GM Citizens Mayoral Election Assembly – 1 May 2017

Private companies could pull out of probation contracts over costs







The North West Probation and CAFCASS Branch AGM is to be held on Thursday, 9th of March 2017, 5.30 p.m. at  Gujerat Hindu Centre, South Meadow Lane, Preston PR1 8JN

Future of pay bargaining, NPS E3 and other members issues will be on the agenda – come and have your say.



Delicious vegetarian curries, sandwiches, cakes etc.

*Members on work duties who cannot attend please inform us and we will include you in the draw.

NHS March against Privatisation

Philip Hammond ought to dispel the economic myths that hold women back

There are two economic myths that fail the interests of women. The first is the fallacy that government budgets conform to “the household analogy”: that, as with family budgets, a state’s outgoings cannot exceed its income. The second is that “there is no money” for the services women use and need.

On the first, the public are told that cuts in spending and in some benefits, combined with rises in income from taxes will – just as with a household – balance the budget. Even though a single household’s budget is a) minuscule compared to that of a government; b) does not, like the government’s, impact on the wider economy; c) does not benefit from tax revenues (now, or in the foreseeable future); and d) is not backed by a powerful central bank. Despite all these obvious differences, government budgets are deemed analogous (by economists and politicians) to a household budget.

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UNISON invite our members working in the Purple Futures CRCs to complete a short survey into workplace stress in the Purple Futures CRCs. The results will pave the way for a joint union campaign to reduce the pressure on members at work and to deliver health, safety and welfare in Purple Futures workplaces.  Purple Futures has agreed to staff completing the survey in work time. The survey is entirely anonymous and no member can be identified from their response. Completing the survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes.


All members are encouraged to take part in the survey in order to give UNISON the evidence we need to protect your health and safety at work. You can access the survey on line here:

Unison Member Meetings

Following on from our last communication Unison Members Meetings will be held as follows

Monday         13th February                        12:00 to 14:00           HLNY

Tuesday         14th February                        12:00 to 14:00           Leeds

Wednesday   15th February                        12:00 to 14:00           NLPC

Thursday       16th February                          12:00 to 14:00           Crewe


Staff will be able to join UNISON on the day and it is hoped that members can drop into the meetings during their lunch break to discuss

  • The future role of Pay and other negotiations
  • Stress Questionnaire
  • Workloads
  • The 2017/18 pay claim
  • Becoming a Shop Steward
  • Becoming a Health & Safety Representative
  • Acting as a local contact keeping notice boards up to date




Put some faces to the Brexit debate

the history of paid leave

Paid leave is time off work for which the employee is paid, and which can be used for whatever the employee wishes, including holidays or family duties. There is a statutory entitlement to paid leave in most countries, and many employers offer more than the minimum required by law. Employees are required to give a certain amount of advance notice and other requirements may have to be met, such as ensuring a certain amount of staff cover. Part-time workers are entitled to the proportion of annual leave corresponding to the hours they work per week.

History of the struggle for paid leaveThe law on paid leave in the UK (2013)Limitations and directions for the futureHistory of the struggle for paid leave

With the  spread of factory work after the industrial revolution, people in Britain ceased to enjoy the  seasonal breaks from work that farming offered. Most workers had the Sunday off, but apart from that the only other time off was during the religious holidays of Christmas and Good Friday.  In 1871, the Bank Holiday Act gave workers a few paid holidays each year – four new public holidays  were introduced in England and Wales, and 3 new ones in Scotland.

In the 19th century and early decades of the 20th century, additional paid leave was only granted to senior managers and supervisors in UK factories. At the end of the 19th century most people had no paid holidays except bank holidays. The Trade Union Congress first began to campaign for a paid holiday for workers in 1911.

In the 1930s, paid vacation time became a very important issue for workers. Trade unionsraised this issue through campaigns and lobbied the government of the day for a two week paid holiday. In 1936, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted the Holidays with Pay Convention (no.52), which called for an annual holiday with pay of at least six working days after one year of continuous service.


