UNISON Yorkshire & Humberside Region

UNISON is Britain's largest public services union with a membership of over 1.3 million. Yorkshire & Humberside region alone has over 145,000 members. Our members are people working in the public services, for private contractors providing public services and in the essential utilities. They include frontline staff and managers working full or part time in local authorities, the NHS, the police service, colleges and schools, the electricity, gas and water industries, transport and the voluntary sector.


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"We deserve sick pay" UNISON members on sub-zero picket line (02/03/18)

Hull Strikers March 2018

UNISON members at a waste transfer plant at Hull have taken strike action. A dozen lorry drivers employed by the FCC Group have braved sub-zero temperatures on the picket line outside the company's Wilmington facility off Stoneferry Road.

Adrian Kennett, the Branch Secretary of UNISON Hull City branch, said: "Our members have been campaigning for a long time for the company to put forward a better sick pay scheme but this has fallen on deaf ears.

"Currently managers get a company sick pay scheme from the first day of sickness and have seen their pay and benefits increase, yet frontline workers who deal with the city's waste get treated like second-class citizens."

The men were joined on the picket line by Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle who added "I am very disappointed to learn that the employer is not in any meaningful negotiations with the workers and I hope that the issues around sick pay can be quickly resolved."


Blog: 100 years on, the fight continues for equality continues (06/02/18)

Today is a momentous day. One hundred years ago, the Represention of the People Act was passed, meaning that for the first time women could vote alongside men and determine who runs our country.

As a union with more than a million women members, this is obviously an anniversary that means a great deal to UNISON. The point at which women were able to express their views at the ballot box was the point at which they could begin to take charge of their own destiny. That principle is right at the heart of our union – a union for women, where women make our policies, run our campaigns and lead at every level.

Of course, 1918 was only the first step on a journey that has so much further to go. It took ten more years until all women were granted the right to vote – the disenfranchisement of working class women lasted a decade longer. And in 2018, we are still far from an equal society.

You only need to look at Parliament to see that. Because while women may have an equal right to vote in elections and be elected to Parliament, they do not have equal representation in our nation’s corridors of power.

Today, only 32% of MPs and only 15% of local council leaders are women.

Despite huge efforts from so many people – including the introduction of all women shortlists in the Labour Party that our union supports – Parliament and council chambers are still too male-dominated.

There is still so much more to do. The road to true equality has so many more steps to take. The last year has shown us that gender inequality – of power, or wealth and of opportunity – is still rife in our country.

Yet as we look back at what has been achieved in the past century, I am optimistic. And I am proud of our union and excited by its capacity to fight for true equality.

UNISON has more women members than any organisation in the country – and so must be at the forefront of the next century of this fight for equality. A union that didn’t have that fight at its heart wouldn’t be the union I know. And I know that in the years ahead UNISON – and particularly UNISON women in Parliament, in your workplaces and in our communities – will continue to make our country and fairer, better and more equal place.


Potential Carillion conflict of interest requires proper investigation (02/2/18)

The work and pensions select committee investigating the collapse of Carillion must leave no stone unturned when it questions the asset management firms who held shares in the outsourcing firm, says UNISON.

Earlier this week UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis wrote to the select committee chair Frank Field MP urging him to look closely at the role of companies like BlackRock and Henderson Global Investors, which bet on Carillion’s share price falling in the days before the firm’s collapse. The committee has now said that it intends to do this.

Although short selling is not illegal in itself, major shareholders such as BlackRock, Henderson Global Investors, UBS and Standard Life were all banking on Carillion’s stock value falling. BlackRock are also responsible for running the outsourcing firm’s defined contribution pension scheme. UNISON believes that this could amount to a significant conflict of interest.

In the letter to Frank Field MP, Dave Prentis says it’s important to know if any of the major shareholders were using the Carillion workers’ pensions money to bet against the firm’s share price falling.

He also asks the question whether asset managers can really be acting in a pension scheme’s best interests when colleagues in another part of an asset management firm are attempting to drive down that same company’s share price.

UNISON is also calling for tougher corporate governance rules. The Disclosure of Voting Principles – introduced after the financial crash of 2007 through the Stewardship Code – are meant to encourage transparency, and force asset managers to show how they vote at company AGMs.

But, as Dave Prentis points out in the letter, because the principles are voluntary they have little effect.

For example, the asset management companies involved in the shorting of Carillion shares all refuse to disclose their votes publicly. Yet the remuneration packages for Carillion’s board of directors were approved by more than 98% of the company’s shareholders, just months before its first profit warning.

