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Welcome to the website of the Sheffield Hallam University branch of UNISON.

We represent administrative, professional, technical, clerical and manual staff at Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Hallam University Students’ Union. We aim to negotiate better terms and conditions, advise and support members who need help, and campaign for a fairer, safer workplace and society.

As a UNISON branch, we are part of one of Britain’s biggest trade unions, representing workers across all the public services.

On this site you can

  • find out more about UNISON
  • contact the Branch
  • find out how to join UNISON
  • read Branch news and information
  • connect to other useful websites and sources of information

CONSULTATION ON 2021/2022 HIGHER EDUCATION PAY OFFER

A few days ago the Vice Chancellor sent an email to all staff to inform us that negotiations in the 2021/2022 pay round had concluded with UCEA – the employers’ organisation for Higher Education – making a final offer of 1.5% for the majority of staff (with more, on a sliding scale, for those lower on the pay scale).  The University intends to impose this offer in August.

UNISON’s position is that this offer falls far short of the pay claim that the joint trade unions submitted.    Last year (2020/2021) the employers imposed a pay freeze (UNISON is still in dispute about this) as a ‘reward’ for the exceptional hard work HE staff put in during the first year of the pandemic, which itself came after a decade of derisory pay awards.

UNISON is now asking members to say whether they accept or reject the 2021/2022 pay offer.

UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive is recommending that members reject the 2021/2022 pay offer.   If you vote to reject the offer, you need to be prepared to take part in sustained strike action in order to improve the offer.

To emphasise: this is a consultation exercise, not an industrial action ballot.  The result of the consultation will be considered by the Service Group Executive.   If industrial action is to be taken, a formal postal ballot of members would then take place, with a 50% turnout required for a valid vote for action.

The 2021/2022 pay offer consultation will begin on Monday 24th May, closing on Friday 18 June.

All eligible members will receive an email with a link enabling you to vote in the consultation anonymously.   It will also be possible to vote online even if you don’t get an email (perhaps because you have not given UNISON permission to contact you in this way).   Any new members joining before 4th June will be sent a voting link by email.

Remember that you can update some of your personal details in the UNISON membership system here:  https://my.unison.org.uk/.

For more information see:  https://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/education-services/about/higher-education/fair-pay-for-he/

UNISON NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ELECTIONS 2021:VOTE NOW!

From Tuesday 4th May, ballot papers began to appear through UNISON members’ letter boxes for the elections to the UNISON National Executive Council, the body which makes the decisions on how the Union is run at a national level.

These are very important elections and we would urge you to read the material that you will receive and to use your vote.

Note that you are entitled to vote in all the elections for seats listed on your ballot paper, regardless of seat type.

The ballot closes on the 27th May so you should aim to get your ballot paper in the post by the 24th May to ensure it arrives on time.

If you haven’t received your ballot paper by the 13th May, then you should contact the ballot helpline operated by UNISONdirect, on the following telephone number: 0800 0 857 857.

More information regarding the elections can be read here (https://www.unison.org.uk/about/our-organisation/lay-structure-democracy-and-elections/current-elections/national-executive-council-elections-2021/)

SHU UNISON BRANCH NOMINATIONS:

SHU Branch nominated the following candidates who have a track record of leadership and fighting for members. They stand for transforming UNISON by:

Creating real change to win for members.

  • Redirecting Union resources to branches, to better support you at work.
  • Coordinating serious national action on pay and to defend pensions.
  • Fighing employers’ ‘fire and re-hire’ tactics, worsening our terms & conditions
  • A greater focus on Covid-19, to better support members’ safety.
  • Fighting against the scourges of racism, and all forms of discrimination.
  • Prioritising UNISON’s role in fighting the climate emergency

 

Greta Holmes Female seat
Sarah Littlewood Female seat
Theresa Rollinson Reserved seat
Tony Wright Male seat
Sandy Nicoll Higher Education – general seat
Kath Owen Higher Education – female seat
Julia Mwaluke Black members’ seats – reserved seat
Nimisha Trivedi Black members’ seats – female seat
Paula Carlyle Disabled members’ seats – female seat
Sharron Nicoll Disabled members’ seats – general seat
Lilly Boulby Young members’ – female seat
Kiera Hilder Young members’ – general seat

 Please use your vote!

HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF BECOMING A UNISON REPRESENTATIVE (STEWARD)?

UNISON currently has eleven stewards who have been elected to represent members across the University.

To see who your local representatives are, see:  https://unisonshu.org.uk/contacts/.

But we need more!    Most constituencies do not have their full complement of stewards, and some constituencies are without representation at all.  Stewards do a great job on your behalf, and more stewards could do an even better job.

Workplace stewards are at the heart of our union. They are your first point of contact where you work, and they work hard to make your voice heard and make your workplace a fairer and better place to work.