Consultation on political fund review: December-January

UNISON speaking up for public services placards tied to railing

The government announced earlier this month that new rules on union political funds will come into effect on 29 February 2018 after a 12-month transition that starts on 1 March 2017.

For UNISON’s rules covering political funds to comply with the law by that date, any changes will need to be agreed at the 2017 national delegate conference in June.

And before that, those proposed rule changes need to be agreed by the political fund committees, approved by the Certification Officer and submitted by the NEC for debate at NDC. The deadline for submisions to NDC is in February.

All of that gives the union a very tight timetable, but the union remains committed to the widest possible consultation.

Regions, branches, regional Labour Link committees and self organised groups are invited to take part in a consultation about the way ahead, which must be completed by 24 January 2017.

The union is looking for a way forward that will address:

  • the need to maintain the union’s campaigning ability and capacity;
  • the need to maintain the union’s historic affiliation to the Labour Party;
  • the need to protect the union’s income.

A consultation document is being distributed across the union, to help focus discussions and to provide information, and can be downloaded from the website

Responses to the consultation should be sent to by 24 January 2017.

We need a new bargain to give working people a fair share of Britain’s success in 2017

Young workers at Congress

When we look back, 2016 will be remembered as the year the establishment was shaken to its core. And yet the political turmoil has not benefited working people – and few feel they have taken back much control over their working lives. Indeed, in some ways we have gone backwards – not least in the disgraceful return to the public sphere of race-baiting and prejudice.

So as we look to 2017, it’s clear that we need a new bargain between those at the top – enjoying soaring boardroom pay and insulated from economic change – and ordinary working people. Britain succeeds when working people succeed. And strong unions are the only way to make sure working people get their share in Britain’s success.


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Southern rail strikes suspended as two sides agree to TUC talks

Aslef train drivers at a picket line at London Bridge station during a walkout late last year.

The train drivers’ union is to suspend industrial action on Southern rail ahead of fresh talks aimed at resolving a bitter dispute with management over driver-only trains.

The two sides will meet on Wednesday under the joint chairmanship of the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, and the HR director of the rail firm Abellio, Andy Meadows.

Aslef said it had agreed to suspend three days of strikes scheduled for next week.

In a joint statement, O’Grady and Meadows said: “We are committed to finding a fair solution to this dispute. We are pleased the parties have agreed to meet for meaningful talks.”

Purple Futures withdraw from National Negotiating Committee

Most members will be aware of the National Negotiating Council (NNC) and the Standing Committee for Chief Officer Grades (SCCOG).

Their function has been to negotiate joint agreement and action on pay and other national conditions of service for employees in probation.  It has served both parties well, it was and still is the view of our branch, the Northwest Probation & CAFCASS branch of UNISON, that it remains fit for purpose .

Purple Futures have come to the decision that the NNC is no longer the right way to negotiate pay, terms and conditions with the trade unions, and indeed they have given notice that they are withdrawing from those arrangements from the end of January and members should ask themselves why the employer has chosen to do this at this time given that the previous arrangements worked so well.

Members should rest assured that Unison will continue to work alongside NAPO to safeguard and improve your Terms and Conditions

Over the coming months our Branch Secretary and PF National Convenor, Kev Allsop, will look to visit most of the offices within Cheshire, Manchester & Merseyside to recruit new members and take on the views of existing members. Please make every effort to attend.

UNISON There for You winter fuel grants


Get help staying warm this winter

With rising fuel costs and another cold winter looming, many members are worried about how they’re going to pay this year’s winter fuel bills.

Help is at hand

There for You, UNISON’s own charity has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income by way of a one-off payment of £50 per household.

To apply download the forms or simply contact your UNISON branch office.

Completed applications need to be sent to There for You, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY, to be received by Friday 17 February at the latest.

Branches and activists can also download a poster and flyer from the resources below to help promote the scheme.


