Lambeth UNISON AGM – 3 March 2021

Lambeth UNISON AGM is being held online on 3 March 2021

The purpose of the AGM is to bring the branch committee and its officers to account:

  • to report on the branch’s finances;
  • to report on the branch’s activity during the past year;
  • to receive a report on the annual assessment.
     
    It is also to make decisions for Lambeth UNISON in 2021:
  • agree policies and plans for the year;
  • to elect branch officers and branch representatives to external bodies for the coming year
  • Elect conference delegates for Local Government Conference and National Delegate Conference
     
    This year there will be one AGM for all members and not a rolling AGM as we have had in previous years.
     

Do you want to write a motion for the AGM?

Motions at our AGM become branch policy and help guide us in campaigns we will run over the next 12 months.

For instance, we passed a motion at our 2019 AGM in support of school climate strikers and then we organised a delegation to go to their protest in central London in September. We passed a motion supporting the return of a Direct Labour Organisation (DLO) at the Council and we argued for it with senior managers, one is now being created.
Motions should be no more than 250 words (not including the title) and in numbered paragraphs
      .
Email motions to rcashman@lambeth.gov.uk copying in shannah@Lambeth.gov.uk

Do you want to stand for an elected officer position?

Nominations are now open for officer posts on our branch committee

Lambeth UNISON is run by a branch committee, made up of officers elected at AGM, convenors elected by members in each directorate of the council, and stewards elected by members in teams/workplaces.  The branch committee meets monthly and is the leadership of the branch. For an overview of the different roles and their responsibilities, please check out (https://www.unison.org.uk/about/our-organisation/activists/branch-roles/)

All officer posts are open for nominations. For information on how to nominate please read below.

Branch Secretary                In charge of day to day running of the branch, overall strategy, campaigns, etc (5 days facility agreed)
Assistant Branch Secretary     Currently three roles for overseeing policy, casework and campaigns
Branch Chair                        The branch chair facilitates branch and committee meetings, and may also be a senior negotiator.
Branch Vice Chair               Chairs meetings when the branch chair is unavailable
Branch Treasurer                 Responsible for finances in collaboration with the secretary
Deputy Branch Treasurer   Assists the branch treasurer
Publicity Officer                    Helps produce newsletters, manage social media accounts, press releases and so on.
Membership Officer             Assists with recruitment and retention, managing our membership database.
Health and Safety Officer##  Watch that badly fixed light! Is work making you stressed? Health and safety is the name of the game.
Environmental Officer         Helps keep the branch up to date on green issues and develops campaigns and policy (will be a very important role in years to come!)
Equality Officer                    Is responsible for equalities issues, assisting self-organised groups and being a union lead on equalities at work
International Officer            Keeps an eye on the news, is informed about international issues and feeds campaign ideas into the branch (e.g. anti-fascism in Brazil, solidarity with trade unionists in Colombia, anti-war campaigning in the Middle East)
Welfare Officer                     The lead person for assisting members with any welfare issues and providing access to UNISON’s welfare fund.
Learning Co-ordinator#      Works with employers and co-ordinates the work of union learning reps in supporting members with lifelong learning and skills for life
Education Officer                 Helps arrange training courses and education programmes for members, stewards, health and safety reps and branch officers.
Returning Officer                 Oversees elections for the AGM and any by elections that may be held for officer posts or convenor roles.
Branch Auditor                     Checks over our finances and ensures we have complied with UNISON regulations.
Deputy Branch Auditor       Helps the branch auditor carry out their duties
Young Members Officer**  Coordinates campaigning and organising work among younger members – are you under 27 and interested?
Labour Link Officer++         A crucial role in liaising with local Labour Parties and coordinating delegates from UNISON to Labour to advocate for our unions agenda.
** must be under 27 at end of their term of office (early 2022)  
++must be a Labour Party member who pays into the Affiliated Political Fund
# must be a trained ULR        (training provided)
## must be a trained safety rep (training provided)

All posts are open to job share 


To apply please email your name, membership number, employer and which role you are interested in standing for to JABlake@Lambeth.gov.uk copying in PDFitzgerald@lambeth.gov.uk. You will also need to find another member to second your nomination.

