Author Archives: Camden UNISON

Message of support from Camden UNISON to health workers in the borough

Unison messagesCamdenUnisonClapNHS1

 

Dear Camden NHS workers,

We are writing to you on behalf of UNISON members in Camden Council – we represent social workers and care workers, school staff, library workers, housing workers and many more, most of whom are part of the fight against the spread of coronavirus and providing services and support to vulnerable members of our community. However, you are all in the front line of that fight, and we want to offer our solidarity and support to you. Many of our members have taken part in the ‘Clap for our Carers’ events the last two weeks, but we want and need to do more.

As a trade union branch, we are committed to the NHS and its invaluable workforce, even more so as we all face the threat of COVID-19 and the devastation it is causing to our community. We are particularly concerned to hear that many NHS staff in hospitals are still not receiving proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to both protect them and ultimately us from infection. There also appears to be a lack of clear guidance on its most effective use. In addition, all reports we hear are that there is still very little testing of NHS staff to see if they are able to work safely.

We believe that it is essential the government urgently increases the supply of PPE in hospitals and for social care, and ensure that staff are trained in safely using it. We also believe that mass testing, starting with all NHS staff from cleaner to consultant, is an urgent priority. We will be campaigning for this, but please let us know if there are other things we can raise for you.

Again, thank you for all that you do,

 

Liz Wheatley (Branch Secretary) and Phoebe Watkins (Branch Chair)

On behalf of Camden UNISON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camden Unison Retired Members AGM Report

We held our Annual General meeting was on 4 March 2020 .The Secretary, Chair and Committee Members for 2020/21 were elected and matters arising from the Annual Report were discussed. A date was agreed for the next committee meeting, but this had to be cancelled due to the Corona Virus pandemic. At the end of the meeting one of the delegates read a paper she had written about women’s contribution to the development of the Trade Union movement.

Some Retired Members also attended the Branch AGM, which took place later on the same day.

If you want to get involved in Camden UNISON Retired Members group, please email unison@camden.gov.uk

Paula, RM Secretary

 

Can you help Camden UNISON?

Can you help Camden UNISON?
 
As we have been making sure your concerns have been addressed by your employers, some of you have realised how important it is to have a steward! So a number of members have said that they would like to become a steward in the last couple of weeks. Would you be able to do that too? It’s been really clear at the moment that having a local steward who can raise issues (and often manages to get them sorted too) and distribute information has made a real difference to members, so if you would like to do this, or want to find out what it involves, just email us at unison@camden.gov.uk and we’ll be in touch.

Camden UNISON Branch Meeting – on Zoom Thurs 2 April, 1pm
 
We’re going to have a go at getting stuck into the modern world and have a meeting for Camden UNISON members using Zoom to discuss what’s happening at the moment, what we need to raise on your behalf, what the problems of working from home are and what we can do about them, and anything else relevant that you think of.
 
The meeting is on Thursday 2 April (ie this Thurs) at 1pm. Details of how to join the meeting are in the email sent out to you on 31/03/20. Obviously, it’s our first time of doing this – hopefully it’ll work but bear with us if it doesn’t, we’ll work it out and have another go!
 
It would also help if you have any specific questions that you email them in advance to unison@camden.gov.uk so that we can try to make sure we have answers and group together the similar ones. It would be brilliant if you have your videos on so that we can see each other too!

Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary
Camden UNISON
London Borough of Camden

Telephone:   020 7974 1633
Web:             www.camdenunison.org.uk

UNISON Office
3rd floor Crowndale Centre
218 Eversholt Street
London NW1 1BD

 

CAMDEN UNISON SAYS

logo2

CAMDEN UNISON SAYS

                                   Test, test, test

                                           PPE

                         Keep key workers virus free

rainbowClap for the NHS

Tests for the NHS

PPE for the NHS

Boris: Fund the NHS

Solidarity with NHS Workers – Thursdays, 8pm
 
Although lots of us are having to change how we work and what we are doing, our fellow UNISON members in the NHS are facing the most difficult time ever, made worse by years of underfunding and privatisation.
 
Last week it was excellent when millions came to stand on their doorsteps and balconies, or at their windows to collectively clap for the NHS. This is going to be a regular event each week. However, great though the clapping was, they need more than that, and so attached is a window/door poster saying, Camden UNISON says Clap for the NHS, Tests for the NHS, PPE for the NHS, Boris: Fund the NHS.

Please chant when clapping:

                                  Test, test, test

                                           PPE

                         Keep key workers virus free


 
If you have a printer at home, it would be great if you can run it off and display it. But if you haven’t got a printer, why not just draw one with the slogans (and rainbow if you or your kids need a home-schooling art project!) and display that too. Like last week, it would be ace if you can video the clapping, and maybe take photos of where you’ve displayed the poster. If you email them in to unison@camden.gov.uk we’ll be sending them to the Camden UNISON Health branches.

Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary
Camden UNISON
London Borough of Camden

Telephone:   020 7974 1633
Web:             www.camdenunison.org.uk

UNISON Office
3rd floor Crowndale Centre
218 Eversholt Street
London NW1 1BD

 

MEMBERS WORKING FOR PRIVATE COMPANIES

Dear Camden UNISON member,

TO CONTACT CAMDEN UNISON PLEASE EMAIL unison@camden.gov.uk AS WE ARE NOT ABLE TO WORK FROM THE OFFICE

First of all, we hope that you’re all keeping as well as possible. This is a worrying time for us all and making sure you are as safe as possible is really important.If you work for one of the private companies on a Camden Council contract, there will be some differences to the situation for members who work directly for Camden. We are trying to send out emails to you via your employer group, so an email will go out to members working for NSL, and for those of you working for Caterlink.

For information now, though, the work you do for both of those companies is critical for Camden to respond to the CV19 crisis. Caterlink staff are helping to provide the meals for children in the schools and wider community. NSL are, amongst other things, making sure that health workers have access to the additional parking spaces reserved for them so they can get to work safely and quickly, and to keep the public transport (buses) running for essential workers to use. There will be more detail in the specific emails.

But UNISON believes the same guidelines on pay when having symptoms or self-isolating should be in place, and you should not lose out financially if you are ill/have to stay at home in line with government advice due to CV19. If you are told otherwise, please speak to your local rep and email unison@camden.gov.uk

We also believe that in some of the jobs you already do, you should have things like sanitiser and/or wipes as appropriate as you can’t easily access soap and water whilst carrying out an important role where you have contact with, for example, door handles, lifts, vehicles. Ask your manager locally for this, but if it is not provided contact your rep or email unison@camden.gov.uk to discuss.

I hope that this is helpful information, you can also find more on the national UNISON website, but if you have any queries, please email us.

And don’t forget to show your support for our NHS workers tonight!

Liz

Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary
Camden UNISON
Telephone:   020 7974 1633
Web:             
www.camdenunison.org.uk

UNISON Office

3rd floor Crowndale Centre
218 Eversholt Street
London NW1 1BD

 

CAMDEN COUNCIL MEMBERS Working From Home

By now, the vast majority of you will be working at home. Lots of the important work can be done online (and I think a big shout out to our IT members, we know it’s been full on for you as hundreds of us work from home for the first time!) so make sure that you are not coming into the office unnecessarily. If you are asked/instructed to come into an office, check with your manager if it’s really needed, and let us know. You shouldn’t be coming in for the sake of it, but some of the essential work can only be done from a Council building.

If you aren’t used to working from home, it can be quite isolating. There are some good ideas on Essentials to help, but do make sure you keep in touch with colleagues, and that you also take regular breaks – don’t let your home become just your office. It’s easy to feel there’s ‘no escape’ from work and the people wanting help (and another shout out to our members in Contact Camden, we know you’re getting inundated with calls, mostly about CV19) so look at options that can help your wellbeing.

Self-Isolating, Showing Symptoms, Caring

Because of how CV19 can spread, it’s really important you follow the advice if you have an underlying condition, have any symptoms or are a carer or have children at home. Again, Essentials has been really clear on what to do in all of these circumstances, including how to enter information on Oracle (which is important you do so that up to date numbers of who can/can’t do the essential roles are available).

You won’t lose money if you are self-isolating or advised to stay at home due to your symptoms, and in both cases may be able to work from home. If you cannot and are sick due to CV19, this will not trigger any action or loss of pay. If you have caring responsibilities or children at home because of the school closures, speak to your manager – you may be able to work different hours or a similar arrangement. If you are having difficulty working this out then get in touch with your rep or email unison@camden.gov.uk

Helping with Essential Services

Some members have already been asked to help with important services to support vulnerable families and older residents by doing things like making up food parcels. Lots of this kind of thing is going to be needed over the next few weeks and more, so you will be asked to do different work to your everyday roles, in particular if you have a job where working from home is limited.

For these roles, guidelines about doing the work safely are being (and in some cases have already been) drawn up so that there is as little risk as possible to you. Some of these services will involve PPE, and you should get information about how to use that correctly. Again, you will not lose any pay. If you are worried about what you are being asked to do – eg if you have any of the listed underlying health conditions but are still being asked to travel rather than work from home, contact your local rep or email unison@camden.gov.uk

Shielding Group

If you are in the ‘shielding needed’ group and have been written to, then let your manager know – again, it is important that you are recorded as such so that Camden knows who is able to help out in different ways.

