Strike update: picket lines and the hardship fund

More unions join July 10

There has been good news this week. A number of other unions have announced they are joining UNISON and the NUT to make July 10 a massive day of action on public sector pay and cuts. As well as UNISON and teachers in NUT, firefighters in the FBU, civil servants in the PCS, railway workers in RMT and local government workers in GMB and Unite have all been balloted and voted for strike action on July 10. This bodes well for our action being effective. Staff in the NHS are likely to be balloted for action next.

Picket lines

Also to be effective, strike action requires effective picketing. We need to remind any staff thinking of working on July 10 that such action undermines the rest of us. UNISON is in the process of agreeing with the employer ‘life and limb’ exemptions for  limited numbers of staff whose jobs, if they were not covered, would put the public at risk, such as residential support workers for disabled children and adults. All other staff should be on strike, and the purpose of a picket line is to politely remind staff thinking of working about this, and to persuade them to join the action. Picket lines also can explain to the public why we are on strike, and UNISON has produced special leaflets for both staff and the public.

Because we expect that most schools will close, the Branch Committee has agreed that picketing should take place at six key Council buildings from 7.00am-11.00am. These are:

  • CHICHESTER: County Hall, West St, PO19 1RQ
  • HORSHAM: County Hall North, Chartway, RH12 1XA
  • WORTHING: Centenary House, Durrington Lane, BN13 2QB
  • BOGNOR: Durban House, Durban Rd, PO22 9RE
  • CRAWLEY: Crawley Library, Southgate Ave, RH10 6HG
  • SHOREHAM: Glebelands Office, Middle Rd, BN43 6GA

At each office we will have an experienced ‘lead picket’ with responsibility for the picket line. We are asking striking members to spend an hour or two at the picket line before they make the most of the rest of their (hopefully sunny!) strike day.

If you already know which picket line you are going to support, let us know in the office on 01243 777636 or email:

Industrial Action Hardship Fund

The Branch understands that for some members taking industrial action is going to be a more difficult decision due to pressure on personal finances. Therefore the West Sussex Branch Committee has agreed to pay hardship payments to such members.

If you earn less than £21,000 per annum full-time-equivalent salary (this is the Government’s own official indicator for low pay), the Branch will support members who apply for support with a payment equal to half of their gross loss of pay.

Members who are seeking support must fill in our simple form and supply a copy of their August payslip, which will clearly show the pay deducted.

Because the Branch pays half the loss of gross pay, the amount you receive back from the union may be slightly more than half of your net loss of pay, depending on the rate of tax you pay.

If industrial action brings pre-existing financial problems to the surface, UNISON members are reminded they can make a request for support to the UNISON Welfare fund (now called ‘There for you’) at any time. More information is available on ‘There for you’ on our website.