UNISON march on London

Archived Articles - July 2016


27th July 2016

Last week civil servants started the process of consulting the TUC, Certification Officer and unions on the practical implementation of two parts of the Trade Union Act 2016: industrial action and political fund opt in. The Act applies in Great Britain not Northern Ireland. The two areas chosen to be first were both 2015 Conservative manifesto commitments.

The Act says that the political fund opt in for new union members has to have an implementation at least one year from the royal assent and we will make the case for longer than May 2017. No date has yet been decided by government as the final regulations in this specific area will be laid in parliament at the end of this year and the consultation has just started. Separately the NEC GPF and Labour Link Committees have started a joint political fund review, in light of the Act, to see what rule book and procedural changes are necessary to implement the Act and keep our political voice.

The industrial action consultation covers guidance on the 40% Important Public services ballot threshold, the revised code on ballot procedures and the revised code on picketing.

We have had no information at this stage on the implementation of the clauses on paying a fee for DOCAS/Check Off in the British public sector or on other parts of the Act.

We have until August 12th to respond to the civil servants on both industrial action and political fund implementation issues.


18th July 2016

Government plans to scrap the NHS bursary are likely to saddle nurses with what would amount to an individual debt of over £52,000.

The NHS bursary is a lifeline for nursing, midwifery and other health students. Nursing is considered a vocational course by law, with nurses making a vital contribution to our NHS while studying.

The government’s intention is to move from the bursary system - where no fees are charged and students are entitled to a combination of non-means tested bursary and a ‘reduced rate’ student loan - to full fees up to £9,000. This will also require a large maintenance loan.

“We’re dead against this short-sighted cut” said UNISON Notts Healthcare Branch Secretary Dave Brown. “Throughout their training nurses make a significant contribution to health services in our Trust and across the country. Whilst training they also work clinical shifts, working late and working on the weekend - ensuring top care. It’s unfair that they should be asked to do this and walk away with a big debt.”

“To make matters worse this comes at a time when we’ve serious shortages across all sorts of NHS roles.”

This proposal has been condemned by Trade Unions, patients’ groups, charities and the National Union of Students.

To find out how out more about the campaign visit www.unison.org.uk/tag/nhs-bursary/