PPE, Health and Safety

Whilst you are doing all of this, it’s important you are as safe as possible. Some of the roles you already do, or will be asked to do require PPE. Check this with your manager, and if you are unsure contact us. There is a national shortage of things like hand sanitiser and wipes, Camden has centralised their supplies and is distributing them to specific services – social workers for when visits can’t be avoided, caretakers and others doing similar roles where hand washing is more difficult to access – so let us know if you haven’t got what’s needed.

I hope that this is helpful information, you can also find more on the national UNISON website, but if you have any queries, please email us.

And don’t forget to show your support for our NHS workers tonight!

Liz

Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary
Camden UNISON
Telephone:   020 7974 1633
Web:             
www.camdenunison.org.uk

FB_IMG_1585078890900

TO CONTACT CAMDEN UNISON PLEASE EMAIL unison@camden.gov.uk AS WE ARE NOT ABLE TO WORK FROM THE OFFICE

Dear Camden UNISON member,

TO CONTACT CAMDEN UNISON PLEASE EMAIL unison@camden.gov.uk AS WE ARE NOT ABLE TO WORK FROM THE OFFICE

First of all, we hope that you’re all keeping as well as possible. This is a worrying time for us all and making sure you are as safe as possible is really important.

Clap For The NHS – Thurs 26 March, 8pm

One of the things that has become very apparent in the CV19 crisis is how important NHS workers and other care workers are in society, including the porters and cleaners in the hospitals. Every day they are amongst the most at risk, and it would be good to be able to show our appreciation.

Therefore, across the country, people are being asked to Clap for the NHS at 8pm tonight (clap, bang a pot, generally make some noise). This can be from your front door, balcony, wherever is safe to do it. Let’s make sure all our health workers and carers know we support them!

If you can take pictures or a short video of your area safely, then feel free to email it to unison@camden.gov.uk and we will put them on our website www.camdenunison.org.uk

and also share them with our UNISON branches at UCH, GOSH and the Royal Free.

FB_IMG_1584816553924

CAMDEN COUNCIL MEMBERS

Working From Home

By now, the vast majority of you will be working at home. Lots of the important work can be done online (and I think a big shout out to our IT members, we know it’s been full on for you as hundreds of us work from home for the first time!) so make sure that you are not coming into the office unnecessarily. If you are asked/instructed to come into an office, check with your manager if it’s really needed, and let us know. You shouldn’t be coming in for the sake of it, but some of the essential work can only be done from a Council building.

If you aren’t used to working from home, it can be quite isolating. There are some good ideas on Essentials to help, but do make sure you keep in touch with colleagues, and that you also take regular breaks – don’t let your home become just your office. It’s easy to feel there’s ‘no escape’ from work and the people wanting help (and another shout out to our members in Contact Camden, we know you’re getting inundated with calls, mostly about CV19) so look at options that can help your wellbeing.

Self-Isolating, Showing Symptoms, Caring

Because of how CV19 can spread, it’s really important you follow the advice if you have an underlying condition, have any symptoms or are a carer or have children at home. Again, Essentials has been really clear on what to do in all of these circumstances, including how to enter information on Oracle (which is important you do so that up to date numbers of who can/can’t do the essential roles are available).

You won’t lose money if you are self-isolating or advised to stay at home due to your symptoms, and in both cases may be able to work from home. If you cannot and are sick due to CV19, this will not trigger any action or loss of pay. If you have caring responsibilities or children at home because of the school closures, speak to your manager – you may be able to work different hours or a similar arrangement. If you are having difficulty working this out then get in touch with your rep or email unison@camden.gov.uk

Helping with Essential Services

Some members have already been asked to help with important services to support vulnerable families and older residents by doing things like making up food parcels. Lots of this kind of thing is going to be needed over the next few weeks and more, so you will be asked to do different work to your everyday roles, in particular if you have a job where working from home is limited.

For these roles, guidelines about doing the work safely are being (and in some cases have already been) drawn up so that there is as little risk as possible to you. Some of these services will involve PPE, and you should get information about how to use that correctly. Again, you will not lose any pay. If you are worried about what you are being asked to do – eg if you have any of the listed underlying health conditions but are still being asked to travel rather than work from home, contact your local rep or email unison@camden.gov.uk

Shielding Group

If you are in the ‘shielding needed’ group and have been written to, then let your manager know – again, it is important that you are recorded as such so that Camden knows who is able to help out in different ways.

PPE, Health and Safety

Whilst you are doing all of this, it’s important you are as safe as possible. Some of the roles you already do, or will be asked to do require PPE. Check this with your manager, and if you are unsure contact us. There is a national shortage of things like hand sanitiser and wipes, Camden has centralised their supplies and is distributing them to specific services – social workers for when visits can’t be avoided, caretakers and others doing similar roles where hand washing is more difficult to access – so let us know if you haven’t got what’s needed.

