• Include a Right to Disconnect for all UK workers in the new Employment Bill
    Research shows that our working days are getting longer, and the conveniences of digital technology mean too many of us have found ourselves in an ‘always on’ work culture. In turn, that is leading to increased stress levels and burnout. 1 in 3 of us say we’re struggling to switch off from work. As a result, our mental and physical health is at risk, while not allowing workers the opportunity to switch off and participate in other activities often diminishes our ability to do a good job. Right to Disconnect is becoming a reality in countries from France to the Philippines and Argentina to Ireland – it’s time the UK caught up and now is the time for us to act. The government have announced a new Employment Bill in the Queen’s Speech, and this should include a Right to Disconnect for all workers to help safeguard our workers’ health and make work better for everyone.
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  • Give our hero bus drivers a fair pay rise now
    Bus drivers at London United haven’t had a pay rise for nearly three years and to make matter worse their employer, the French stated-owned, RATP dev wanted to cut their pay and conditions too. With more than a dozen strike days taken since February, they’ve succeed in getting the company to row back on the attack to their terms and conditions. But now, Catherine Chardon, RATP London’s managing director is blocking the route to a fair and decent pay deal. Her derisory offer of less than 1 per cent is an insult. We think Catherine and the RATP French board need reminding of the sacrifices our bus drivers made to keep us moving during the pandemic. They risked their lives so that our NHS staff and other key workers could get to work. Catherine, herself was given a 54 per cent pay rise in 2019, with her pay jumping from a staggering £196,000 to £363,000. Surely RATP dev can do better for these drivers. We know they can easily afford it. If it’s good enough for Catherine, it should be good enough for the drivers too. Please add your name to our email which will be sent directly to Catherine’s inbox.
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  • Philip Davies: Support a pay rise for key workers in Shipley
    Our key workers risk their lives going to work everyday. The nurses and care workers, the doctors and bus drivers, the supermarket workers and teachers, they put on personal protective equipment and use sanitiser if there is any but for many months there was none and many became ill some died and some are still suffering from long covid. Most are are paid a pittance for their vital work. Many are using food banks and we clapped them and nearly everyone thought the government should give the nurses the 12.5% pay rise they were asking for, all the other public sector workers had their pay frozen. Philip Davies the MP for Shipley voted for giving nurse a 1% payrise. His own pay is £81,932 and he voted himself a pay rise of 3.1% last year. How many MP’s have died from Corona virus?
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    Research shows that remote sign on is bad news for drivers, detrimental to passengers and risks the safety of all road users. If a bus is delayed the driver is left, unpaid and in the open, for considerable lengths of time in all weathers, increasing issues of tiredness and fatigue. Driver fatigue is a health concern and a tired driver places passenger safety at risk. Also Unite the Union, of which you are a member, calculated that remote sign on would equate to an immediate seven per cent cut in wages on average for affected workers. Terms and conditions of London bus drivers are under attack by bus operators. The outsourcing of routes to 16 different operators means bus drivers have different rates of pay, different contracts and different sets of terms and conditions depending on the company they work for. Drivers working for RATP London United are already taking industrial action across 7 bus depots for improved pay and in defence of their terms and conditions. Metroline and Metroline West bus depots have now won their ballot for industrial action opposing the introduction of remote sign on and in defence of their terms and conditions. Only bus operators benefit from this scheme as they cut costs by reducing wages. This is why despite your moratorium Unite’s 4,000 members have vowed to fight remote sign on with everything they have as they are concerned your moratorium will not achieve a suitable outcome. They have given overwhelming support to taking industrial action in defence of their terms and conditions. Please ensure that as Mayor of London, you give bus drivers a cast iron guarantee that bus companies are not allowed to compete on pay and conditions for staff, please set a minimum and equal standard of employment for all bus drivers and re-assure bus drivers, who are essential workers, that both their pay and their terms and conditions are in safe hands whilst you are Mayor of London? And please keep to your pledge if re-elected Mayor on 6th May.
