Results of Brighton & Hove Unison Branch Secretary Election

Following our online Branch AGM on Thursday 18 March, Corinna Edwards-Colledge and Diana Leach were elected as joint Branch Secretaries, and will be carrying out the role as a job share.

Nearly 80 members attended and 72 people voted. The final results were:

Diana Leach & Corinna Edwards-Colledge – 44 votes

Trevor Redmond – 28 votes

Thank you to all of the candidates for a great campaign, and to all of the members who attended.

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AGM & Branch Secretary Elections

It’s our first online AGM at 12.30-2 pm on 18 March. The meeting will include the election of our new Branch Secretary, so it’s really important that as many members as possible come and exercise their democratic vote.

Please see below for the nomination statements from Trevor Redmond, and from Diana Leach and Corinna Edwards-Colledge who are standing for the role as a job share. Click on the image to view. You can also see the statements on the Brighton & Hove Unison Facebook Page or read the plain text version at the bottom of the page.

If you are a Brighton & Hove Unison branch member you should have received all the details of how to join the virtual AGM via your work email. Or you can contact the branch for more details at unison@brighton-hove.gov.uk, 01273 291611.


Branch Secretary Nomination Statement Corinna Edwards-Colledge

HELLO MEMBERS!

I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a bit about myself, and my vision for the branch.

It would be my absolute privilege to represent Brighton & Hove Unison as Branch Secretary on behalf of you, its members.  I am also excited to be standing as a job share with Diana Leach, a hugely experienced and skilled Branch Officer and Rep of over 20 years.

As Unison’s new General Secretary, Christina McAanea, said recently, ‘There is no essential service that exists that hasn’t been kept going through the Covid crisis because of Public Sector Workers’. Frontline workers are disproportionately women and/or people who experience racism.  These workers have been bearing the brunt of this crisis for a year; and many work part-time and are on low wages.  This is why, along with your amazing testimonials, I recently challenged BHCC’s decision to make the extra AL ‘Thank You’ day pro-rata. Although this is only a small step, it is great that this was successful, and hundreds of part-time workers are going to get the same recognition and thanks as full-time workers.

The pandemic and Brexit represent a perfect storm for workers.  More than at any time in living memory we are seeing our hard-won rights and conditions under threat, and inequalities deepening.  We also know that other vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, LGBTQi+ people and those from disadvantaged areas are more at risk of having their wellbeing, health, and livelihoods negatively affected by the pandemic.

Public Sector workers DESERVE decent pay and job security, but local government workers, like us, are often overlooked and undervalued.  It is more important than ever that we use our collective voice to protect our livelihoods and fight for a better future for ourselves and our families.  We also need to do so much more to tackle the rising inequality and division that is blighting our country, and create instead, one in which everyone can thrive. These core principles would run through everything I would do as joint Branch Secretary.

As a Unison rep I have supported many people through challenging and distressing times and secured the outcomes that they needed.  I also designed and ran a staff survey on working conditions in BARTS house, which was responsible for a six-figure commitment from senior management to improve temperature and air quality.  As Comms Officer I have transformed the Branch’s promotional materials and social media profile. I am an experienced campaigner, having run a national action against council cuts, and a number of affordable housing campaigns in the city, including one that has led to a change in council policy.

I am a passionate and accessible communicator who is also resilient, tenacious, and prepared to fight for the things I believe in.  However, this is also balanced by my being collaborative, constructive and strategic when I am working with others to try to bring about positive change, or defend people’s rights.

I want to use my campaigning skills to build a truly member-led branch, with more participation in branch events, solidarity actions, promotion, recruitment and learning & development opportunities; I want to use my communication skills to grow and amplify the diverse and powerful voice of our local movement; and I want to use my negotiation skills to get a fair facilities agreement for the branch, and make it more accessible.

I come from northern working-class routes, but moved to Brighton in 1991, raising my kids and step-kids here. I’ve worked in the Public, Community and Voluntary Sector for nearly 25 years, and at the council for 17, leading on projects around health, wellbeing and inclusivity.  I also work one day a week for a local organisation that campaigns for affordable housing, and co-ordinate a food collection for Brighton & Hove Unemployed Centre Families Project.

Trade Union membership is on the increase, and after a year of unprecedented challenges and anxiety, there has never been a more meaningful time to come together to build something better.   We have been at the heart of our city’s survival of this crisis, and we deserve a fair and thriving workplace and good pay and conditions.  We can achieve that together.

Corinna Edwards-Colledge

We’d love to hear from you!  If you have any questions about our vision for the branch or would like to find out more please get in touch:  corinna.edwards-colledge@brighton-hove.gov.uk / diana.leach@brighton-hove.gov.uk.


Branch Secretary Nomination Statement Diana Leach

Vote Diana and Corinna for Branch Secretary!

I am standing alongside Corinna Edwards-Colledge as your job share branch secretary asking for your vote in this contested election. 

As a long-standing branch officer I have been involved for many years representing members both in the branch, regionally and nationally.  I am currently a member of the National Executive Council (NEC) for Unison previously on as a regional rep and more recently as one of the national local government members.  As a NEC member I am supportive of member’s issues and disputes, challenging our leadership on many occasions. 

