Monthly update – April 2022

April 2022 – Summary

  • Two new Officers elected, taking our Branch Committee to six members
  • Changes to 11 University policies reviewed
  • More than 24 hours spend in total on Union activity by Branch members
  • Tracking University starters and leavers
  • Recruitment activity planned for May
  • Consultative ballot regarding national pay negotiations will be opening soon
  • New Unison teams channel set up for all members
  • Branch Office has been redecorated
  • Direct advice, individual representation & support provided to a number of branch members

April has been another good month of continuing transition for the Branch, with new Officers who were elected at our March AGM starting to settle into their roles now that key training has been completed. We are also delighted to welcome to our branch committee, Hannah Ridge as our new Treasurer, and Kate Harman who will be sharing the role of Women’s Officer with Heather Cooper.

After a significant period of having only 1 member in a Branch Committee role, I’m really pleased that we’ve now increased our new committee to six members. There’s still along way to go though, and we will always be looking for members to get more involved. Especially in workplace steward roles. As always, if it’s something you have thought about, or would like to have a chat about, please get in touch!

In terms of facility time we have spent more than 24 hours as a branch on Union activity throughout April. Mostly on Branch administration, casework, consultations, and training.

  • Branch Admin – A large bulk of branch admin this month has been sorting through the backlog of email notifications for new members of staff starting at York St John and members of staff leaving York St John. As part of our recognition agreement we’re entitled to contact new members of staff and let them know about the Union, what we do, and how they can join etc. Tracking leavers also enables us to make sure our membership records are kept up to date.
  • Consultations – The majority of time we have spent on consultations throughout April has been in reviewing a large number of policies being amended by HR to reflect where OneUni is now used, and has replaced a previous process. For example, in booking annual leave or recording sick leave etc. 11 Policies in total have been amended in this way, and we have reviewed all the changes made to be satisfied that none of the changes have any wider impact on colleagues.

The National Union have determined that May will be a target month for recruitment, and have asked all branches to schedule recruitment activity throughout the month. With this in mind, we will be scheduling our own recruitment activity throughout May, with a view to improving visibility of the Union, recruiting new members, and retaining existing members.

If you think you might be able to spare some time to support us with this, we’d be very grateful! Just get in touch and let us know, and we’ll find a time in the schedule that suits you. It’s worth noting that no members will be expected to be out on their own for this. If you express an interest in giving some time to help, you would be joined by another member at all times (most likely a Branch Officer), so you won’t be alone!

Alongside the recruitment activity being planning for May, the next few weeks will also be incredibly important with regards to national pay negotiations. The third and final pay negotiation meeting is due to take place tomorrow (Thursday 5 May) and following this, Unison will be running a consultative ballot with all HE members, starting from 11 May and closing on 27 May.

In order to best understand the feeling of our members towards the pay offer, it’s incredibly important that we have as much engagement with the consultative ballot as possible, and will be talking about this when we see members out and about during our recruitment activity in May. The results of this consultative ballot will play a significant role in whether a decision is taken to proceed with an industrial action ballot.

There are also a few updates to share with you regarding branch communication. We have set up a branch wide teams channel, that all members will be able to use to get in touch with the branch committee, raise and discuss issues or concerns, as well as access important or useful documents etc. We will start to add members to this channel over the next week or so. Please feel free to use this space to discuss anything to do with Union or relating your experience of working at York St John.

In addition to this, we have also re-launched our branch twitter account, so that we’re able to more easily engage in wider conversations around Union activities and issues affected staff in higher education. Visit our twitter profile to follow us, or simply search for @YSJUnison. We have also taken the decision to close down our branch Facebook page. This has seen very little activity in recent years, and has only a small handful of members in the group.

And on a final lighter note, our branch office in TW/218 has recently been repainted and looks wonderful! It’s needed a good lick of paint for a while and we’re very grateful to colleagues in Estates for sorting this for us.

All the best


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