UNISON Young Members' new Promotional Video!

UNISON Cymru Wales Young Members are launching a new video.

To watch this fantastic video, please follow this link.


November is Young Workers Month and UNISON is spreading the word in workplaces across Wales. Tim Burke, UNISON Cymru Wales Young Members Chair said,
“Growing up, you are always told to ‘respect your elders’. Well, young workers need to be treated with dignity too. UNISON is saying to employers it’s time you respect your youth and sign our charter for young workers.

“Our great campaign video is live today and we’ll be launching the website we’ve designed ourselves next week. We want all young members in UNISON Cymru Wales to get involved.”

Visit our Young Members Cymru FB page www.facebook.com/UnisonYoungMembersCymru
Young members and branches who want to know more should contact Mark Turner, lead organiser for Young Members m.turner@unison.co.uk

School Support Staff Seminar!

Thursday 28th September
Cardiff Marriott Hotel

We welcome all school support staff in UNISON in Wales to come and share your
views with representatives
from UNISON, the Education Workforce Council, and the Welsh Government,
including the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams.

In addition, there will be sessions on issues such as term-time pay, curriculum reform, and changes in ALN, plus a marketplace showcasing many other areas of interest to school support staff.

Contact d.rees@unison.co.uk to reserve your place. More information on the seminar is available at unison.org.uk/events

The seminar is free to attend but is only open to UNISON members, so visit joinunison.org now to ensure you don’t miss out!

UNISON's tribunal fee verdict is a victory for everyone in work

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Employment tribunal fees

Key messages

  • For almost four years thousands of staff treated unfairly by their employers have been denied access to justice because they couldn’t afford the employment tribunal fees introduced by the government. But no longer – thanks to UNISON’s historic legal victory.

  • The only winners until today have been law-breaking employers who felt able to treat their staff as they chose, safe in the knowledge they were unlikely ever to be taken to court.

  • The Supreme Court decided that the government was acting both unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced fees.

  • The government will now have to pay back £27m to the many thousands of employees in England, Wales and Scotland who have paid out to take legal cases since July 2013.

  • UNISON took the case not just on behalf of the 1.3m public service workers who belong to the union, but for working people across the UK. Access to legal address should be available to every employee, regardless of how much they earn or the jobs that they do.


Fees were introduced on 29 July 2013, and ranged from £160 to £250 according to the type of claim. People also had to pay a hearing fee, which could take the cost to £1,200 (rising to £1,600 if they appealed).

Employees on very low wages could get a reduction or have fees waived. But even those earning the national minimum wage weren’t always entitled to help.

At the beginning of the year the government’s own figures revealed a 70 per cent drop in cases taken to tribunals since 2013, with low-paid women, especially those who are pregnant or on maternity leave the biggest losers.

UNISON’s legal challenge began in 2013, and ends just short of the fourth anniversary of the introduction of fees. 

Difficult questions

Why shouldn’t employees have to pay fees?

If employers break the law, treat their staff unfairly or play fast and loose with their safety, it is only right that their employees can challenge their employer at a tribunal. The enforcement of hard-won employment rights must be available to every employee in the UK, regardless of how much they earn or the job they do. UNISON’s victory will benefit everyone in work. Decent employers will welcome today’s ruling, as it will make it much harder for unscrupulous bosses to undercut them.

Isn’t this going to encourage vexatious claims?

Not at all. The Supreme Court agreed with UNISON that it was actually employees with genuine claims who were deterred from seeking justice, especially those on the lowest wages, who didn’t have a union to stand up for them. UNISON, like most unions, has been paying fees so its members haven’t had to. It’s the many in workplaces where there is no union who until today were the biggest losers.

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Smash the pay freeze and end austerity, says UNISON general secretary

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Speaking today (Tuesday) to UNISON’s annual national conference in Brighton, general secretary Dave Prentis said:

“We live in a kingdom dangerously divided into the haves and the have-nots. Some are living in misery and poverty – or even in extreme danger as we have seen last week.

“The catastrophe at Grenfell Tower was the epitome of a tale of two cities. People living in wealth and luxury side by side with those living in poverty.

“The Prime Minister appears to be unable to give the support people need or be the leader this country wants. This contrasts with the warmth and compassion shown by the public, and the bravery shown by the heroes of the emergency services.

“Public service champions – including nurses, hospital porters and council workers – are working together and supporting each other. We live in a country full of heroes.

“Jeremy Corbyn is the man capable of taking this country in the right direction. Some said he was unelectable but people saw hope and someone worth voting for. They’ve seen a man who can be Prime Minister.

“It’s time for a Labour government with our values and our manifesto. A manifesto against job cuts, police cuts and pay freezes that ends the senseless pain of austerity.

“This past year has been about hard work. We’ve taken the fight to the government, to employers and to the courts. UNISON’s ethical care charter will ensure decent conditions for care workers and decent care for our loved ones.

“This government’s austerity pay policies have crushed public services under their heel. They have ground down public service employees.

“They’re worried about their jobs, their families and can’t go through another five years of poverty pay. Now is the time to shout enough is enough. This is the year to smash the pay cap.”

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Unison launches manifesto for strong Welsh communities

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Investing in public services and strengthening communities must be the priority for all political parties, according to a manifesto published today (Wednesday) by UNISON, ahead of the Welsh local elections.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis will join more than a hundred public service workers including carers, caretakers and refuse collectors outside Cardiff Central Library for the launch.

Commenting on the manifesto, Dave Prentis said,
“Spending cuts forced by the Westminster government have run down local services and damaged communities– and Welsh people have had enough. It’s time for a new era of investment in local government services to strengthen communities.

