Category Archives: events and celebration

Ceasefire Now – Palestine Solidarity Campaign Demonstration 12 noon, Saturday 25 Nov Central London

Last weekend there were local protests and rallies up and down the country calling for a ceasefire now, including hundreds marching through Camden Town and ending with a rally at Mornington Crescent, and another national demonstration is taking place this Saturday. Full details of the assembly point and route are being finalised – we will have them by Thursday’s meeting at the latest – but put the time and date in your diary.

Virtually all trade unions, huge swathes of civil society organisations and politicians around the world are now calling for a ceasefire – our Tory government is one of the few that isn’t so far. If we want that to change, we have to keep up the pressure, and an important part of that is to join the protests.

However, not everyone can join a march – but there’s always something everyone can do:
• If you can donate, there’s the collection mentioned above, or you can donate to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) – see the link for information about their work Medical Aid for Palestinians (
• You can sign a petition – there are lots circulating, but this is a good place to start Seek a ceasefire and to end Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip – Petitions (
• And you might want to know how your MP voted: How did your MP vote on the Gaza ceasefire motion? | Gaza | The Guardian
• Support a boycott campaign – historically, boycotting companies and organisations that profit or benefit from war, occupation and discrimination has been an important part of campaigns. We will be discussing if this is effective and if we want to have a boycott campaign at one of our members meetings soon, so bring along your ideas

If you have any more ideas about how members can be involved, get in touch by emailing

The NSL Strikers’ Big Win

But we’re so pleased to be able to say that our Camden Unison traffic warden strikers have won a huge victory in their pay battle!
They’ve won an increase to £15 an hour this year (backdated to 1 April), to £15.90 next year and to £16.50 or RPI increase, whichever is the highest, in year 3. That’s an 18.1% or £5k pay rise in year one!
This has only happened because our members got organised and stood united together. Going out on indefinite strike was a bold move but it’s paid off – striking hard works!!
Over the next week or so we’ll be writing to branches to thank them for their solidarity, but an immediate big thanks to everyone who marched, picketed and protested with us, who sent us solidarity messages, spoke at (mainly rainy!) rallies and meetings and just gave us a honk! Your solidarity kept the strike strong.
At the last mass meeting today, strikers recorded solidarity video messages to Barnet Unison branch, to Kirklees UNISON branch and to Brighton UCU branch to show solidarity with their fights. They’ve become known for their picket line drumming skills, but have sold most of the drums and are donating the money to other strike funds too.
Solidarity forever ✊🏼✊🏼✊🏼

Camden UNISON Members Meeting 1pm, Thurs 22 June Teams Guest Speaker: Mick Lynch, RMT General Secretary



As many of you know, we have a members meeting every Thursday at 1pm on Teams, where we discuss our campaigns, workplace issues and more, and where possible we have guest speakers. These are often strikers or campaigners. And this week, we have a guest speaker that many of you will have heard of. A year ago, rail workers in the RMT were the first out of the blocks to start saying that we can’t put up with any more pay cuts. They were attacked in the media, but Mick Lynch, their union General Secretary, answered every challenge and put the case not just for rail workers, but for all working class people to get a decent wage and have decent working conditions. And he argued that this should not be at the expense of those worse off, but should come from the pockets of the billionaires and the companies that make huge profits from us.

So our meeting on Thursday is a chance to hear from Mick Lynch, to ask him questions, find out any tips to help us win our ballot etc – I hope to see lots of you there!

And don’t forget that next week, we have an in-person meeting on Thursday 29 June – and our guest speaker Chris Smalls comes all the way from Staten Island where he’s been central to organising the union that took on and beat Jeff Bezos at Amazon. So make that the day that you come in to the office!



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

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

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



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


CBWG 40th celebration