NEURODIVERSITY AWARENESS ON-LINE

22 July 2020

10.00-11.00am

This introductory 1-hour session is aimed at all UNISON members with an interest in Neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is an umbrella term for autism, dyslexia, ADHD and dyspraxia.  For further information and how to register for this course click here

If you are interested in attending a UNISON course and would like to know more – please contact the Branch Education officer, Linda Wood, for a chat: l.wood@shu.ac.uk

FREE ON-LINE COURSE

Northern College Micro Courses

These free online courses are open to anyone and are designed to introduce you to a range of subjects through an e-learning experience before committing to one of our longer traditional courses.

  • Employability skills – Whether you’re looking for your first job, have been out of work for a while or are even looking for a change in career, this bundle of resources will help you kick start your job search.
  • Digital literacy skills – Digital literacy skills are a must-have in a world which is increasingly becoming online and virtual. This course is an introduction to the skills required for those taking their initial steps in using ICT and the internet and is a starting point for further study.
  • Numeracy skills – Ideal for learners working at Entry Level 3, who might have some gaps in their maths knowledge and/or skills. This course will give you confidence to take a more formal and accredited course at this level.
  • Maths – Level 2 refresh – Good maths skills are an essential part of everyday life and this course will assist learners working at Level 2 who might have some gaps in their knowledge and/or skills. It has been split into 3 separate areas; fractions and percentage, number and BIDMAS, perimeter, area and volume.
  • English skills (part 1) – This micro course has been designed as the first part of a two part offer, and it will assist learners working at Entry Level 3 who might have some gaps in their knowledge and/or skills. Once completed you can continue-on to part 2.
  • English skills (part 2) – This micro course is the second of a two part offer to assist learners working at Entry Level 3 who might have some gaps in their knowledge and/or skills. This course should improve your skills and confidence to take a more formal and accredited course at this level.
  • English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) – Good language skills are important, and this micro course covers some of the essentials needed to develop English language skills at a basic level.  It presents you with an ideal opportunity to improve your skills and your confidence before studying in a more formal manner.
  • Covid-19 and safer workplaces – a guide for UNISON members – Covid-19 and the lockdown has left UNISON members feeling concerned, anxious, even stressed. This Micro Course has been designed to help plan what steps you will need to take, and how you can ensure you and your members are being as safe and risk aware as possible.

If you are interested in any of these courses, please visit Northern College website at:- https://www.northern.ac.uk/courses/micro-courses/

For more information about UNISON online courses for members and activists, please visit our website at:- https://yorks.unison.org.uk/online-training/

UNISON COURSES FOR MEMBERS

 UNISON Learning & Organising Services

Courses currently available for members:

⇒ Mental Health and Well Being
⇒ Staff Skills Academy
⇒ Bereavement awareness workshops for members in social care
⇒ Personal Development for UNISON Members
⇒ Help with Digital Skills
⇒ Get online with Learn My Way
⇒ Everyday Skills in Maths and English
⇒ Family Maths Toolkit
⇒ Activist Learning
⇒ UNISON e-learning
⇒ Organising Space

If you are interested in attending a UNISON course and would like to know more – please contact the Branch Education officer, Linda Wood, for a chat: l.wood@shu.ac.uk

Statement regarding homeworking, flexible hours and caring responsibilities

The following statement/advice has been agreed by the Branch Committee, seriously concerned about the danger that members may be put under pressure to agree to unreasonable working hours alongside caring responsibilities.  If you are not able to work for any reason, this should of course be discussed with your line manager as usual. But contact the Branch as advised in the statement.

Heroes, not Superheroes

Earlier this week the Vice Chancellor wrote to all staff to commend the “commitment and professionalism” of colleagues, referring to the “whole regiments of unsung heroes who have kept working, often doing extra hours, to keep the University going and support rapidly changing operations.”

It is true that a great deal of work, much of it above and beyond normal expectations, has gone into keeping the University going in these difficult times.  The VC’s praise is well deserved.

