Author Archives: Daniel Sartin

In response to the joint NJC (National Joint Council) pay claim for £3,000 or 10% (whichever is highest) on all pay points, local government employers have come back to the unions with the following offer for 2024-25:

  • With effect from 1 April 2024, an increase of £1,290 (pro rata for part-time and term-time-only employees*) to be paid as a consolidated, permanent addition on all NJC spinal column points. This represents a percentage increase between 5.77% (at the lowest point on the scale, point 2) and 2.50% (at the highest point on the scale, point 43).
  • With effect from 1 April 2024 an increase of 2.50 per cent on all allowances.

For example, a school Teaching Assistant working a 30-hour week, 39-week per year Term Time Only contract would receive in region of £780 per year.

Below you can discover the impact of the pay offer at your grade and spinal column point: what the offer is worth to you, including whether you gain or lose after the impact of inflation is taken into account.

Other elements of our claim were responded to as follows:

  • A two-hour reduction in the working week, with no detriment:
    REJECTED
  • An additional day of annual leave:
    REJECTED
  • A phased approach to reaching a minimum pay rate of £15 an hour:
    REJECTED
  • Reviews of the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps:
    Discuss options for working together to capture pay gap information.

You can read the full claim here on our website and also view the full response and offer here.

It is clear that this offer falls short of the union’s reasonable claim. Many members will feel let down because their household bills continue to rise, whilst this offer falls short even of inflation for most members.

UNISON will now decide next steps over NJC pay. A meeting of UNISON reps on our NJC Committee will take place on Wednesday 22 May to decide whether and then how to ballot members so we can act in line with your views. It is highly likely that some form of ballot will follow, and the UNISON West Sussex branch will be in touch with its members then.

The West Sussex branch will be working hard to ensure that the NJC pay offer is honoured for members at WSCC on locally-determined pay grades (HAY, SMG, Agenda for Change). These grades historically follow the NJC award when settled.

If you’d like to be actively involved in the 2024-25 pay campaign, please join us as a workplace rep.

Please also sign up new members to the West Sussex branch, here.

Impact of the pay offer, including impact of inflation

NJC Pay Offer 2024-25 with RPI impact

UNISON’s 2024 School Uniform Grant Programme will open on 29 May 2024 at the following times:

750 applications at 8.30am

750 applications at 5pm

You will not be able to apply before these times. Applications will be made online.

Apply here on 29 May at 8.30am or 5.00pm

We anticipate high demand for these grants. Please ensure you read the below information to check if you are eligible for the grant, as well as for further information about what information you will need to hand to apply.

If you are unable to complete the application due to an accessibility need, please email: sug@unison.co.uk or call UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.

School Uniform Grant 2024 Criteria

Applicants must:  

  • Be a UNISON member and have paid at least four weeks’ subscriptions as of 29 May 2024. Subscriptions must be up to date.
  • Not have received a grant from UNISON Welfare since 29 November 2023, excluding the Energy Support Fund or Winter Fuel Grant.
  • Have savings (including the total rolling balance on current accounts) below £1,000 to qualify.
  • Be financially responsible for school-aged child(ren) and receiving Child Benefit for them**. By school-aged, we mean children aged between 4 and 17 years old, who will be returning to school in the autumn.

And EITHER:

Be on a low income, meaning a net household income* of no more than £26,000/year (£2,166.67/month)

OR:

Be in receipt of means-tested benefits. This includes:

  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child and/or Working Tax Credits
  • Pension Credit
  • Means-tested Jobseekers Allowance
  • Means-tested Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support

* Net household income includes your monthly take-home pay from work (plus your partner’s, if you have one), any income from child maintenance payments, any income from student finance loans or bursaries, pensions (excluding Pension Credit) and any income from people living with you (e.g. adult children or lodgers).

** Where members either have no recourse to public funds and their household income is above £26,000/year or have no recourse to public funds and don’t receive Child Benefit; an assessment will be undertaken to see whether they would be eligible for benefits if they did have recourse to public funds.

What can I get help with?

We can help with a one-off, non-repayable grant of £75 per school-aged child which will be paid in the form of a voucher. These vouchers can be used at a selection of high street and online retailers. The vouchers cannot be used at independent retailers. We want to make this fund go as far as possible and help as many members as we can. Please only apply if you are in financial difficulty. There is a limited amount in the School Uniform Grant fund, and we are only able to accept 1,500 applications. 

