Author Archives: Camden UNISON

Pension Committee deputation 26/11/19

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Camden Council has declared a Climate Emergency – we believe that part of taking action around this includes the Council reducing its carbon footprint, and divesting the pension fund from fossil fuel investments is one way to do this.

As a trade union of course we want a decent pension for our members, and for working class people in general, but we also want a world where we can enjoy our retirement and to know we are leaving a sustainable world for future generations.

UNISON believes that modern fiduciary duty requires that pension fund investments are made in the interests of scheme members, that the financial obligation is not to maximize returns but to ensure there is enough resources to meet the pension benefit obligation. Therefore these financial regulations do not justify investment in the fossil fuel industry, nor slowing moves to decarbonise the fund. Continue reading

Justice4Grenfell – Silent March Thurs 14 Nov, 7pm, Notting Hill Methodist Church

 

MEMORIAL164_2[1]There is a monthly Justice4Grenfell Silent March this Thursday. Camden UNISON have been on quite a lot of these in the last two and a half years. However, after the release of the first part of the inquiry report it seems very important that we go this month. The attack on firefighters who risked their lives has been a disgrace, and the comments of Jacob Rees-Mogg (saying he would have ignored the fire brigade advice and left the building, implying he is cleverer than Grenfell residents) an insult to all of those in the tower. Therefore we’re joining the march with the Camden UNISON banner. We’re leaving the branch office in the Crowndale Centre by 6pm if you want to travel with us, otherwise look for the banner at 7pm at Notting Hill Methodist Church, 240 Lancaster Rd W11 4AH.

Rydon – Hands Off Whittington Hospital!

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Some of you may remember that the contractor responsible for the cladding work at Grenfell was Rydon. They were being awarded a contract to refurbish the Whittington Hospital. However, following Grenfell, there was a campaign against them doing this work, and the hospital withdrew the contract offer. However, Rydon have decided to challenge this in court, and the case starts in the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand on Monday 9 Dec. There is a protest at 9am on the first morning if you can make it along there.

There’s an election coming up!

We seem to be having quite a few General Elections in recent years, which in itself suggests there are a few problems in government! As a trade union, we realise our members may vote for a variety of parties, but we would recommend firstly that you make sure you’re registered to vote (a link to register by 26 Nov is below) and secondly that you think about both funding of public services, and the voting record of the main party leaders. On our website www.camdenunison.org.uk we will be posting a quick guide to this, as well as the register to vote link from the national UNISON website

https://www.unison.org.uk/register-vote-general-election/

Donald Trump Visiting! Tues 3 Dec, assemble 4pm in Trafalgar Square

 

 

RTX6B1UD1-e1531476107577[1]Donald Trump is coming to London in December for the NATO Heads of State summit. On Tuesday 3rd December, the Queen will be hosting a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace and it’s important we raise our voices against the world’s largest nuclear-armed military alliance which is overseen by one of the most reckless US Presidents in history. Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist and a climate change denier who threatens communities at home while destabilising the rest of the globe so it’s worth turning up to show him he’s not welcome!

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Party Leaders voting record

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Unison Disabled Members’ Conference, Brighton – Report by Asif Iqbal

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I attended UNISON Disabled Member’s Conference as a representative for Camden Unison, which took place at Brighton Conference Centre on Saturday 2nd-Sunday 3rd November 2019.

It was well-attended with over 250 delegates, the majority have some form of disability. The conference was led by Josie Bird, Unison President and Christina McAnea, Assistant General Secretary for Bargaining, Negotiating and Equalities. It was also pleasing to a good diversity of people as Chairs of each sessions.

During the conferences, there was some workshops, I attended an interesting workshop: Negotiating Reasonable Adjustment policies and Passport which was very popular and attended by large number of delegates.

We talked about deaf and hard of hearing employees and the challenges they faces with their employers eg: noises in work place, their rights to reasonable adjustment under Equality Act e.g: request for quieter room/ environment to meet their individual needs. This was fully supported by UNISON.

The conference reminded the delegates about the Equality Act 2010 which says that employers must provide reasonable adjustment to disabled job applicants/ workers and former employees who face a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled. If employers do not provide reasonable adjustments where they have a duty to do so, then they may face Employment Tribunal claims.