But all this incredible collective effort must not be exploited.  There is a limit to what can reasonably be expected of us, and the Branch is determined that our Health and Safety rights and Terms and Conditions must not be compromised. We are heroes, not superheroes.

UNISON, alongside the other unions, has been pressing for recognition by the University that it is unrealistic to insist that staff conform to business-as-usual working patterns and rules during the current crisis. What is needed is pragmatism, flexibility, and sensitivity. Recent ACAS guidance emphasises the importance of this: https://www.acas.org.uk/working-from-home.  An outcome-oriented approach could be adopted, looking at carefully prioritising essential work and taking into account what can reasonably be expected in individual circumstances.

But last Thursday (19th March), the University published a daily email update, which included a section on “working from home with care commitments.”     It included this statement:

“We appreciate that our families and those we care for are our primary concern, and that this will be the focus of your attention whilst this situation lasts.  However, we would ask that you balance this with work requirements.  If you are unable to make alternative care arrangements to cover your normal work pattern, this may mean that during this period you need to undertake your work in a new or different way which supports these responsibilities. We wish to support you with this.

This could mean agreeing a new work pattern with your line manager where you undertake work in the early mornings, weekends or evenings.  Whatever your work pattern, once this is agreed with your line manager, you should keep in contact on a regular basis, either through WebEx or by telephone.  It is important that you and your line manager speak to each other at least weekly, and preferably more often.”

The Branch immediately received outraged protests from members, especially those furious at the prospect of being expected to work unsociable hours on top of acting as full time carers (of children and other dependents) due to the public health situation. It is not surprising that the statement caused anxiety and anger from colleagues in this position.  It is not acceptable to expect anyone to somehow squeeze a 37 hour week into weekends, early mornings and late nights, let alone those with additional, exhausting, responsibilities.

The idea that colleagues in this situation might be penalised by using up annual leave or losing pay is not acceptable.

This contrasts starkly with the Vice Chancellor’s instruction to “Look after your mental and physical well-being”.

Flexible working arrangements – yes.   A pragmatic and supportive approach – yes.   Putting people under pressure to work late nights, or at 2am in the morning, or at weekends – no.

UNISON Branch Committee met urgently on Friday and voted to reject and oppose the guidance.   We are advising members not to agree to any changes to their working conditions without seeking advice from the Branch.   We are calling on the University to provide clearer and more supportive and understanding guidance, and to withdraw and clarify the current advice.   We are urging the University to make facilitating safe homeworking its first priority, as this is the most significant problem.

UNISON Branch Committee

INVITATION TO UNISON SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY BRANCH AGMs

It’s nearly time for our Annual General Meetings (AGMs) 

UNISON AGM at Collegiate Campus Tuesday 3 March

12–1pm AGM Business

1-2pm  Networking lunch

Both events will be held in HC.0.17 Heart of Campus

 

UNISON AGM at City Campus Wednesday 4 March

12–1pm AGM Business

1-2pm  Networking lunch

Both events will be held in Owen Room 1029

What is the AGM?

It’s your chance to have a say in how the UNISON Sheffield Hallam University Branch is run and how your membership fees are spent. It’s important to attend, as the Branch can only make decisions if we meet a minimum required attendance.

What happens at the AGM?

At the AGM you will

  • find out what UNISON is doing for you at Sheffield Hallam
  • help elect your branch officers
  • learn about how your membership fees are spent
  • chat to stewards and officers
  • ask questions, make suggestions and have your say on the running of the branch

You also get a free lunch, free promotional items and free entry into a raffle to win John Lewis gift cards.  This year we have increased the value of the gift cards to £30, £20, £15 as well as the number of gift cards at the City AGM to six – it’s win win for members!!

Networking Lunch follows on from the AGM Business.  Lunch is open to members who attend the AGM.

Submit a Motion

If you would like to submit a motion to be placed on the agenda, please email me the details by Friday 8 February. The agenda for the meeting and the officers’ reports will be placed on the UNISON SharePoint site a week prior to the meeting.

