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: 

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM WCML

What we’ve been up to while our front door has had to be shut

We’ve hugely missed the usual buzz of library activity since we closed our doors on 18 March.  But the staff have worked throughout, and here’s a flavour of what we’ve been up to…

We were thrilled to get money from the Arts Council emergency fund pot for a podcast project, Begin the World Over Again.  Working with Salford outdoor arts organisation Walk the Plank we have commissioned six artists, each with a member of the Bones of Paine writing group, to make a podcast episode about significant aspects of the Library’s collection and the thinking behind them, exploring parallels with our contemporary situation and what the future might look like. We’ve learned a lot about podcasting, and about social media, along the way, and the results have been terrific, hope you agree – you can listen to the podcasts here, and browse more about the themes and the project in general here.

We have also been delighted to present 26 free live-streamed talks so far since lockdown, on a really wide range of topics.   Attendance has been higher than our ‘traditional’ annexe audiences, and of course with a wider geographical spread (plus good figures for later views on YouTube).  It’s also easier to invite long-distance speakers, such as Maria Bloshteyn  who tuned in from Toronto to talk about Russian poetry from the Great Patriotic War.  We have also received kind donations from people who have enjoyed the talks.   The talks will start up again in February 2021 and you can find out more by keeping an eye on www.wcml.org.uk/events  – or by signing up to our free weekly ebulletin here, if you don’t get it already.

Over 200 people watched the third annual Engels Memorial Lecture, which we co-hosted with Marx Memorial Library last month, and this is also available now to watch on YouTube here.  You can also relive on YouTube our online fundraiser Radical Sounds – many folk joined us from the comfort of their living rooms on August Bank Holiday Monday for a fantastic mixture of music and readings, curated by our very own Maxine Peake.

 

We have selected and digitised some interesting material from:

* The Pan-African Congress in Manchester in 1945. This was used not only on our own social media but also was blown up large (see picture, left) to feature in the windows of the old Chorlton-on-Medlock Town Hall, now an MMU building and where the Congress took place.

* The Communist Party, which was presented online as part of the CP centenary celebration on 1 August.

* The Manchester and Salford Film Society (the oldest film society in the UK, whose archive we hold) to mark its 90th anniversary in November (www.wcml.org.uk/90NotOut), and

* The pages of our quirky Engels in Manchester scrapbook to mark Engels’s 200th birthday (www.wcml.org.uk/EngelsScrapbook).

We have lent our Lancashire Women Against Pit Closures banner to the Museum of Wigan Life, along with two suffragette badges, for their protest exhibition which is due to run for a year. The banner looks terrific as it is hung so that both sides can be viewed.

So far, so virtual…  We were excited to be able to reopen the library to a maximum of two real life readers per day on 16 September, and until we had to close again on 4 November we were ‘full’ nearly every day.  A lot of effort was required to get just two people into the building, but all were very appreciative to be back. We are planning to re-reopen on Tuesday 5 January, again to two readers per day by prior appointment, so do get in touch if you’d like to book a place…

In the meantime take care, in solidarity, all the very best for the festive season and for 2021 from all at WCML

THREAT TO JOBS AS SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ UNION LAUNCHES CONSULTATION

Staff at Sheffield Hallam University’s Students’ Union are fearful for their jobs, following the start of formal consultation this week on proposals to restructure the organisation and slash staff numbers.   40% of Students’ Union staff have been formally placed “at risk”.

Management claim that the proposals are necessary to increase student engagement, prioritise representation, and decrease operating costs.   Staff in the Union’s commercial operations, helpdesk and marketing teams are hardest hit under proposals which would see an expansion in the use of placement students on zero-hours contracts.  But UNISON members at the Union point to years to underinvestment by Sheffield Hallam University, the impact of COVID-19 on commercial activities, and longstanding staff dissatisfaction with the leadership and direction of the Students Union.

The proposals could not come at a worse time for staff already feeling demoralised but working extremely hard for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.   UNISON opposes compulsory redundancies and is working with members on alternative proposals to defend jobs.

SAD NEWS

The Branch was saddened to learn of the tragic death from COVID-19 of one of our members who worked in the Facilities Management team.   On behalf everyone in UNISON, the Branch Committee sends our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.   Our thoughts are with you.

We understand that support has been provided to affected colleagues, but it may be helpful to remind everyone of the confidential helplines and other advice provided through the University’s Employee Assistance Scheme: https://sheffieldhallam.sharepoint.com/sites/3005/polproc/eap/SitePages/Home.aspx

FREE ONLINE SHORT COURSES

Below are one day short courses offered free of charge by Northern College.

To apply visit https://www.northern.ac.uk/courses/short-courses/ and select “apply for a course online” and complete the online booking form.  More information about each of these courses can be found on online.

Date

Course Name

23 Nov

Covid Awareness for Work

3 Dec

Covid Awareness for Work

4 Dec

Introduction to Cloud Computing

5 Dec

Keeping kids safe online

17 Dec

Covid Awareness for Work

When applying, please remember to select the box saying you are a UNISON Member.