Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Table Mountain walk (South Wales)

I have had a busy summer walking wise but have not posted on many of the great walks that Gill and I have been on recently. This 5 mile circular Pathfinder walk from Crickhowell, South Wales was marvellous. Quite tough on a hot summer day but the views from the top was well worth it. 

Will post more pictures on Facebook - and link.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

West Ham Labour informal social - good to meet up again


Picture from an informal social of West Ham CLP members that I happened to have in my phone's contact list. Apologies for those I missed out on the invitation. Let me know for next time. 

There was about 25 members who came and went. As you would expect for August, I had a number of apologies from members on their holidays. 

 It was really nice to meet up again after so long (first Covid and then the suspension of the Newham CLPs for membership irregularities & other matters)

We will meet up next month (and Labour Party conference?) in a restaurant or for a BBQ? 

I think that apart from it being so nice to meet socially, everyone is aware that there could be a general election announced in the next couple of weeks (unlikely but probably sooner rather than later). 

West Ham CLP use to be able to send scores and scores of experienced teams of canvassers to London and other Labour Party marginals during past General Elections. We have to win the next General Election, whenever it happens and we need to mobilise and organise our activists to get out there and campaign for a Labour victory. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

"Topping out" at Leather Gardens, West Ham


I know Councillors love having their picture taken in hard hats and hi-vis (even if they don't always fit that well) but I really enjoyed this "topping out" the other week with the Mayor laying the final brick.

But the main reason for my pleasure was that this new block of 100% Council flats at social rents is in my ward. This land had been boarded up and unused since way before I became a local Councillor in 2010. While this development will not solve the massive housing crisis in Newham it is a much welcome start. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Wedding of Anika with Naim

I was honoured to be a guest this evening at the wedding of the eldest daughter Anika of my Newham colleague, Cllr Abul Bashar Syed (also a fellow Union activist with the CWU) and Mrs Niheli Syeda (Shemoli). 

It was a lovely meal and great to meet up with so many friends and colleagues to celebrate Anika and Naim's wedding. 

On my table there was a number of interesting guests such as Billy Hayes, former General Secretary of the CWU with whom I had a conversation about the religious origins of Everton FC (he is not a supporter but put to right a theory that a Uncle had once told me).

I will be asking Syed about how we can in Newham offer solidary support for the forthcoming CWU strikes. 

Many thanks to the staff of the City Pavilion for looking after us so well. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Pledge yes to the nhs

The government won’t move on NHS pay, from Thursday, tell your NHS staff in England to pledge yes and show them we’re serious.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

UNISON activist: Solidarity with St Monica strikers


Care staff announce new strike dates over pay, says UNISON

Workers at St Monica Trust plan 48-hour walkout and two-day strike in August

Care workers, registered nurses and residential home staff employed by Bristol-based St Monica Trust will take further strike action next week, said UNISON.Staff at the Russets and Sherwood care home in Sandford, North Somerset, will walk out for 48 hours from 7am on Tuesday 16 August, while workers at Cote Lane in Bristol will launch a two-day strike from Friday 19 August.The new dates follow five days of action in June and July over fire and rehire threats and cuts to pay.Weekend rates will be slashed for senior care workers by 21% under the plans, while other staff are being asked to take a 10% hit to their salaries, UNISON says.The union says striking staff also face a 50% cut to sick pay and reductions in working hours after bosses imposed unpaid breaks during shifts.Several health and safety concerns have been raised by UNISON with St Monica Trust. These include the recruitment of agency staff who will not be familiar with the specialist needs of residents.Issues raised by staff at other homes run by the Trust include trainee nursing associates being used in place of qualified nurses, and residents left without hot water for a week.UNISON South West regional secretary Joanne Kaye said: “St Monica Trust has been asked repeatedly by UNISON to meet for talks but the charity simply refuses. It’s been over four months since they came to the table.“Many staff don’t know if they’ll be able to feed their families as the cost-of-living crisis bites. Slashing wages and threatening employees is not the way to keep experienced, committed workers.“Throwing cash at agency staff who do not know the ropes or the residents is a dangerous tactic.St Monica Trust must put residents and staff before balance sheets.”

