Category Archives: events and celebration

Asif Iqbal’s BSL bill interview to Camden Unison

Asif has kindly agreed to give Camden Unison an interview on the day that the British Sign Language bill is being approved by the House of Lords.

The approval of this bill is an historical event which follows years of campaigning. Asif has been involved in the campaign from the beginning and represents deaf and disabled Camden Unison members as well as being directly involved in the changes Camden is implementing.

YouTube videos of Asif intervening at Unison National meetings for disabled member are also available  through Unison National website.

No To Austerity TUC National Demonstration Saturday 18 June

 

Assemble 11am Portland Place W1A, Rally 1pm Parliament Square

 

Join UNISON on the TUC national demonstration in London on 18 June and take action over the cost of living crisis.

 

The demonstration is an opportunity for us to tell the Tories that they need to support working class people through this financial crisis instead of giving dodgy contracts to their friends and families.

 

According to a recent report from Oxfam, the 10 richest men in the world have seen their wealth double to $1.5tn since the start of the pandemic, widening the gap between rich and poor. They are currently richer than the poorest 40% of the global population, about 3.1 billion people.

 

A one-off 99% windfall tax on their Covid wealth gains could pay to vaccinate the entire world and provide the resources to tackle climate change, provide universal healthcare, and address gender-based violence in 80 countries. Even after a 99% levy, the top 10 billionaires would be $8bn better off between them than they were before the pandemic.

We’re constantly told that there isn’t enough money for the services we need, for everyone to have a decent life, to fund clean water, decent housing, health and education globally and locally.

 

But it’s not about lack of wealth, it’s about wealth distribution – and 18 June is part of us coming together to do something about it. Get your marching shoes ready!

Global Day for Climate Justice

 

Saturday 6 November
11am – Finsbury Circus Garden (Trade Union assembly point)
12noon – Bank of England, Threadneedle Street (main assembly point)
3pm – Rally in Trafalgar Square

Around the world, millions of people will be marching on 6 Nov for climate justice whilst world leaders meet in Glasgow for the COP26 talks. Camden UNISON will be part of the protests in London, starting at the trade union assembly point where we will march with other union members to join the main demonstration. The climate emergency is a huge threat to us all, and so we need to march in large numbers to make sure the politicians hear us. Please do everything you can to join the protest and march with the Camden UNISON banner.
As the COP26 talks begin, some governments and ministers have already tried to undermine any serious attempts to reduce global warming and fossil fuel use, or talk of only meeting ‘targets’ by 2050. And Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak announced in the recent budget that they will spend £1.7bn to build a new nuclear power plant at Sizewell, that domestic flight passenger fuel duty will be cut, and that petrol and diesel duty will be frozen for the twelfth consecutive year. These are not the actions of a government serious about combatting climate change.
To add insult to injury, whilst politicians and royalty are inside the conference, Greta Thunberg, the person who has done most to bring the climate emergency to the top of our agenda, has not been given a pass. But she will still be in Glasgow, joining the Fridays4Future strikes and protests and leading the kind of action we need to force world leaders to take note and take action.
So be part of making a difference – join us on the Global Day for Climate Justice

March For Choice 1.30pm, Sat 4 September Parliament Square (by the Millicent Fawcett statue)

This week a ruling in Texas made it illegal for someone to choose to have an abortion beyond the 6th week of pregnancy, even if they are pregnant as a result of rape or abuse. So now, the penalty for this is worse in Texas than the penalty for rape. Over recent years, there have been a number of attacks on the right to choose, often met with resistance such as the general strike by women in Poland. But on Saturday, those who don’t think we should have that right to choose will be marching in London. A rally has been called to defend the right to choose, and as a long-time affiliate of the pro-choice campaign Abortion Rights, some of us will be attending this with the Camden UNISON banner. There will be speakers from a number of organisations and unions, including me, another London rep on UNISON’s NEC!

I hope to see some of you on these, and look out for pay info and your vote.

Liz

Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary
Camden UNISON
London Borough of Camden

Email: unison@camden.gov.uk
Web: http://www.camdenunison.org.uk
UNISON Office
3rd floor Crowndale Centre
218 Eversholt Street
London NW1 1BD

NHS Workers Deserve A Pay Rise

NHS Workers Deserve A Pay Rise

We all know this, but of course the Tories are trying to avoid it. The Pay Review Body that decides NHS pay (after listening to the government) is due to make an announcement soon, rumoured to be around 2/2.5%. Clearly this is an insult to NHS workers and UNISON has launched a national petition – spend a few minutes to click on the link below, sign and share.

All eyes on Boris: open letter to the PM on NHS pay

Get Involved With Camden UNISON!

We regularly ask if you want to get more involved because it matters. A number of members have come forward to be stewards over the last year and are really making a difference. If you’re interested just email unison@camden.gov.uk and we’ll have a chat about what it involves.

