Welcome to the Doncaster UNISON Branch website. UNISON represents more than 1.3 million people nationally and over 6,000 people working in Doncaster. We have members providing various services for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and services allied to the Council. We also have members in Further Education colleges and in the Community and Voluntary sector. Wherever you work, if you are providing a public service, you can join us. UNISON prides itself on being a member-led organisation that operates not only as a bargaining and negotiating body but also as a campaigning group. Join today and help us create a future that works.


Pay consultation starts 20 October 2014

News headlines

Strike: Tuesday 14th October 2014 (23/09/14)

Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted for action after rejecting the employers' pay offer of just 1%. The first strike day took place on 10 July and a second strike will happen on Tuesday 14 October. 

Most UNISON members are low-paid, part-time women workers, struggling to pay their household bills. Losing pay for strike action is not something they do lightly.
Our members are not asking for the 14% pay increase company bosses and bankers are getting. Or the 11% MPs will see. They are just asking for a rise of at least £1 an hour.
That would mean almost half a million council and school support workers currently earning below the Living Wage of £7.65 an hour could come off in-work benefits.

UNISON members: 5 reasons to go on strike

  1. You can’t afford another pay and pension cut
    The current government offer leaves most workers with pay worth almost 20% less than in 2010. Falling pay also means loss of pension for the rest of your life.
  2. You are worth fair pay for the work you do
    Your pay and conditions are the worst in the public sector - from top to bottom.
  3. Taking another pay cut won’t save jobs and services
    Despite a pay freeze, jobs have gone and services continue to be stripped to the bone, privatised or stopped all together. There’s no reason to believe a pay cut will stop this.
  4. All this will continue unless we act now
    Low pay is bad for workers and bad for the economy. That’s why politicians from all parties are calling for an end to low pay. Many local government workers rely on benefits to pay bills. Right now, the taxpayer is subsidising local government to pay poverty wages.
  5. Our claim for a minimum of £1 more an hour for all is affordable
    Paying all local government workers a living wage will boost Treasury coffers by around £0.9bn every year from increased tax and national insurance take - shifting many off in-work benefits and reducing the bill to taxpayers.

Three ways to get involved in the campaign

  1. Join UNISON if you’re not a member; follow us if you are. It’s easy to join, so why not do it now? If you’re already a member, that’s great – perhaps you can invite friends and colleagues to join and bolster our voice?
  2. Share your stories with UNISON. What do falling wages mean to you or your family? Why are you supporting the campaign? What did you do on July 10? What will you be doing for the 14 October strike? Tell us your story and share your pictures – it’s easy: just contact us on Twitter or Facebook or email NJCPay2014@unison.co.uk.
  3. Email your local MP and councillor. Ask them to support council workers, home carers, teaching assistants, school support staff and the services they deliver. Take action right here.

LGPS Governance Changes – for those UNISON members who pay into the South Yorkshire Pension Fund (22/09/14)

UNISON has been leading the campaign to ensure that members are represented when it comes to the decisions the local government pension funds make about how to invest our members’ money.

From April 2015 all the LGPS funds in England and Wales will have a pension board to ensure that the new scheme is running effectively. The boards will be made up of equal numbers of employee and employer representatives.

We need UNISON members to step up and help make sure your pension fund runs effectively for everyone’s benefit by becoming an employee representative on the new pension boards.

A meeting for any interested UNISON members to learn about the changes and how they can play a role in the future governance of their scheme has been organised and details are set out below:

LOCATION: Room 1, Sheffield Quaker Hall, 10 St James Street, Sheffield, S1 2EW
DATE: Tuesday 30th September 2014
TIME: 6.30pm – 7.30pmYour Pension Needs You

If you require hard copies of this
poster to display in your workplace,
please contact the branch office on
01302 320 793 or download a PDF copy here.




Next Members’ Forum – Tuesday 5th August 2014

The next Doncaster UNISON Members’ Forum will be held on Tuesday 5th August at 4.30pm in the Mary Woollett Centre. Please find attached the agenda for this meeting and notes from the last forum. We hope to see you there.

Enough is Enough! Cuts will hit the most vulnerable hardest (24/02/14)

Dignity for life
Government cuts over the next 3 years are set to see the closure of all council run homes for elderly people and half of the social education centres in the Borough.

These homes and centres provide vital support, care and wellbeing for many of the most vulnerable members of our community and their families. For those who rely on these services, DMBC’s plans to close them are nothing less than a tragedy.

