time off from work for a reason related to someone’s disability. It is an example of a reasonable adjustment which local government employers have a duty to provide to disabled staff under the Equality Act 2010. It is different to sick leave – in many cases the worker is not actually sick […]

Exemptions from hot-desking – a reasonable adjustment for disabled workers

Since 2010 local government has faced swingeing budget cuts as part of central government’s austerity agenda. This has led to many councils introducing hot-desking in order to reduce their premises costs. Workers no longer have a fixed desk but instead have to find an empty desk every day. Conference is concerned about the impact of […]

Cuts to pastoral support in schools

A recent UNISON survey of staff who provide pastoral support for pupils raised significant concerns at the impact of cuts to services. Support staff are often trusted adults and confided in by pupils about a huge range of welfare issues, from parental separation, bereavement and caring responsibilities to bullying, eating problems and suicidal thoughts; regardless […]

Facility time

Trade union facility time is one of the basic and most vital building blocks for local trade union organisation, and it is also of enormous benefit to employers. Since 2010, many local authorities have cut facility time significantly, sometimes driven by ideology and sometimes by cuts in funding. Conference notes that in December 2018-January 2019 […]

Crisis in social care

Conference recognises that the crisis in social care continues apace across the UK as councils suffer the consequences of almost a decade of underfunding. According to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, £7bn has been cut from social care budgets since 2010. UNISON members have spoken out about the impact of cuts on […]

Libraries at breaking point

Conference is deeply concerned at the state of our public library service. In 2017-18 alone, spending by local authorities on public libraries fell by £30 million. The service lost 712 full-time equivalent posts and suffered a net loss of 127 service points. Volunteer numbers rose to a staggering 51,394 volunteers putting in 1,780,843 hours. Our […]

Local service champions

Local government is a diverse network of roles and services that all work together to keep our local communities going. Local government workers have a vital role to play in this, working tirelessly to support the public in their everyday lives. They are true local champions, sometimes working ‘behind the scenes’ to make sure our […]

Recruiting and organising fire and rescue staff

Non-operational fire and rescue staff are a key but often overlooked part of the fire and rescue service. Technicians, driving instructors, administrators and many others work tirelessly alongside fire fighters and control room staff to keep businesses, communities and members of the public safe. The severe cuts to public spending in local government and their […]

Regional Pay Bargaining

Conference notes that the new NJC pay spine is not only being adopted by councils who had moved away from the NJC, but also by multi academy trusts who are increasingly coming onto NJC conditions. Both recognise the benefits of the new NJC pay spine in providing stability by future proofing them against future National […]

Bargaining for good Mental Health policies in Community workplaces

Conference notes that our workplaces are changing, with members in the community and voluntary sector facing increased workloads due to a combination of slashed local authority funding, project based voluntary sector commissioning that does not cover overheads, and increased commercialisation and a target driven culture in housing associations. These pressures have made the importance of […]

Making Community workplaces safe and accessible

Conference notes that the legal framework that is supposed to ensure reasonable access for disabled workers comprises the Equality Act 2010 and building regulations. The Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1993 also give workers the right to a safe and healthy workplace. However despite this legal underpinning, conference is aware that some disabled workers […]

Housing Association Mergers

We continue to see a number of housing associations merge across regions and nationally. These range from large scale mergers such as the creation of Clarion Housing Group (125,000 homes) to the medium/smaller scale such as WM Housing (30,000 homes). These mergers present a range of challenges to us in the community sector, such as […]

Hidden Disabilities

In the Community & Voluntary Sector which includes care provision, charities, not for profit organisations and housing associations – long term health conditions which incorporate hidden disabilities is a subject that comes up regularly in the workplace. Community Sector staff who are not aware that they meet the definition of Disability in the Equality Act […]

Inclusive workplace policies in the Community Sector

Conference celebrates UNISON’s work over the past 25 years to promote women’s equality and participation and to tackle sexism and sex discrimination at work, in our union and across society. Like other service groups, the community service group has a majority of women members and our rules and practices to encourage women’s participation are vital […]

Family Friendly Policies in the Community & Voluntary Sector

In the Community & Voluntary Sector which includes care provision, charities, not for profit organisations and housing associations, employers must ensure provision of family-friendly policies are in place when trying to recruit and maintain staff levels of experienced and valued staff. The UK’s long hours working culture damages family life and parents are voting with […]