But there are other ways you can help too – quite a few of you have been getting involved in different staff networks, helping us with designing ‘flyers’ and meeting info, thinking about the best way and place we can raise issues – all of this helps. In particular if you’re interested in getting involved in publicity for the branch get in touch as this is the kind of thing it would be great to have a group working together on. As ever, email unison@camden.gov.uk

Divest Our Pension Group

We now have a group of members who want to work together around divesting our pension from the fossil fuel industry, and are going to meet up soon, so just a reminder if you’re interested and haven’t let us know then drop a line to unison@camden.gov.uk

Trade unions are about how we organise collective resistance, about solidarity and unity. Whenever we are divided, we are weaker, and when we are weak those in power stay there unchallenged running a system that goes unchallenged. Racism runs through every aspect of society and needs to be challenged everywhere.

As members of a trade union though, we can come together in our workplaces to discuss and organise how we can fight racism. Sometimes this is about how policies are systematically used in a disproportionate way, sometimes like during the protests after the murder of George Floyd, it’s about taking action like the Teamster union members who refused to take protesters to the police station in their buses despite police orders. At the meeting we’ll hear from speakers who have been organising against racism and racist events, and will have chance to discuss what we can do too.

So please do try to come along to the Camden UNISON meeting.

 

Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary
Camden UNISON
London Borough of Camden

 

 

 

Take The Knee 6pm, Tuesday 25 May Outside 5PS

Up and down the country, people will be taking the knee outside their workplaces and in their communities. This has been an important action over the last year, from local street communities to professional sports people. Taking the knee didn’t start last year though – above is a picture of Martin Luther King in Selma, Alabama, during one of the most famous marches in the history of the civil rights movement. It was taken up in the first wave of Black Lives Matter protests and has continued to be central today.

So if you are able to make the journey safely, or are currently working in a Camden building and can make it, please join us outside 5PS at 6pm on Tuesday where we can take the knee together.

Nationally, this is organised jointly by the TUC and Stand Up To Racism, and UNISON is encouraging members to take part.

 

Liz Wheatley
Branch Secretary
Camden UNISON
London Borough of Camden

George Floyd Verdict

 

Black Lives Matter

Justice For George Floyd

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

Camden UNISON welcomes the verdict that Derek Chauvin, the killer cop, has been found guilty on all three charges surrounding the murder of George Floyd last year. Much has been made in the press of how this would not have happened without the camera phone footage, and subsequent appearance at the trial as a witness, by Darnella Frazier. That was very important – around the world we could see the brutality of the police and the contempt they held for the life of a Black man.

But other police murders have been filmed before. The Black Lives Matter movement that saw millions on the streets across the US and the rest of the world also led to that verdict, and we stand with everyone who took to the streets to march, held protest vigils and meetings, the Teamster trade unionists who refused to follow police orders to take protesters to the cells and more. This has been an important verdict for the Floyd family, and it is important for all of us who want to fight racism. Now we demand justice for Breonna Taylor, for Ma’Khia Bryant and sadly for many more.

There has also been much talk about how few police officers in the US have been charged or convicted following the death of a Black person at their hands or in their custody. The number is shockingly low. However, that number here in Britain is zero. On the eve of the anniversary of Stephen Lawrence’s murder, this verdict highlights the existence of institutional racism specifically in the police, and also in wider society, and directly contradicts the government Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

Camden Council has committed to challenging institutional racism and being an anti-racist employer and organisation, and as your trade union we will be doing everything that we can to make sure their pledges are put into practice.

Institutional racism is built into every aspect of society and as well as discriminating against people based on the colour of their skin, it also makes racists and racist organisations more confident. Almost a year ago, we said we are proud that Camden UNISON has been at the forefront of challenging this. As a trade union we want to see a better, fairer society. That means organising and resisting to end the low pay and poverty that is experienced in particular by our Black members, but also fighting for a world free from the racism and bigotry that can divide us. Today we stand by that. No Justice, No Peace.

 

Camden UNISON Annual General Meeting 3.30pm, Wednesday 3 March Paid time off has been agreed for Council employees Teams

The last year has been like no other for us in many ways – the pandemic has affected how we live and work and the Black Lives Matter movement has challenged racism in society and the workplace. This makes the branch AGM an important chance for us to discuss how we’ve responded to that and what we want to do over the next year. So please do join us at the online meeting and have your say. The Teams link and agenda has been emailed out to all members, if you haven’t received it or have any other queries please contact unison@camden.gov.uk

Disability History Month 18 Nov-18 Dec 2020

Camden UNISON is proud to have signed up to the Camden Disability Network’s Charter, and some of our members are actively helping to co-ordinate the Network. Here Asif outlines the aims and plans of the Network and gives details of how you can get in touch and involved.

 

Camden Disability Network Mission Statement

 

Disabled staff across the organisation have recently come together to re-establish Camden Disability Network, and to support the organisation in ensuring it is inclusive of everyone’s needs, fostering a working environment that is equal for all.

 

“The network aims to ensure that all staff feel able to declare their disabilities and become positive role models for their disabled colleagues. Through the network we want to empower disabled staff, celebrate their talents and help them to achieve their hopes for the future.”