Please confirm your attendance to unisonadministrator@shu.ac.uk with one of the following options:

  • I will be attending the AGM Business only at Collegiate Campus on Tuesday 3 March 
  • I will be attending both the AGM Business and Networking lunch at the Collegiate Campus on Tuesday 3 March
  • I will be attending the AGM Business only at City Campus on Wednesday 4 March
  • I will be attending both the AGM Business and the Networking lunch at the City Campus on Wednesday 4 March

 

 

If you have any special dietary requirements please let us know and we will try to accommodate them.

SUTR 2020 TRADE UNION CONFERENCE

Saturday 8 February 12-4:30pm

Building on the success of the last couple of years’ trade union conferences, the event will bring together trade unionists from across different industries and sectors to discuss and organise how we can raise anti racism in our unions and workplaces.

From the threat of a far right street movement breaking through, to the anti racist movement’s defeat of fascist ‘Tommy Robinson’ in Britain, to the rise in racist populism and intensification of a ‘hostile environment’ we are seeing in the form of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage – there are both victories for the anti racist movement to discuss, as well as major challenges now facing the anti racist movement.

The result of the general election and the reality of a Johnson led Tory government has made clear that anti racism is going to continue to be an important issue that should be at the heart of our unions.

Speakers include:

Margaret Greer Unison national race equality officer

Wilf Sullivan TUC race equality officer

Daniel Kebede NEU NEC

Riccardo La Torre FBU Eastern regional secretary

Registration 11.45am

Opening plenary 12.30pm: CHALLENGING RACISM IN THE WORKPLACE

Workshops 2pm – 3.15pm

  1. BUILDING ANTI RACIST EDUCATION
  2. FIGHTING THE ‘HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT’ IN THE NHS
  3. SOLIDARITY WITH REFUGEES
  4. ROOTING ALL FORMS OF RACISM OUT OF THE WORKPLACE
  5. LOVE MUSIC HATE RACISM: CULTURE AND THE ANTI RACIST MOVEMENT

Closing plenary 3.30 – 4.30pm: MOBILISING FOR MASS DEMOS ON 21 MARCH (UN ANTI RACISM DAY) #WorldAgainstRacism #M21

If you are interested in attending this event please email Lucinda Wakefield at l.m.wakefield@shu.ac.uk

AGM NOMINATIONS: GET INVOLVED

This is your chance to become a Steward and make a difference.

Workplace stewards are at the heart of our union. They are the first point of contact for our members in your local workplace, and they work to make your workplace a fairer and better place to work.

And we need more! We have vacancies in lots of areas at Sheffield Hallam. As new ways of working are rolled out across all professional services in the University, we need stewards in as many areas as possible.

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.
  • You will receive facilities time in order to carry out your role – facility time
  • You will receive training and support from UNISON in order to carry out your role.“But I don’t have the skills!”

    Ever thought of becoming a steward but you’re worried you don’t have the right skills or the time? Don’t worry – you receive excellent training, plus paid time off work for your union duties.

    Here are six common worries you may have about becoming a steward – and how you can overcome them.

    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.

  1. I don’t think I will have time for this…

…as a steward you would be allowed time to carry out UNISON related work, see the ‘Facility Time’ link above

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, details here or for more information visit
http://www.unison.org.uk/for-members/support-us/work-with-us/become-a-rep/

Should you wish to stand as a steward, you need to:

    • Complete the attached Shop Steward Nomination Form – which requires two members of your constituency to nominate you. If you are unsure of the UNISON members in your constituency please email unisonadministrator@shu.ac.uk and I will supply you with a list.
  • Return the form back to me by 12 noon on Tuesday 11 February. Return address – UNISON, Room 109, Sheffield Technology Park, Cooper Building, City Campus

 

  • We will send you the information about the training that is being offered locally: the Organising Steward, and the range of training that UNISON offers regionally.The nominations will then be circulated to members in your constituency and provided no objections are received, you will be elected in time for the AGM.

