Save the date – this year’s social will be on Wednesday 7 December at the Millennium Galleries opposite the main entrance at City Campus.

We’ll email you full details soon, but expect free goodies, lunch and fun, as well as a chance to learn more about dealing with restructures and managing sickness absence and stress in the workplace.

More details to follow.



When a member has been off work due to illness for six weeks or more our branch would like to send a card to wish them well and to remind them of the support services UNISON offer.

As part of the scheme we also offers a welfare gift to the member with the choice of one of the following gifts: chocolates, flowers or a fruit/veg box.

If you know of a UNISON member in your area who is off sick please let us know by  emailing unison@shu.ac.uk  with their name and we will get in touch.









Do you take a regular lunch break away from your desk?

In a survey of 1000 people half of them claimed they were too busy to take a break for lunch. However, Emma Donaldson-Fielder, a chartered occupational psychologist advises that working through your lunch can be counter-productive. “As a general rule, taking at least 30 minutes away from your desk will help you be more effective in the afternoon,” she says. “A break is an opportunity to relax and think of something other than work.”

In the survey, half of those who skipped lunch breaks said that they felt irritable, stressed and ineffective all afternoon as their energy flagged. The conclusion is that businesses could be losing millions of pounds in lost productivity because their workforce is burning out.

Additionally, we could be unwittingly damaging our emotional life and our health. “We’re working so much on computers that we’re not having eyeball-to-eyeball contact with colleagues,” says Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University. “Lunch breaks are an opportunity to talk to colleagues, build teamwork and create a synergy for generating ideas, and this is even more vital in a recession when fewer people are having to do more work. As it is, we’re emailing people who sit five desks down from us and we’re scared to leave the office for an hour because we know there will be 20 emails awaiting us on our return.”

UNISON takes workplace stress seriously and taking a break at lunch time is one way we can reduce our stress levels. Please answer this short survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PTV7WPF so that we can get a picture of what is happening at SHU (it should take no more than a few minutes).









This week is dyslexia awareness week which is a good time to mention that I am working with a small group of mostly union colleagues trying to gain a better understanding of dyslexia in the workplace here at SHU.  We know there are clear support strategies for students particularly focussed on certain tasks like essay writing, but I am not sure that there is much information about supporting staff.


The generic HR reports suggest that the number of staff declared as dyslexic are very low.  However as union reps we occasionally do come across cases where support is needed. 


To build a better understanding of what is going on out there we would be particularly interested in hearing of positive examples of support that have occurred.  But any experiences would be of interest.


If you are willing to share this information with us then please e-mail: Ian Chesters I.Chesters@shu.ac.uk or you can ring x6060.   

(We will of course take any references to individuals or teams out of any examples we use).