Thursday, 3 August 2017

UNISON South East Sponsors Black Women’s Conference 2017


UNISON South East and the South East Regional Black Members committee agreed on a sponsorship deal with the organisers of this year’s Black Women’s Conference, the daylong conference had a selection of panels & workshops. It offered a safe space where Black women can meet, share & feel empowered in discussing issues, form stronger bonds.
The Conference took place on the 6th May 2017, at the University College London.
There were Workshops on Self-Love, Black Women and Academia, Wellbeing, Twerking, QTIPOC, and Uniting to End Violence Against Women and Girls.  
There were also performances from live spoken word artists such as Melz, Zena Edwards, Gemma Weekes.
Oxford Brookes University’s UNISON branch secretary Beverly Sesay said:
“This is an excellent opportunity for Black Women to come together and to celebrate and connect with one another and UNISON is proud to be part of the event”.
“This annual event is now in its fifth year and we hope we can help it grow, and that it will become a regular fixture in the UNISON calendar”.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Another legal victory for UNISON


UNISON in Court of Appeal victory over employers who fail to consult unions
UNISON has won a landmark court victory today (Friday) that makes it much harder for employers to ignore staff when making major changes in the workplace.

The Court of Appeal ruling means that for the first time employers will be obliged to consult with unions around any workplace issues that affect their members.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Employment tribunal fees ruled unlawful

The Supreme Court has ruled that fees for workers bringing employment tribunal cases are unlawful.

Unison successfully argued that these fees prevented workers getting access to justice, especially low-paid workers.

The Unison campaign has lasted four years, and the ruling is a direct result of the union's campaign.

The government will now have to repay all those who were unlawfully charged for their cases.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Higher Education Race Action Group Conference

Oxford Brookes Unison Branch Sponsors HERAG Conference



by Kanja Sesay


On the 14th June, the Higher Education Race Action Group (HERAG) held its 4th Think Tank conference in London. The conference explored themes that are pertinent to the current discussions and research around race, such as BME (Black Minority Ethnic) representation and success in postgraduate courses and/ or increasing the pipeline into staffing and leadership roles. Developing a consistent approach to improving the BME retention and attainment and ensuring effective implementation within the institution. Other themes such as the development of targeted race equality policies without taking a deficit model approach were explored.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

BME Forum

There will be a UNISON BME event this Friday 7th July, for all self-defining BME members.

The venue is JHB406 (John Henry Brookes Building) from 4pm to 6pm.

If you are interested in attending, please email bsesay@brookes.ac.uk to confirm your attendance.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Unison National Delegate Conference

Two delegates from Oxford Brookes Unison branch attended Unison's National Delegate Conference, an inspiring event that brings the whole union together to discuss motions on topics such as increasing the minimum wage, tackling poverty and inequality, the rights of workers from other EU countries, organising in the workplace to defend our members and colleagues against racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ablism; and working to tackle stress and increased workloads.



Friday, 16 June 2017

2017 Pay Offer

The employers have made a final offer of an increase of 1.7% or approximately £365 a year whichever is the greater. This means that everyone at Brookes on Grade 6 or above would get 1.7% while staff on lower grades would get between 2.43% (at the very bottom) and 1.7% at the top of Grade 5. Apart from a very few staff who are on Grade 1, our lowest paid staff are on Grade 2 and people at the top of Grade 2 would get £364 per year which is a rise of 2.19%.

To put this in perspective, average pay rises across the country are currently 1.7%, (although as the public sector is still capped at 1%, this means that private sector pay is rising by more than 1.7%) and inflation (as measured by the Government’s fiddled CPI) is 2.9% - the more realistic RPI figure is currently 3.9%. Both CPI and RPI are predicted to rise further as the year goes on, so will be still higher when the rise is implemented in August.


Positive features of the offer:
  • It gives (slightly) more to the lowest paid
  • It means that many/ most staff (at Brookes and nationally) will be earning more than the Foundation Living Wage
  • It is more than public sector workers will be offered
  • It is more than we received last year

Negative features of the offer:
  • In real terms (i.e. taking account of inflation), it is actually a pay cut for everyone
  • Instead of redressing many years of pay cuts, it cuts real pay further
  • For Oxford Brookes, it does nothing to address the high cost of living in/ around Oxford
  • There is plenty of money in the HE sector if the employers wanted to offer a fair pay rise

UNISON’s National Higher Education Committee has considered the offer and is clear that it is the best that can be achieved by negotiation (in other words, that it will only be improved by a sustained national campaign of strike action). They are now consulting all UNISON members to find out what members want UNISON to do. The other unions are consulting their members.

UNISON and the other Trade Unions have worked hard to get the best deal that can be obtained just by negotiation. However the national employers have decided, yet again, that they can get away with making a pitifully inadequate offer. The decision is now yours. The choice is very simple – either you will decide that we should accept the offer (no doubt, very reluctantly and resentfully) or you will decide that you are prepared to join in a campaign of strike action to improve the offer. THERE IS NO THIRD CHOICE. Voting to reject the offer if you are not prepared to take part in strike action will NOT achieve an increase, will undermine the credibility of the negotiators in future negotiations, will cost the union time and money that could be better spent on achieving other things and will delay the implementation of offer, inadequate though it is. ABSTAINING IS NOT AN OPTION. Not voting at all is the worst of all worlds. A low response will leave the negotiators having to guess what members want, again putting them in a very weak position against the employers and likely to go down a road that is not what members want.

If you have any questions about the offer, either contact your steward or come to one of the meetings (details enclosed). If you want to make any comment about the offer, come to one of the meetings.

The Consultation Process

Every member will receive either a paper ballot paper or a link to an electronic ballot. In each case, the process requires you to give your p-number. This is solely to stop anyone voting more than once and will NOT be used to identify which way anyone voted (but votes where no p-number is given will NOT be counted).

You can vote using our online ballot paper – it will automatically capture your p-number and will not allow you to vote more than once. Please ensure you vote before 1.00 on Monday 3rd July.


Meetings to discuss the Pay Offer will be held on:

  • Wheatley Campus - Tuesday 20th June 2017, 1pm - 2pm in room EL20
  • Headington Campus - Monday 26th June 2017, 12pm - 1pm in JHB 128 (Exec suite)
  • Harcourt Hill Campus - Tuesday 27th June 2017, 10am - 11am in Westminster (SU) Bar
  • Swindon campus – contact Aaron Worsley (3135/ 5104 – aworsley@brookes.ac.uk)

Please make sure you vote. It is a very difficult choice to make but only you can make it. It is not fair on the negotiators and undermines the position of us all if people do not vote – because it leaves the negotiators having to guess and weakens them (and hence us) when they meet the employers.

See also the Pay Offer leaflet from Unison PDF