Unison statement on council nursery dispute

UNISON has a large number  of members working within Brighton & Hove City Council’s nurseries.  This service is provided by highly qualified staff whose dedication and commitment to the children they care for is second to none. We understand that the outcome of the recent consultation to cut wages by up to £8,000 in some cases, as well as the introduction of longer shifts for staff who themselves have young children, is expected within the next two weeks.  These staff are predominantly female, part time workers who have understandably serious concerns for the outcome, both for themselves and for the service they provide across the city.

Sue Beatty, Branch Secretary of UNISON Brighton & Hove said: “ We hope that the council will take on board the many concerns expressed by both our members who work in this service and by UNISON representatives,  when publishing the outcome of the consultation.  However, we feel it is likely that the council will want to forge ahead with the cuts and if that is the case, we will be consulting with our members regarding future action.  OFSTED have rated these services as “outstanding” and whilst we understand the council wants to see the services going into the future as services of quality, this is not the way to go about it and as always this branch of UNISON will fight to ensure our members’ livelihood and working conditions.  We call upon  council officers and elected members to seriously reconsider these proposals”


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Unions fight cuts to children’s nurseries

Could you afford an £8000 pay cut?

GMB calls for unnecessary cuts to Brighton Hove City Council Childrens Nursery Services to be stopped to ensure consistency of care for City’s most vulnerable and protect predominantly female low paid workforce from draconian pay losses.

GMB and UNISON members working in Labour run Council children’s nurseries are facing one, two or three levels of cuts in latest restructure proposals with some nursery practitioners set to lose up to £8,000 or even more from their annual salaries! These are trained, qualified and experienced staff and these proposals will see those staff left undervalued for the skill and knowledge bases they have accumulated over many years dedicated service.

These are front line cuts, cuts to the salaries of those staff looking after some of the most vulnerable children in some of the most deprived areas of the City so please sign and share this petition calling for Brighton Hove City Council to cease these destructive cuts and instead find alternatives to targeting front line staffing for reaching their budget reductions.


Initially when staff were warned of upcoming changes they were told they would have some of their pay protected for 3 years however proposals were then delayed and a new policy for pay protection was agreed by Councillors meaning staff are now only to receive a lower level of protection. GMB are asking that if these cuts have to be made, at the very least initial promises are upheld and the 3yr pay protection is given to these staff facing such drastic and life changing cuts to their pay, the largest proposed cuts seen in many years.

The Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, Cllr Tom Bewick says that the “current workforce is very expensive when compared to the private sector” but goes on to say the administration decided to keep nurseries in public hands to ensure the high quality of service provision?! This Councillor happens to get more money in allowances than the highest paid qualified practitioners affected by these proposals earn PRIOR to the proposed cuts and he will be taking over £5000 MORE than most of the staff affected will be earning if these proposals are implemented.
He also states that “Every pound we are unnecessarily spending is money we are not spending on the children” but the GMB argue that every penny of savings in the proposals are coming from staff directly working face to face with children every day so the money currently being spent IS being spent on the children, for both their care and education from highly skilled and dedicated staff.

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Unison branch wins recognition agreement


Contractor agrees to union recognition

Following a meeting last week with the owner of the new provider for New Larchwood (Adult Social Care) Branch Secretary Sue Beatty is happy to let you know that the company has agreed, in writing, to trade union recognition of UNISON and GMB. More work will now be done on a recognition agreement agreeable to all parties.

Victory . . . and onwards with regard to recognition for all contracts from now on!

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Unison’s response to councillor’s view of Labour leadership election

In line with Unison’s national policy our new Branch Secretary, Sue Beatty, had this response to Cllr Bewick’s comments about the Labour leadership election published as a letter in today’s issue of the paper. Nice one Sue!

The Argus “Opinion” piece from Tom Bewick was an interesting read! Councillor Bewick talks about Labour having not been in power for the last 6 years and I’d like to ask why?. Could it be because the Blair years and those that followed told the electorate that the proper values of the Party had gone forever and that traditional supporters could no longer trust anything the Party had to say? Now with Corbyn at the helm, every bi-election has been won, there have been u-turns in Westminster made by the government on a range of issues, those u-turns benefitting ordinary people, the current membership of the national party is unprecedented and yet, Councillor Bewick finds all this disturbing enough to call supporters of Corbyn a “cult”. Councillor Bewick and others like him do their Party no good deed; whilst they continue to criticise and harp on about a democratically elected leader, the Tories are loving every minute of it. Who is doing the real harm here? And is it professionally acceptable for an elected member of B&H Council to use such offensive language in describing so many of the electorate of this fair City. Perhaps Councillor Bewick would have preferred that the Brighton East election recently had been won by another party rather than a Corbyn supporter?

Am I the only one who thinks that with all the negativity the PLP appear to be throwing at Corbyn and those who follow him there can be only one reason?….they are running scared of his success and of losing control. The Labour Party as it stood til recently no longer represented anyone that it was originally conceived for but had become a “Tory-lite” party not to be trusted. I have news for Councillor Bewick and for those who try to defame Corbyn and his hundreds of thousands of supporters…Corbyn will win again and those who don’t like the result will have to do one of two things, either put up or leave the Party.

As for Owen Smith . . .he has become a born-again Corbynite (having previously voted for war, for privatisation of the Health service and more). I wouldn’t trust anything that man has to say.

Sue Beatty

UNISON Branch Secretary

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In defence of trade unions


Our former Branch Secretary, Alex Knutsen, has written to the Argus in response to the new pier owner’s call to “smash unions.”

Dear Editor,

My immediate reaction to reading The Argus report that quoted Luke Johnson, Palace Pier owner, stating he “wanted the Government to smash the rail unions”, was one of anger. I looked on the Argus Comments page and was heartened that so many shared my view that Mr Johnson ought to, politely (or not!) keep his mouth shut.

Then, I considered the more thoughtful comments, that he was out to get a bit of free publicity, that strong Unions have a proper role in society, and that rather than “smashing” them, a lot of the anti-union legislation should be repealed.

In addition, I thought about my involvement with staff employed on the Palace/Brighton Pier over 40 years as a UNISON representative (before Mr Johnson bought it) – a tale of poor wages, no wages, dangerous safety issues, bullying, sexual harassment – in fact, you name it, it happened.

I hope Mr Johnson see’s a role for trade unions in sorting out those kind of matters – the managers didn’t, and tried everything (unsuccessfully) to stop us. So, I look forward to him welcoming my professional, experienced, colleagues to help resolve the next issue on the pier when it arises.

Most of all, as a co-sponsor, with the Chamber of Commerce, UNISON invites Mr Johnson to “sign-up” to the Brighton and Hove Living Wage, which is set at a rate that takes into account the high level of living costs in Brighton and Hove, and which 300 other local businesses apply (all reporting good staff retention, increased productivity, etc.)

I look forward to meeting Mr Johnson, when he wishes, to discuss this (I can be contacted via the UNISON Office at Brighton Town Hall), including an implementation date from when all the employees on the Pier, will be paid the LW rate. And, when we have agreement, we can issue a joint press release, to get him some more positive publicity, than “smash the Unions.” How about it, Mr Johnson?

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Latest Defend the NHS campaign news

Please sign this petition against the privatisation of children’s medical services in Brighton & Hove NHS https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/petition-to-stop-the-sell-off-and-decimation-of-children-s-health-services-in-brighton-1

You can also view a film of the campaign’s recent highly successful public meeting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzdbCJqXJSo


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Branch newsletter – read it here!

You can read the first issue of our newly-launched branch newsletter here


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