Members Benefits

 
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Essential cover at work

One of the most reassuring things about being a member of UNISON is knowing that there are people out there who will help you if you find yourself facing a problem.

You never know when you might encounter a problem at work.  What you do know is that by joining UNISON, you don’t have to face it alone.

If you are having problems, our Branch network of trained workplace representatives are there to help. They will give you advice, support or represent you if needed and if necessary refer your case to the Regional Office to make sure you get the most appropriate legal help.

In addition to the individual support we offer to members, the union also negotiates with employers on issues like pay, holidays and all other terms & conditions including pension schemes.

We strive to protect the services that our members provide by opposing cuts and campaigning on a range of local, regional and national issues because we recognise the important work our members do in enhancing, enriching and protecting lives.

Essential cover outside work

UNISON members can access free initial legal advice on non-work related issues and get support for members of their family, for personal injury cases outside work, motor vehicle accidents, a free wills service for you and for your partner if you have mirror wills, low-cost conveyancing and even help with immigration issues.

To be eligible for our legal assistance scheme, you must have been a member for at least four weeks prior to the incident that led you to seek that assistance. You must also be up to date with your subscriptions.

Help for non work-related issues can be accessed via UNISON’s legal helpline on 0800 0 857 857.  For work-related issues members must contact their local branch in the first instance.

For you and your family

UNISON members and their families are entitled to a whole range of benefits and services:

• Exclusive deals and offers

UNISON members have access to a range of exclusive deals and discounts that we have negotiated with a number of suppliers. We choose reputable companies that provide value and good customer service.  Our UNISON Plus deals add real value to UNISON membership: members can save the cost of their UNISON contributions many times over.

• Other benefits

Membership benefits include; winter fuel grants, school uniform grants, professional indemnity insurance of up to £1 million for NHS staff, book grants, various financial support grants and a quarterly members’ magazine.  We are the only Trade Union which has a charity offering support and assistance for members in their hour of need, it is called There For You.

• Croyde Bay Holiday Village

Croyde Bay Holiday Village is situated on the north Devon coast and has been owned and operated by UNISON for more than 80 years. It is a popular addition to the benefits of UNISON membership, offering competitive rates, with special discounts for UNISON members and families. There are additional discounts for low-paid UNISON members.  Croyde Bay

Training and new skills

UNISON runs a broad range of education and training courses that are open to all members.

Some of our courses are aimed at helping members to improve their general skills, for example using computers or building their confidence. Our education courses includes the award winning Return to Learn programme available to all members interested in getting back into learning.

Other courses are designed to help members play a more active role in UNISON through our comprehensive training programme for workplace representatives and branch officers, including health and safety, equalities or learning reps. We also offer taster courses on key issues.  Read more about our courses for reps and activists

All of our courses are free to members.

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Dear Member,

Local Government Pay

You will be aware that UNISON, along with the other trade unions representing members in Local Government, submitted a joint pay claim to your employer on the 12th January 2018. This claim was constructed following consultation with all members working in Local Government and you can read the detail of that here. This briefing is to bring you up to date with what has happened since then and what our next steps are in trying to secure you a decent pay rise.

The Offer:

Whilst our claim was submitted early, in the hope that the employer would get round the table quickly to ensure a negotiated settlement in time for the pay implementation date of the 1st April, the employer did not deal with our claim until much later - they wait until they are in receipt of all of the pay claims for all of the different Local Government bargaining groups. There are four bargaining groups in Local Government - yourselves as local government employees, Teachers, Craft Workers and Chief Officials.

We finally received a response from the employer on Monday 26th March, less than 48 hours before we were due to meet them. You can read this offer letter here. They key points of the offer are:

• The policy and aspiration to achieve parity of pay awards across the bargaining groups, in as far as it is within COSLA's control, has been re-affirmed by COSLA Leaders and a uniform pay offer is being made to the entire workforce, across all four of the local government bargaining groups.