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  • Fair Pensions for ALL Staff at UCLAN
    UCLan has stated its intention to move from a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme (LGPS) to a Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Scheme for new starters in Professional Services, there are no proposals to change the pension arrangements for our academic colleagues. We believe this is wrong because: • The LGPS rules require UCLan to offer LGPS membership to their employees, UCLan intend to get around this rule by employing new starters in a separate company. • The change will lead to a two-tier workforce in pensions, with new starters in Professional Services being offered inferior and less cost-effective pensions. • The contribution rates will be lower than those for LGPS and TPS (the main scheme for our academic colleagues). • DC schemes pay out less than DB schemes such as LGPS and TPS meaning staff doing exactly the same job will come out with much lower pensions in the future. • The change will affect younger, lower-paid and women members of staff disproportionately. • Access to the pension scheme is part of the remuneration package offering an inferior pension scheme to new starters with lower employer contribution rates is potentially discriminatory yet the university has not conducted an equality impact assessment. • In the short term, the cost of setting up inferior pension arrangements could reduce any potential savings to UCLan. At a time of limited recruitment, the savings they make from this change will be negligible. • The number of pensioners living in poverty in the UK is the worst in Europe, for staff to avoid pensioner poverty they need a decent workplace pension to supplement the very low state pension. • If more employers like UCLan close membership of the scheme to new starters this could lead to serious cash flow problems for LGPS funds, with a shortfall in contributions at the same time as the number of pensioners increase. • UCLAN is signed up to the “Preston Model” of Community Wealth Building within Preston and the wider Lancashire area. By withdrawing access to the LGPS the university will be instrumental in increasing pensioner poverty in the area in the years to come, how does this fit with the Preston model? We are calling on UCLAN to withdraw this decision and ensure that all staff who work for them get the decent pension which they rightly deserve. #Fight4FairPensions
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  • University of Birmingham: let us choose to work flexibly
    Over the past year, we have successfully adapted to remote working made necessary by the pandemic. We have worked hard to ensure the work of the University has continued, in a safe and effective way. We have made sure systems still run, research is able to continue, and students are still able to have the best experience possible. Feedback from University management has rightly recognised this: "We can all feel proud of the quality of education that we have been able to maintain in the most difficult of circumstances. [It] is a testament to your dedication, and to the supportive environment that you have all helped to create." "Indeed, one of the more positive lessons of the pandemic is that we can do some pretty fabulous things online." (Emails to all staff from Head of College of Social Sciences) We have done all this from home. While the COVID-19 crisis has brought many challenges, there have also been opportunities. Being able to work from home has meant a better work-life balance, and more inclusive ways of working for disabled staff and those with caring responsibilities - often met by women. We are concerned that one of the few positive points of the COVID-19 pandemic - our ability to work flexibly and remotely, improving our work-life balance and our productivity - will be lost as we begin to emerge from lockdown. We ask the University to make sure this does not happen, and staff at all levels are enabled to keep working well. We Need to Keep Working Safely As the most recent lockdown begins to lift, we want to ensure we are able to keep these flexible working arrangements, where they work for us. This means ensuring that all those who want to continue to work from home, and for whom it is practical and accessible to do so, are able to keep the flexibility they have been able to work with, without having to go through onerous formal application processes. This also means ensuring disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent staff have the right adjustments in place both at home and on campus, right from the beginning of their employment, to enable them to work safely, productively and flexibly. We ask the University to work with UCU, Unison, Unite and GMB to ensure all staff are able to work in ways that work for them, including having the right adjustments in place to enable us to work flexibly. The Benefits of Remote and Flexible Working It has been argued by organisations such as the Chartered Management Institute that home working, and other flexible working arrangements, can be a part of closing gender and disability pay and leadership gaps, as well as improving the attraction, retention, progression, and well-being of employees. The University of Birmingham’s own research into increased flexible working during COVID-19, in partnership with the University of Kent, found that most respondents noted they would prefer to work more flexibly in the future (including 52% of all parents and 66% of non-parents), after benefitting from a better work-life balance, increased productivity and improved wellbeing during lockdown. The University's Business School has also written about