Saturday, April 18, 2020

There for all our members in the time of coronavirus

A call to arms: how your branch can help There for You help members hit by crisis and loss of money

There for You is there for UNISON members who experience hard times. In the current coronavirus crisis, that’s pretty much everyone.
As our welfare charity, There for You is helping more and more members who find that their limited income has been hit by the crisis.
For many members, asking for financial help from There for You is something they’d only consider on a rainy day they hoped would never actually arrive.
But it has.
For too many UNISON members, this pandemic means the rain is pouring down and they risk being flooded out.
Some are losing work and have no income because they are on zero-hour contracts.
Some are having their hours cut or being made redundant without redundancy pay.
Many are also facing a situation where someone in the household is self-employed and family income has drastically dropped.
Some members and their families are self-isolating. So members need emergency grants from There for You.
Helping members in this situation is what UNISON and our welfare charity is here for. It’s basic solidarity.
And our branches can help extend that solidarity by making a donation to There for You (see below for details).
How can your branch help?
Your branch can make donations to There for You by direct bank transfer to:
Account name: Unison Welfare (Charity) There for You
Unity Trust Bank
Sort code: 60-83-01
Account number: 20215147.
Please also include a reference, consisting of your branch number and the letters COV to identify the type of donation. To be doubly sure, it would help if branches email There for You’s Paul Haylock on when they’ve made a donation.
The There for You offices at UNISON Centre in London are currently closed and not receiving mail, so please don’t send cheques.
A number of branches have asked if they can donate to There for You from their industrial action funds. The short answer is: given the extraordinary circumstances – Yes, to a maximum of 5% of industrial action fund.
However this decision to use up to 5% of industrial action funds must be agreed by either a branch committee or the chairperson, branch secretary and treasurer.
The union’s rules allow branches to transfer 5% of their industrial action fund to general funds each year, if that is agreed by a general meeting of members.
But the coronavirus lock-down and social distancing measures mean meetings can’t take place for branches to make that democratic decision.
After careful consideration, UNISON’s presidential team – the most senior lay members of the union – has agreed to take the decision on behalf of all branches in this unique situation.
This means that every branch can donate up to 5% of its industrial action fund to the national There for You fund.
Like the welfare charity, branches’ industrial action funds are there to provide solidarity for members in rainy days.
And it’s pouring down: for our members; for health workers and care workers; for frontline and many unsung workers providing key services at this crucial time; for members who are affected by COVID-19 or a loss of income.
Our members need us. They need our support and solidarity. And your branch can help provide it.

No comments: