UNISON opinion: A better way is possible for social care

By UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea

Social care is broken. Despite it being an essential service that should be the cornerstone of a compassionate society, the Westminster government has washed its hands of it.

It has been allowed to deteriorate into a fragmented, underfunded and privatised system that’s unfit to meet the needs of social care users. The inadequate pay and conditions for the workers propping up the system, fail to recognise their value and contributions.

UNISON knows that care workers are the beating heart of social care, and is proud to represent so many working in care homes and communities.

Care workers should be able to look after everyone’s loved ones with the best care and kindness. But without the cash or sufficient staff, the sector is struggling to deliver and it’s putting unbearable pressure on the NHS and families.

But a better way is possible. A national care service is the radical change needed to fix social care. A service that everyone can be proud of.

Care users would be able to access the right care when they need it, their families would be reassured and able to continue working, and care workers would be truly valued, recognised and rewarded as the skilled professionals they are.

It’s in everyone’s best interest that England has a national care service. Labour has already pledged to create a national care service and a fair pay agreement in the sector.

I met with Wes Streeting MP, the shadow secretary of state for health and social care, who is the first to sign up to UNISON’s national care campaign pledge and is committed to delivering a service with the same respect as the NHS.

As we head towards a general election, UNISON is asking all parliamentary candidates in English seats, to join our campaign and publicly pledge their support.

The article UNISON opinion: A better way is possible for social care first appeared on the UNISON National site.

UNISON opinion: A better way is possible for social care

By UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea

Social care is broken. Despite it being an essential service that should be the cornerstone of a compassionate society, the Westminster government has washed its hands of it.

It has been allowed to deteriorate into a fragmented, underfunded and privatised system that’s unfit to meet the needs of social care users. The inadequate pay and conditions for the workers propping up the system, fail to recognise their value and contributions.

UNISON knows that care workers are the beating heart of social care, and is proud to represent so many working in care homes and communities.

Care workers should be able to look after everyone’s loved ones with the best care and kindness. But without the cash or sufficient staff, the sector is struggling to deliver and it’s putting unbearable pressure on the NHS and families.

But a better way is possible. A national care service is the radical change needed to fix social care. A service that everyone can be proud of.

Care users would be able to access the right care when they need it, their families would be reassured and able to continue working, and care workers would be truly valued, recognised and rewarded as the skilled professionals they are.

It’s in everyone’s best interest that England has a national care service. Labour has already pledged to create a national care service and a fair pay agreement in the sector.

I met with Wes Streeting MP, the shadow secretary of state for health and social care, who is the first to sign up to UNISON’s national care campaign pledge and is committed to delivering a service with the same respect as the NHS.

As we head towards a general election, UNISON is asking all parliamentary candidates in English seats, to join our campaign and publicly pledge their support.

The article UNISON opinion: A better way is possible for social care first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Let’s make 2024 a success

Happy New Year to everyone in UNISON and here’s to a successful year for you and your families.

I have high hopes for 2024 – 12 months of campaigning for UNISON’s Year of LGBT+ workers and for a national care service, securing pay deals across all public services and a general election that will push the chaotic Tories out of Westminster and bring in a new government.

A new government is a must for our members and for our public services. Our NHS, schools, local councils and emergency services are on their knees and stuck in a state of crisis. The current government’s legacy is one of slashing jobs, squeezing budgets, and falling living standards for millions of working people. We need a Labour government that will rebuild our public services, put workers first with a new deal for working people and create a national care service.

Campaigning for that change in government will be a big part of our mission this year, but we won’t let election fever take over our daily task of fighting for our members’ pay and conditions. Day in, day out, our activists and organisers are supporting members in workplaces across the UK, and our teams in head office are mounting legal challenges, influencing politicians, preparing campaigns and helping members when they need us most.   

We’ll also be celebrating our Year of LGBT+ workers in UNISON style – continuing to be loud and proud against homophobia and transphobia, and ensuring that UNISON always remains the best trade union for LGBT+ public service workers.  

And later this year, there’s something that every working member can get involved with. From 22 April to 17 May, voting will be open for your representatives on UNISON’s service group executives (SGEs) – the lay leaders who decide on campaigns, pay claims, strike ballots and industrial action. Ahead of that member ballot, from next Monday (8 January) until 9 February, branches can nominate their preferred candidates.

Our SGEs are so important in UNISON. They’re powerful groups of activists that keep UNISON with you throughout your working life, campaigning for fair pay and conditions, safe and healthy working conditions, job security, work-life balance, equal pay and against discrimination.

So if you want some more new year’s resolutions, here’s two for you – have your say in UNISON’s SGE elections and get involved in our Year of LGBT+ workers activities that will be taking place throughout 2024.

From everyone in UNISON, we hope you have a happy, healthy and successful 2024.

The article Blog: Let’s make 2024 a success first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Let’s make 2024 a success

Happy New Year to everyone in UNISON and here’s to a successful year for you and your families.

I have high hopes for 2024 – 12 months of campaigning for UNISON’s Year of LGBT+ workers and for a national care service, securing pay deals across all public services and a general election that will push the chaotic Tories out of Westminster and bring in a new government.

A new government is a must for our members and for our public services. Our NHS, schools, local councils and emergency services are on their knees and stuck in a state of crisis. The current government’s legacy is one of slashing jobs, squeezing budgets, and falling living standards for millions of working people. We need a Labour government that will rebuild our public services, put workers first with a new deal for working people and create a national care service.

Campaigning for that change in government will be a big part of our mission this year, but we won’t let election fever take over our daily task of fighting for our members’ pay and conditions. Day in, day out, our activists and organisers are supporting members in workplaces across the UK, and our teams in head office are mounting legal challenges, influencing politicians, preparing campaigns and helping members when they need us most.   

We’ll also be celebrating our Year of LGBT+ workers in UNISON style – continuing to be loud and proud against homophobia and transphobia, and ensuring that UNISON always remains the best trade union for LGBT+ public service workers.  

And later this year, there’s something that every working member can get involved with. From 22 April to 17 May, voting will be open for your representatives on UNISON’s service group executives (SGEs) – the lay leaders who decide on campaigns, pay claims, strike ballots and industrial action. Ahead of that member ballot, from next Monday (8 January) until 9 February, branches can nominate their preferred candidates.

Our SGEs are so important in UNISON. They’re powerful groups of activists that keep UNISON with you throughout your working life, campaigning for fair pay and conditions, safe and healthy working conditions, job security, work-life balance, equal pay and against discrimination.

So if you want some more new year’s resolutions, here’s two for you – have your say in UNISON’s SGE elections and get involved in our Year of LGBT+ workers activities that will be taking place throughout 2024.

From everyone in UNISON, we hope you have a happy, healthy and successful 2024.

The article Blog: Let’s make 2024 a success first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Taking demands to world leaders at COP28

The UN’s climate change conference, COP28, is under way in Dubai and we’ve sent UNISON’s own observer, NEC member Tony Wright, to the conference. You can read more about his role here.

Back home in the UK, we’re also preparing to take part in the International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) Global Day of Action. Events are planned in Aberystwyth, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Portsmouth and Sheffield.

We no longer have to look very far to see the damage being caused every day by climate change – it’s here in the UK. And while the Westminster government is busy giving ever more tax breaks to the biggest polluting companies, and allowing them to make record-breaking profits from soaring energy bills, the global COP process is all about getting governments to stop burying their heads in the sand and to take action.

Without all governments stepping up to this existential emergency, there is no doubt, we will run out of time to protect our planet. This is a fundamental trade union issue, because the jobs, health and finances of UNISON members are all affected by climate change.

World leaders are now in Dubai to make key decisions on how countries will commit to tackling the climate emergency. But at its core, there must be a just transition. It has to promote and protect human rights and fundamental labour rights. Also, it must guarantee intergenerational and gender equity, racial justice and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, impacted communities and migrants.

As UNISON is part of the ITUC observer delegation, we have clear, joint demands of world leaders:

  • Only a just transition to a low-carbon economy can secure the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities
  • Just transition plans should be co-created with workers and their trade unions to guarantee decent work, social protection, training opportunities and job security for all workers affected by global warming and climate change policies
  • Plans must be underpinned by the fundamental Labour rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining and facilitated through social dialogue between workers and their unions, employers and governments, as established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Trade unionists across the world are mobilising around these core principles. And while we know the COP processes won’t hold all the solutions, we must do all we can to tackle the climate catastrophe head on. We can all do our bit, too, which is why we’re encouraging all members to find an event to take part in on the Global Day of Action on 9 December.

