Articles from Unison

Support staff have little confidence in government school safety plans, says UNISON

Support staff have little confidence in government school safety plans, says @unisontheunion

Local MPs urge Birmingham University to resolve pay dispute

Support staff at Birmingham University are to take further strike action today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) in their long-running industrial dispute over fair pay, equality and improved working conditions.

Unused Levy Funds: Hard up hospitals unable to take on apprentices

Apprenticeship restrictions mean hundreds of millions of pounds of NHS funds going to waste, says UNISON

Government must explain how school staff and pupils will be kept safe, says UNISON

Ministers must stop dodging the issue of safety and provide a clear explanation of how schools keep pupils, staff and parents safe before any mass reopening, says UNISON responding to the government's Covid-19 recovery strategy published today (Monday). 

Government must not allow universities to fail during the coronavirus outbreak

Universities must be given extra protection during the #Covid_19 pandemic to ensure their financial survival because of their vital contribution to the economy, local communities and crucial medical research, unions are warning the government today (Tuesday). In a joint letter to higher education minister Michelle Donelan, five unions representing higher education (HE) staff ask for urgent assurances that universities will not be allowed to go under as a result of the outbreak, backed up with legislation. UNISON, University and College Union (UCU), GMB, Unite and the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) say the sector is too valuable for any institutions to get into financial difficulties and will play a key role in rebuilding the country. Some universities are the biggest employer in their area and whole communities are reliant on them, the unions say, with the HE sector employing around 750,000 people. In addition to biological research, their work is key to understanding the impact of the outbreak on society, psychologically and economically. The letter says: “The higher education sector is vital in addressing this current crisis. University research is central in developing tests for the illness and antibody tests, in tracking Covid-19, in developing vaccines and carrying out medical research. “A stable and well-resourced higher education sector will be vital in getting through this crisis. “The university sector is one of the most productive and important parts of the UK economy with international students alone bringing in £7.3 billion each year and the sector as a whole generating £73 billion. “We are already getting many reports of universities serving notifications of redundancies, and of contractors in universities sending staff home without pay or asking them to use their annual leave.  "It is no overstatement to say that such a response from universities will be disastrous for the individuals concerned and their families as well as for the future of the higher education sector – one of the most important industries in the UK. UNISON senior national officer for higher education Ruth Levin said: “Universities are one of the UK’s biggest success stories – it’s vital they’re protected. "Hundreds of thousands of staff, as well as current and future students, need a clear signal the government is taking action.” UCU head of higher education Paul Bridge said:  “We need a clear and coherent plan from the government that guarantees funding and jobs to protect our academic capacity. “The country can ill afford to throw thousands of teachers, researchers and professional support staff on the dole when education will be a key driver of recovery.” EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It is essential that all sectors of education, including our world-renowned university sector, are provided with proper support during the Covid-19 crisis. “Staff and students alike deserve assurance from the UK government, and indeed from the Scottish government, that our higher education system will be protected.” GMB national officer Kevin Brandstatter said: “UK universities employ huge numbers of workers, and in many towns and cities are the largest employer. “The coronavirus pandemic is a grave threat to the sector, with universities not knowing how many students they might have in the autumn and whether any non-UK students will be able to enrol. “The government must secure the future of the sector, and at the same time give stability and certainty to workers on low-paid insecure contracts by ensuring all university staff are in direct, properly paid and secure employment.” Unite national officer for education Siobhan Endean said: “Our universities are central to rebuilding our economy post Covid-19 and the government needs to act now to provide the funding it desperately needs.  "The higher education sector is the bedrock for developing the skilled workforce of the future. The economic challenges of rebuilding our industry, a period of fast technological development and the need for strong communities requires that we invest in education. ”

Don’t forget to thank school support staff too, Gavin Williamson!

#ThankATeacher - The hard work of thousands of school support staff providing emergency care for key workers’ children countrywide appears to have been ignored by the government, says @UNISONtheUnion today (Tuesday).

Education for all must be protected, says UNISON

Responding to a speech by shadow education spokesperson Angela Rayner MP at UNISON’s national women’s conference today (Thursday) in Bournemouth, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “UNISON welcomes Angie’s focus on the power of education to transform lives and help people, communities and society reach their full potential. “From early years to further and higher education, Angie has first-hand experience of how a system that’s open to all – regardless of income, post code, or contacts – can help individuals achieve personal, professional and economic success. “Her intimate understanding of the day-to-day struggles facing working people and their families is one of the many reasons UNISON is backing her to be Labour’s next deputy leader.”

University cleaning staff at City of London celebrate UNISON brokered Christmas deal

Cleaning staff at City, University of London are celebrating after their union helped secure four additional days leave over the Christmas period for them. Before the deal staff working for outsourcing firm Julius Rutherfoord had no choice but to take unpaid or annual leave when the university closed over Christmas and New Year.   Employees were left out of pocket and working more days than staff directly employed by the university, who automatically receive extra leave to cover the Christmas break. In an open letter to the university’s president, UNISON highlighted the injustice and urged managers to treat outsourced staff as they do other employees. UNISON branch secretary Daniel Shannon-Hughes said: “The four extra days of holiday will make a big difference to the staff and their families. “This is just the beginning. More needs to be done to improve the situation for outsourced workers so they get the same pay, holiday and pension rights as directly employed staff. “Ultimately only by bringing staff back in house can City end these injustices.”

Technician staff cuts put safety at risk in schools, and the problem’s growing

Almost a third of secondary school technicians (32%) think staff cuts are putting pupil safety at risk, according to a UNISON study published today (Friday).

Victory for staff as academy chain drops plans to axe jobs

UNISON has today (Wednesday) welcomed a decision by the Ormiston Academies Trust to drop plans to cut jobs across England, which it was feared could put the safety and support of pupils at primary and secondary schools at risk.

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