Stewards get the satisfaction of supporting colleagues, but can also gain new skills and experience that might be hard to pick up any other way.  You will also receive excellent training in the role from the Union, support from the Branch, and you are allowed paid time off work to carry out union duties.

THE ROLE OF A STEWARD INVOLVES:

·        Participating in a range of activities including organising, recruiting and representing UNISON members.

·        Being involved in how the Sheffield Hallam University UNISON branch is run.

·        Being the first and main point of contact for members in your constituency.

·        Supporting and advising members on workplace issues, both individual and collective.

·        Acting as a spokesperson for the members in your constituency and informing and involving members in branch activities.

Not sure if it’s for you?  Read on…

“But I don’t have the skills!”

Here are six common worries you may have about becoming a steward – and why it’s not as scary as you might think.

1. I don’t do public speaking…

…but I do raise issues I am concerned about in team meetings at work.

2. I don’t do negotiation…

…but I did complain when my gas bill got too high, and I did sort out a better deal with the company.

3. I don’t do campaigning…

…but I did support my local library when it was threatened with closure.

4. I don’t do recruitment…

…but I do get my neighbours to support the local school

5. I don’t organise meetings…

…but I do organise outings and holidays with my friends and family

6. I don’t do representation…

…but I did go to the doctors with my partner to make sure they got their views across.

Sound like you? Your colleagues need you!

WHAT TO DO NEXT:

Should you wish to find out more about becoming a steward, please contact one of our current Stewards or Branch Officers, or for more information visit

http://www.unison.org.uk/for-members/support-us/work-with-us/become-a-rep/

If you want to stand, you will need to get elected.

Complete a Steward Nomination Form (available here: ​doc icon Shop_Steward_Nomination_Form_2021.doc– which requires two members of your constituency to nominate you.  The form should then be emailed back to UNISON administrator Joanne Ward.

If you are unsure of the UNISON members in your constituency please email Joanne Ward who will able to contact members on your behalf.

Your nomination will then be circulated to members in your constituency and provided no objections are received you will be deemed elected, otherwise an election will be held.

COULD YOU FILL A UNISON BRANCH OFFICER VACANCY? (you definitely could!)

At our AGM earlier this year, the following were elected to Branch Officer positions:

Dan J Bye – Branch Secretary

Tracey Holland – Branch Chair

Blodwen Grayhurst – Treasurer

Lucinda Wakefield – International Officer / Acting Health & Safety Officer

Anna Wiggins – Women’s Officer

Ana Yousaf – Equality Officer

But a number of Officer positions remain unfilled and are empty posts.  They are:

Vice Chair

Communication Officer

Membership Officer

Welfare Officer

Education Officer

Young Persons’ Officer

The more posts we can fill, the more the Branch can achieve, so we are keen to hear from members who are interested in taking up these opportunities.   They are a great way of developing your own skills and experience, as well as making a contribution to the union’s collective strength.   Each Officer role has a particular specialism, but Officers can also get involved in case work and negotiation more generally.

Remember, paid time off is allowed to carry out union duties, and training and support is available for the roles from UNISON and the Branch.

To find out more about the purpose of the roles, see:  https://www.unison.org.uk/about/our-organisation/activists/branch-roles/.

Between AGMs, the Branch Committee can co-opt any member who is eligible to most of the vacant posts. So if you are interested please get in touch with Dan Bye, Branch Secretary, or another Branch Officer, for a chat!

WOMEN’S ISSUES

Hi there, as women’s officer, I would like to take some time for each newsletter to focus on a subject regarding issues relating to women, either directly or indirectly related to our working lives.

The pandemic has been hard on us all, yet it has been especially difficult for those living and working within the home, surrounded by the threat of domestic abuse.

Support organisations have seen an escalation of users accessing their services. They are still there, and ready to help.

For those seeking it, there are several ways in which to gain support and help in less obvious ways than a phone call in a compromised location. 

 The Bright Sky app – https://www.hestia.org/brightsky – looks like a weather app and has info both for those experiencing domestic abuse, and people who might be concerned about someone else. It has a directory of services available nearby.

Please consider if the mobile phone is being monitored before downloading.

‘Silent Solution’.  If you are in danger, but unable to talk, or disclose you are talking to emergency services, you can dial 999 in the normal way, then press ‘55’ instead of talking. You will be transferred to the police, who will guide you through either yes and no answers or asking you to type your response.

Iphones have a SOS feature, where you can share your location with police. The article below gives instructions   – https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/emergency-iphone-sos-police-b1815887.html

Ask for Ani (Action Needed Immediately) is a government scheme, where support can be sought in a pharmacy by asking Ani. Participating pharmacies should have posters advertising the service.

Anna Wiggins

 

THINKING OF RETIRING?

