Author Archives: Camden UNISON


Join Christina tomorrow at 1pm on Unison lunchtime meeting

Win the ballot: Fight for Pay meeting

Dear Colleague

This is an invitation for you to join thousands of other London council UNISON members at this meeting on Pay!

A groundbreaking event is taking place on Tuesday 21 March 6.30-7.30 pm when UNISON members from other London councils will be signing up for the first ever London Wide UNISON council & school workers meeting.

UNISON Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 863 5870 6964

Passcode: 869860

The Cost-of-Living Crisis is unrelenting, and more and more workers are under pressure to keep up with increases in costs such as Food, Heating, Rent, Mortgages, Child Care, etc.

Council and Schools workers’ pay has fallen so low over the last 13 years that everyone is now working at least ONE day a week for free.

At the same time energy companies are announcing massive levels of profits whilst many of our members are afraid to turn on the heating.

UNISON Council and School workers now have the opportunity to add their voice to the hundreds of thousands of other trade union members who have already taken strike action over the issue of low pay such as: Transport workers, Royal Mail workers, BT workers, Teachers, Junior Doctors, Train drivers, Cleaners, Teachers, College workers, Border Control workers, Civil Servants, Barristers.

All these trade union members managed to deliver a BIG YES vote in their strike ballot.

In London we need to send a message about the hardship of living on low pay in London. To do that we need to organise across London councils in order for our members’ voices to be heard loud and clear in Parliament.

When is the Strike Ballot to start?

The strike ballot papers will start being sent out to members home addresses from 23 May to 4 July.

What can members do?

It is important that all UNISON members’ email Camden UNISON branch at  with their correct postal address and contact details including their telephone/ mobile number and email address.

It is critical to the success of the strike ballot that Camden UNISON has the correct details and has your permission to contact you about the strike ballot.

Phone banking.

We know from other trade unions the importance of speaking to members about voting and sending back the ballot papers. We are looking for help to be on the Camden UNISON phone bank. If you would like to volunteer, please email us at




Camden UNISON.



3.30-5pm, Wed 8 March
Room 10.10/11/12 in 5PS
and on TEAMS


Come along to the Camden UNISON Annual General Meeting and take part in the discussions around what the union branch has been doing and what we can plan for the coming year. It’s your union, so make sure you get involved and have your say!

Paid time off (including reasonable travel time) has been agreed.

If you haven’t yet joined Camden UNISON you can contact us on

The anti-strike bill is draconian and undemocratic, and will do nothing to fix the problems this government has caused


The anti-strike bill is draconian and undemocratic, and will do nothing to fix the problems this government has caused

Thousands of UK workers are being forced to take industrial action to protect their pay, standard of living and the services they provide. But rather than helping workers live decent lives and improving the services that millions of people rely on every day, the Westminster government is turning its back on working people.

Strikes are always a symptom of a problem but the government’s answer is to fast-track the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill that will add further restrictions on the right to strike in the health, education, transport, and fire and rescue services, as well as border security and parts of the nuclear, radioactive waste and fuel sectors.

That won’t fix the deep-rooted causes of industrial disputes which is the government’s inability to manage the country’s public services and our economy.

UNISON is supporting the TUC’s campaign to defend the right to strike because this government believes its priority is taking away a legitimate part of industrial negotiations and more importantly, a fundamental right of workers – to withdraw their labour.

UNISON’s members are essential workers in public services, and our strike action takes place only after thorough plans for emergency cover have been negotiated and agreed with employers. But if the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is passed by parliament, even if workers vote for legal industrial action, they could be forced to cross picket lines or be sacked if they don’t.

The UK already has among the most draconian restrictions on the right to strike in Europe, and the UK government’s plans would push it even further away from normal, democratic practice across Europe.

These draconian and undemocratic measures are about to be imposed on us, against our will. This is on top of high inflation, a pay crisis in our public sector, the NHS on its knees, and an economic outlook as grim as the constant sleaze that flows out of Whitehall.

This bill will do nothing to change any situation imposed by a government that has spent over a decade creating the situation we’re in now and we must be part of the campaign to defeat it.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hurt workers everywhere, we need to be able to stand together and choose to strike when we must. These laws will do nothing to fix this crisis – they will make it even harder for working people to get pay rises.

The UK already has some of the most restrictive trade union laws in the world – but workers have been pushed into action by a government and employers that won’t listen. You can’t legislate away the depth of anger workers feel about how they’ve been treated.

Every working person is under attack from these new laws. Join the campaign. We must defend the right to strike.

Camden UNISON Branch Office
3rd Floor Crowndale Centre
218-220 Eversholt Street

Tel: 020 7974 1633


Camden UNISON Branch elections and AGM

Branch elections for all steward and branch officer posts are scheduled each year.

Please think about how you can be involved, or if you’re interested in standing for any of the roles and want to find out more about them.

Any union branch is only strong and able to make a difference because of members being involved, so we’re always keen to increase our numbers of stewards and officers – it really does make a difference.

This year we face the biggest attack on our living standards for a generation from the government and their friends in big business. However, recent months have shown how being in a trade union and being organised can make a difference and be part of the resistance to those attacks.

Our elections are part of making sure that we are ready to resist. We try not to make the branch too bureaucratic, so we have two main groups of elected roles. These are shop stewards (often known as reps) and branch officers.

Shop stewards are elected by a group of members who work together (in a ‘shop’) and they represent that group of members both individually and as a collective group. The shop stewards meet each month as a committee for each department – we have an agreement with the Council that you are released from work to attend that meeting.

Branch officers have specific roles, such as Branch Secretary, Chair, Treasurer and more. These roles tend to look at our work across the council, on corporate issues we raise or are raised with us, and about general campaigning/activities. Some, such as the Treasurer, are clearly very specific. Rather than write a long description of each roles, if you are at all interested in finding out more about any of the roles, contact and we can arrange a chat.

Stewards and branch officers make a real difference to the success of a union branch. A lot of you will have had stewards represent you in meetings with managers, or have been involved in a restructure where stewards and branch officers have raised issues with management.

In recent years we have been involved in negotiations around our terms and conditions that have led to improvements, and of course over the last two years in trying to make sure you are as safe as possible at work because of coronavirus. You will hopefully also be aware of the campaigning we have done on challenging inequalities, around the climate emergency and the cost of living crisis. And of course, the more stewards we have, the more we are able to stand up for our rights.
Therefore, I would really urge you to think about becoming a steward and/or branch officer. You will get training, and a lot of support from other stewards.

The nomination period runs from Monday 9 Jan until Friday 3 Feb.

Camden UNISON Annual General Meeting

Camden UNISON AGM is taking place on Wednesday 8 March in the late afternoon. We will be requesting paid time off to attend for Council workers. More details will be out soon, including if the meeting will be in person, online or hybrid, but please put the date in your diary to keep the time free.


Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary

Tel: 020 7974 1633

Camden UNISON Branch Office
3rd Floor Crowndale Centre
218-220 Eversholt Street

UNISON stands with migrant workers in Qatar – beyond football

UNISON has been campaigning about the lack of LGBT+ rights in Qatar and about the horrific treatment of migrant workers there – without whom there wouldn’t even be the stadiums where the World Cup matches are being played. Thousands of migrant workers have died building them, and we stand with migrant workers campaigning for their rights and for financial reparations to the families of those who died building the stadiums and the surrounding cities and infrastructure.

Read more about it in the link below:

UNISON stands with migrant workers in Qatar – beyond football | Article, News | News | UNISON National


CBWG Annual General Meeting


The CBWG Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on Wednesday, 23rd November 2022 as a hybrid meeting in person and on MS Teams. The Chair, Hugo Pierre, welcomed people to the meeting and highlighted that it was the CBWG’s 40th anniversary year. The CBWG had had a 40th anniversary gala event at the Irish Centre in October at which one of the early founders, Azim Hajee, and Neville Lawrence had addressed the audience. Neville had thanked the trade union movement for their support of the campaign for justice for his son (photos and videos of anniversary gala available in the CBWG page of this website).

Lester Holloway, the editor of The Voice newspaper, addressed the meeting via MS Teams. He highlighted that – for the last 20 years – Black unemployment had been at least twice as high as white unemployment. Earnings for ethnic minority workers also tended to be lower, and this had an impact on level of home ownership and inter-generational wealth transfer, as poorer families were less able to buy homes and had less wealth to pass onto their children.
He also highlighted the impact of the coronavirus lockdowns, which had harmed workers in precarious employment who were not always able to benefit from furlough schemes. This had followed on from the effects of years of austerity, which had disproportionately harmed racial minority communities.

Lester also spoke of the importance of trade unions in fighting for better terms and conditions for workers and warned of the pending future attacks on trade unions by the Conservative government. He condemned the government’s drive to leave the European Convention on Human Rights and draft its own “British Bill of Rights”.

After Lester Holloway, Camden Unison Branch Secretary, Liz Wheatley, addressed the meeting. She echoed Lester’s points about austerity and lockdown having disproportionately hit many low-paid Black and minority ethnic workers. She pointed out that the rich had continued to get richer, while many others suffered financially. There were now more than 170 billionaires in the UK; and the Prime Minister, his wife and in-laws were also very rich. Given his affluence and that of many other ministers, the Conservative government led by Rishi Sunak did not appreciate the problems ordinary people faced and was not interested in tackling them.