    CONSTITUENCIES

  • Students Union (Students Union)
  • Library and Student Support Services (part of SAS) (L&SSS)
  • Academic Services and Directorate Office (part of SAS) (Academic Services)
  • Technical Operations, Resources and Services (TORS)
  • Digital Technology Services (DTS)
  • Corporate Operations (Corporate Operations)
  • Strategy, Planning & Insight and College Services (SPICS)
  • Estates and Facilities (Estates & Facilities)
  • Finance & Procurement (Finance)
  • Human Resources & Organisation Development, and Development & Diversity (HR&OD)
  • Governance & Sector Regulation (G&SR)
  • Recruitment, Communications & Marketing (RCM)
  • Transformation (Transformation)
  • Business Engagement, Skills and Employability (BESE)
  • Global Development & Partnerships (Global)
  • Research & Innovation Services (RIS)
  • Student Experience, Teaching and Learning (SELT)
  • Vice Chancellor’s Office. Development and Alumni Relations and Executive Support (VCO)
  • Academic Strategy and Colleges (AS&C)

We look forward to hearing from you.

HE CONFERENCE REPORT

By Ana Yousaf

I attended the Higher Education Service Group Conference as a first time delegate  on Thursday 16th January 2020. This is when all University UNISON branches get together and discuss/agree any motions put forward by either our Service Group Executive Committee or branches such as ours around the UK. This will often decide the campaigns we want the union as a whole in Higher Education to pick up and a strategy around our pay claim within Higher Education, which we can take forward for 2020/21.

I travelled down to Milton Keynes (where the conference was held) with my colleague Lucinda Wakefield on the afternoon before. Having someone to travel down with was really appreciated as we had to catch another train from Birmingham New street to Milton Keynes which was a bit chaotic.  It was good to get down there on time too, as it meant I could ensure I was prepared and had my delegate registration and conference pack.  I also had put a photo onto my credential badge ready to wear at all times in the conference hall.

My experience of the conference was enjoyable and satisfying, especially being with another delegate from the branch who had attended before, so knew what to do and expect.  They were able to show me the ropes and I had company.  On the first evening we met several  delegates from different branches within Higher Education, some of whom were part of the Higher Education Service Group Committee.

We got to the conference hall early to ensure that we had seats in the right area assigned by our region (South Yorkshire).

From the day, one motion fell (this means it was not heard at conference) due to the branch who were due to speak on it not being in attendance. Otherwise all the motions put forward were passed and as a first time delegate I did speak on two of the motions. These were:

  • Motion 5 – ‘Positively Promoting Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace’
  • Motion 11 – ‘ Raising the profile of Black activists in Higher Education’

Speaking at the conference for the first time was quite  daunting as my heart was beating rapidly when I made the move to walk up to the rostrum to speak. However, I did it and on the flipside, it was a satisfying experience for me and made me feel part of the debate – I was proud to represent the branch in this way. I have been enthused  to do more within our branch here at Sheffield Hallam University – especially as I was passionate about the motions I had spoken to and supported.

The morning of the conference was quite slow with very few (if any speakers) from the floor and several motions being passed without debate. I was very proud that as delegates from the branch myself and Lucinda did speak on several of the motions throughout the day and gave our branches perspective throughout.

However, the afternoon came alive when we got to motion 9. – ‘Industrial action ballot tactics for 2020-21 pay campaign and beyond’. There were hardly any seats left on either the ‘for or ‘against’ seated areas as delegates queued up to be part of this lively debate.  The discussion was around if and what we can achieve from going for a disaggregate ballot this year without losing our collective bargaining (a tactic that UCU lecturers union seem to be taking).  When it came to the vote and the show of hands it was too tight to call so the bell was rung for a paper vote. This is when all doors are closed in the hall and each branch has to write their decision (for or against) using the number of members they have in their branch. This is then posted  into a ballot box to be counted whilst the conference then resumes its duties.  The result came back later in the afternoon passing the motion, with 8303 for and just over  6000 against.

We both did also manage to take the opportunity in the breaks and at lunch to do some networking, making new contacts nationwide.  I had lunch with a first time delegate and explained to them how they could speak – which they did in the afternoon session.

I would recommend anyone who attends a UNISON conference for the first time to watch the ‘UNISON new delegates film’ at the link here.

Once the motions and amendments have been finalised we will make them available for members.