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News - UNISON National

COMING THIS WEEK… Fifteen Minute Care Makeover
Film crew and actors filming a scene for the UNISON campaign flim
Film crew and actors filming a scene for the UNISON campaign flim
Makeover film highlights UNISON's campaign to Save Care Now
A new film highlighting the indignity suffered by thousands of elderly people because of 15-minute care visits will hit the internet on Thursday.

Commissioned by UNISON to tie in with the union's campaigning work on the crisis in homecare, the two-minute features former Brookside actor and 60 Minute Makeover star Claire Sweeney. It is a satirical sideswipe at the effects of government cuts on a service many vulnerable and elderly people rely on and UNISON members deliver.

Members and the public will be able to see the film – and sign a petition calling for an end to these short visits – on the union’s dedicated campaign website:

At the same time, UNISON continues to campaign for councils that commission homecare to sign up to the union's Ethical Care Charter, committing themselves to providing decent care and proper pay and conditions for care workers.
Read about the issues on our Save Care Now campaign site       



UNISON wins payout for unfairly dismissed North West drug treatment staff


A group of workers supporting adults with addiction issues has won a six-figure settlement after their new employer left them jobless and without redundancy pay.

The seven were recently awarded nearly £178,000 in compensation after UNISON backed their case against Arch Initiatives. UNISON took Arch to an employment tribunal for refusing to take on the staff when their jobs were transferred from Greater Manchester West NHS Foundation trust (GMW).

Arch Initiatives claimed the employees’ contract was solely for managing addiction treatment patients, but the substance misuse workers roles and duties went beyond this. Therefore the company said it was not responsible for them.

But the employment tribunal ruled that Arch acted unfairly in dismissing the seven who were left out of work and with no redundancy pay.

Denise Holcroft, 41, was among those staff who lost their jobs. She had worked for GMW for more than three years but was forced to take lower paid work elsewhere and on less hours until she found a full-time role.

Denise said: “There’s never a good time to be told you’re out of a job, but this was so stressful. I couldn’t pay my bills and had to take what work I could just to cover my mortgage.”

UNISON North West spokesperson for health Amy Barringer said: “It’s daunting for staff being transferred to a new employer, and utterly destabilising for them when the process is handled incorrectly.

“Arch Initiatives refused to play by the rules, but UNISON ensured it was held accountable and staff were properly compensated. We’ll continue to challenge bosses who ignore the law. ”

Notes to editors:
– Arch Initiatives tendered for and won a contract in 2012 to oversee the management of addiction treatment patients. This followed a restructuring of the service by Bolton Council.
– Staff who transfer from one employer to another should be protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE).
– Arch lost its appeal against the original tribunal decision and agreed to pay £177,530 compensation. The appeal was handled by UNISON’s legal department.
– Thompsons Solicitors was the law firm acting in the employment tribunal for workers belonging toUNISON.
– Denise Holcroft received £29,020 reflecting her loss of pay and pension benefits.
– Two staff in addition to the seven represented by UNISON also won their case against Arch Initiatives.

Last year, as the Trade Union Act 2016 concluded its passage through parliament, Labour MP Jo Stevens warned that the government had set itself on a “collision course” with Wales, which would end in the Supreme Court.

Indeed, Wales was open in its opposition to the Act so far as it affected industrial relations within Welsh public services, and this week the Assembly
fulfilled its vow to legislate in order to repeal those sections of the TUA that affect the devolved public sector by publishing the Trade Union (Wales) Bill.

The Bill proposes to overturn new laws to place an additional 40% support threshold on industrial ballots within "important" public services; reserved powers for Westminster to intervene in the facility time of public sector trade union representatives; and restrictions on the popular check-off system of deducting trade union subs from wages.

The UK government last year argued that Wales could not repeal the law as employment and industrial relations legislation has not been devolved, but Welsh Finance and Local Government Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday said that the Supreme Court has made it "clear" that where laws affect devolved responsibilities such as public services, the Welsh Assembly has jurisdiction.

Elsewhere, Westminster has published
new guidance on how the Trade Union Act will apply to "important" public services, as well as reports on the financial impact of changes to union political funds, and a new impact assessment on the Act as a whole.

The legislation is expected to come into force in April of this year.