No going back until it’s safe!


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:

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

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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  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 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: 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: Online chat: 3pm to 7pm Saturday, 3pm to 7pm Sunday

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

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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

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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Remember the dead – fight for the living!


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Demand more PPE and testing!

Remember the dead. Fight for the living!
Keep up the pressure for proper PPE and testing

Next Tuesday, 28th April, is International Workers Memorial Day, when trade unionists all over the world remember workers killed while doing their jobs.
Never has this been more relevant and important, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to take lives, especially within the caring services and among key workers who are putting their lives on the line to care for others
Often they are working without proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and in the UK the government’s mismanagement of the crisis has severely restricted the availability of testing.
The lockdown means what we can do as a branch is limited. But we can all observe a minute’s silence at 11am on Tuesday wherever we are – working from home or in our workplace. After that we could use home-made posters and banners to demand more PPE and testing. Take a picture of yourself with your poster and send it to the branch so we can make an online display to play our part in the battle for proper protection for all workers. Send your pictures to and we will post them on our website and Facebook page.
Remember the dead. FIGHT FOR THE LIVING!

For more information check out the People before Profit: Health Worker COVID Activists Facebook page

Sent from my iPad

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Employers make pay offer

NJC employers offer and joint union response

The Local Government Association has made an increased pay offer for staff on NJC pay and conditions.
Unison’s national negotiators have not accepted that this is the employers’ final offer, as a number of areas remain unresolved. They have asked the employers to write jointly with Unison to the government to seek additional funds for an improved offer and also called for a further negotiating meeting.
Further updates will follow as the situation unfolds.

Image removed by sender.

Read the employers offer

Image removed by sender.

Read the NJC joint union response

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Branch AGM postponed until further notice

Due to the precautions needed to try and prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) the Brighton and Hove Unitary Unison Branch AGM, due to take place on 26th March, has been postponed until further notice.

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Branch statement on Coronavirus

These are very difficult and worrying times for all of us.  You may have an elderly relative you are concerned about, or wonder how you are going to support your kids and work from home if the schools close.  You may be worried because you have a health condition, or what is going to happen to the small business owners and self-employed people you know.

Those of us employed in local government are some of the the lucky ones, as our employer has sick pay and self-isolation procedures in place for us.  Others we know may not be that lucky.  If you are a member of Brighton & Hove Branch and have any worries or concerns, do contact us.  If you need support in the community, want to offer support, or want to stand in solidarity with campaigns and petitions calling for more help for some of the most economically vulnerable, please see the links below.

As always Brighton & Hove Unison stands in solidarity with you and hopes you and your friends and family stay well.

Brighton Covid Mutual Aid (if you can offer support or need it locally)

Small business emergency grant:–budget-lifeline-small-firms-coronavirus

TUC Advice to Unions and Union members:

Self employed petition:

Petition to protect renters:

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March Against Racism

Race hate crime is on the rise and the far-right are organising all around the country. Racist graffiti has appeared in our own city recently.

Boris Johnson’s re-election means that the Tories’ racist agenda will also continue.

As anti-racists, we need to show that we will fight all racism and resist the Tory government’s attempts to divide and rule.

The national  March Against Racism in London will be held on UN Anti-Racism Day –  Saturday, 21st March. Join other Unison members from our branch on the day.

For more details go to or find them on Twitter at @AntiRacismDay or on Facebook at Stand Up to Racism.

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