More details can be found on lambeth-unison.org or call Lambeth UNISON at 020 7926 2858 for more details or to answer any questions

Time Table for AGM

Monday 14 December 5pmDeadline for nomination of Branch Officers, Conference and other delegates
Monday 11 January 5pmDeadline for AGM Motions
Tuesday 12 JanuaryCirculation of motions and nominations received for AGM and reminder of dates
Monday 18 January 5pmCopy Deadline for Annual Report
Week 18-22 JanuaryLayout and printing of Annual Report
Monday 25 JanuaryCirculation of Annual Report (electronic)
Monday 8 February 5pmDeadline for amendments to motions for AGM
Monday 15 February 5pmDeadline for nominations for stewards
Tuesday 16 FebruaryFebruary Branch Committee – compositing of motions and amendments for AGM
Week of Monday 22 FebruaryElections for shop stewards etc. if required
Friday 26 FebruaryDeadline for Emergency Motions to AGM (motions will be accepted on issues after this date, contact branch secretaries for details)
Monday 1 MarchCopying of papers for AGM
Wednesday 3 MarchLambeth UNISON AGM

Lambeth UNISON update

Eamon Maguire, Lambeth UNISON Housing Convenor, Memorial Friday 20 November 11am-12noon

The memorial for Eamon Maguire is booked for Friday 20 November from 11-12noon. Council staff have time off agreed., subject to the needs of the service, so please tell your manager you would like to attend.

Eamon was an actor, a musician, a brilliant story teller, a historian, an officer of Lambeth Council, a convenor for UNISON and so much more. He will be terribly missed by his family and friends.

Due to COVID restrictions it is not possible to have the service in person so we will be holding it over MS Teams. You can download the app and use that or you can click on the link and join through your browser.

If you would like any remembrance to be read out or any photos of Eamon then please email them to shannah@lambeth.gov.uk. We will also be raising a collection in his memory.

Join on your computer or mobile app

Get in touch at shannah@lambeth.gov.uk for the link

Care4Calais winter appeal

From Tim O’Dell (Libraries)


Support Stand Up To Racism Care4Calais Winter Appeal 
For the last 5 years, the SUTR appeal has been critical to getting refugees through the cold winter months. This year we need your support more than ever.


Hundreds of refugees remain trapped at the border in Calais, Dunkirk and Belgium. There have been police raids on their settlements year-round, with harsh evictions taking place almost every day in the autumn. Tents have been taken or destroyed. Places where they slept have been fenced off. A cruel food ban also came into force in Calais which stopped volunteers from giving out meals in key streets.
Refugees have been forced to use dangerous routes at the hands of ruthless smugglers to get to Britain and make the asylum claims to which they are legally entitled. At least 6 people died at sea this year.
Those who get to the UK are treated no better. At least four asylum-seekers died in UK accommodation this year. The government also started using military barracks to house refugees, with reports describing the barracks in Kent as cramped and unsanitary.
The Home Office has tried deporting as many vulnerable refugees as it can in charter flights to other countries. There, people are left homeless with no access to help. Lawyers have been doing good work to stop many of these deportations, but they face repeated public attacks from the government.
Winter has come and the refugees once again face months in cold, rain and snow with no permanent shelter. This is the hostile environment governments want to create.
Don’t let the refugees freeze this winter. Your donations help Care4Calais supply tents, tarps, sleeping bags and blankets, as well as boots and warm clothing. They can pay for hot drinks and the daily services refugees need to survive, as well as support them once they get to the UK.
Financial donations are most useful. These mean Care4Calais can buy the supplies they need, when they need them. They also keep the vehicles on the road for distributions and keep the warehouse running.
DONATE
Download Winter Appeal Collection sheet:
winter-appeal-for-refugees-2020DOWNLOAD
Support Coats4Calaishere

Transgender awareness day – 20 November

Every year on 20th November the lives of trans and gender-diverse people reported murdered in the last 12 months are remembered.

In the past 12 months, at least 369 trans and gender-diverse people were reported killed globally, migrants and sex workers make up the majority of victims. It is important that these lives are remembered and celebrated.

A trade union organises workers regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability because we believe that workers have more in common than divides them and our power comes from our collective strength.

For more please visit https://www.unison.org.uk/health-news/2019/10/transgender-day-remembrance-20-november/

What it means to be Black in Lambeth

Before me, my older sister worked in Lambeth and because of her I spent a great deal of time around Lambeth and Lambeth staff. Evenings of Black and white staff together – from the cleaners to directors – all with one thing in common, they were all Lambeth. I loved it and knew I was Lambeth at heart. I pursued every possibility of employment in the Borough. In October 2002 to my absolute delight I got a job in Central Rehousing Services. I now realise that I had unfortunately arrived at the tail end of an era of positive change for Black staff in Lambeth. Soon the Council entered a state of permanent restructuring and the unwilling exodus of many senior Black managers and many white colleagues who were no longer seen as fitting new Lambeth.