Unison highlighted the importance for all delegates and employers to be aware of ‘Disability passports in the workplace’, which encourage the introduction and ensure continuous support of reasonable adjustment in a form of disability passport. Essentially, a disability passport provide a framework for discussion with a manager and disabled employee regarding the support required for that disabled employee.

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The workshop also discussed ‘What is Social Model of Disability’ and delegates urge all employers not to use Medical Model when considering the employee’s needs. It is really crucial to encourage employers especially managers and HR to use the Social Model of Disability, looking at environmental/attitudinal barriers that ‘disable’ the employee that needs removing and adopt a ‘can do’ positive attitude as key message, rather than seeing the person’s disability as the problem.

One of the topic discussed during the conference was ‘Tackling the Disability Pay Gap’ which introduce a mandatory monitoring and reporting for the Employers, on the disability pay in the same way as Gender and BAME (currently being monitored).

Other areas discussed were:

•Awareness of Access to Work – calling Government to expand the Access to Work scheme to include young, black, deaf and disabled people in voluntary placements, where these offer opportunity for paid work and do not replace permanent staff. By extending the ATW scheme to voluntary placement (currently only on those on internships), this would enable more people to gain valuable work experiences and skills as a pathway to paid employment. Currently, lots of disabled people want to work but unable to access to voluntary placement opportunity without appropriate ATW support in place and many employers were reluctant to offer voluntary placement to disabled people without ATW, due to additional cost.

•Disability Confident Scheme campaign for all public sector employers to participate in the national accredited Disability Confident Scheme encouraging them to demonstrate a genuine commitment include employment, progression and management of disabled workers that would allow organisations to evidence they are closing the disability gap.

•PIP assessment support – to create guidance materials on the process for PIP assessments and the support channels that can be used during this process and work with the national office branch welfare officers to be trained on PIP assessments to provide support to members.

•Access to Mental Health Services for Deaf People – lobby the Department o Health and NHS to provided improved mental health services for Deaf people including increasing the provision of one to one counselling directly through BSL, without the need for an interpreter.

During Day 2 of the conference (Sunday 3rd November 2019), I stood on the platform during UNISON Conference with a great applause.

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If you want more information about how Camden UNISON can support or represent members with disabilities and campaign for equality, contact Jare Oyewole or Asif Iqbal or email unison@camden.gov.uk

10% to pay the rent!

Since 2009, pay in Local Government has fallen by 22% in real terms while the cost of living has skyrocketed. That means every week, you work one day for free compared to 10 years ago!

Our current national pay award comes to an end in March 2020 so UNISON has submitted a claim for a 10% pay increase for council and school workers. The claim also includes one additional day annual leave, a two hour reduction in the standard working week and a comprehensive review of the workplace causes of stress.

Inflation is forecast to reach 3% by 2023, which means that the cost of living will grow by over 15% in the next 4 years. And at the same time as pay has gone down, transport has gone up by 51%, electricity 48%, house prices 37% and childcare costs 32%.

We deserve a decent pay rise and we must be prepared to fight for it if necessary.

 

Don’t invest in fossil fuels!

We have a petition calling on Camden to divest our pension fund from the fossil fuel industry. Our aim is to collect as many signatures as possible and submit the petition alongside a deputation to the pensions committee in November.

Abandoning fossil fuel investment is not only the right thing to do is also the financially smart thing to do. Several major financial institutions, among them the bank of England, have branded investment in fossil fuel as ‘risky’.

Please sign the petition which is attached here, or available at the UNISON office or from your UNISON steward.

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CELEBRATE WITH CAMDEN UNISON! Friday 8 November – 6pm onwards, The Chapel Bar, 29 Penton Street N1 9PX

Earlier this year our traffic warden members took 33 days strike action and won a brilliant pay rise. They were supported by our branch and other individuals/branches, and we want to thank you.

And after decades of activity in Camden UNISON, Barry Walden, John Mann and Mandy Berger are leaving so join us in thanking them for building a campaigning UNISON branch that stands up for our members!

We have DJs, food and of course a few speeches.

Friday 8th November 2019 6pm-late

The Chapel Bar

29 Penton Street N1 9PX

Then and now – 30 years apart, Camden UNISON members on strike fighting for their rights!

click to download pdf

Party Flyer