Commenting on the select committee investigation, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Serious questions need to be asked as to whether the behaviour of some asset management firms in the days before Carillion’s collapse ultimately led to its demise.

“In the case of BlackRock, there could be a very real conflict of interest, especially if it was playing the markets with the pensions of Carillion workers, who now face a very uncertain future.

“It shouldn’t be so easy for firms to refuse to disclose how they vote at company AGMs when they are acting on behalf of the retirements of many thousands of employees. The voluntary approach is clearly not working. The time has come for a tougher approach to corporate governance rules.”


Cliff Williams - message from Dave Prentis (20/12/17)

As many of you know, Cliff Williams, our Assistant General Secretary, sadly died on Friday 15th December.

Cliff’s service to our union spanned three decades. Born in Oldham, he moved to Yorkshire to work for Yorkshire Water before joining NALGO. He adopted the region, working there for thirty years, and in turn the region adopted Cliff. He served as District Organisation Officer, before becoming Regional Secretary when UNISON was created in 1993. In the years that followed, he built a formidable team of lay members and staff from across the partner unions and laid the foundations for a strong and influential region.

Cliff was heavily involved in the regional TUC and until he died remained Chair of Yorkshire and Humber Labour Party. He was widely respected across the party both nationally and regionally and used his skills as an astute strategist and a born organiser to support every MP and councillor. Cliff built long standing friendships with many MPs and only ever had one demand of them all – that they, like him, put our members first.

In 2010, Cliff was appointed AGS, overseeing all of our regions. It was a post he loved and undertook with his customary commitment, dedication and passion. His incisive intellect and pragmatism saw our union turn a corner as we faced the attacks of the Coalition government. It was Cliff who masterminded the Fighting Fund scheme, boosting support for branches. It was Cliff who managed our budget to protect our campaigning capacity. And it was Cliff who everyone turned to for support and wise advice when they were up against it.

Yet despite his pivotal role, Cliff never sought the limelight or any accolades. His only ambition was to serve our union and deliver for the members he loved. From first thing in the morning until late at night, Cliff worked relentlessly – advising members and being a trusted and supportive colleague to us all – regardless of the issue or time of day.

Despite his illness, Cliff continued to work from Yorkshire. With long emails and detailed texts, he continued to manage and support others. He commandeered a room in his local pub in Malton, that was soon nicknamed “the office”. His friends, colleagues, lay activists and staff travelled from across the country to spend time with him, enjoy his company and catch up on work. An hour with Cliff was like gold dust.

I was fortunate to have seen him only a week before he died. We spent the afternoon together in “the office”. Yet despite his obvious pain and his gruelling treatment, there were no complaints – no mention of himself or the illness that would soon take him from us. Instead he handed me 16 pages of meticulously written notes. They were his ideas, suggestions for tackling the issues we face and plans for taking the union forward.

Thinking of others, never himself, thinking of our union even at the most difficult times – that for me is and always will be Cliff.

Everyone who worked closely with Cliff will miss his counsel, his support and his commitment – and I know his words “leave it with me, I’ll sort it”, will echo around our union for years to come. All of us who worked with him and laughed with him will miss him. All of us who learned from him and relied on him will miss him. All of us will miss Cliff so, so much.

Yet whilst the union meant so much to him, nothing mattered more than his family.

Sharon, his wife and our friend and colleague, was the love of his life – his soul mate. Their relationship was strong – it was special. With a wide circle of long-standing and loyal friends both in London and Yorkshire – they were always good company and great fun. Yet it was their kindness, their warmth and their consideration of others that we will never forget.

Cliff’s life revolved around his beloved daughters, Liv and Ria. We often shared stories, the trials and tribulations of daughters – late night parties then late-night lifts, boyfriends, dancing lessons, driving lessons, university and the universal Bank of Dad.

We laughed and smiled and every time he spoke of them, his eyes shone and his face lit up – beaming at everything they had achieved. They will always be his pride and joy.

Sharon and the girls cared for Cliff right to the end and I cannot imagine their sense of loss. All of our thoughts and love are with them, Cliff’s mum and all his family as they mourn his passing.

It’s true to say that a great sense of sadness has descended on our union these last few days as we come to terms with Cliff’s death. Yet there is also a true sense of warmth, of supporting each other and of solidarity as we come together to share memories of our dedicated colleague and our very special friend. And just as our union owes so much to Cliff, we his friends and his colleagues do too. Cliff will always be a special part of our union and he will always have a special place in our hearts. He will always be my special friend.