A plea for help
We, trade union members, residents and service users and their families are dismayed that the Mayor of Doncaster and the Council see closing these units as an acceptable choice.
Closing homes and centres will mean that our friends and family will be forced into private and voluntary sector care, where on average, workers receive less pay, are less well trained and standards of care vary enormously.

Is there an alternative? - Yes
We believe that DMBC should fight to defend these facilities for the future and if that means saying ‘Enough is Enough’ to Central Government then that is what they should do.

The council does not even know all the buildings it owns. They should sell off all those that are not used to raise the money, to cut the debt and save these much-loved homes. They should cut costs by using expertise of existing staff not hiring expensive consultants at £900 per day.

Savings within departments can be made. Staff ideas have been ignored before, listen now, make changes that will make savings. Frontline services and workers who provide those services should be protected.

Privatisation and outsourcing do not work; instead, it transfers £millions of public money into private hands and removes democratic accountability. DMBC should resist this at all costs.

Everyone can do something
• Write/email Mayor Ros Jones (ros.jones@doncaster.gov.uk) to make your voice heard.
Sign the ‘Enough is Enough’ petition below - get your friends and family to sign it too.
• Get involved in campaigning; call Doncaster UNISON for details on 01302 320793.

UNISON condemns violence against staff in Hesley Group (10/01/14)

Doncaster UNISON condemns ‘shocking’ violence against staff in Hesley Group

The Doncaster Star’s recent shocking report into violence against staff working for the Hesley Group has revealed “disgraceful” failures to protect staff and the welfare of patients, public service union UNISON said today.

UNISON Regional Organiser Melanie Onn said: “UNISON has long been aware of incidents of violence against members of staff in Hesley. Of the 1200 staff, 300 are members of UNISON.

We have worked hard to try to encourage the employer to take its duty of care towards staff more seriously but they have consistently rejected our efforts to help.

“ It is shocking that staff  are put in harm’s way. No member of staff should fear physical assault at work. The people our members care for are also suffering because of the management’s failures to properly diagnose and treat people who are prone to violence. It is disgraceful that this level of violence has not been properly addressed and dealt with.”

“Hesley Group should take immediate steps to put in place proper protection measures for staff who are currently going to work in an unsafe workplace which leaves the employer wide open to personal injury claims which could run into thousands of pounds if they do not do so.”

The 15 incidents referred to within the report are likely to be those that are reportable to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). But the statistics do not include the hundreds of injuries suffered by staff of a lower level, such as bites, scratches and light bruising which can often leave permanent scarring.

Melanie warned that a reduction  in the quality of training provided to staff was at the heart of the problem.

New staff receive limited training from largely inexperienced mentors. A combination of an unsupportive employer and low salaries mean that there is a very high turnover of staff which compromises the consistency of care being provided.

She added: “ Our members came into this caring profession to assist vulnerable people with very personal needs and challenging behaviours. On a daily basis they face institutional barriers to providing high levels of care and are being paid bargain basement wages to boot.

“These incidents of violence are completely unacceptable. It is indicative of the Hesley Group’s attitude towards staff in general.”

UNISON wants to come to a recognition agreement with Hesley Group which would enable issues such as these to be highlighted and resolved at an early stage.

However, despite significant membership across the five worksites this has been rejected by Hesley’s management. UNISON now calls on all employees of the Hesley Group to join UNISON today to help us gain an automatic right to recognition with this employer. UNISON knows from experience that active unions within the workplace improves health and safety and is a critical mechanism to enhancing the working lives of staff. UNISON also believes this would lead to better care in a safe environment for clients.

Join UNISON by going to www.joinunison.org or calling 0800 171 2193.

Melanie Onn recently Tweeted (from @OnnMel) about the Hesley Group’s threat to call the police to remove UNISON Organisers from the public highway outside of Hesley buildings whilst trying to recruit new members. She is available for further comment on 07904 427603. Or by email on m.onn@unison.org.uk

Important Notice Regarding Personal Injury claims (23/07/13)

Due to changes in the law that came into effect from 1 April 2013, UNISON’s Personal Injury (PI) Forms are now out of date and should not be filled in by members as they cannot be processed by the branch. This applies to both work-related and non-work related injury claims.

Instead, if members are in need of legal assistance for any kind of personal injury claim, they should now call 0845 355 0845 and ask to be put through to Thompsons Solicitors who will handle the matter directly.

