City events in support of Black Lives Matter

In response to the horrific killing of George Floyd in the USA many people in Brighton and Hove are showing their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaigns here as well as in America.
Events scheduled for the next few days include:

Thursday, 4th June – Labour Party BAME vigil outside Hove Town Hall 5.30 – 6.30pm with full social distancing observed.

Friday, 5th June – Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton Centre and i360 lit up in purple. The city council asks residents to observe a minute’s silence – and take the knee if they wish – at 8pm

Sunday, 7th June – Stand Up To Racism online rally – Black Lives Matter: We Demand Justice at 6pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/united-kingdom/online-rally-black-lives-matter-we-demand-change/272616937432097/

Saturday, 13th June – Black Lives Matter silent protest on Brighton Seafront at 1pm – full social distancing to be observed.

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Safe return to work demo today – Hove Town Hall 3pm

Sussex Defend the NHS has called a safe protest to show solidarity with health workers, school and other key workers, and parents, who are resisting returning to work or school without the “5 tests” laid out by trade unions, being met.

All Unison members are invited to join in, and to bring placards or banners. Full physical distancing and safety measures will be in place.

Monday June 1st

3pm

Outside Hove Town Hall

defendthenhs@gmail.com

http://defendthenhssussex.weebly.com

https://www.facebook.com/SussexDefendTheNHS

no-going-back-may7.jpg
Image removed by sender. KONP Rainbow banner final 12.5.20_TOPRINT.pdf
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There for you

There for You, the charity for UNISON members, is here to help UNISON members get the practical and financial support they need.  Despite the current difficulties, we remain open and are here to help in any way that we can.

Currently all staff are working from home and we continue to respond to requests for help and are processing applications as quickly as possible.  Other than if there’s no alternative, please don’t send applications through the post as we’re only receiving mail once a week. 

Our general enquiry line remains open alternatively, you can send an email.  Just leave a message and one of our Support Team we’ll get back to you within 1 working day. 

Email: thereforyou@unison.co.uk

Call: 020 7121 5620

Please read the following important information.

_____________________________________________________________________

HOW WE ARE RESPONDING TO THE CORONAVIRUS

We are already receiving applications from members who are in financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus. In some cases, this has sadly meant providing support to those who have lost loved ones – including help with funeral costs.  

CoVid19 Response Fund

For many of our members, work and household income has suddenly changed overnight.  Whether as a result of ill-health, loss of income or increased work-related costs, many will be feeling anxious about how they will make ends meet, pay household bills and put food on the table. 

We want members to know that we are here to help in whatever way we can and is why we’ve established a special CoVid19 Response Fund.  This new hardship fund will help ease the immediate financial pressures faced by members including those who have become more vulnerable by providing an immediate grant of £250 to help with essentials. 

Eligibility

To be eligible for a COVID-19 grant the following must apply either to the member and/or their partner:

  • Suffered a reduction in earnings as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis which has put them in financial difficulty (this could be linked to work or health related reasons) and/or
  • Member and/or partner is a key worker with increased work-related costs as a result of the crisis, e.g. transport, care, or laundry costs.

Also

  • Be a UNISON member with at least 4 weeks membership and have paid their subscriptions;
  • Have savings of less than £800
  • Be applying for or in receipt of any statutory help that they may be entitled to. 

How members apply

Members in financial difficulty can apply direct by completing a simple online application form and attaching some supporting documents which will help us reach a quick decision. 

For all the details and, the application form itself go to: CoVid19ResponseFund

How you can help

Through your communication channels, please share information about this important initiative as widely as possible as this will ensure members who are struggling receive the help they need.  

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Other important information

By way of a reminder, please also note that we have introduced a streamlined version of our main financial assistance application form which members can now complete electronically.  We are actively encouraging members to use the electronic form where possible as this will result in us receiving the application sooner.  Members can apply without going through the branch – something that may be helpful if you are a key worker or other reasons make it difficult to have contact with members. 

For further information go to: https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/services-support/there-for-you/financial-assistance/ and then scroll down to the section on ‘Financial Assistance

Thank you to everyone. We really do appreciate all that you’re doing during these difficult times. 

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No going back until it’s safe!

IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ALL UNISON MEMBERS RE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS ON 1 JUNE

UNISON is not in agreement with reopening schools on 1st June and we urge our members not to agree to doing so.

Dear friends

You will no doubt have heard the government announcement on Sunday that restrictions on schools are to be relaxed on 1st June for far wider re-opening. This announcement was made without consultation with trade unions nationally and without any of the meaningful guidance or clarity it deserved. This has caused a great deal of concern and worry to our members, parents and school heads.

This branch firmly believes that this government announcement, particularly with regards to re-introducing the youngest pupils who are least likely to be able to adhere to social distancing without adequate guidance, is thoroughly reckless and presents an unacceptable level of risk to pupils, members, their families and to the wider country.