Notes to editors: – Care staff employed by St Monica Trust took part in five days of strike action and staged pickets outside care homes in June and July across South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and Bath and North East Somerset. The action took place on 29 June and 2, 5, 10 and 11 July.– Proposals from St Monica Trust include cuts to hourly rate, cuts to sickness absence pay and cuts to working hours. – UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

UNISON urges caution over new pension scheme (collective defined contribution)


UNISON is 100% right to be careful about this new "CDC" (Collective Defined Contribution Scheme) however, it should not be seen as a replacement for decent existing pension schemes but a realistic option for the so many workers in the UK, who have rotten, inadequate and completely unsecure pension provision. 

"Government’s new collective defined contribution pension scheme could help some public service workers, but shouldn’t erode the pensions of others.

UNISON is urging caution after this week’s announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that it is launching a new UK pension model.

The UK government seeks to introduce collective defined contribution schemes as an alternative to the UK’s current two primary pension scheme models – defined contribution and defined benefit.

The new scheme is a result of the Pensions Schemes Act that was passed in 2021.

UNISON sees defined benefit schemes as vital in providing decent pensions for many public service workers. However, millions of public service workers – including UNISON members – are not eligible to join such schemes and are dependent on defined contributions schemes instead.

The union has negotiated with employers in these sectors and has successfully brought about a number of relatively high-quality defined contributions schemes for members in recent years.

UNISON head of pensions Glyn Jenkins said that caution was needed when employers consider any changes to existing pension arrangements. “These new pension arrangements must not erode current provision,” he commented.

“UNISON supports improving member outcomes through the introduction of collective defined contribution for members in defined contribution schemes, but the new schemes should not be used to replace viable defined benefit schemes.”

Mr Jenkins pointed out that, on the basis of the union’s experience, many defined contribution schemes will not provide an adequate income for their members.

This is for a number of reasons, including, “woefully inadequate levels of contributions – especially from the employers – and charges on investments.”

He continued: “Collective defined contribution schemes should improve the position for members in defined contributions schemes. Even though such schemes do not guarantee benefit levels, they do set a target benefit level that may be reached.”

Posted on
4 August 2022

Monday, August 15, 2022

Charles I: Killing a King


Last week I watched all 3 programmes on BBC iPlayer about the trial and execution of Charles 1. A mix of traditional factual historical presenting with clips of actors playing the main characters.  

The killing of a King following a legal process (no matter how flawed) was hugely important. 

None of the main characters appear to be at all attractive to our modern eyes and values but we still live in parliamentary democracy with a hereditary monarch as our Head of State which was shaped by these events.  

Thursday, August 11, 2022

UNISON-supported legal victory secures new holiday rights for all workers

 Supreme Court judgment guarantees minimum paid annual leave

All workers in the UK will now receive the same minimum level of paid annual holiday leave, regardless of how many hours they work, following a landmark legal judgment by the Supreme Court today (Wednesday).

The case, Harpur Trust v Brazel & UNISON, was taken by music teacher Lesley Brazel. She argued her employer was wrong to give her fewer days of annual leave than the legal minimum because she only worked during the school term.

UNISON got involved in the Brazel case because of its implications for thousands of school staff employed on term-time only contracts. The situation had previously been confused because of the absence of any government guidance on their holiday rights, says UNISON.

Thanks to the judgment, it will no longer be possible for employers to argue staff who don’t work all year are only entitled to holiday based on the hours they work. Today’s decision is also good news for anyone working irregular hours or on zero-hours contracts, says the union.

From now on, all workers will be due the same legal minimum of 5.6 weeks (28 days for full-time employees), even if there are months during the year when they don’t work. The Supreme Court judgment upholds a previous decision taken by the Court of Appeal in 2019.

Commenting on the judgment, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “This important decision means that anyone, no matter when or how they work, will now be due the same legal minimum of annual holiday.

“Teaching assistants or other education employees might only be contracted to work when schools are open, but they’re also sometimes required to do their jobs at other times.

“Today’s decision clarifies the law and says that annual leave taken by someone who works less than a full year can no longer be pro-rated to that of a colleague employed all year round.