some of the benefits of home working, flexible working and blended approaches. Research from Cardiff University and the University of Southampton found that 70% of employees surveyed found their productivity either stayed the same or increased while they were working from home. The Government itself has argued flexible working - including flexi-time and home working - should be normalised, stating it would ‘boost productivity and particularly help women and those outside major cities’. By enabling all staff to continue working in ways that work for them, the University can make meaningful progress on some of its targets around dismantling structural barriers faced by groups within the University, as part of its 2021-24 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion scheme. This includes demonstrating the University’s commitment to being a “Disability Confident” employer, by ensuring the benefits of remote and flexible working for disabled people are not lost; and making it easier for those with caring responsibilities to balance these with their work. Home working can also contribute positively to the UoB Sustainable Travel Plan by reducing travel to campus and surrounding areas, and address the significant issues that staff have faced with parking on campus. Trust us to Work Well An earlier email from the chairs and co-chairs of the University’s staff networks stated that there was clear evidence of ‘a desire for global culture change that embeds a transparent trusted approach in relationships between staff and leaders.’ We ask the University of Birmingham to trust staff, who have consistently demonstrated their ability to adapt and deliver to a high standard, given the right support. We ask the University of Birmingham to demonstrate its worth as an employer that trusts and empowers its staff: trust us to work flexibly, in ways that work for us, and that benefit everyone.
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  • Normal pay for isolating Stoke Care Workers
    Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Stoke care workers have been, and continue to be, financially penalised for doing the right thing and protecting the vulnerable people they care for.   Proper sick pay is known to prevent the spread of infections to service users and the wider community. Care workers need the assurance that they will not be financially penalised when they need to self-isolate.   In Stoke, the majority of care workers who have spoken to UNISON have reported that instead of receiving their normal pay in line with Government guidance, they are having to survive on SSP at £96 per week, use annual leave, or in some cases get nothing at all. This is despite care employers receiving millions in public funds and being instructed to use them to pay self-isolating care workers their normal wages.
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  • Universal Free School Meals for all in Scotland
    Poverty and inequality were already at an unacceptably high level in Scotland well before the Coronavirus pandemic struck, and we have grave concerns that such socio-economic disadvantage has only intensified, especially for children and women. The Scottish Government’s commitment to significantly reduce Child Poverty by 2030, with a view to ultimately eradicating it, and the creation of the new Scottish Child Payment Benefit is welcomed by the STUC Women’s Committee. Similarly, we welcome the Deputy First Minister’s pledge to expand free school meals provision to all Primary school pupils if the SNP retain power at the 2021 Scottish Parliament Elections. However, we strongly believe that further urgent action to mitigate child poverty is required immediately. The Scottish Government have the power and resources to go further in introducing progressive policies that can more strongly mitigate poverty and inequality and make life-changing differences to children and families now. Firm and decisive action on child poverty in Scotland cannot be further delayed. That is why the STUC Women’s Committee is calling on the Scottish Government to expand Universal Free School Meals to all children and young people, including those of Secondary school and Nursery age, with immediate effect. Moreover, we are calling on the Scottish Government to combat holiday hunger by ensuring that there are programmes and provisions in place in all of Scotland’s local authorities so that all children and young people have access to sufficient food during the school holidays. Our most vulnerable children, young people's right and access to a nutritious meal should not be determined by chance of the local authority they live in or based on the goodwill of community volunteers. We know that the roots of the poverty-related attainment gap stretch well beyond the school gates, but the significant role our educational institutions play in tackling poverty, challenging inequality, and helping to build a healthier, more inclusive society cannot be underestimated. We strongly believe that the introduction of Universal Free School Meals will not only help to combat hunger and poverty but will shatter the stigma and shame associated with the provision of meals on a means tested basis and will fuel young people’s ability to learn in the classroom. Neither empty tummies nor low self-esteem make for full days of learning in school. Furthermore, this progressive policy sends a clear and positive message to the rest of the devolved nations and beyond that we are serious about ending poverty in Scotland, and that we are genuinely committed to educational equity and to the wellbeing of our young people. Sign the petition today and email the First Minister showing your support.