Thank You Cliff. Rest in Peace.

Dave Prentis
UNISON General Secretary


Regional Education Programme 2018 published (06/11/16)

Welcome to the Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Education and Training Programme for 2018. It is our priority to have diverse and suitable courses to meet all the needs of both activists and members. This year we have endeavored to have courses as widely accessible as possible by offering access across the region, and making more use of the TUC both in the classroom and online. We are supporting new venues this year from Hull to Sheffield as well as delivering more at the Regional HQ in Leeds; we will also continue to use Northern College in Barnsley.

You can find the 2018 Education Programme here...

Education programmeThe Tory cuts have been deeply affecting not only Trade Union education, but all adult further education, which makes our Lifelong Learning approach even more important for our members, potential members, and activists. In addition to our Regional Education Team, our Organisers will continue working with branches, alongside the other organising duties they undertake, to develop Lifelong Learning and ensure activists are trained to the highest up-to-date standards. Learning and training are now firmly embedded within all branches development and future plans.

The programme is designed to increase access to the most up to date training UNISON can offer, both for new and developing existing activists. The courses provided are directly aimed at building confidence and developing skills and abilities. We are sure that both you and UNISON will benefit from the experience. It is never too late to learn.

Branch development is vital in recruiting, organising and retaining members. We are constantly striving to increase membership and provide a better service. Increasing membership and developing new activists from all sectors of the union will make us stronger and more representative of our members.

Unfortunately, due to Tory Government continued cuts, there have been significant reductions in general further education funding and TUC funding has also been drastically cut. As a result of effective lobbying by the TUC, the previous Coalition government’s intention to remove fee remission was postponed to August 2016, thus enabling the region to keep charges to branches down to a minimum.

No member should be out of pocket attending UNISON courses. Branches and the Region will continue to contribute to ensure this, and ensure access is freely available to as many members/activists as possible. Any additional travel costs or carer costs can be claimed from your branch, but you do need to speak to your branch and get their agreement in advance (details of help can be found within this programme).

For clarity, we also offer a separate members only training programme detailing some of the courses/workshops UNISON offers for non activist members. You can obtain a copy of this from your Branch Education Co-ordinator or Branch Secretary. You can always find it on our website at www.unison-yorks.org.uk/education.html.

We pride ourselves on offering a very friendly, relaxed and supportive learning environment, and providing opportunities to meet new people, make new friends, and build networks with other branches and activist learners to build on knowledge and skills. Working together with other trade unionists to achieve common goals is at the fundamental core of our organisation and we offer many opportunities for development.

So please access and enjoy our learning offer and don’t be afraid to provide both positive and negative feedback as we are always striving to improve your learning experience and all feedback is carefully considered and used to improve our delivery.

This year we are offering much more content online, with short workshops with the TUC fully online and integrated courses using webinars and e-Notes. I hope you will participate and enjoy what we have to offer and I firmly believe UNISON has the best trained activists of any union in the UK.

Wendy Nichols
Regional Convenor

You can find the 2018 Education Programme here...

UNISON Y&H Gambia Project - Annual Report 2016


You can download a copy of the report here... pdf logo

The project we have been running in the Gambia with the Bijilo school reached its peak when Wendy Nichols made it her Presidential project, during her term as President, this concluded in June last year. Over the 5 years UNISON have been involved in this project your assistance has allowed us to develop the school vegetable garden, equip the school with gardening equipment, improve and secure the perimeter wall protecting the garden, install water tanks and improve water supply, install and improve toilet facilities, build a secure equipment store and with the money from the Presidential appeal build and equip a four classroom block to improve the schools capacity.

The time, however, has now come to move on from the school and look at other areas to assist in. During her Presidential visit to the school to open the classroom block, Wendy and Jim Bell, the project co-ordinator, met with representatives of one of the three public hospitals in the whole of the Gambia, Serrekunda Hospital. This meeting resulted in a memorandum of understanding between Y&H UNISON and the Hospital which will be the focus of our efforts going forward. You can download a copy of the report here... pdf logo

UNISON proud to sponsor BARLA

UNISON Yorkshire & Humberside Region have sponsored The British Amateur Rugby League Association for many years and this relationship continues to flourish.

You can find the latest photos here...


Doncaster Raceday: 4 August 2018

Doncaster raceday poster

Download a poster here... pdf logo


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