Workers Memorial Day: a moment’s pause to keep moving forward
28th April is ‘Workers Memorial Day’. Internationally, Unions mark this day as a way to highlight the importance of health and safety and to pay respect to those injured, made sick or killed by hazards at work. Many UNISON branches mark the day so that they can pay their respects to colleagues injured or made ill by work - and to find inspiration to keep on working to improve their workplaces.
Recent figures show 555,000 non-fatal injuries took place at work in Great Britain. Some of these will be more familiar to UNISON members than others, but many of us could potentially be affected by slips or falls (31% of injuries), injuries from manual handling of people or items (21%) or acts of violence (7%). 1.4 million workers also suffer from workplace illness – 1 in 3 (35%) of these are musculoskeletal disorders that can be aggravated by computer use, whilst more than 2 in every 5 (44%) are due to stress, depression or anxiety. These are depressingly relevant for many of the areas where UNISON has members.
This is why UNISON Fareham Branch marked Workers Memorial Day by organising a vigil. These events are respectful moments when UNISON members can pause to think of colleagues who have been hurt or made ill by conditions in the workplace. In this way, the branches mark and expand upon the first half of the Workers Memorial Day call to “Remember the dead, fight for living”.
As Fareham branch chair Cian Wagstaffe explains:
In this pressured work environment, we often fail to take the time to think about our colleagues that have been injured or made unwell by their work. Sadly, the focus becomes “how do we cover?” and we become stressed thinking about how a person’s absence affects our workload while the needs of the workplace come first. It’s far too easy for the incident to overshadow the person. So Workers Memorial Day is a reminder to take the time to stop thinking of ourselves, and our work obligations, to take a moment to remember, and reflect on, those whom have suffered because of health and safety failures.
The branch organised a small gathering in the Garden of Reflection on Osborn Road, flying UNISON flags and holding a minute silence. Vigils like these are crucial reminders that the second half of the slogan is also important. To “fight for the living” means that we work to reduce the damage that can be caused in the workplace and make sure that next Workers Memorial Day, there are less injured and sick colleagues to think of in the next minutes silence.
Health and safety at work is everyone’s responsibility, but UNISON health and safety reps play a special role in investigating potential hazards, consulting members on working conditions and lobbying employers to improve safety. Please contact your branch to find out more.
Poor AGM Turnout leaves Executive Posts Vacant
Fareham Unison held it's Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 12th March 2019. This is the time of year that the branch gets to hear what their Unison branch has done for them over the past year. It is also a time that the branch membership discuss and vote on what they would like the branch to do over the next year.
However, with a turnout of only 10 members (4 of which being retired members) 2019 saw the worst turnout ever. It requires a minimum of 10% to pass any official business we were 16 votes short (as the Chairman can't vote).
The union can only operate when its members get involved. While some members step forward and volunteer to contend with the day to day running and Executive decision making throughout the year, it requires the whole branch to come together and vote on decisions and determine who they want to make the decisions on the other 364 days of the year.
While Officer posts can be assumed by non-contestation of nomination, we also saw a shortage of volunteers standing for many of the posts. The Officer, Steward and Rep roles are essential to ensuring you have the representation you need when you need it. A branch running without these positions will struggle to ensure these areas are tended to.
Positions currently needing volunteers are:
> Branch Secretary
> Branch Treasurer
> Branch Education and Lifelong Learning Officer
> Branch Environmental Officer
> Branch Health & Safety Officer
> Branch International Officer
> Branch Membership Officer
> Branch Women's Officer
> Branch Equality Co-ordinator
> Ground Floor & Floor 1 Steward
> Floor 7 Steward
> Floor 8 & 9 Steward
UNISON: Helping You Keep Safe And Warm This Winter
Winter is coming. That’s not a cheap Game of Thrones hook, it’s a fact – if you stand outside council offices reminding staff to join UNISON, you quickly realise that the weather is taking a chillier turn! That’s why UNISON Fareham branch invited staff to warm up with them with a lunch time ‘winter warmer’ drop in.
Staff at the council offices on Tuesday and at the Depot on Thursday were able to come in and get free hot chocolate in a UNISON mug and a fresh sausage roll from the local bakery to warm their hands on. But it wasn’t just a free lunch and some merchandise to show their membership of the UK’s largest trade union.
Members were able to get a free UNISON branded fleece blanket, an essential part of the AA winter driver emergency kit. March this year saw a cold front that brought unusual amounts of snow. Whilst it was fun to make snow men, it was much less fun if you were stuck in traffic, if you had to sleep on a train or if your car broke down. It was a reminder that although white Christmas’ remain rare, winters in the UK aren’t always mild.
Cold weather can be a health and safety risk, so the branch wanted to help make sure that members who were driving at least were kept warm if the worst happened and they found themselves stuck for an extended period.
Branch chair Cian Wagstaffe explained:
Given the recent cold winters, we wanted to show our support and consideration of our members by holding a drop-in session where anyone, not just members, could come and talk with us, join up and receive some useful items to help throughout the cold season.
Of course - for those not venturing out in the cold, the blankets are also useful for snuggling on the sofa.
New Members Benefit Partner
UNISON has partnered with savings provider, Shepherds Friendly to bring members a variety of tax-efficient plans, offering savings solutions for the whole family.
Click here for more info
Posts Still Available:
Assistant Branch Secretary
Assistant Communications Officer
Any of these roles may be job-shared
To Represent your Workplace/Department, if not already listed, please contact any member of the Branch Executive Committee..
(all nominations will be considered, however small the workplace/department)
Workplace Stewards and Health & Safety Reps needed for:
Membership of UNISON gives you essential cover, wherever you work. Every member receives our full range of member benefits which includes:
You can join online by visiting join.unison.org.uk Members can pay by deductions direct from your pay, or by direct debit. Make sure you have your bank sort code, account number and full branch name to set up a direct debit.
Fareham UNISON Branch, Fareham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7AZ
Designed & Built by Cian Wagstaffe| All rights reserved © 2016