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  • Protect Education
    The Scottish Government has prioritised school education during the pandemic; it has now opened schools for a full pupil return in P1-3 whilst continuing to lock down other parts of society and people’s lives outside of school. The EIS believes that teachers and other school staff should be vaccinated in phase 2 of the Scottish vaccination programme – the Scottish Government has the power to do this, and it will help to safely implement their policy of prioritising schools. Furthermore, the EIS believes that medical grade facemasks should be provided to teachers and other school staff to better protect against the coronavirus and its variants, especially by aerosol transmission. Finally, the EIS believes that ventilation in classrooms is of key importance and is concerned to hear of members’ poor experiences in this regard.
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  • Write to Mitie: Pay us what you owe!
    Low-paid workers at Cumberland Infirmary are in urgent need of our support. These porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff are outsourced to Mitie and have worked 24/7 throughout the pandemic to keep staff and patients safe. But while Mitie boasts it is making massive profits from the Covid crisis, it continues to pay these workers less than their NHS colleagues doing the same jobs. This is despite North Cumbria Integrated NHS Foundation Trust saying it handed over a "substantial sum" for them to be paid NHS rates when the contract was privatised in 2010. The 150 workers, who belong to UNISON and the GMB, have been on strike for two days. Instead of investigating where their missing wages went, health bosses and Mitie chose to squabble over who's responsible for paying the workers what they're owed. Sadly, Mitie still isn’t listening. We think that an even better way to get the Managing Director’s attention is to flood his inbox with emails from all of us. Can you take a few minutes to email Phil Bentley? It’s easy, you just need to add your details and press send. This is not what our members want. They don’t want to strike, especially not in the middle of a global pandemic. Health bosses and Mitie could have averted the strike by agreeing to pay the workers the correct rate for the job. The rate the Trust said they'd be paid when the contract was privatised in 2010. We know who’s side we’re on.
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  • Do Not Suspend Gender Pay Gap Reporting
    Tracking what happens to women’s pay is vital to building a fairer future and holding employers to account. Businesses have to report on a wide range of regulations/requirements - but gender pay gap reporting was the only one suspended last year. That can’t be right. Equality isn’t a nice value to have — it is essential. Especially in a time of crisis. Decades of progress in gender equality is being undone in a matter of months. Women have faced greater economic hardship through this pandemic, disproportionately losing jobs and income. Low paid women, black and minority ethnic (BME) women, disabled women and working mums are experiencing some of the most acute impacts. Women that were already at greater risk of being treated unfairly at work. Analysis by the TUC unearthed a staggering 35% pay gap for disabled women double that of the average gender pay gap, and that BME women are overrepresented in low paid, insecure jobs compared to white women and men. Join Grazia, Mother Pukka and the TUC as we call on Liz Truss MP, to maintain the requirement for larger employers to report on their gender pay gap in 2021 and to urgently introduce legislation requiring employers to report on ethnicity and disability pay gaps. We need you to show up for equal pay. Because equality isn’t a nice to have, it is fundamental. https://mcusercontent.com/ebd004a8047907dc47d269fd1/images/cb0315e4-99a5-4bb4-8d6d-0cfcd180bd0a.png
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  • Ben Wallace MP - Invitation to meet with key workers in Wyre and Preston North
    Key workers are getting this country through the pandemic. They headed out to work when the rest of the country stayed at home – putting themselves and their families at risk. It’s time to end the low pay and insecure work that leave many of these workers struggling, and make sure every key worker gets a payrise. The coronavirus crisis demonstrated how much we all owe to all our key workers - healthcare staff, care workers, retail and delivery workers, public transport workers, teachers and support staff, cleaners, energy workers and so many others. Can you write to your MP and invite them to the meeting? They've already been invited by a local leader, but need to know how many of us support this campaign. Every message makes a difference.
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