UNISON There for You: School Uniform Grant 2017

School Uniform Grants 2017
School Uniform Grants 2017

If you have children in full time education, you may be eligible to receive a school uniform grant from UNISON’s charity There for You.  To be considered, you must either be:

  • In receipt of Housing Benefit; or
  • Your net annual income is £18,000 or below [Note: We ignore the following income Child benefit, any childcare element included as part of your working tax credits, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment].

Also, you will need to have paid a minimum 4 weeks membership subscriptions before 22nd May 2017.

Get your application form and more information here https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/services-support/there-for-you/financial-assistance/

Please note the closing date is 21st July.

You deserve fair pay. Vote Now!

UNISON urge council staff to vote in landmark industrial ballot

South Lanarkshire Council UNISON members are being balloted along with their local government colleagues across Scotland in what is seen as the first big test of the new Trade Union Act 2016.

This tory government legislation means that unless 50% of eligible members take part in the ballot, UNISON cannot call industrial action. There have been localised disputes, but this is the first large scale UK ballot under the new legislation.

UNISON local government members across Scotland are being balloted for industrial action, including strike action, because they had already voted overwhelmingly to reject the pay offer that was put forward earlier this year.

Years of pay restraint and inflation means local government pay is worth far less now than ten years ago. Standards of living have been squeezed as the price of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise.

Mike Kirby, UNISON Scotland secretary said, “This UNISON Scotland ballot affects every trade unionist. It is important that we show the UK government that we will not be bullied by the Trade Union Act 2016. Local government staff have seen big cuts in pay and they have the right to decide how they negotiate with their employers. We urge all UNISON members to return their ballot paper before the 30 May deadline.

UNISON members are clear that what is on the table is derisory considering the cuts that council workers have had to endure. The votes of our 70,000 members could affect the future earnings of nearly four times as many workers – so its crucial we make our voice heard. UNISON has fought hard for fair pay and to end pay restraint and we are recommending further industrial action. But above all we are urging UNISON members to vote.”

Editor’s notes

In the recent consultative ballot UNISON members overwhelmingly rejected the employers’ pay offer for 2017/18 – by 78% to 22%. The employers’ offer was: £350 flat rate for those earning up to £35,000; 1% for those earning over £35,001; Scottish local government living wage to be the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionble.

Let’s make sure we all get a vote

Register to vote by 22 May
Register to vote by 22 May

Remind your friends to check that they’re registered ‎to vote in this General Election. It’s vital for our public services.

You’d be surprised how many young people are missing from the UK’s electoral register and less than half of 18 to 24-year olds turn out to vote. You might find that some of your friends are not registered to vote, so let them know how to do it. It only takes two minutes, and you and any of your friends and family can register here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote‎

Everyone has the right to be involved in the democratic process, let’s make sure no one is denied a voice in the election come 8 June‎.

We have until 22 May to do this.

Mental Health – a guide to Tailored Adjustments

Mental Health is often incorrectly referred to as a “hidden” disability although it’s important to recognise that where a condition affects day to day activities and is predicted to last longer than 12 months this can trigger protections under the legal definitions of the Equality Act 2010 including a right to request reasonable adjustments. This also covers those receiving treatment for a mental health condition under the “deduced affect” definition.

We all have Mental Health and in the workplace during times of rapid change can find ourselves somewhere on the pressure- stress- mental health spectrum. The trigger point from movement to a more severe condition such as Depression or Personality Disorders can be caused by a myriad of factors including influences outside of work and is very much an individual experience.

One in four of us will experience a mental health issue our lifetime. While not all will develop a severe condition, it’s impossible to predict who in the workplace will be affected and this therefore increases the importance of mental health awareness training and an open and honest dialogue on the subject. The Branch is advocating a cross stakeholder approach to creating a culture that encourages understanding and compassion for those affected by these conditions.

As this is very much an individual experience it’s important to put the person at the centre of the discussion on possible workplace adjustments. While GP, Occupational Health and Human Resource advisers all have a role here, ultimately it requires agreement and commitment of all parties to be effective and it’s important at set intervals to review adjustments in place and if they remain fit for purpose.

The Tailored Adjustment plan is a useful tool for recording these agreements and is the living document that provides base line information on adjustments that are required to address an individual’s needs. This can be a valuable asset for future discussions or planning staff support needs if further changes occur such as relocation. There are a number of good practice elements for a Tailored Adjustment Plan to work including:

  • An open and honest dialogue on how their mental health condition impacts in the Workplace and what adjustments might help
  • Focus on what the person can do – not what they can’t
  • Take into account Professional Advice
  • Flexibility to cover mental health condition that can be episodic
  • Identify a mentor or buddy if possible to help in time of crisis
  • Contingency to help local staff accommodate agreed changes – awareness training , make the link clear and transparent to existing policies and procedures ( Equalities, Flexible Working, Health & Safety etc)

Each person’s experience and coping mechanisms for a condition are unique. So what might be an effective workplace change for one person may not be as beneficial for another. Adjustments need to be tailored to the individual although experiences in other workplaces suggest the following checklist may give some useful starting ideas:

Job Modifications

  • Adjust Duties and Responsibilities to prevent trigger points
  • Re- assign elements of current duties within the team – take on some tasks and drop others
  • Alter supervision arrangements
  • Redeployment to a more suitable role

Hours& Breaks

  • Change Shift schedules to accommodate medication and recovery
  • Reduce Hours
  • Allowing workers to use paid or unpaid leave for appointments related to their health condition
  • Alter break times
  • Explore the option of home working

Environmental Adjustments

  • Create a safe personal space to share health concerns
  • Seating arrangements within offices
  • Adjust signage used within the office and methods of sharing work instructions
  • A trusted co-worker or personnel staff member given the role of buddy or job coach
  • Link to in-house resources such as Counselling, Therapeutic support or CBT
  • Reduce noise and distractions through room divers or soundproofing
  • Access to Work Funding

Policy supports and Levers

  • Tailored Adjustment Policy
  • Equalities Policy covering paid leave during Hospitalisation or treatment linked to the condition
  • Flexible Working
  • Option of a Phased Return to Work
  • Health & Safety Duty of Care
  • Disability Leave

Management & Supervision Methods

  • Modify the way instructions and feedback are given
  • Extra Training, Mentoring and Support
  • Performance deadlines and task completion timescales adjusted to reflect agreed adjustments
  • Change of Supervisor

Useful Information Sources