                                                                                                                                                       Camden Disability Network, November 2020

 

Camden Disability Network offers support for disabled staff across Camden Council. This is a safe space to express views or concerns, a platform for everyone’s voice to be heard and to influence decisions across the organisation. We will work together to ensure equal participation for all. We are committed to making the CDN a truly inclusive, equal and respectful place for disabled staff.

 

Camden Disability Network’s vision

 

  • We want Camden to be an organisation where staff members are not identified by their disability, but are seen as people
  • We want to be able see the talents and potential of all staff, regardless of their disability, and ensure that Camden provide reasonable adjustments when needed
  • We want all Camden Council workplaces and public spaces, as well as programs and services, to be accessible
  • We want to make our workplace somewhere where people with disabilities can be, and want to be, their best selves
  • In the immediate term we want to provide internal support to staff. In the long term we want to instigate projects to help engage the wider community of Camden and recognise the needs, interests and concerns of disabled residents.

 

How Camden Disability Network will help Camden to achieve this vision:

 

  • Working with HR to review HR policies, and ensure disabled staff are protected, according to the Equality Act 2010 and relevant case law
  • Encouraging open and honest conversations between all parts of Camden and other organisations
  • Increasing disability awareness
  • Working closely with the Rainbow Group, Camden Black Worker’s Group, and other Employee Support Groups, and Trade Unions
  • Promoting Disability History Month to raise awareness of disabled staff for all staff
  • Producing the Disability Charter
  • Acting as a disability and change champion

 

The Network’s core beliefs

 

  • Disabilities are a natural part of life. Anyone can acquire a disability at any time
  • Many of the difficulties faced by disabled people are a result of attitudes and environments, and not the disability itself
  • Disabilities positively affect and enhance the diversity of our community
  • The term ‘disability’ is not to be viewed as something negative, a taboo, or something which makes an individual in any well less than others

 

Everyone should have the opportunity to express their strengths, abilities, and talents:

 

  • Discussing disabilities is to be encouraged in order to help people
  • Data about disabilities is treated with confidence at all times

Summary of what Camden Disability Network has achieved so far:

Camden Disability Network

  • Camden Disability Network aims to welcome disabled staff, colleagues who work with disabled staff or residents or communities.
  • Camden Disability Network Working Group aims for Executive Board overview of disability issues will cover review policies, consultation, communication, working with senior management, etc
  • Set up Camden Disability Network Yammer Group – If you are interested, you can join Camden Disability Network Yammer to contribute your disability, resources, ideas, stories, etc.
  • Heads of Services to advise Team Managers to promote the Camden Disability Network through to their members of staff

Disability History Month – 18th November 18th December 2020

  • Camden Disability Network is launched new Logo and email banner signature
  • Jenny Rowlands, Chief Executive’s statement of support for Disability History Month and Disability Network via Essentials
  • Promote staff personal stories i.e. if staff have a role model or anyone who has inspired them internally or externally.  We are keen to promote awareness of disabled staff internally and externally through Essentials, Yammer and Twitter
  • Disability History Month conversation video will be on Essentials and Yammer on 18th November 2020.

https://lbcamden.sharepoint.com/sites/intranet/communications/Pages/today-marks-the-start-of-disability-history-month-2020.aspx

  • Disability History Month: resources to support and inform:

https://lbcamden.sharepoint.com/sites/intranet/communications/Pages/disability-history-month-resources-to-support-and-inform.aspx

  • Promoting training sessions: Emma Watson and Emma Chimonidou, Executive Member of Disability Network Working Group, will be running 3 x dyspraxia sessions on 19th, 24th November and 1st and 17th December 2020 during Disability History Month.
  • Camden Disability Network delighted to be working in partnership with Islington Disabled Staff Forum as they share the following lunch time drop in training sessions to all Camden and Islington staff.

Spotting the signs and positive relationships

Wednesday 18 November – 12 to 1pm

How to sign

Wednesday 25 November – 12 to 1pm

Rethinking Disability

Wednesday 2 December – 12 to 1pm

End the Awkward! Conversation

Wednesday 9 December – 12 to 1pm

Undoing Barriers

Wednesday 16 December – 12 to 1pm

  • Camden Disability Network is proud to announce that Camden Council will provide a purple light at 5PS offices on Thursday 3rd December 2020 to celebrate International Day for Disabled People and recognise disabled staff’s great achievements and value their contribution to Camden. This will include signing the Camden Disability Network’s Disability Charter as well.
  • Camden Disability Network Charter will be signed by Jenny Rowlands, Chief Executive and Councillor Gould, Leader on Thursday 3rd December 2020 in conjunction with the celebration of the International Day for Disabled People.

Disability Champion

  • Camden Council will seek a Disability Champion role that can be used to engage/ involve with disabled staff and to raise the profile of Camden Council.

Working partnership with Islington Disabled Staff Forum

  • Recently we have met Islington Disabled Staff Forum to see how we can work in partnership, share information and network as it could be beneficial for our long term planning.

 

Asif Iqbal