Pre-Retirement Workshops 

Why not attend a True Bearing Charter Pre-Retirement On-Line Workshops.  These workshops are for UNISON members who plan to retire within the next 18 months. 

The dates for this training are: 

 This online workshop, run by True Bearing Chartered, will make you aware of your choices and aid you in your decision making around retirement.  

 This workshop will be run via Teams and will take place from 13.00pm – 15.40pm. 

 By the end of the workshop you will be able to: 

  • Create your own route path from the world of work to the world of retirement
  • Identify changes in both pensions and financial regulations which will affect your retirement decisions
  • Identify the long term issues affecting your retirement 
  • Identify personal and lifestyle actions which will help to improve your retirement
  • Start the process of planning for a successful retirement
  • To be eligible you need to have plans to retire within the next 12-18 month as places are limited

Any members wishing to attend please complete the online booking form via the links above. 

STUDENTS’ UNION – UPDATE

In the run up to Christmas 2020, the Students’ Union launched a consultation on proposals to restructure the organisation and cut staff numbers.  40% of Students’ Union staff were formally placed “at risk”.  The proposals could not have come at a worse time for our members, already feeling demoralised and facing an uncertain future in extremely tough times.

UNISON, with the assistance of UNISON regional staff, supported members to put forward alternative proposals, launched a petition and passed a vote of no confidence.   Newspaper coverage of the campaign was secured.  Following the work of members, Region, the Branch and SU stewards Demaine Boocock and (albeit briefly) Jemma Dalton, the consultation was extended and the implementation ended up being delayed until the end of April.  The redundancy offer, initially only the statutory minimum, was improved, pay protection was agreed and other concessions were made.  Some of our alternative suggestions were accepted by SU management, which helped protect jobs.

Although UNISON achieved a number of successes, lockdown made engaging with students much harder and it is disappointing that in the end the decision to close the Students Union bar and most other commercial activities was confirmed.  Five UNISON members were among those who already left have or will be leaving the SU.

UNISON has already met with SU members to discuss next steps.  We intend to hold SU management to account for the fallout from the restructure, and demand action to address the poor staff morale that was revealed by the belated release of the results of a staff survey conducted in 2019.  We are also drawing up a list of workplace issues we want to see addressed, and will be meeting with SU leadership to take this agenda forward.

ATTACHMENT THEORY IN THE EARLY YEARS

29 June 2021, 9.30am-1.00pm

This is a brand new UNISON and The Open University workshop delivered by trained OU tutors and is aimed at people working in early years settings or those with an interest in attachment theory for young children.

Places are limited so this session is being offered strictly on a first come first served basis.

If successful in securing a place, members wishing to attend would need to agree time off work (flexi or annual leave) with their line manager.

The workshop will cover:

  • Attachment classifications and how they are assessed
  • The features of caregiving that influence attachment, and the significance of attachment for lifespan development
  • Why the attachment system is an adapted and adaptive mechanism

At the end of the session attendees will receive a certificate of completion from The Open University.

This workshop will be delivered using Microsoft Teams software.

To apply, please complete the web form via the link below:

https://learning.unison.org.uk/events/attachment-in-the-early-years/

SHEFFIELD STAND UP TO RACISM

Dear friends

Whilst Anti-racist campaigners everywhere welcome Chauvin guilty verdict we need to step up the campaign for action to charge police officers in Britain 

Campaigners for justice say the fact that similar charges have never been brought against police officers here in Britain is due to institutional racism and action is needed to eradicate it.

In response Sheffield will be joining the week of action across Britain to commemorate George Floyd’s death one year on, and the spirit of the #BlacklivesMatter movement with three events

Saturday 22 May 12 noon Town Hall: join #SayTheirNames protests – raising the names of those who have died in police custody and the disproportionate deaths during the Covid-19 crisis amongst black front line workers and communities.

https://www.facebook.com/events/310928563923616/?ref=newsfeed

Saturday 22 May, 5pm: One year on from George Floyd’s murder #BlackLivesMatter – We demand change online rally, register on eventbrite here.

Tuesday 25 May: on the anniversary of George Floyd’s #TakeTheKnee in solidarity with the BLM movement in the US and to oppose police racism here #UKisnotinnocent. SUTR wants to encourage every workplace, every college campus, every community in towns and cities across Britain to do something on that day to demand #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd and to say – whatever Boris Johnson and Co want to argue – the #UKisnotinnocent

 https://www.facebook.com/events/774387036609226/?ref=newsfeed

Sheffield Stand Up to Racism

UNISON COURSES FOR MEMBERS

A wide range of online courses available for members:

Get That Job  a personal development workshop delivered by the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA).

Power To Be You – look at ways of increasing your own confidence and recognition of your personal achievements.

UNISON learning for mental health: