Like all UK universities, at Sheffield Hallam we have many members of staff from across the EU.
Since the referendum last year, there has been a great deal of uncertainty for EU citizens living and working in the UK. We don’t know what the outcomes of the Brexit negotiations will be, but UNISON will continue to campaign for the right of EU citizens to remain here.
In the meantime, we have created a booklet providing practical help to UNISON members whose right to live and work in the UK is dependent on their citizenship of another EU country.
Read our advice here (PDF).
Commenting on the Spring Budget UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
“For almost a decade nurses, teaching assistants, town hall staff and others in the public sector have had their wages frozen or been given minuscule pay rises.
“These are the people keeping the NHS, schools and local communities afloat in tough times. The pay boost for Westminster politicians should’ve signalled a decent pay rise for the rest of the public sector, especially with inflation almost double the one per cent cap.
“But without a mention from the Chancellor, public service employees will be feeling they’re the forgotten part of the ‘jam’ generation. Most are not managing at all. read the full article
UNISON, alongside the other unions at SHU, has agreed changes to the “Right to Request Flexible Working” policy.
The law gives employees a “right to request” changes to their working pattern in order to help balance work and home life. Although there is no legal right to have a request granted automatically, it must be considered seriously. Sheffield Hallam’s policy is that managers should view requests positively and try to accommodate requests where feasible, subject to business need.
Staff can exercise their legal right to request flexible working at any time, but for many years University policy has encouraged staff who want to work flexibly to discuss this informally with their manager. Often, the desired changes can be agreed without the need to submit a formal request under the legislation. However, the current policy requires that if the changes being requested constitute a contractual change (a change in hours, for example) – as they often would – then a formal application has to be made, even if the line manager supports the request.
The newly revised policy, agreed through discussions with UNISON and the other unions, will enable a flexible working request to be approved by a line manager even if the change is contractual (so long as the line manager is authorised to do so). In other words, where staff can reach agreement with their manager there will usually no longer be any need to submit a formal application . Of course, if agreement cannot be reached informally, staff will still be able to exercise their formal “right to request” by making an application under the legislative framework.
This change will save time, reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and paperwork, and should make the process of requesting flexible working a much less onerous and anxious one for our members.
For advice on the policy, or on making a request, contact your local steward or UNISON contact.
At the time of writing, the revised flexible working policy has not yet been uploaded to the intranet (https://portal.shu.ac.uk/departments/HRD/polproc/flex/Pages/home.aspx), but this should happen soon.
Research by the Papworth Trust has revealed how propaganda about the NHS swayed disabled voters who didn’t know how many of their protections were from the EU, a Unison conference was told.
The suggestion that the UK could spend the money it sends to Brussels on the NHS was a major reason that many disabled voters backed the call to leave the European Union in June, ‘gambling’ with protections that few realised the EU had guaranteed for them.
Find out more.
Did you know that if you request a reference from your manager at Sheffield Hallam when applying for another job, it might not actually be them that completes it?
And if you are asked for a reference by one of your team members, make sure you follow our HR procedures.
All employer references must be completed by HR, not by members of staff across the University. Personal references are different – see the full guidance on the HR website.
Do you read the Vice-Chancellor’s blog? It’s a good way of learning about the thinking behind University decisions, and it sometimes includes information that you won’t find elsewhere.
If you’ve not read it before, a good place to start is this piece on equality, a topic close to our heart at UNISON.
The VC’s blog is updated every Monday. You can subscribe at https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/vc/
Recent branch elections: Tom Kidston steward in D&S, Michael Scarborough steward in SU and Rhys Edwards communications officer.
Dan J Bye, UNISON Branch Secretary, has been re-elected to professional services staff seat on the University Board of Governors. Dan was supported by UNISON, and his term of office is for four years until 31 July 2020.
Dan received 58.3% of first preference votes. As this was a clear majority over the three other candidates, Dan was duly elected without second or subsequent preferences needing to be counted. He thanks everyone who voted for him, and everyone who participated in the election.
Turnout in the election remained disappointingly low, at 16.3% of eligible staff. However, this was an improvement on the vote in 2014, when only 14.9% of eligible voters participated. Improving understanding and awareness of the work of the Board, and therefore hopefully participation in Board elections, is something that Dan is committed to during his term in office.
The Board of Governors intranet site can be found here: https://www.shu.ac.uk/?sc_itemid=764A54D7-2D6E-4CD6-9F0C-34B976E7F34F
UNISON has repeatedly called for an independent and thorough investigation into what really happened at the “Battle of Orgreave” during the miners’ strike.
The official version of events – put forward by the police – was that the miners were to blame for the violence that erupted that day, and that the police were acting in self-defence. But we in the labour movement have always known that wasn’t the real story.