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S. U. N. Shropshire Unison News Volume 3, Issue 8

The Branch is on the Move………..

Newsletter Date Dec 2013

Special points of interest: Branch Sec Report Branch Officers Local Org Report National News Diary Dates

Most of you will be aware the Shropshire General Branch are having to vacate their current accommodation at The Bungalow, Shirehall due to the building being sold as part of the ambulance station redevelopment. We have now moved and, although we are still trying to get ourselves organised are now working from the old Print Room, Shirehall, Shrewsbury which is situated in the basement of the Council building, directly oppo-

BRANCH AGM 12 FEBRUARY 2014

site the side entrance to the Bungalow. All of our contact details remain the same and we look forward to working with you from our new premises during 2014.

The Branch AGM will be held on Wednesday 12 February, 2014 at the Walker Theatre, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury SY3 8FT between 12.00— 2.00pm. This year we have managed to secure two excellent speakers and are therefore hoping for a good turn-out. For details of the speakers please go to page 6. In addition to the speakers we will have members of UNISON Benefits in attendance so that you can discuss any needs you may have i.e. insurance, financial advice etc. We will be providing a hot buffet at the end of the meeting so if you would like to come along and meet the Officers of the Branch, listen to the speakers and enjoy a hot meal please contact the Branch at: Email: unison@shropshire.gov.uk Tel: 01743 252958

SHROPSHIRE UNISON GENERAL BRANCH, The Bungalow, Shirehall, Shrewsbury Shropshire SY2 6ND 01743 252958—unison@shropshire.gov.uk—www.shropshire-unison.org.uk 1 The SUN Volume 3 Issue 7


BRANCH SECRETARY’S REPORT Hello everyone, Firstly, please let me wish you all a very happy new year and I hope that 2014 is a safe and rewarding time for you and your families. Just what this year will bring to us as UNISON member’s, I do not know but none of us will be holding our breath that there will be much good news. Locally, in Shropshire we have already been told that we face more of the same, cuts, re-structures, out sourcing et al. Shropshire Council as we know it will cease to exist and the effects on services and care to the population of our county will undoubtedly suffer. We should never be taken in by the mantra being constantly shoved at us that we can deliver everything we do now but in a better, leaner way, using much less staff and resources - we can’t and we won’t be able to and it is a folly to think otherwise. Nationally, the Chancellor of The Exchequer this week ( Jan 6th) announced that there are to be much more swinging cuts to local government and public services if the Conservatives get into power in 2015. For the sake of society as we know it I truly hope that they don’t. We Salopians know only too well that the attacks made against our terms and conditions and working lives are politically motivated and hidden behind the great falsehood of austerity. If Osborne and Cameron have their way then everything will be placed into the hands of their profiteering mates in big business and our county and its residents will pay a huge price with services being lost that will never return. With this in mind our branch will be supporting, in whatever way we can the Labour Party candidates standing within Shropshire Constituencies. I have already met with John Turnbull the Labour candidate for Shrewsbury& Atcham to canvass his views on what is happening in local government and I shall be doing the same countywide. We have to make sure that we have local MP’s who understand what is happening within Shropshire and who will listen to our concerns and then act

upon them. In fact, what we need is the very opposite of what we have now, mute, complicit members of Parliament who not once have raised a voice as to the situation within our county. The redundancy issue at Shropshire Council rumbles on. The first tranche of voluntary losses failed to provide the numbers required therefore the ‘window of opportunity’ was extended into the new year. After that if the numbers still do not meet expectations then the compulsory job losses will begin. Just when exactly is difficult to say because the authority are desperate, if at all possible, to avoid the use of the term compulsory so that they can manage the PR message more effectively but we have to expect it to happen quickly. It is safe to say that the VR programme caused us and our members an awful lot of work, stress and upset, not least because of the frequent messages that were coming out of The West Wing that everyone could apply and it would be granted which turned out to be not quite the case as many members were refused due to ‘service delivery issues’. Really? Who would have thought that? This is as a direct result of rushing through a massive programme of change without thinking it through completely. When the compulsories start – and they will – the branch will be working hard to avoid a repeat of the mistakes made previously. We will be expecting to see a very clear, transparent and accountable process of selection for compulsory redundancy and not a programme left open to the whims of individual managers. There are lots of changes planned and expected in the coming months so please use the branch website (www.shropshire-unison.org.uk) to keep yourself updated or contact the branch directly if you have any specific concerns. Please remember the branch AGM on 12th February at Theatre Severn between 12-00 and 14-00. Members are entitled to time off to attend this if they so wish and should inform their line manger accordingly so as to ensure service delivery is not affected. We have two excellent speakers this year, Carolyn Downes, ex Chief executive of Shropshire County Council and Heather Wakefield, UNISON National Officer for local government. We shall be providing a hot 2

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buffet lunch for those attending so please let the branch know of your intentions either by phone or e-mail so that we can cater for all. Kind regards and thank you all for your continuing support.