“There must be no more cutting back on bus services, refuse collections and social workers who keep children safe. No more closing libraries and community centres, and no more paying carers looking after the elderly and vulnerable bargain basement wages.

“Public service workers across Wales will be holding all local election candidates to account. They must prove they’re committed to putting people first.”

UNISON‘s manifesto urges existing and prospective councillors to say no to outsourcing, and no to the spending of taxpayers’ money on private consultants who then advise on how to make cuts. UNISON also wants candidates to ensure staff providing local government services are paid at least the real living wage (£8.45 an hour in Wales).


Heart UNISON week 8-14 February

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While we are feeling the love, it’s timely that its heart UNISON week next week. This is all about celebrating the amazing things we do – focusing on our success stories to recruit new members and retain our current members in these hard times.

LGBT History Month 2017

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February is LGBT history month. This is a great opportunity to celebrate our own proud history of working for LGBT equality. There is an interactive timeline and a presentation with detailed notes pages for you to use in your workplaces and branches

Service cuts see young lives written off, claims union

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BBC Wales Online piece features extended quote from head of local government Dominic MacAskill. This story is a result of our November youth services conference.

Guardian investigation into care and sleep-ins, Cartrefi Cymru employee case study and Dave Prentis quoted

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After £5.5bn of cuts, a new ruling requiring care providers to pay the minimum wage for sleep-in shifts – including six years of back pay – could be devastating

Torfaen library services win reprieve

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Concerted lobbying efforts by UNISON Torfaen County branch have removed the threat of reduced library services across the region this year. Torfaen County Borough councillors were so impressed by the trade union’s campaign and strength of public feeling they reversed a proposed £240,000 cut in the local libraries budget, which would have made fifteen people redundant.

Cheryl Morgan, UNISON branch secretary said, “The proposed quarter of a million pound cut would have meant a much reduced service to the public. Think of all those great things our libraries provide to people of all ages in the community that would have been at risk: story-telling classes for young children; internet access for those who can’t afford it at home; IT training and adult education and job advice for the unemployed, not to mention the wonderful availability of free books.

“It’s obvious Welsh councils are under severe pressure from savage UK Conservative government funding cuts but our public services are at the heart of community life and must be saved. This is a massive victory, protecting vital services in deprived areas.

“UNISON led the campaign against the proposals and our submission argued healthy communities need decently funded, professionally run library services. Our partnership working with the Torfaen Labour administration council is productive and we are very pleased the council has listened to the voice of local people.”


‘In at the deep end: who should run our pools and leisure centres?’

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Half of local authorities in Wales have handed over the running of their leisure services to outside organisations, with four more councils considering similar moves. Outsourcing is seen as a way to save money without losing leisure centres and swimming pools. But opponents say it is simply passing the buck.

What have Trade Unions done for us?

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UNISON Cymru/Wales members will be taking to high streets and workplaces this week (13 Feb) to celebrate the historic achievements of trade unions.

UNISON members are participating in the UK-wide ‘I heart unions’ week of action organised by the TUC to show unions are responsible for winning landmark social change which has benefitted the whole nation. They will be giving out cakes and leaflets to members of the public and also highlighting the unheralded work union reps do every day, fighting discrimination, making our workplaces safe and standing up for the vulnerable.

Margaret Thomas, UNISON Cymru/Wales Regional Secretary, said, “This is a great opportunity to remind people that trades union campaigning has helped shaped this country for the good. It was unions which fought for and won a minimum wage, maternity and paternity rights, pension provision, holiday and sickness entitlements. These union victories have benefited every single British person.

“Trade unions are as relevant today as they have ever been. They are there to help you improve your wages and employment conditions; to challenge discrimination; to stand up to exploitative employers and to campaign for positive change for the whole of society.”


We stand together against Donald Trump’s toxic agenda

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Letter to the Guardian, signed by many, including UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis

Pembrokeshire services to be saved from outsourcing

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In a landmark political decision that will be noted by councils across Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council looks set to throw out plans to outsource local leisure services to a charitable trust. After dedicated campaigning by UNISON won over local politicians, all services are to remain under council control. In what is being described as a victory for local democracy, the trade union has said the move will safeguard over 400 jobs and protect community life in Pembrokeshire.

The council’s overview and scrutiny committee met last week and unanimously agreed to recommend to its cabinet that outsourcing not be pursued. The committee thanked UNISON for its presentation and the issues it had raised.

The council had paid London-based, private consultant Winckworth Sherwood, thousands of pounds to advise on how to save money by outsourcing of libraries, leisure centres, sports pitches, museums, archives and arts development, to a charitable trust. The move drew intense criticism from UNISON which said Winckworth did not have the interests of the local community at heart and transferring services out of democratic control would forever deny local people a say in how services are run.

UNISON used expert advice from the Association for Public Service Excellence to effectively demolish the council’s case, revealing no evidence the proposal was cheaper or more effective. The union also said the consultant would further gain financially from any decision to outsource.

UNISON led a very public campaign against outsourcing, even touring the Pembrokeshire County Show to obtain signatures to its petition.
UNISON branch secretary Janet Wyer said, “Every step of the way, we said to the council, we know the pressures you are under because of severe UK Conservative cuts but outsourcing would deliver only short term savings and it would be calamitous for all those local services we all hold dear. If local services are under pressure, councils should work with staff and trades unions to find a solution.

“There is no place for private consultants advising councils to cut or outsource services. We know they deliberately paint a desperate picture of the council’s future in order to secure further work. Outsourcing would have failed the people of Pembrokeshire and local services are always best delivered by staff directly employed by the council.”