Liz also said that the recent furore over people crossing the Channel on small boats and the plan to force asylum seekers to go to Rwanda were illustrations of the danger of scapegoating of migrants and refugees to divert attention from austerity. She said that Camden Unison would stand alongside other groups in campaigning against this.

Liz Wheatley added that, given the scandals around Boris Johnson and the fact that Liz Truss had been forced out after less than 50 days, the Conservative government was weak and it might be possible for workers in dispute to win concessions from them. She said that activists from Camden Unison had supported the CWU and RMT on the picket line in their disputes.

Vino Sangarapillai and ‘Jare Oyewole, the Co-Convenors, spoke to illustrate highlights of their written reports. In particular, progress had been made in terms of increasing the proportion of employees from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds and there had been an increase in representation at the top of the structure. ‘Jare said the Council had pledged to have no “all-white shortlists” for roles at Level 5 and above.

The meeting heard from members on the various concerns they had about the way that restructures had taken place and how interviews were conducted. It was also noted that “blind” recruitment was not really possible as, for internal applicants, the information they provided on the form in terms of outlining their achievements would identify who they were to the recruiter.

The meeting then heard from one of the Council’s Diversity and Inclusion Programme Officers. The presentation was about the Council’s Anti-Racism Learning Offer (ARLO), which more than 80% of staff had participated in. Face-to-face sessions had been available for staff who were not office or computer-based. The aim of her service was to embed the learning from the ARLO in the organisation. A 2-hour E-learning module was also being developed. This would be mandatory for staff.


the following officers were elected to the CBWG Executive:

• Chairperson – Hugo Pierre
• Convenors – ‘Jare Oyewole and Vino Sangarapillai
• Treasurer – Judy Frederick

• Communications Officer – Jahnelle Hutton-Parr

• Executive members –
Dolly Akin-Agunbiade
Clive Collins
Asif Iqbal
Muna Matewos
 Sandra Soteriou
Lioko Mabika
Emma Le Blanc



Are You Getting Hurt at Work?

Stop Violence @ Work!

Have you been bitten, scratched, hit, punched or
even worse at school? Have you been told its only
children? Well that’s not on. You have the right to
be safe at work and free from violence in the
workplace just like anyone else. Your school has a
‘Duty of Care’ to you.
If any of the above happen to you, make sure you
record them on the school’s health and safety
reporting system. Check the report is accurate and
ask for a copy of the report.
If there is persistent violence make sure the school
has a proper behaviour plan and a risk assessment
for the child/student. Let UNISON know if you can’t
get the right support to stop being the victim of
violence at work.

Don’t Put Your Back Into It

Are you lifting children? Do you work in Early Years
and lifting is seen as part of keeping the children
safe? Well think twice. Many Early Years workers
suffer from back or related problems as they get
older through constantly picking children up.
Discuss how you could implement a no lifting policy
in your school with UNISON.

Is there a Child Q in Your School?

In the Summer Term, Hackney
Safeguarding Board released a report
into the horrific strip searching of a 15-
year-old female student by the police.
The report concluded that the police
officers went beyond their remit and
probably reacted in a racist manner.
The staff in the school were also
criticised for not challenging the police
sufficiently to safeguard the rights of the
child. Camden UNISON has been assured
that no children have been strip
searched in Camden schools. If this is the
case, this bucks the trend of the alarming
number that has taken place in London.
The DfE have renewed their guidance to
schools on searching and confiscation in
schools – Searching, Screening and
Confiscation (
UNISON believes no strip searching by
the police or any other agency should
take place in school and certainly not
without parental consent. We have
asked the local authority to look at this
guidance with us to provide advice to
school staff with responsibility for

Training for Supporting ASD/ADHD

Support Staff in mainstream schools are supporting students with a variety of needs that in the past
would have seen the child placed in a Special School. It seems teachers are getting training in
supporting these children but there is no training for support staff. But it’s support staff that work
with them almost 1:1 in some cases.
Camden UNISON is pushing for proper training for Teaching Assistants- not cascade training from
teachers – in paid time. Let UNISON know if you need this.







If school support staff are not in a UNION that can negotiate your pay, terms and conditions they
need to join with you. Please ask them to join.
And if you don’t have a shop steward in your school, you’re only getting half the support you need.
Members with stewards are better informed and deal with issues that come up – Please elect one!
For further information either call 020 7974 3996 or email

Nov ‘22 Our Pay Rise must not lead to Job Cuts



Camden schools have received the minimum per pupil funding increase from the Government since 2018. Next year the current estimates for Camden given by the DfE increase funding by 0.5%! How can this be when inflation is 20 times that at 10.1%. on average Camden mainstream schools have lost £941 per pupil in real terms since 2015.