ASST BRANCH SECRETARY’S REPORT It is with great sadness that we have to report the loss of our Asst. Branch Secretary, Ade Andrew who has gone to pastures new. So for now we do not have an Asst. Branch Secretary’s report and we are actively seeking nominations from within our membership for this post and other officers posts within the Branch. If you would like to be considered for a post within the Branch please contact the Branch Secretary in the first instance to discuss the opportunities.

EQUALITIES AWARD Congratulations to Steve Cunningham for his work in the Branch on Equalities Issues and being awarded the Croyde Bay Award for his efforts.

RECRUIT A FRIEND AND EARN £10 For more information email: unison@shropshire.gov.uk

The Branch Secretary collected this award on Steve’s behalf at an Award Ceremony held in Birmingham on the 13 November 2013 at the Jury’s Inn. Steve is pictured receiving his award from Jo Messer, Branch Chair at the Branch Executive Committee Meeting held on the 28 November 2013.

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Retired Members Secretary Although many of the Retired members have been retired for a long time, we are very concerned about what is happening and want to support staff at the Council and staff with other public service employers. We are writing to local Councillors to question the wisdom of the level of budget cuts and whether local commissioning can ever really work. We fear that service levels and quality are bound to get worse. We have supported the judicial review claim taken to the High Court recently in connection with the day centre closures and joined the coach to Manchester. The Retired Members Conference in October was

attended by three of us. There is a separate report if you wish to have more information. Locally we support various local campaign groups eg Shropshire Seniors Forum and we support the National Pensioners Convention. We are arranging our programme of speakers for 2014 and will have a seminar on "the costs of care" in February. Our annual meeting is in January, before then we will enjoy our Christmas Lunch at the Lord Hill in December

Seasons greetings to all Peter Roscoe/Sue Batchelor - Retired Members Officer Contact: proscoe52@yahoo.co.uk or via 01743 252958

Local Organiser’s Report Nadeem Samari has now come to the end of his fixed term contract with UNISON. The Branch would like to thank Nadeem for all his efforts to recruit new members in schools and for building a stronger link between the Branch and schools within Shropshire. Nadeem successfully recruited in excess of 170 new members and additional workplace stewards. He also managed to send out a final newsletter before he left us. He will be missed.

Diary Dates

16.01.14 18.01.14 12.02.14

Branch Exec Meeting, 10am Campaign Against the Cuts , The Square,Shrewsbury 10—4.00 Branch AGM, 12—2.00 Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

RECRUIT A FRIEND AND EARN £10— FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT: unison@shropshire.gov.uk 4

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EQUALITIES OFFICER Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a variety of events taking place in Shropshire. The Shrewsbury Action Against Racism (SAAR) partnership, which is supported by Unison, has this year teamed up with Shropshire Council, Shropshire FA and Shrewsbury Town FC to extend the Kick It Out programme over the whole of the 2013/14 season. Schools and Colleges from across Shropshire have already benefited from the Kick It Out initiative through coaching sessions, talks on prejudice and discrimination, and question and answer sessions with football players. There were also brilliant prizes that were won through Kick It Out. Tickets to the England v Germany friendly at Wembley, tickets to the England U21 v San Marino U21 at the Greenhous Meadow and Shrewsbury Town tickets.

Kick It Out 2013 (Unison)

This year was the 9th annual Kick It Out Cup tournament at the Shrewsbury Sports Village. The Kick It Out Cup has grown in popularity and reputation over the past 9 years with teams being entered from Shrewsbury Supporters Trust, Shropshire FA and the eventual winners, Shrewsbury Juniors amongst others. Unison Equality Officer and Kick It Out lead, Steve Cunningham said “Kick it Out has been a great success this years. It’s really important that the anti-discrimination message is promoted throughout the county and football is an excellent vehicle to reach all part of the community.” Steve Cunningham—Equalities Officer Steve.cunningham@shropshire.gov.uk

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AGM SPEAKERS

Carolyn Downes – Chief Executive, LGA Carolyn Downes has been Chief Executive of the LGA since November 2011.

Before this she was chief executive of the Legal Services Commission where her role was to drive performance and secure a stronger financial future. She was also previously deputy permanent secretary and director general of corporate performance at the Ministry of Justice. She was responsible for all corporate services, including finance, estates, personnel, risk management, business planning and communications. From 2003 to 2009, Carolyn was Chief Executive of Shropshire County Council, where she was responsible for a budget of £500 million a year and a staff of 12,000. Carolyn had worked for the same council as director of environment and community services since 1999 and before this, worked for a range of other councils including Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Stevenage Borough Council, and the London Borough of Haringey, where she started her working life as an assistant librarian. Carolyn has been asked to speak on the future of Local Government as she sees it which should be of interest to us all.