“The government’s failure to provide guidance in this area has left workers in limbo with unscrupulous employers all too keen to take advantage. Once again this shows unions as a force for good and yet another example of how they strive to improve the lives of working people everywhere.”

Notes to editors:
-The Supreme Court judgment ensures leave must be paid at the rate of an ordinary week’s wages (or if pay varies every week, then an average of all the weeks worked in a year). Annual leave calculations are based on weeks, as a person can work a full week or part of one. The law says that someone working a full year is entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of annual leave (28 days for anyone working full-time hours in a week and this can include the eight bank holidays). The judgment means that an employee working all year, but say, for just two days a week is entitled to 11.2 days a year (2 x 5.6 weeks, so 2.24 weeks or 11.2 days).
-UNISON intervened in the case in 2018, ahead of a hearing at the Court of Appeal the following year. The case had previously been through an employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal. The Harpur Trust applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal. UNISON successfully led the arguments at the Court of Appeal that all workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of annual leave under statute, and this should be paid at the rate of an ordinary week’s pay. The Supreme Court has now upheld this decision and its judgment is here

-UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

St Stephens Road, West Ham ASB Walkabout


Picture college from a "Walkabout" I went on in my Council ward, West Ham, with local residents and Council officers last week. There are a number of serious ASB issues in the locality and while it was very disappointing that a number of Council officers and the local ward Police SNT did not attend (or apparently not  arrange substitutes or offer apologies) those who did attend were very proactive and attentive. Including our new "Design out Crime" technical specialist and advisor. 

While there was examples of good practice, overall the standard of cleanliness and degree of disrepair was unacceptable and I will be organising a follow up walkabout in the near future. I am looking forward to the recommendations of the "Design out Crime" specialist since there are a number of fairly simple "quick wins" that could be implemented. If any West Ham ward residents wish for a similar "walkabout" please let me know. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

UNISON Greater London branch Circular - August 2022


Welcome to the new branch update!


Dear Branch Secretary, 

Welcome to the new Branch Secretary monthly update! Improving communications is one of the region's key priorities, as a result we have designed this new e-bulletin with the aim to keep you informed of what's going on in the Greater London region. In this email you can find information about upcoming events, updates about regional campaigns and much more.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work in supporting our members. With the country in the middle of a massive cost of living crisis, and the government’s failure to act, now more than ever our members are looking to us. I know many of you are already doing great work, from negotiating an increase in mileage rates, to campaigning for an increase in London Weighting. I hope to be able to share with you an update on the national cost of living campaign in the coming months.

In the meantime, there’s a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m confident that by working together we can make a real difference to our members lives.

Jo Galloway
Regional Secretary | Greater London



Branch participation 

Regional Council
Wednesday 19th October 2022
Venue TBC

More details and relevant deadlines can be found in the attached convening notice.

Download the convening notice


Download the motion form



Retired member delegates attending 2022/23 Self Organised Group Conferences 
UNISON rule D 7.8 allows for the National Retired Members’ Organisation to send two representatives to each of the National Self-Organised Group Conferences.

Travel costs, expenses and accommodation will be met from national funds. Disabled retired members, LGBT+ retired members, Black retired members and women retired members interested in attending can find more information in the document via the link.

More information here



Training and education

The region is committed to providing a wide ranging education & training programme for activists to support you in your role. We offer courses ranging from Lost in UNISON, a short induction session for those very new to the role, to mandatory introductory training necessary for stewards and Health & Safety reps. We also offer more advanced courses to further develop your skills. Details on all regional courses available can be found on our website.

For further information on all education & training please contact Amanda Mayers

The following courses are aimed at Stewards who have completed the Introductory Stewards Course and wish to further develop their knowledge and skills:

NEW Grievances and Disciplinaries
Three-day course (In person in Central London)

Thursdays commencing 28 September (then 6 & 13 October)
£30 course fee

Register here


NEW Mental Health Awareness
One day course (Online)

Wednesday 5 October
£30 course fee

Register here


NEW Menopause in the Workplace
One day course (Online)

Monday 17 or Tuesday 18 October
£30 course fee

Register for Monday 17th October


Register for Tuesday 18th October


NEW Supporting members through Sickness Absence
Three-day course (Online)

Wednesdays commencing 2 November (then 9 & 16 Nov)
£30 course fee

Register here



Upcoming events 

Meeting for disabled Black Members

10 August 2022
2pm - 4:30pm
Meet other disabled Black Members, including your reps on the National Disabled Members Committee. These meetings have been arranged to allow space for members from under-represented groups within disabled members self organisation to network and organise and to ensure they have better access to the disabled members conference agenda.
This is a free event with lunch provided, taking place at UNISON Centre in London, travel costs are met nationally.