• The pay offer is for one year and covers the period 1 April, 2018 to 31 March, 2019. The award will be back dated to the 1 April, 2018 application date.

• The offer has been aligned, for the most part, to be consistent with public sector pay policy in Scotland and is based on a 37 hour working week viz:-

- A 3% pay increase will apply to all employees earning up to £36,500.

- A 2% pay increase will apply to all employees earning £36,501-£80,000

- A flat rate increase of £1,600 to employees earning more than £80,000.

• The pay offer deviates marginally from public sector pay policy in relation to the Living Wage. It is proposed to increase the 'Scottish Local Government Living Wage' from its present level of £8.51 per hour to £8.77 per hour, thereby providing a full 3% increase.

• The offer provides for a 3% increase on all allowances that are normally agreed through the Scottish Joint Council (SJC), with the exception of the First Aid Allowance, which is under separate discussion between the Employers and Trade Unions Sides of the SJC.

• The employer has stated that pay offer is being made against a backdrop of a challenging settlement for local government and continued cost pressures for councils. They state that no additional monies have been made available in the 2018/19 local government settlement for this pay award, consequently, COSLA Leaders have stated that the offer now put to the various trade unions across the four bargaining groups is the best and final offer which can be made for this year.

Whilst the employer termed this is a best and final offer we discovered that they had, at the same time as sending this to us, also written to the Scottish Government pressing for parity across the bargaining groups (i.e. ensuring that whatever increase you get is the same as that achieved for Teachers or Craft workers) and asking that if the Scottish Government was so minded to give any one group of workers a higher increase that this that they provide the necessary funding to ensure that this extends to all Local Government bargaining groups.

Our Response:

Your UNISON representatives met with the other trade unions' representatives prior to meeting with the employer. All of the SJC Trade Unions agreed that we should 'note' the employers offer, their representations to the Scottish Government and that we should make our own representations to the Scottish Government in pursuit of our full claim. This position was put to the employer verbally and in writing on the 28th March 2018 - you can read this letter here. - and we wrote jointly to Derek Mackay MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, pressing the issue of parity and calling for additional funding for COSLA to deliver an increase which addressed both the cost of living and an element of restoration - you can read that letter here.

The objective in doing both of these things was two-fold - to call on the Scottish Government to provide COSLA with additional funding to meet our claim and to keep the employer at the negotiating table.

As the trade union representing by far and away the largest number of workers in Local Government we are conscious of our responsibility to explore all available avenues open to us before coming to you with a recommendation to accept or reject the offer before us. We know that taking industrial action is not an easy option - we would only ever ask you to do this if we thought there was no possible alternative.

It is unfortunate that the GMB have chosen to ballot on a recommendation to reject, with a view to taking industrial action, before those avenues are exhausted, however that is a decision for them. As far as your UNISON representatives are concerned we will always be guided by what we believe is in the best interests of our members - there is a window of opportunity here that we believe we should explore before taking a view on whether we have an offer we could recommend to you in a ballot. That may take a couple of weeks and that window of opportunity may prove fruitful, or it may not, but we believe we have a responsibility to explore it before making a recommendation to you.

Next Steps:

The next meeting with the employer is on the 4th May 2018 and we would hope to have had a response from the Scottish government by then. As soon as we have that we will be in a better position to know if there is any more money available to improve the offer that is currently before us and we will get in touch then with more information for you.

In the meantime we will continue to work with our trade union colleagues on a co-ordinated approach to lobbying the Scottish Government and your employer in pursuit of our full claim.

Pay Survey:

Special thanks to all 9,263 members who participated in the Pay claim survey - you have given us some very useful data on what you think about pay and what action you are prepared to take in support of our claim that we can use in our deliberations about how we handle the current negotiations. In the coming days each UNISON branch will receive a breakdown of the survey responses for their branch and will start to build on that information to target their campaign strategies going forward.
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