Heather Wakefield, National Secretary, UNISON’s Local Government Group Heather Wakefield is National Secretary for UNISON’s Local Government Service Group. She joined NUPE as a researcher in 1989, working on equality and pay issues. In 1993 she became a regional negotiator for NUPE – and subsequently UNISON – in its Greater London Region. In 1996 she moved to the Local Government Service Group as National Officer. Heather has been the Head of the Local Government, Police and Justice Section of UNISON for 10 years. Heather is Trade Union Side Secretary of the National Joint Council for Local Government Services covering 1.5 million employees and responsible for the Local Government Service Group’s policy and campaigning activities. Heather is also a Commissioner on the Low Pay Commission. Heather is Vice Chair of the Local and Regional Government Committee of the European Public Services Union. She is also a regular commentator on local government and women's issues and is a regular guest blogger on the Public Finance blog site. Before working for UNISON, she worked as a journalist, a social worker and policy officer for the London Borough of Newham and co-ordinated Lewisham Women’s Employment Project for seven years from 1979 before becoming Women’s Rights Officer at NCCL (Liberty) in 1987. She has also carried out freelance research into women's employment in Docklands and the south east. Heather jointly chaired the first women’s committee in Local Government in Lewisham which began in 1979. From 1980 – 1985 she was President of Lewisham and Deptford Trades Council. 6

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UNISON NEWS………

Council Budget Cuts — West Midlands Hit Hard

COUNCILS FORCED TO CUT BUDGETS BY £11B, WEST MIDLANDS HIT HARD AND WORSE TO COME Councils in England have been forced to cut almost £11bn from their budgets in the first two years of the Coalition government, according to data published by the Department for Communities and Local Government on local authority spending, with the West Midlands being hit very hard. UNISON, the UK's largest union, is warning that far worse is yet to come following the spending round in 2013 and the Chancellor's announcement yesterday. Between 2010/11 and 2012/13 total government support for local authorities in England fell by £8.7bn – from £70.1bn to £61.3bn – a drop of almost 12.5%. Inflation and budget pressures added another £2bn of costs resulting in local authorities cutting budgets further. Service expenditure by local authorities in England fell by £10.8bn, from £91.1bn to £80.3bn. No area of the country in the West Midlands has been spared with Birmingham City Council been hit with a £175m reduction in central government support, Staffordshire is suffering a £141,881 reduction, Worcester has been forced to slash its income by £89,783 and other councils losing similar huge amounts. Ravi Subramanian, Regional Secretary said: “The figures showing that almost £11bn in real terms has already been cut from council budgets are truly shocking. They reveal the true scale of the devastating cuts in the West Midlands local authorities that took place in the first two years of the Coalition government, and it is alarming that the worst is yet to come with another £5.2bn of cuts planned by 2015/16 which will reap further devastation to our community services, increase regional unemployment levels and damage the local economy.” Tony Rabaiotti, Regional Manager added: "These are very high numbers, but what they don't reveal is the extent of the human cost and suffering that these cuts have on real people in our local communities who rely on public services. These cuts represent the loss of vital jobs and services with respite, day care, home care, libraries, youth and children's services, and leisure facilities taking a real hit. The West Midlands has been hit hard and sadly there is worse to come” PTO for more information.

SHROPSHIRE UNISON GENERAL BRANCH, Shirehall. Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY2 6ND Telephone—01743 252958 Email: unison@shropshire.gov.uk Website: Shropshire-unison.org.uk

The views contained in this newsletter are not necessarily the views of UNISON Nationally. 7

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Local authority examples:

Local authority

Class

Region

Birmingham Coventry Dudley Sandwell Solihull Walsall Wolverhampton Worcestershire Staffordshire Warwickshire Bromsgrove Redditch Worcester Wychavon Wyre Forest Malvern Hills Cannock Chase East Staffordshire Lichfield Newcastle-under-Lyme South Staffordshire Stafford Staffordshire Moorlands Tamworth North Warwickshire Nuneaton & Bedworth Rugby Stratford-on-Avon Warwick Herefordshire UA Telford and the Wrekin UA Shropshire UA Stoke-on-Trent UA

MD MD MD MD MD MD MD SC SC SC SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD UA UA UA UA

WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM WM

2010/11 to 2012/13 reduction in Service Expenditure ÂŁ'000 -307,457 -68,827 -73,324 -22,442 -51,745 -87,820 2,797 -89,783 -141,881 -94,326 -304 -907 -1,262 -2,314 -1,759 955 -4,430 -3,017 -1,858 -4,625 -2,334 -1,100 -2,185 -2,146 -775 -5,755 -3,245 -2,075 -246 -33,168 -17,483 -27,727 -72,574

NOTES 1. Methodology: UNISON has compared figures in Local authority revenue expenditure and financing England: 2012 to 2013 individual local authority data - outturn with Local authority revenue expenditure and financing England: 2010 to 2011 individual local authority data

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Newsletter dec 2013