Follow our Green UNISON campaign online and look out for our special reports back during COP over the next few weeks.

The article Blog: Taking demands to world leaders at COP28 first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Taking demands to world leaders at COP28

The UN’s climate change conference, COP28, is under way in Dubai and we’ve sent UNISON’s own observer, NEC member Tony Wright, to the conference. You can read more about his role here.

Back home in the UK, we’re also preparing to take part in the International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) Global Day of Action. Events are planned in Aberystwyth, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Portsmouth and Sheffield.

We no longer have to look very far to see the damage being caused every day by climate change – it’s here in the UK. And while the Westminster government is busy giving ever more tax breaks to the biggest polluting companies, and allowing them to make record-breaking profits from soaring energy bills, the global COP process is all about getting governments to stop burying their heads in the sand and to take action.

Without all governments stepping up to this existential emergency, there is no doubt, we will run out of time to protect our planet. This is a fundamental trade union issue, because the jobs, health and finances of UNISON members are all affected by climate change.

World leaders are now in Dubai to make key decisions on how countries will commit to tackling the climate emergency. But at its core, there must be a just transition. It has to promote and protect human rights and fundamental labour rights. Also, it must guarantee intergenerational and gender equity, racial justice and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, impacted communities and migrants.

As UNISON is part of the ITUC observer delegation, we have clear, joint demands of world leaders:

  • Only a just transition to a low-carbon economy can secure the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities
  • Just transition plans should be co-created with workers and their trade unions to guarantee decent work, social protection, training opportunities and job security for all workers affected by global warming and climate change policies
  • Plans must be underpinned by the fundamental Labour rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining and facilitated through social dialogue between workers and their unions, employers and governments, as established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Trade unionists across the world are mobilising around these core principles. And while we know the COP processes won’t hold all the solutions, we must do all we can to tackle the climate catastrophe head on. We can all do our bit, too, which is why we’re encouraging all members to find an event to take part in on the Global Day of Action on 9 December.

Follow our Green UNISON campaign online and look out for our special reports back during COP over the next few weeks.

The article Blog: Taking demands to world leaders at COP28 first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Another cycle of the Tories’ economic doom-loop

The damage has already been done by years of chaotic Conservative governments.

Sluggish growth, plummeting living standards and broken public services. That’s the legacy of 13 years of an ever-revolving door of prime ministers and ministers who can’t be trusted with the economy.

Jeremy Hunt’s desperate claims to fix the economic problems that his party caused won’t pull the wool over voters’ eyes. He’s simply giving back what he and his inept predecessors have already snatched from working people.

If the government really wanted to save on benefits for disabled people, it would give them more rights at work so employers don’t make their jobs impossible. And if ministers wanted to help more people back into work, they would fix our underfunded and understaffed NHS to get millions of people the treatment they’re desperate for.

But this is the government that broke the NHS, forcing experienced health professionals out to find better paying jobs elsewhere.

If the government cared about communities, it would reverse the trend of councils going bust and plug the huge budget deficits threatening essential services for children and vulnerable adults.

But this is a government that fails to understand the value of local authorities and the staff who work for them.

Public services and the pay of its dedicated workforces didn’t get a look in, aside from being told to deliver more for less. In-crisis essential services can’t give the public what they need and this government certainly won’t.

What the UK needs is a long-term plan to fund our public services properly, unlock growth and help everyone fulfil their potential.

Today, we were taken around another cycle of the Tories’ economic doom loop. Everybody feels worse off, public services are on their knees and this government is past its sell by date.

The article Blog: Another cycle of the Tories’ economic doom-loop first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Another cycle of the Tories’ economic doom-loop

The damage has already been done by years of chaotic Conservative governments.

Sluggish growth, plummeting living standards and broken public services. That’s the legacy of 13 years of an ever-revolving door of prime ministers and ministers who can’t be trusted with the economy.