What if I don’t know my membership number?

We cannot accept applications without a membership number. This can often be found at the bottom of any emails you have received from UNISON. Alternatively, please contact UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.

How will you contact me?

Acknowledgement

Successful online submissions will receive an automated message confirming your application has been received. If this doesn’t show in your ‘inbox’, please check your ‘junk/spam’ folders.

Processing time

You should not expect to receive an immediate decision. It could take up to 12 weeks before you hear from us. We will require further evidence to support your application and we will be in touch via email to request this. Please do not send chasing emails as we will be unable to respond.

If I have recently received a grant, can I apply?

If you have received a grant from UNISON Welfare since 29 November 2023, excluding the Energy Support Fund or Winter Fuel Grant, you will not be eligible to apply for a School Uniform Grant.

How do I apply?

All applications should be made online. Make sure you have your membership number to hand. 

If you are unable to complete the application online due to work, personal or other commitments; we suggest you ask a friend or family member to apply online on your behalf. If you are unable to complete the application online due to a disability access need; please contact us on 29 May 2024, either by email: sug@unison.co.uk or by calling UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857. 

The grant will open on 29 May 2024 for 750 applications at 8.30am and 750 applications at 5pm. 

Any questions?
Contact us via email: sug@unison.co.uk

The march and protest on Saturday 11th May was peaceful and lively, a brilliant expression of solidarity with the people of Palestine. Thanks to all UNISON West Sussex members who marched with us.

Heading off down Chapel Road

Branch Environment Officer, Jackie Gatenby, left, Branch Black Members’ Officer, Saubye Majeed, centre, Branch Secretary, Dan Sartin, right.

Along the seafront

Listening to the speeches

The UNISON West Sussex branch like everyone is appalled at events unfolding in Gaza. The branch is affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and made a donation of £1,000 to Medical Aid for Palestinians at the end of 2023.

Members of the West Sussex branch will be in attendance at the ‘Worthing March for Palestine‘ below this Saturday, 11th May, at 11.00am. Find our UNISON West Sussex trade union banner at Worthing Town Hall at 11.00am and say hello. We’d love to see you there.

Thank you to all members who participated in the election for Deputy Branch Secretary for the period 2024-25. The results were:

Votes Issued: 5875
Votes Returned: Postal 18/Online 227 = TOTAL: 245
Votes for Karen Daubney = 142 (8 postal and 134 online)
Votes for Keith Manville = 103 (10 postal and 93 online)
Turnout = 4.17%

The Deputy Branch Secretary for 2024/25 is therefore confirmed as Karen Daubney.

Congratulations go to Karen for the win, and commiserations to Keith for the loss.

Thanks go to both Karen and Keith for standing and participating in this election.

These results will be ratified at the branch AGMs on 26, 27 and 28 March 2024 and take effect from 1 April 2024.

The West Sussex branch AGM will take place over 3 separate meetings this year.

  • Tuesday 26 March, 1.00-2.00pm: MS Teams
  • Wednesday 27 March, 1.00-2.00pm: MS Teams
  • Thursday 28 March, 4.00-5.00pm: MS Teams

All members are invited (including retired members). Meetings will be held virtually via the Microsoft Teams online meeting platform. You can attend by: PC/Laptop; Tablet; Smartphone; Landline telephone. If you have not got MS Teams installed on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, visit the Microsoft Team website where you can download it for free.

Meeting links

Tuesday 26 March, 1.00-2.00pm
Click here to join the meeting
Or phone in (audio only): call 020 3794 0272 and use phone conference ID: 143 466 494#

Wednesday 27 March, 1.00-2.00pm
Click here to join the meeting
Or phone in (audio only): call 020 3794 0272 and use phone conference ID: 354 896 254#

Thursday 28 March, 4.00-5.00pm
Click here to join the meeting
Or phone in (audio only): call 020 3794 0272 and use phone conference ID: 322 238 52#


We will be holding a raffle at each of the three AGM meetings with the same great prizes at each event:

  • 3 x prizes of £50 Amazon or One4All shopping vouchers, at each event

To win a raffle prize you will need to be present at the AGM you have registered for. Names of attendees will be downloaded from MS Teams and put into the draw. Only one prize can be won per member. The draw for three prizes will take place at the end of each meeting. You must be present when the draw is made to claim your prize. More information can be found on our website. We look forward to seeing you there!