For the first few years I thoroughly enjoyed my employment and felt that I was able to positively contribute to effecting change for Lambeth residents. However, as the Council changed so too did my working life and my resolve to do what was necessary to challenge the devastating effects of restructures. The main purpose of many restructures seemed to be the removal of large numbers of staff, primarily Black staff.  In anger at the destruction of services to tenants and the loss of increasing numbers of respected colleagues, I became a Unison shop steward.

As members of staff we are able to identify inequality and injustice in our workplaces however, as a shop steward these are magnified because of representing numerous cases of staff subjected to unjust and unequal treatment. Only then did I recognise scale of the problems facing the Borough that I had longed to work for. It was also at this point that I started facing personal consequences for challenging institutional racism. Until 2007 my employment had been without blemish, even receiving an award at a staff conference. But following a contentious restructure which required forthright action to redress inequality, I found myself subject to the full force of the organisation’s wrath. I faced several years of continuous disciplinary action, including criminal prosecution on faked evidence. With resilience and a commitment to outlast those responsible, I am still here in Lambeth and they are gone. I recommend this course of action to all staff when faced with adversity!

As the daughter one of the first civil rights leaders in the United Kingdom I am only too aware of the way institutional racism works. For instance, my father, Michael X was directly responsible helping to bring about the very first race equality legislation but was ironically the first to be imprisoned under this legislation. This would mark the beginning of a long and concerted effort by the State to vilify and penalise Michael X for challenging the outright, violent racist attacks faced by the Windrush generation.

Ultimately, even after leaving the UK to escape State sponsored hate, the consequences of race hate followed, and Michael X was executed in Trinidad with the support and assistance of the British Privy Council.  But this was not the end. The State had not yet completed what it had set out to do. Information relating to a Black Civil Rights movement in the UK is notable only by its absence. The State erased our history and our children do not know and are not taught the history of their proud past and those who, along with Michael X, fought so we could have better lives.

My background prepared me for adversity and gave me an advantage – resilience and a profound understanding of how the system works to destabilise Black progression, while giving a false impression of cooperating in the fight for equality. I am also committed to ensuring that our history and presence in Lambeth is carved in stone.

I, along with my amazing UNISON colleagues have fought for the rights and continued presence of Black staff in Lambeth. We are not a minority! We are many and they are few, and though we struggle for equality Lambeth Black staff have demonstrated our power! That fighting spirit that kept our rebellious ancestors going for hundreds of years, courses through our veins!

To be Black in Lambeth means being alert to the possibility of recrimination for raising concerns generally, worse if our concerns relate to issues of race discrimination.

But together we know our collective POWER and are not afraid to assert it

To be Black in Lambeth means sitting in offices that are sometimes segregated along racial lines.

Yet our shared history in Lambeth is marked by our standing together at demonstrations and strike action for collective rights of ALL workers

To be Black in Lambeth means our white colleagues can work from home or Starbucks without having to plead and bargain for this right, as we have had to.

Through our lasting friendships we support each other emotionally and even financially in times of hardship

To be Black in Lambeth means being micromanaged so that even the time for toilet breaks are be monitored.

We won’t be worn down! Outside work we party together, attend weddings, special events and funerals of our colleagues, who are also friends

To be Black in Lambeth means knowing that the young white man who has arrived as an administrative officer will soon be our boss.

Yet we continue to hold Lambeth dear to our hearts and are committed to fighting for a better Lambeth. Our Lambeth that once saw better days and will again.

Solidarity with all those facing racist violence

BLACK LIVES MATTER. JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FLOYD
On Friday 11th September there will be a court hearing for the four officers charged with the murder of George Floyd.
Join Stand Up to Racism Southwark and Lambeth to stand in solidarity with all those demanding justice for George Floyd and the end to racist policing in the US and here in the UK.
In the UK, we demand the end of Stop and Search under Section 60, which is disproportionately used against black people.
There will be socially distanced protest with speakers followed by a Take the Knee.
WHERE: Outside the U.S. Embassy, Nine Elms SW11 7US
WHEN: Friday 11th September, 6pm
Petition to stop Section 60
Section 60 (S60) Gives Police the right to search people when they ‘believe’ them to be ‘potentially dangerous.’ Section 60 has been both overused and misused and is used to harass Black & Ethnic Minority people across the UK.
Official statistics show that Section 60 powers are disproportionately used against black people. A black person is 47 times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person.
Section 60 searches have increased in the capital from 1,836 in 2017-18 to 9,599 in 2018-19
This is a fundamentally flawed law that discriminates against Black and Ethnic Minority People and must be scrapped
Stand up to Racism South London are campaigning to prohibit Section 60, suspicion-less stop and search. Lambeth and Southwark council report some of highest figures for stop and search in London and must be made accountable.
Neither the massive growth in section 60 searches nor the disproportionate focus on people from black and minority groups can be justified as an objective response to violent crime.