The rise and rise of food banks

We won’t be misled on the #SouthernStrike

Southern Rail conductor checks a train at East Croydon station

Further strike action on Southern Rail takes place this week, and the disruption this will cause for passengers is regrettable. But we won’t be misled by the industry on why the strikes are taking place.

The extension of driver only operations by Southern Rail is at the heart of the dispute between Aslef, the RMT and Govia Thameslink Railway which runs Southern. Last week (5 January) the Office for Rail and Road Regulation published a review of Driver Only Operations (DOO) on Southern Rail, concluding that:

“ORR is satisfied that with suitable equipment, procedures and competent staff in place the proposed form of train dispatch intended by GTR-Southern, meets legal requirements and can be operated safely.”

The conclusion by the ORR as safety regulator doesn’t give driver only operations a clean bill of health. It suggests that it can be safe if certain criteria are met. Even though the ORR describes its review as “thorough”, for some strange reason it only focuses on train dispatch and completely ignores the implications of DOO for passenger safety on the whole train journey. Not what you’d expect from an ‘independent’ safety regulator.


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UK commuters pay up to 6 times more on rail fares than their European counterparts

Chart showing increase in rail fares.

For commuters returning to work today, 2017 seems less celebratory and promising given they will face fresh fare increases on their first day back, all thanks to our privatised rail system.

This might feel unfair on many levels, not least since rail fares have shot up twice as much as wages over the last decade, according to new research published by the Action for Rail campaign today.

Worse still, our counterparts in Europe using largely publicly owned railways are spending significantly less on travel and enjoying a better standard of living. How then are we doing in relation to spending on rail fares in comparison to our European cousins? Not fantastic. According to our research, UK workers on average salaries spend 14% of their income on a monthly season ticket from Luton to London amounting to an exorbitant £387, or 11% from Liverpool to Manchester at £292.

Similar commutes on the continent would cost passengers only 2% of their incomes in France, 3% in Germany and Italy, and 4% in Spain.

Rail fares increasing aren’t the only hitch though. Trains are often delayed, cancelled and overcrowded. We need more staffing – not ticket office closures and slashing of staffing levels.

Infographic showing international comparison on rail fare

The misery of privatisation: paying more for less

And don’t get me started on how commuters suffer poor quality services, and worse the recent rise in crime and hate crime – that’s why we need more staff on understaffed platforms. Passengers are tired of paying more for less! It is doubly frustrating that high fares and the tax payers’ money is being used to subsidise profits and shareholder dividends. Just see the case of Southern Rail.

Southern Rail, run by Govia, and now part-owned by French state railways is a franchising failure. Southern received £42m in net subsidies from the taxpayer in 2014-15 and paid out £22m in shareholder dividends, despite its failures. Now while fares escalate, Southern is proposing to close more ticket offices, remove guards from trains and extend driver only operations. That’s not putting passenger safety first! Southern is a clear example of the failures of privatisation, with profits put before people.

We need public ownership

We’ve already seen how placing rail in the hands of private owners since 1994 has derailed the system. The government remains totally averse to public ownership. We know that putting the likes of Southern Rail back into the hands of public ownership can work better. Publicly owned East Coast returned over £1bn to the Treasury, had high satisfaction ratings and won over 30 industry awards. Research shows that more than double (£1.5bn) could be saved over the same period if the rail franchises up for renewal this parliament were returned to the public sector. Transport for Quality of Life have estimated that this could fund a 10% reduction in season tickets and other regulated fares from 2017.

The time then seems ripe for public ownership of our rail. Hundreds of rail campaigners’ are joining ‘action for rail’ protests today across the nations of the UK, to power the message that we won’t settle for anything less than an affordable, properly staffed and publically owned rail system!

Sign our petitions

You can join the campaign now by adding your voice our petitions.

Southern Rail Govia petition

National rail petition

The Manchester Martyrs

The Manchester Martyrs

The Manchester Martyrs were three innocent Irishmen hanged in public outside the New Bailey prison in Salford on 23 November 1867. They had been convicted of murdering a police sergeant, killed in the course of a successful raid on Hyde Road, Manchester to free two leading Fenians.

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