Jeremy Hunt’s desperate claims to fix the economic problems that his party caused won’t pull the wool over voters’ eyes. He’s simply giving back what he and his inept predecessors have already snatched from working people.

If the government really wanted to save on benefits for disabled people, it would give them more rights at work so employers don’t make their jobs impossible. And if ministers wanted to help more people back into work, they would fix our underfunded and understaffed NHS to get millions of people the treatment they’re desperate for.

But this is the government that broke the NHS, forcing experienced health professionals out to find better paying jobs elsewhere.

If the government cared about communities, it would reverse the trend of councils going bust and plug the huge budget deficits threatening essential services for children and vulnerable adults.

But this is a government that fails to understand the value of local authorities and the staff who work for them.

Public services and the pay of its dedicated workforces didn’t get a look in, aside from being told to deliver more for less. In-crisis essential services can’t give the public what they need and this government certainly won’t.

What the UK needs is a long-term plan to fund our public services properly, unlock growth and help everyone fulfil their potential.

Today, we were taken around another cycle of the Tories’ economic doom loop. Everybody feels worse off, public services are on their knees and this government is past its sell by date.

The article Blog: Another cycle of the Tories’ economic doom-loop first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Get ready to celebrate all the Stars in Our Schools

The best thing about being UNISON’s general secretary is that I get to spend time with our members, talking to them about the work they do in public services and seeing the impact they make in our communities.

UNISON takes pride in celebrating public service workers, and this Friday’s annual Stars In Our Schools celebration is very special to me. I spent many years working closely with schools support staff, negotiating for them, campaigning with them and demanding better recognition and pay for the vital role they play in education.

For this year’s Stars In Our Schools celebration, we’re going one step further by celebrating our early years staff and school support staff together. Both do far more than facilitate learning – they help create an environment where children and young people are secure, happy and motivated.

It takes entire teams to keep schools and nurseries going. Children are kept safe and healthy by cleaners, catering staff, crossing patrol officers and child protection officers. They learn and excel with the help of teaching and classroom assistants, librarians and technicians.

And nurseries and schools are run smoothly by admin assistants, finance officers and business managers. These are just some of the roles our members do in nurseries and schools up and down the UK.

So this Friday, thousands of schools and nurseries will be taking part in our celebrations. I’ll be travelling up to Newark in the East Midlands, and I can’t wait to meet the stars of a special school who support and educate children with complex needs.

I’ll be thanking them for everything they do, for the pride they put into our union and I’ll be listening to them, to learn about what more our union can do to make their working lives better.

This is also your chance to nominate a star, and you have until 27 November to make your nomination and enter our prize draw – don’t miss out.

The article Blog: Get ready to celebrate all the Stars in Our Schools first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Get ready to celebrate all the Stars in Our Schools

The best thing about being UNISON’s general secretary is that I get to spend time with our members, talking to them about the work they do in public services and seeing the impact they make in our communities.

UNISON takes pride in celebrating public service workers, and this Friday’s annual Stars In Our Schools celebration is very special to me. I spent many years working closely with schools support staff, negotiating for them, campaigning with them and demanding better recognition and pay for the vital role they play in education.

For this year’s Stars In Our Schools celebration, we’re going one step further by celebrating our early years staff and school support staff together. Both do far more than facilitate learning – they help create an environment where children and young people are secure, happy and motivated.

It takes entire teams to keep schools and nurseries going. Children are kept safe and healthy by cleaners, catering staff, crossing patrol officers and child protection officers. They learn and excel with the help of teaching and classroom assistants, librarians and technicians.

And nurseries and schools are run smoothly by admin assistants, finance officers and business managers. These are just some of the roles our members do in nurseries and schools up and down the UK.

So this Friday, thousands of schools and nurseries will be taking part in our celebrations. I’ll be travelling up to Newark in the East Midlands, and I can’t wait to meet the stars of a special school who support and educate children with complex needs.

I’ll be thanking them for everything they do, for the pride they put into our union and I’ll be listening to them, to learn about what more our union can do to make their working lives better.

This is also your chance to nominate a star, and you have until 27 November to make your nomination and enter our prize draw – don’t miss out.

The article Blog: Get ready to celebrate all the Stars in Our Schools first appeared on the UNISON National site.