As a branch of over 70% female members we need to reflect this in our branch committee and I want to take this opportunity to thank Sue Beatty for taking up the role of Branch Secretary following the departure of Alex Knutsen.  This was not an easy task and yet Sue has been a tremendous leader and shown strength in the face of some very difficult situations.  So much about this role is what happens in our negotiation meetings with both HR, senior managers, Chief Executive and the added complication of dealing with our councillors.  These meetings require focus and strength and an iron will to get the best possible deal for all members.  I am confident that both Corinna and I will carry on this strong tradition.

During this last year Covid 19 and the effects of the pandemic has challenged all our workers and Unison has been at the forefront of negotiating safe workplaces, payments during lockdown and more recently the reopening of schools and parity with our Early Years settings.  Testing should be available for all workers we cannot allow this government to divide public sector workers and create a two-tier system.  So many of our members have not been recognized and I will fight nationally for a decent pay rise for all.

On the personal side I believe I have the necessary skills to unite members and the diplomacy, knowledge and experience in managing and serving a branch of this size.  We have a strong branch committee with shared values and a willingness to help and nurture new branch officers.  Having worked as a job sharer previously I know the value of working together as one with the added vantage of bringing two sets of experiences to the one role.

Diana Leach

We’d love to hear from you!  If you have any questions about our vision for the branch or would like to find out more please get in touch:  corinna.edwards-colledge@brighton-hove.gov.uk / diana.leach@brighton-hove.gov.uk.


Branch Secretary Nomination Statement Trevor Redmond:

VOTE – Trevor Redmond for  Unison Branch Secretary on 18 March 2021

WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER

Trade unions like UNISON are here to look after your rights at work.

We have all been through some very tough times during this terrible Covid pandemic and during this time, I have acted decisively, with success, in defending members rights when they were not treated fairly. On occasions working together with our sister union GMB. I have also walked alongside colleagues in the NHS and Brighton University in defending their members during the pandemic.

I will always represent your best interest. Outcomes are influenced by the integrity, credibility, skill, know how, persuasiveness and ability of the person or team that is on your side.

My excellent record of successfully influencing change in the council since 2013 and getting results for members involved in dispute with managers is evidence of my commitment to fairness. Also, my experience and insight from working at the highest level in Brighton and Hove City Council and across other services such as the NHS CCG, Fire Service, University and Police, will be advantageous to this position.

I was nominated for the Brighton and Hove City Council Big Difference Award in 2018 and was the individual Winner of the award. See testimonial extracts.

“I am nominating Trevor for his work with the BME Workers Forum.  Trevor has chaired this vital forum for the last 4 ½ years.  He has always dispensed this duty well despite it being challenging.  Trevor had conducted himself impeccably well doing this role and has shown real leadership and drive which has helped guide the work of the forum and ultimately the organisation.” and

“I feel that Trevor’s commitment and work should be recognised as it has far exceeded what one would expect of a high performing employee and he has a genuine passion for this organisation and he has striven for it to improve in all of his actions during his time as chair and I have no doubt this commitment will continue..” 

Lend me your vote to become your Unison Branch Secretary, I will look out for you during the pandemic recovery, always fight for your rights, look after you at work, making sure that you have all the information necessary to help you make informed choices.

In service for you and your rights!

Thank you 

Trevor


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RESULTS OF 2020/21 NJC PAY CONSULTATION

Here are the results for the 2020/21 NJC Pay consultation for Brighton & Hove Unison.

It was a disappointing turnout, but these are unprecedented and challenging times for our members. As ever, we stand in solidarity with them and are ready to represent and support them through what are likely to be increasingly anxious times.

RESULTS FOR: Brighton & Hove Unitary

NO. OF MBRS CONSULTED: 2,671 (via email: please see note below*)

VOTES CAST: 290

TURNOUT: 10.9%

ACCEPT THE OFFER: 192 / 66.2%

REJECT THE PAY OFFER: 98 / 33.8%

*Due to the CV19 restrictions, it was possible only to reach our members via e-mail for this consultation. If you did not receive this communication, it is because we do not hold an e-mail address on our records for you and have not had your agreement to use it under GDPR regulations. This can be a work or home e-mail address. If you think we do not hold this information or if you haven’t given agreement to us using your e-mail address, would you please provide this information so that we can contact you as needed. When contacting us to provide this, please use the following e-mail address: brightonandhove@btconnect.com. Thank you

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Sue Beatty Branch Secretary Retirement Statement

Our wonderful Branch Secretary, Sue Beatty, is retiring at the end of this month. Read her message to all members below.

Her dedication, determination and commitment to supporting our 4000 members, and helping them work in a safe, inclusive and fair workplace has been incredible. Thank you Sue Beatty, and we hope you have a great, well deserved retirement.

___________________________________

Dear UNISON Member and colleague,

I hope this finds you well at this difficult and challenging time.