I hope that this is helpful information, you can also find more on the national UNISON website, but if you have any queries, please email us.

And don’t forget to show your support for our NHS workers tonight!

Liz

Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary
Camden UNISON
Telephone:   020 7974 1633
Web:             www.camdenunison.org.uk

UNISON Office

3rd floor Crowndale Centre
218 Eversholt Street
London NW1 1BD

 

The UCU Strike stays solid

20200311_124749

Camden UNISON Branch Secretary Liz Wheatley hands cheques for £326.76 to UCU strikers at UCL, Gower St

UCU members in universities continued their 14 days of action this week with picket lines, protests and teach-outs.

The dispute centres on the sustainability of the staff pension scheme (known as the USS) including rising contribution costs for members, and on universities’ failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

UCU members at 60 universities walked out for eight days in November and December last year in action that affected around one million students. This next wave of strikes affects another 14 universities and an additional 200,000 students, as more UCU branches crossed a 50% turnout threshold required by law for them to take industrial action.

As well as the strike days, union members are undertaking “action short of a strike”. This involves things like working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.”

At the Camden UNISON AGM we heard from a striker about what it’s like to work in a university today, and we voted unanimously to support their strike action and make a donation from the branch. A further £126.76 was collected by members in the meeting.

 

Tower Rewards? It’s Tower Robbery!

Tower robbery

UNISON members working for Tower Hamlets Council and in Community Schools are getting ready to take strike action after smashing through the Tory industrial action threshold of 50% turnout. Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action to stop the imposition of a new contract that would worsen their terms and conditions. The ballot result was 98% of members in schools and 89.6% in councils voting to come out on strike!

Strikes will take place on 24 March and 1 and 2 April, with more dates planned after Easter. Camden UNISON will be publicising any marches/rallies and protests that members can support as soon as we have the details. It’s some time since we’ve had a strike across a whole Council and so they need to know fellow trade union members support them. Tower Hamlets UNISON was the single biggest donor to our traffic wardens when they were on strike, and members visited their picket lines and came on our marches so it’s time for us to return the solidarity! Camden UNISON has already agreed to send a message of support and make a donation to to both trade unions involved (UNISON and NEU, the teachers’ union).

The new Council contract will include cutting a range of allowances, slash severance pay, reduce the current flexi scheme and worsen pay on some grades.

The council are ironically calling the new contract ‘Tower Rewards’ but UNISON has rebranded it ‘Tower Robbery’.

The council issued 12 weeks’ notice to all council staff meaning if they don’t accept the new contract they will be sacked and out of a job on the 13 April 2020.

UNISON is now in talks with the NEU to coordinate strike action after teachers impacted by Tower Robbery also successfully voted to take industrial action.

Assistant Branch Secretary, Kerie Anne, said: “The council’s treatment of hardworking and dedicated staff providing public services has been shocking, as has the behaviour from senior managers through the consultation process. Rather than wearing UNISON members down it has had the opposite effect and galvanised the workforce to fight back. Disappointingly senior managers have not spoken to UNISON branch officers for months, preferring to communicate instead by a series of formal letters threatening to take the union to court to stop its ballots and raising other frivolous complaints. Now that they are faced with a concrete threat of a strike that has the potential to shut this borough down, Tower Hamlets Council must abandon its high handed and aggressive methods and begin genuine talks with us to settle this dispute.”

 

Camden UNISON AGM

logo2david-lammy.png[1]

DAVID LAMMY MP SPEAKS AT CAMDEN UNISON AGM

Our AGM on Wed was addressed by guest speaker David Lammy MP. David is MP for Tottenham and has had a high profile campaigning against racism. He has spoken at rallies and protests against nazi ‘Tommy Robinson’ (aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon), and has had widespread press coverage for the work he has done highlighting institutional racism in the education system. He has also campaigned for justice for the Grenfell victims, many of whom are still without permanent housing. Questions were raised and, while answering, David took part in a discussion about how best we can challenge racism in Britain today.

We also had a guest speaker from the UCU (college workers union) who talked about why they are currently taking strike action.

YOUR UNION, YOUR VOICE!

AGM

Thank you for coming along and making a success of  the Camden UNISON Annual General Meeting and for  taking part in the discussions around what the union branch has been doing and what we plan for the coming year. Your contributions will help us to be more effective in continuing campaigning on your behalf.

It’s your union, so continue to get involved and to have your say!

If you know a colleague who hasn’t yet joined UNISON please tell them that they you can contact us on unison@camden.gov.uk

images[3]

agm 5

agm 4

agm 3

IMG_0018

IMG_0020

IMG_0023

IMG_0027