A Bright Future for Doncaster UNISON Local Government Branch (10/7/13)

UNISON prides itself on being a member-led organisation that operates not only as a bargaining and negotiating body but also as a campaigning group.

This combination ensures not only are immediate employment issues dealt with in detail but that broader issues are picked up and utilised as a tool to further increase union participation amongst staff, improve industrial relations with employers and demonstrate that the union is solid as a unit of members working together, campaigning and organising for the benefit of UNISON and its members.

This idea of us all working together, for the same objectives with the same ideals is essential and needs to be reflected in every Branch of UNISON. To ensure that this Branch achieves its full potential, Doncaster Branch will be subject to a period of regional supervision for a limited period of time.

The Branch office is currently in need of significant support to initiate change and implement structures, both administratively and functionally to get the best out of the Branch to support its members.

As a result of this decision, all elections and the AGM have to be postponed until this period of regional supervision is concluded. UNISON believes this will be achievable within the next six to eight months. Members will be kept informed of progress throughout this period.

The region will be responsible for the continuation of everyday Branch duties including responses and support to lay members, involvement in restructures and implementation of new internal procedures. The region will also take on responsibility for matters of finance, campaigning and communications. These tasks will be undertaken in partnership with a number of existing activists in order to enable continuity and capacity within the Branch.
Embedding these new procedures is of great importance as it will provide the foundation for the Branch to operate in a more effective and efficient manner. It is also an opportunity to revitalise the activity of UNISON's members in Doncaster and encourage more people to come forward to participate in the Branch’s organisation.

As part of this process the current model of convenors, officers and the branch committee will be discontinued. Instead there will be a group that all members will be able to participate in under the title of an Activists Forum.

The objective of this group will be to ensure that changes undertaken are done so in the fullest knowledge and partnership with ordinary members of the Branch. It will also be the forum where general workplace issues can be raised, suggestions for improvement can be discussed and considered, working groups set up to undertake specific projects and reports on progress received and held to account. These meetings will take place monthly and we hope that as many members as possible will take the opportunity to join us at those meetings, even if only for half an hour.

UNISON is eager to identify a broader group of activists to complement its current well-established stewards and health and safety representatives. There are many areas where we do not have active stewards or even a point of contact, this means that UNISON is not always able to easily communicate with its members around the Council and external employers as efficiently as it would like.

Part of the region’s role through the Regional Organiser, Melanie Onn, Area Organiser Ashley Harper, Steve Ball, Area Organiser and Local Organisers Brendan Cafferty and Sarah Keig will be to identify individuals who represent the values of UNISON, are willing and able to join in developing an energetic and vibrant Branch, fully responding to the needs of members and adhering to the principles of increased lay-member activism. They will aim to achieve at least one steward in each workplace or department, to establish a regular method of communication with members, provide mentoring, training and support for any individual who wishes to have greater involvement in UNISON and ensure that there is a forum in which all activists feel confident in participating at all levels.

There are many opportunities within UNISON that members may not be aware of such as the opportunity to undertake education courses at free or reduced rates, participate in regional activities such as being a Youth representative or national events such as the national schools forum. Your UNISON membership is so much more than an insurance policy in case you find yourself in need of help. Many activists become more involved having experienced and appreciated the support they received from their local representatives and want to give something back. Could this be you?

It is inevitable that these changes will cause some concern amongst established activists and there may be some teething problems as we settle in to new routines. However, the region is committed to ensuring that any difficulties are dealt with swiftly and effectively in order to avoid causing any unnecessary disruption in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in becoming more involved, please contact the Branch on 01302 320793 or email Doncaster.unison@mail.com and ask to speak to one of the named organisers above who will be happy to discuss this with you.

Chris Jenkinson, Regional Head of Local Government

Sign the petition

Enough is enough

Doncaster Council will cut spending by £109 million over the next three years; this equates to approximately 1,200 full timejobs and will cause devastating cuts to services. These cuts are coming after an already disastrous round of cuts implemented under Ex-Mayor Peter Davies. Council staff and the most vulnerable in our communities are being forced to pay the price for the failed economic policy of the Coalition Government

Please sign this petition to say “Enough is Enough” we will not sit back and allow these cuts to happen. Please print this out and get as many colleagues and friend to sign it as possible - and then send to the Branch at the address here..

OR.... Sign the online petition here....

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