Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Nominate Denise Thomas and John Gray to UNISON NEC Community Seats 2023


Denise and I are restanding for the two seats allocated to the UNISON NEC for the National Community service Group (UNISON members who work in Charities, Voluntary Sector and Housing Associations).

We have emailed all 477 branches in England and the devolved nations who have Community members asking them to nominate us. We ask members who support us to contact their branches and ask them to nominate us.

Below is a copy of our nomination request:-

"Dear Branch Secretary & Branch Officers & Reps,

Nominate Denise Thomas and John Gray- your NEC team for Community

We are writing to ask your branch committee to consider nominating us to the Community National Executive Committee (NEC) seats. UNISON election office has told us that you have community members, and you can nominate us. We also ask you to support all Candidates that support Unity in UNISON.

The nomination period for the NEC elections is 9th January to 13th February. Your branch must hold a quorate meeting in this period and submit the nominations on the CES portal (look out for an email from takepart@cesvotes.com) if you would like to nominate us. We’ve attached a checklist for branches to help you navigate the process.

Both of us are active UNISON members and officers like you. We all work hard dealing with members who need advice, negotiating with our employers, and campaigning on issues that matter to our members. Between us, we have years of experience as well as a fresh approach after the last few years of turmoil and a genuine dedication to UNISON and our members.

We believe UNISON needs to better represent workers like you and your members and if elected, we pledge to:

     ●     Put Community Members First - We will represent every one of the 82,000 plus UNISON members and make sure that those issues that matter most to our diverse, independent and dedicated Community members and branches.

     Tackle the Cost of Living Crisis - Through winnable & strategic pay campaigns in our service group, increasing the pressure on this disgraceful government and employers through campaigning and meaningful industrial action, and increasing resources for local branch campaigns & initiatives, we promise to lead our members out of this crisis to put money in their pockets.

      Make sure that a future Labour Government delivers on providing sectorial collective bargaining for Charities and Housing associations. To ensure fair pay, pensions and decent terms for all Community members

● Stand United and Reject Division - We will work with, and support, Christina McAnea, the elected General Secretary to deliver for all members. Last year’s NDC showed that what matters most to us, our branches and our members is working for positive, progressive change in our union - not pettiness and protecting individuals.

● Make sure everyone has a voice in UNISON - Community has over 80% Women and over 20% Black members with a diverse workforce across all regions and nations. UNISON must represent all members and the NEC should be led by those that do.

● Fight Discrimination and put it at the heart of UNISON- No-one should ever experience racism, misogyny, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ageism, disability or any other form of discrimination in either the workplace or the union. We promise to work with all the Self- Organised Groups to support their campaigns and priorities.

 Please consider nominating:

     Denise Thomas, Community Female Seat, Membership Number 8688788

     John Gray, Community General Seat, Membership Number 3083288

 Keep reading for more information about each of us and why we want to be your NEC Member!

Nominate Denise Thomas – Branch Welfare Officer Ymlaen/Forward Cymru Wales

I am a support worker who has previously served as an NEC member and on the Community Service Group Executive. My background is working in the Voluntary and Community sector for the past 29 years supporting adults with learning disabilities and currently work for a major national organisation.

I hold Regional positions as Regional Black Members Secretary, Welfare Officer for Ymlaen/Forward Cymru Wales and as a Workplace Steward. I advise, support or represent UNISON members.

As a support worker who works night shifts, weekends and bank holidays supporting vulnerable adults, I know just how hard it can be to do our job and how we struggle to balance work and family life on low incomes. This is why we need a strong and effective union.

As a Black Woman, I know the impact of the Cost of Living Crisis on Women and the Black Community first hand. UNISON needs to tackle the inequality and discrimination experienced by so many members, particularly community service group members who are often hardest hit. We have to deal with high childcare costs, rising rent and mortgages, the highest cost of living and energy prices soaring plus travel and everything else. It’s not good enough and something has to change.

As your NEC member, I promise to tackle the issues that matter and put our member’s front and centre- as I've always done.

Nominate John Gray – National Convener, Clarion Housing Group

I am tenancy specialist for a housing association who deals with complex anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and tenancy fraud across 3 inner London boroughs.

As a housing worker I understand first-hand the stresses and difficulties of providing public services. As a steward and National Convenor, like many of you, I work hard every day to help members when they need it most, representing them in disciplinary, sickness absences and grievances as well as negotiating with my employer on pay, terms and conditions.

In the past I was the Chair of a strike committee that took part in a successful month long “all out” action, as well as other disputes over pay and pensions. Too often then community sector is overlooked and underestimated. We often have much worse terms and conditions that those directly employed by hospital trusts or local authorities. Community workers need a government that respects our sector and the important services we provide.

My special interest is pensions and I am a trade union nominated Pension Board member and represent all local government trade unions on the London Collective Investment Vehicle. Everyone should have the right to a fair and decent pension, our sector often suffers from lower employer contributions and worse benefits.

As well as being a front line worker I am an experienced activist. I’m the National UNISON Convenor for my employer, National Community Service Group Executive member, and former NEC members. I am the London Regional Finance Convenor and Chair of London Labour Link. I’ve been an active member of both local government & community branches for the past 26 years, I’ve previously been branch secretary, treasurer, and health & safety officer.

As your NEC member, I promise to tackle the issues that matter and put our members’ front and centre- as I've always done.

For an NEC that delivers on the issues that matter most to you and your members we need an NEC that is united in its priorities rather than fighting itself:

Nominate Denise Thomas and John Gray - Your NEC Team For Community Members

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