Solidarity with Tower Hamlets workers!

Tower Hamlets Council – which is a Labour run authority – is planning to ‘sack and re-engage’ its entire workforce in order to force them to accept worse terms and conditions.

‘Sack and re-engage’ is what Asda did to its workforce before Christmas. British Airways is doing it to its worekrs now. It is shocking to see a Labour run council deploy the same tactic.

The new plan, called Tower Rewards, includes:

– Out of hours pay is reduced
– Severance pay has been slashed
– Reduces the Flexi scheme
– Worsens pay for some grades
– Staff being asked to work anywhere in the borough with little notice whilst travel allowances are being cut.

There is an online rally being organised by Tower Hamlets UNISON on Friday 3 July at 11am – register online here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/friday-3rd-monday-6th-tower-rewards-strike-virtual-picket-and-rally-tickets-110797373928
We will stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tower Hamlets UNISON and other unions resisting this awful attack on their working conditions.

Black Lives Matter – Justice for George Floyd!

By Jeremy Drinkall, schools convenor

For over a week now US cities have been convulsed by an unprecedented wave of militant fightback precipitated by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin.

For almost nine minutes Floyd, a black man, was held down by Chauvin’s knee on his neck in front of cameras while Floyd begged for his life. Even after he lay limp and unresponsive, Chauvin continued his torture of Floyd for several minutes more, even though bystanders filmed the murder and begged the cops to get up and let him breathe. George Floyd died and will never breathe again.

Continue reading

Draft motion: The labour movement and the fight against state violence and racism

From Ruth Cashman, Joint Branch Secretary

Many of you will remember that following a racist mass stopping operation at Brixton Tube we started working with the local RMT branch on a campaign around the police. Unfortunately, it petered out as other priorities took over but the reps Stephen and Phil were supportive and have been active in the latest BLM protests. Given the historical moment, it would be good to contact local unions to start that work again. The branch has a great history of campaigning around police violence, racism and surveillance.  Below, is a starting discussion document. I wanted to put it as a motion to the Branch Meeting, but I think we probably don’t have enough time to discuss in full so will but to next BC catch up.

I’d appreciate feedback and suggestions on the draft motion below

Continue reading

Return to work? Read on…

As many of you will know the government is planning on lifting some of the restrictions next week and having primary schools reopen on 1 June.

The trade unions are very concerned by these proposals. The UK still has one of the highest death rates in the world and the infection rate is still very high.

If there is a ‘return to work’ in your workplace then you need to see the risk assessments done by your employer. They should cover all of the duties you will be expected to perform and how they can be made as safe as possible.

Lambeth Council will not be bringing people back to work without consultations with the unions first.

If you have an underlying health condition or live with someone who does then you should still be at home.

UNISON is very concerned about the announcement that the furlough money will be reduced at a time when the pandemic is still very much with us.

Many of our members work in social care and we know hoe dangerous that is and how many elderly people are dying in care homes. This is advice for staff in those workplaces on PPE PPE advice for social care workers

For other members please read this PPE general advice.

If you have any concerns that your workplace is not safe then you are entitled under your legal rights to refuse to attend a workplace. You have this right under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Please visit this website to read more and contact us if you have any questions.

BAME members

The shocking announcement today that BAME people are four times more likely to die of COVID-19 should be a wakeup call for this government and our bosses. BAME people make up a lot of health and social care workers, they are on the front line every day saving lives but the cost is too high.

If you are a BAME member of UNISON then we would like to hear from you about your experiences at work during the lock down. Please email shannah@lambeth.gov.uk

UNISON are raising these issues with employers specifically, if you are concerned about your workplace please contact us.

Pay campaign for local government

The trade unions put in a claim for 10% pay increase and an extra days holiday a year for local government. This was rejected by the employers who came back with a 275% pay increase and an increase on the basic green book leave entitlement from 21 to 22 days but with no corresponding increase in the long service leave so effectively it meant bringing forward one of the days previously awarded at five years’ service. The unions are campaigning against this and demanding more for wages and on holiday as our members have not had a pay rise above inflation for over a decade now.

International Workers Memorial Day

Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures, they are on the website https://lambeth-unison.org/2020/05/02/international-workers-memorial-day/

Stay safe everyone and please get in touch if any issues arise