As you will recall, I sent an e-mail to you earlier this year to let you know that I was retiring from the Branch Secretary role in UNISON Brighton & Hove Branch.  I was due to leave at the end of March and the plan was, as always around that time of year, to hold our AGM at which a new Branch Secretary would be elected.  Because of the CV19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown, the branch was not able to hold our AGM and I was asked to continue in the role for a few months to provide stability to the branch through the worst of the pandemic issues, which were arising for members.

I am writing now to let you know that w.e.f. from the end of July, I am stepping down from this role and will retire from Brighton & Hove City Council as an employee.  This means that currently the branch is without a named Branch Secretary until such time as we can hold our AGM to elect my successor. However, cover for this role will, in the interim, be provided as follows:

Richard Woolven (Branch Officer/Treasurer/Service Conditions Officer) will cover two of the 5 days

Andy Richards (Branch Chair) will cover two of the 5 days

Sue Beatty (me) will be employed by the branch as a UNISON employee (part time hours) to support and advise branch staff as needed and to “triage” work that arrives into the office.  However, as I am no longer BS and will be employed by UNISON, I have no role in any decision making regarding the business of,  or running of, the branch.

We believe the above arrangements will work well until we can hold our AGM which we are anticipating will be late September.  Once we have been given the go ahead to hold the AGM ( in a venue such as the Brighton Centre where social distancing can be easily maintained) you will receive a letter giving details of this.  Please try to attend.  Whenever an election of a new Branch Officer or Secretary takes place, it is always helpful to have as many members attend as possible in order to ensure that members have input into who is elected to work in their best interests.

I would like to say a huge thank you for being a UNISON member; we are and always have been a strong branch, in which we put our members first.  Without your support and loyalty, this branch would not be the success it is,  of 4000 members across both the Council and within a range of employers across the City.  You, together with a great branch office team and brilliant workplace representatives, are what makes this branch the success that it is.  An injury to one is an injury to all; when we stand united we are strong.

I wish you the very best, both now during such a time as this pandemic, and for the future, whatever it may hold for us all.

Very best wishes,

Sue

Sue Beatty

Branch Secretary

UNISON Brighton & Hove

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HAVE YOUR SAY ON PAY! – Deadline 10 August

Unison is consulting all NJC members on the current pay offer from the employers of 2.75%. All members have a vote on whether to accept or reject this offer. If you have not received a ballot paper via email please use the link below. You will need your Unison membership number and your date of birth.

https://www.surveygizmo.eu/…/9…/NJC-pay-2020-21-consultation

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Latest School Update on wider school re-opening from our schools conveners. For all BHCC Schools and Nursery Staff (11 June 2020)

Update on the wider school re-opening situation.

This morning the local authority received updated guidance from Public Health (who provide advice to BHCC)  that has led to them changing their advice from holding off on opening schools more widely, to giving the go-ahead to start doing so from Monday 15th June.

This swift change of position is – we are told – based upon reassurances from Public Health that they are now “reasonably confident” that the COVID-19 testing is up and running and with sufficient capacity to move forward.

Whilst this branch has little option but to accept the decision of the council we are not in agreement with it.

What This Means

As of Monday 15th June schools  and council nurseries will be likely (although not obliged) to start to re-open to nursery, reception Years 1 and 6 pupils and also start to provide face to face support for young people in Year 10 and 12 this term.

This will involve some degree of support staff being required to return to work. However this should only take place safely and in accordance with a COVID-19 Risk Assessment.

Our Advice To You

·         If you have not seen, do not have access to or do not fully understand the COVID-19 Risk Assessment for your school, let us know immediately.

·         If you have seen the COVID-19 Risk Assessment for your school and you do not feel that it is either adequate, safe or otherwise realistic, let us know immediately.

·         Any breaches of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment must be recorded by your school as a “near miss” situation in their Health and Safety record keeping. If there these are not being recorded or if these are serious or repeated breaches, again please let us know immediately.

·         If you believe that you are at a higher level of risk due to health or other factors, or if you live or care for someone who is, you can request that a Personal Risk Assessment is carried out by you and your manager which should seek to further reduce that level of risk.

·         Speak with your colleagues and raise concerns collectively where you can.

·         Your safety and the safety of your colleagues, pupils and families is paramount. If you have concerns over safety that you feel are not being taken seriously please let us know immediately.

This is a very challenging time for everyone and managing the wider re-opening of schools safely and sustainably is going to be a huge challenge. Speak with your colleagues, speak to your union and wherever you can raise concerns collectively.

Please stay safe and look out for one another.

Matt Webb

UNISON – Brighton & Hove Unitary – Brighton Town Hall – Tel: (01273) 291376 – matt.webb@brighton-hove.gov.uk

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Brighton & Hove Unison Statement of Support & Solidarity over the killing of George Floyd.

The horrific killing of Black  American, George Floyd, is deeply distressing to all trade unionists and our communities. UNISON, together with all trade unions, has a responsibility to be the vanguard of the fight against racism in all its forms, and Brighton & Hove branch reach out to our Black Members and Black Workers to offer both our support and solidarity at this time.

Brighton & Hove branch offer our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of George Floyd and all affected by this hate crime.

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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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