Meeting papers

Download (PDF, 737KB)

UNISON calls for a pay rise of £3,000 or 10% for all local government & school workers

UNISON, GMB and Unite lodged a pay claim for all council and school workers employed on NJC pay in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Thursday 29 February 2024.

The claim calls for a substantial increase of £3,000 or 10%, whichever is the greater, on all spinal column points, from 1 April 2024.

In addition, it calls for:

  • 2 hour reduction in the working week with no detriment (from 37 to 35 hours)
  • 1 additional day of annual leave (with term time only staff also receiving a full day rather than a pro rata amount, that they can use at any time, including term time)
  • Minimum pay rate of £15 an hour in a maximum of two years, sooner if possible
  • Pay gap reviews for gender, ethnicity and disability in local government

The full claim is available to read below. The pay claim focuses on the continuing, rising cost of living and the need for a significant pay rise for all local government and school staff. The claim makes clear that poverty pay must be addressed and that a decent pay rise will have a significant impact on enabling employers to recruit and retain the staff they need.

The NJC Employers Side will be consulting councils on the pay claim throughout March 2024, before meeting initially in April and then again in May 2024 to consider their response to the trade unions. We anticipate the offer to come from the employers in May.

We will keep members updated.

Trade Union side NJC Pay claim 2024-25

Schools convenor Keith Manville writes on a positive outcome for UNISON members:

UNISON recently raised concern about the West Sussex Alternative Provision College’s plans to convert to Academy status with the Beckmead Trust and on the consultation process involved in the TUPE transfer of staff from West Sussex County Council to the new employer. The Alternative Provision College is an important partner in West Sussex, operating across separate locations and provides a caring and positive environment for vulnerable and challenging pupils, supported by a staff body that are experienced and highly skilled in providing a personalised curriculum tailored to the needs of each pupil.

UNISON is aware the Alternative Provision College management team have concerns about support from the Local Authority and whilst we accept the Local Authority also has a different perspective, there were few reassurances provided to staff during the recent consultation that were convincing about their future within the Beckmead Trust and the benefits to the APC and the pupils the APC support. One aspect for staff was that the TUPE transfer involved changes introduced by the Trust in moving staff to Trust HR policies.

These policies had not been consulted and negotiated with the trade unions and despite several verbal and written requests the policy details were not shared at the start of consultation and only provided with less than a week of consultation remaining. The joint unions wanted to work positively with the Trust on the key issue of trade union recognition, but little progress had been made on that concern either before or during consultation, and the Trust remained unconvincing about their intent to establish a genuine working partnership with the joint unions.

The Branch was surprised to be advised by WSCC HR and APC management that the academisation of the APC has been terminated at this time. UNISON and the NEU jointly surveyed members at the APC and in a high response to a survey our members indicated concerns about the lack of clarity on policy changes and staunch support for an extension to consultation due to the inadequacy of meaningful consultation which was requested and agreed. Other responses to trade union questions indicated overwhelming support for indicative ballots for further action on the concern about trade union recognition.

UNISON members at the APC will still have concerns about the future but should appreciate the support provided to them by the Branch and our Reps. UNISON is concerned about the growing number of schools considering academisation as the only alternative, when alternatives such as Federation would also work for many schools and remaining within the local Authority with an improved package of support and services provided to schools, might also be a viable option for some schools.

Trade union opposition to the TUPE and academisation is likely not the only reason for the decision. UNISON has contacted management at the APC, and we remain positive about working with APC’s management despite our concern and opposition to this transfer. The decision to abandon the academy transfer is one the Branch supports and from our survey, an outcome many members at the APC indicated they wanted.

Arun and Chichester Food Partnership are looking to learn from the experiences of teachers and support staff about how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting pupils and their families.

National research has shown how schools and teachers are providing more and more support with food and other essentials, and we want to understand if this reflects the local picture.

If you work in an education setting, especially within Arun and Chichester, and can spare 3-5 minutes, please can you complete this survey and share with your colleagues and friends. The more responses we get the better we can understand the situation and support a local response. Thank you!

Follow this link to access the survey: https://forms.office.com/e/PEQxwyKWA1