Nationally UNISON and other trade unions are in dispute with the government announcement. UNISON along with other unions within education released a joint statement regarding the lifting of current restrictions which you can find in its entirety here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/education-unions-statement-safe-reopening-schools

Locally, having met with BHCC on Wednesday afternoon (13th May) it was agreed that any lifting of current restrictions should be made on the basis of safety of pupils and staff rather than that of an arbitrary date. Council officers as well as councillors have made a firm commitment to ensuring that safety comes first and details of how and when this is likely to be achieved been sent out to all school heads.

What this means is that whilst we will continue to engage with the local authority and schools with regards to how the lifting of school restrictions might be safely achieved, we will not be engaging with regards to meeting any arbitrary date such as June 1st at this stage as we do not believe it is yet safe to do so. The current schools arrangement must remain in place until such a time as it is demonstrably safe to do otherwise.

This branch expects all educational providers across the city to honour and stand by the commitment to safety that is being championed by BHCC, as any irresponsible re-opening of other schools or colleges places the entire city at risk.

In the event that you are currently being pressured to return to re-opening your school on 1st June and/or being rota’d as such we would advise you to provide the following response in writing:

“Trade unions including my own are in dispute with the government guidance that schools are to re-open on 1stJune. Whilst I and my union are willing to discuss and be consulted upon how the school will be able to reopen in the future, I have been instructed by my union that it is not currently safe to do so and that I am not to engage with regards to returning on 1st June at this stage. We expect all education providers to follow BHCC who have provided guidance and understand the firm joint union position. This is a national dispute we expect all employers to treat it as such.

If you have any further questions or require any further information please feel free to contact the branch

Sue.beatty@brighton-hove.gov.uk
matt.webb@brighton-hove.gov.uk
susan.bowes@brighton-hove.gov.uk

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Keeping pupils, parents and staff safe

UNISON calls on government to make clear how it will keep pupils, parents and staff safe  

Following last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister that he plans to increase the number of pupils allowed to attend primary schools in England on 1 June, UNISON is asking the government: how exactly are you going to keep pupils, parents and staff safe?

Of course schools will need to re-open – but only when it is safe to do so. Differing messages from the four UK governments over the weekend have added to the confusion and concern.

Along with the other education unions and the TUC, last week we wrote to the government asking it to work with us to plan for further re-opening when the time is right and when it is safe to do so https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/unions-set-out-needs-safe-reopening-schools-letter-education-secretary  The plan needs to address a range of issues including PPE, testing, tracing, isolation and social distancing. We have also called for school debts to be written off and for increased funds to help schools cope. The Prime Minister didn’t address any of these issues last night and it remains to be seen if the guidance due out over the next couple of days will do so.

UNISON believes the government should not be cavalier with the safety of pupils, parents and staff in England. Over the next few days we will continue working with other education unions to seek answers and will have a meeting of our national schools committee later in the week. As planned, we will also be surveying UNISON members in schools on your views. Please keep an eye out on the UNISON website and your emails for more information.

UNISON’s top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents, staff and our communities.

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Domestic violence increases under lockdown

As you may be aware from reports in the media, incidents of domestic violence and abuse have risen following lock down.

UNISON has a comprehensive guide on Domestic Violence and Abuse https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2017/02/24192.pdf which includes guidance for reps and branches on how to support members as well as the model policy for employers. On Page 4 you will find helpful numbers that members can access, which members might find useful.

“If you are concerned for your own or someone else’s immediate safety, ring the police on 999 

If you or a friend needs help call 0808 2000 247 the freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) or email: helpline@womensaid.org.uk. The helpline is a member of Language Line and can provide access to an interpreter for non-English speaking callers. The helpline can also access the BT Type Talk Service.

National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline for LGBT people experiencing domestic abuse. Call 0800 999 5428 Monday to Wednesday 10am to 5pm, Thursday 10am to 8pm, Friday 1pm to 5pm and Sunday 12pm to 4pm.  Tuesday 1pm to 5pm is a trans specific service. Email: help@galop.org.uk Online chat: 3pm to 7pm Saturday, 3pm to 7pm Sunday www.galop.org.uk

Men’s Advice Line for men experiencing domestic violence. Call 0808 801 0327 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or email: info@mensadviceline.org.uk

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Long live May Day!

On Friday at 07:00 UTC, the world’s first global virtual May Day celebration will begin. That’s 08:00 in London.

Working together with the International Trade Union Confederation and all the global union federations, the Labourstart organisation is hosting a 12- hour long broadcast of videos and live events from trade unions around the globe.

They have collected videos made especially for May Day from unions on every continent.

They will send out a reminder before the event begins and will be asking you on Friday to join them at https://www.labourstart.org/mayday.

They hope to share a provisional schedule of what they are showing a day before the broadcast.

Over the next few days, they need your help to raise awareness of this incredible event.

  • Please note the start time in your diaries and join when you can, throughout the day.
  • Please spread the word in your unions by email and on social media.
  • If you have contacts in your local media (television, radio, newspapers, etc) please alert them to the press release and encourage them to cover the event.
  • In some places, the event will be shown on local television stations — we encourage you to find many ways to share the event to the widest possible audience.

May Day is our international workers’ holiday — it will not be shut-down or locked-down.

Long live international workers’ solidarity!  Long live May Day!

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