Branch website has now replaced this blog

This blog has been dormant for a while to allow us to work on the new branch website, which will be taking its place. I’m pleased to say that the site is now live at


HE pay offer accepted

By a margin of 8 to 1 Higher Education members who participated in the recent ballot voted in favour of accepting the pay offer for 2014/15.

Full details via the UNISON website at:

Help with back to school costs

school-uniform-imageCoping with the rising cost of living, and finding that you’re having to economise in every area of expenditure, can feel especially difficult as the summer progresses and the realisation hits that items of school uniform need updating or replacing.

UNISON has set up a limited fund to help members on low incomes with school uniform costs. A one-off payment of up to £120 may be made – this is the maximum grant available where there is more than one child.

To apply or find out more about other help that is available visit

You can download an application form from that page or directly from here:
School Uniform Grant app form 2014.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 11 July 2014.

Speaking up for disabled members

disabled-members-group-logoDo you think that society creates barriers to inclusion, preventing disabled people from taking an equal part in life?

Under the Equality Act the definition of “disabled” is drawn fairly widely, and includes, for example, people with mental health issues that affect their life but which aren’t necessarily visible to other people. Those of us who fall into that category may keep quiet about it because of concerns about how other people may react, leading employers to ignore our needs.

UNISON organises to challenge discriminatory actions and campaigns for a fair deal for disabled members and our disabled members group  is keen to hear from new members.

Please use this link to find out more. This flyer includes a FREEPOST address and other contact details.

DMC Be a Member

Drop-in sessions in June

A number of consultations are going on around the University and the local branch of UNISON is holding  open door sessions for members. Please drop in if you’d like to talk about these or if there are any other issues you wish to raise. Members are very welcome to come along individually or as a group. Non-members who are considering joining us are equally welcome.

The dates are both Wednesdays:

  • 4 June 2014 – 09:30 – 12:00
  • 18 June 2014 – 09:30 – 12:00


Pensions advice surgery

A pensions advice surgery is available free of charge to UNISON members on 4th June at our regional office in Strood.

Here are more details and if you wish to book a place please contact Tanya Jeffery.

Wednesday 4 June from 10:00 – 16:30 at UNISON, Suite 14/15 Christchurch House, Beaufort Court, Sir Thomas Longley Road, Strood, ME2 4FX.

Tel 01273 544022 or email



HE employers offer 2% uplift for 2014-15

Interesting news regarding the HE employers side pay offer for 2014-15 which is at least more generous than last year’s, twice as generous in fact (but it’s a word I use in the very loosest sense).

A summary of the state of play is on UNISON’s website:

Fuller details can be viewed at:


Speaking up on Health and Safety

An important role of UNISON at the University is safeguarding the health and safety of our members. Our Health and Safety Officer Chris Thornton recently became aware of some concerns among cleaners who were suffering injuries to the arms due to a type of scourer they were being asked to use. On closer investigation it was also discovered that inadequate supplies for oven cleaning were being made available. This of course meant that people were having to use the scourers even more, which just made matters worse.

Chris met with management and made these concerns known. We’re pleased to say that the scourers have now been withdrawn from use and have been replaced with better ones. Proper oven cleaning supplies should be in very soon (ordered within a couple of days of the meeting).

If you have a Health and Safety concern you can contact Chris via extension 7511 or by emailing

2014-15 pay claim submitted

In conjunction with other HE trades unions UNISON has submitted a pay claim on behalf of members for 2014-15 (despite no resolution, at the time of writing, to last year’s claim). There are more details, and a link to the full text of the claim, at this web address:

Pay dispute – consultation of members announced

UNISON’s higher education conference has decided to fully consult members via their branches before calling any further strike days in the ongoing pay dispute. UNISON’s higher education service group executive will discuss future strategy when it meets on 20 March and will look at the implications of the motion and what process(es) to use for the consultation.

This is covered more fully on the UNISON website at