This has placed most schools in a very precarious situation. Many schools are now running deficit budgets, where they use some past savings to pay for day-to-day School Funding. Some have run out of savings.

UNISON have now agreed the pay rise for school support staff. The flat rate increase of £2,355 (see panel) means that the lowest paid school workers will see a 10.5% pay rise. Teaching Assistants in Camden schools will see an increase of around 9%.For most school support staff, this is our biggest pay rise in over two decades.

And it still won’t keep our heads above water. The last 10 years has seen our pay cut by at least 20% compared to inflation.

But the work we do in schools has never been more valuable. Inclusion has meant more children with more complex needs are supported in or out of class by support staff. The pandemic required us to support children so that essential workers could go to work. Now increased numbers of children require wellbeing and emotional support. And the support we give in the Early Years is far more intense than pre-pandemic.

If the Government doesn’t increase Camden’s schools funding to meet the increased running costs, Governing Bodies could cut staff and the achievement levels for Camden’s children will suffer.
We don’t want that to happen. We want properly staffed schools that can meet the needs of Camden’s children and schools need the funding to do that. Camden UNISON will be consulting you on how we campaign to get the funding for our schools. If funding hits jobs, pay or conditions we can ballot for action across the borough. This would be a powerful campaign that could get proper funding for our schools.


Your Pay Rise 2022.

Your November pay includes your annual cost of living pay rise negotiated by UNISON and agreed nationally for school and council staff from 1st April this year.

Camden UNISON members voted to reject this offer by 4 to 1 as it is not in line with inflation – 11.7%.

However, this flat rate rise of £2,355 in Camden, is a 10% increase for the lowest paid members, 7.5% for Nursery Nurses & HLTAs and over 9% for Teaching Assistants.

The table below shows what your Back pay in November should be if you work 35 hours a week TTO. For different weekly hours just divide by 35 and multiply by your hours.

Continuous Service                Scale 1-5                      Sc 6 & over

Under 5                                    1,176.89                         1,192.61

5 – 10                                         1,203.33                        1,203.33

10 – 15                                       1,203.33                         1,219.76

15 – 20                                       1,214.23                         1,230.97

20 – 25                                      1,219.76                          1,236.66

25 – 30                                      1,225.34                         1,242.39

Over 30                                    1,230.97                         1,248.18

All amounts for a 35 hour week TTO
You will also get paid for one additional days holiday pro-rata.




If school support staff are not in a UNION that can negotiate your pay, terms and conditions they
need to join with you. Please ask them to join.
And if you don’t have a shop steward in your school, you’re only getting half the support you need.
Members with stewards are better informed and deal with issues that come up – Please elect one!
For further information either call 020 7974 3996 or email

Disability History Month


In UNISON, 2022 has been the Year of the Disabled Worker, which has been a great opportunity for UNISON to review and update our policies, and to campaign for better workplaces for disabled staff. UNISON has been holding webinars and online meetings throughout the year, as well as having regional meetings and of course our annual conference for disabled members.

Camden UNISON was really pleased that two of our members, Asif and Brenda, attended UNISON’s National Disabled Members Conference a few weeks ago. They’ve come back with lots of information, and some ideas about how we can continue the work we did with disabled staff drawing up the Charter to build on it and put it in to practice.

Camden UNISON has regularly taken up cases and represented members who have a disability to make sure that they aren’t treated differently or get the adjustments that they are entitled to so that they are not discriminated against at work. Camden UNISON has an elected Equality Officer who, along with other Branch Officers, can give advice if needed to all of our local stewards when they are representing members with a disability. Some of our stewards have disabilities and their experience is important in both raising how our branch can highlight issues and campaigns that affect our disabled members, and in making sure what they’re learnt is shared with other stewards to help when representing members.

We have represented members right up to Employment Tribunal level and have had a number of successful cases over the years. We regularly encourage members to register that they have a disability, and to complete the Wellbeing Passport – doing these now is a good thing anyway, but also really helps if there is any unequal or unfair treatment in the future.

We also think that campaigning collectively is important – that’s how we get changes in organisations and in society – and so have taken part in all kind of rallies, lobbies and protests. We have been part of the successful campaign to make BSL a recognised language, joining the rally in Trafalgar Square along with our members and the children from Frank Barnes School here in Camden, and are keen for staff to be taught some basic phrases so that we are part of making the services our members provide as inclusive as possible.

If you want any more information, support or representation, or would like to help campaign with Camden UNISON, then email us at