Please contact to register


2023 National Black Members Conference 

20-22 January 2023
Edinburgh International Conference Centre
We have now opened the Online Conference System (OCS) to allow branches to register delegates and submit motions in line with the rule-book requirements.     

Please note the deadline to submit motions on OCS is 12.00 noon on Friday, 30 September 2022.

If you have any queries please email


Contact to book travel


2023 National Higher Education Conference

2 February 2023
Crowne Plaza Newcastle
We have now opened the Online Conferencing System (OCS) to allow branches to register delegates and submit motions in line with the rule-book requirements.      

Please note the deadline to submit motions on OCS is 12.00 noon on Thursday, 13 October 2022.

If you have any queries please email


Contact to book travel



Service group updates 

The Health Service Group Executive (HSGE) has called for a full industrial action ballot of directly employed NHS staff in England.

Campaign resources and a full timetable will be published soon. Branches can prepare now by calling branch meetings for mid-August to discuss plans for delivering local campaign activity.

The final details are still to be agreed but the HSGE has decided that while vital ballot preparation takes place, we will run a “pledge” drive, to act as a talking point with members and to get them to ‘pledge to vote yes’ when the formal ballots are issues.

Read the FAQ's here


Higher Education
The University and Colleges Employers Association have made their final pay offer: a below-inflation pay rise of 3% for most Higher Education staff and between 9% and 3% for those on pay points 3 to 19. They didn’t offer any more during the dispute process and will now impose this pay increase on 1 August 2022. A large number of branches in London agreed that members, covered by national HE pay bargaining for the year 2022/3, should be balloted for industrial action over the offer and the ballot is underway. It will close on 26 August. For more info on the offer and the ballot please read the FAQ's.

Read the FAQ's here


Local Government
On Monday 25 July 2022 the Employers’ Side of the National Joint Council (NJC) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, made a final pay offer to local government employees. The pay offer is a flat rate increase on all spinal column points of £1,925 to be implemented from 1 April 2022 (i.e. payment to be backdated to that date). In Greater London this equates to an uplift of £2,229 on each spinal column point for Outer London and £2,355 for Inner London. View the figures here.

This offer is in response to the joint union pay claim for £2,000, or RPI.

Order materials here


Download the Powerpoint


Download graphics for social media


Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Unionreps Connect 2022 - 6 October 2022


A brand a new learning event for union reps - learn from experts ● share your experience ● connect with reps

About this event

What are the big issues facing workplaces and unions? How can union reps best support their members? Come join hundreds of union reps to learn, share, and connect and improve working life for everyone.

Bringing together reps from unions across the UK, Unionreps Connect 2022 offers learning sessions, training workshops and collaborative spaces for both new and experienced workplace representatives. The one day event will give advice and support on everyday issues including employment law, health and safety, union learning and equality. It’s also an excellent opportunity for you to network and make new connections.

We’ll have a packed programme featuring presentations from employment rights specialists, interactive workshops with TUC policy experts and discussions with inspirational union reps.

Thu, 6 October 2022

Monday, August 01, 2022

Newham Council Meeting - 1 August 2022

At @NewhamLondon Full Council meeting. This meeting replaces the one cancelled due to extreme heat a fortnight ago. There was a fascinating presentation by Sir David King, former Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor on the climate change emergency followed by a Q&A. Some facts about the importance of Blue Whale defecation that I admit that I was not aware of previously but will now never forget. 

A rather long meeting. Standing orders were extended to extend the meeting for 30 minutes. Some confusing motions and amendments on the MSG Sphere planning proposal. It was agreed to defer.

Check out agenda here