Further education colleges should be the only provider of apprenticeships

Conference notes that the government drive to increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in the UK is failing. In 2017 the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced – a charge of 0.5% of the salary bill of large employers which must then be claimed back to fund apprenticeship provision – simply isn’t being used by enough […]

Income generation

As part of UNISON’s campaign against austerity cuts, UNISON Renfrewshire has been working on a project of income generation and job creation to improve services for the local community. The first part of the project, the creation of resident’s funeral scheme, has been approved by Renfrewshire council. This scheme would reduce the average cost of […]

Sectoral Pay Bargaining in the Energy Sector

Conference notes that energy workers are employed by many different private sector companies as a result of privatisation and fragmentation in the industry. While privatisation has been good for senior executives and managers who have benefited from the industry profits generated, the same cannot be said for the majority of the workforce. The gap between […]

Utility and Energy Industry Privatisation

Many members within the above industries no longer have the luxury of a Defined Benefits (DB) pension and are relying on a much inferior Direct Contributions Pension scheme for their retirement. A lot of these workers have used the Share Save and Share Incentive Plan (SIP) share schemes within these companies to subsidise the shortfall […]

Housing out of reach for public service workers!

This local government service group conference recognises that high housing costs and affordability are among the biggest issues facing the workforce in the south east and nationally, affecting where members can live, what they can access and what they can afford. According to the National Housing Federation, there was a shortfall of over 85,000 homes […]

Social care cuts

This service group conference notes with deep concern the disastrous effects of massive funding reductions for social care services, with spending on these services being forecast to fall below 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. The appalling effects of these cuts are increasingly experienced on a daily basis by UNISON members working in […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Zero hour contracts

Conference deplores the use of zero hour contracts in local authorities, schools and in private contractors. Zero hour contracts represent an incredibly insecure form of employment, and are a major cause of in-work poverty. Employers can cancel shifts at short notice, or not award shifts in the first place. Many zero hour workers don’t know […]

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 […]

The Youth Work Profession

Conference notes that youth services play a crucial role across the UK, and the work youth workers and youth support workers do provides huge value to the lives of the people they engage with. Youth services help young people into employment, training or education; they help with potential mental health issues; and they help prevent […]