IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATES BELOW,
NEWS AND INFORMATION. PLEASE READ
The area has a population of around 91,000.
Much of the southern part of the county borough around the Cwmbran new town conurbation is now urbanised. The north of the county borough is greener and retains extensive areas of countryside, especially on the route to Blaenavon.
The administrative centre is Pontypool in the centre of the county borough. Most of the administration of Torfaen County Borough Council is conducted from the Civic Centre here.
UPDATE YOUR DETAILS
This is why it is so important that we have your up to date details to ensure we are able to reach you .
Calling all UNISON local government members! Please take a moment to check we have your current address. As you know, UNISON local government members rejected the pay offer and work has begun on preparing for an industrial ballot. It’s important to make your voice heard and for you to receive your paper ballot. You can check your address here via My UNISON, or speak to your local UNISON branch.
It’s time for the ‘unsung heroes’ of the school day to be recognised in Wales.
By Shavanah Taj, General Secretary, Wales TUC
Teaching assistants are the unsung heroes of the school system.
They play a key role in ensuring that our children and young people receive a full and rewarding education. They were the bedrock of operating school hubs for vulnerable children and those of key workers at the outset of the pandemic. Read more Link to main storey
January - December 2021/22
UNISON MEMBERS THANK YOU
A big thank you to all Unison Members working over the Christmas and New Year period.
WIN A PRIZE!
Recruit a Friend to UNISON and Win a Prize!
This Christmas we are giving our members the opportunity to £150 worth of gift vouchers of their choice.
All you need to do it recruit a friend to join Torfaen UNISON and become a fully paid member for 4 weeks!
Do you have a friend who works for the local authority, schools, social care etc and would want to join the UK's largest UNISON for local government? If so, ask them to join, and then fill in this form.
To enter fill in the attached form and email it to email@example.com. Alternatively, you can print it and post to Torfaen UNISON, c/o Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB.
This needs to be returned by 14th January 2022. We will draw it live on our Facebook page the following week.
VOTE YES - BALLOT PAPERS
You should now be starting to receive your ballot papers in the post. It is better to get it done as soon as it comes otherwise you might forget.
VOTE YES FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION IN THE NJC PAY BALLOT
What members need to do
1. Post back your ballot
We will send your ballot paper in early December. Keep your eyes peeled and make sure you use your vote. It is vital that we get a high turnout. We must hear from everyone – every role, every workplace, every pay band! Every member must post their ballot paper back using the freepost envelope so it reaches us by 14 January.
If your ballot is lost or spoiled, you can get a replacement by logging into ‘My Unison’ at my.unison.org.uk or call the hotline on 0800 0 857 857.
The hotline is open between 9 December and 10 January.
2. Vote yes! for action on pay
We know going on strike is not something you do lightly. Your job is incredibly important, and people rely on you. But your employer has made you, and other council and school workers, an unfair offer.
1.75% might sound like it’s better than nothing – but with inflation well above 3%, it’s a real terms pay cut. This year, every pound in your pay packet will really count.
It comes after a decade of declining pay. The value of your pay is now 25% lower than it was in 2010! Year after year, it’s been chipped away.
Unless we say ‘enough!’, your pay will fall further, and those holding the purse strings will get away with it. It’s time to take action.
3. Tell your colleagues
If your colleague is not a member of UNISON, that means they won’t be able to vote, so make sure you tell them to join by 3 January to have their say! They can join online, it takes 5 minutes.
Welsh Education Minister has just announced that due to the Omicron Covid variant of concern, all staff and learners in secondary schools, colleges and universities should wear face coverings indoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
FOOD BANKS COLLECTION
It is with sadness that in 2021 we have to collect for food banks. Unfortunately, it's something that many of our members use and we have noticed the need has increased recently.
Torfaen UNISON will be helping to collect the items on the graphic below to help families have the best Christmas possible.
All you need to do is purchase or check your cupboard for one or more of these items and donate it to your
local food bank or arrange for us to collect and we will deliver it to them.
We know they would appreciate a donation, however big or small!
November / December 2021
LEGO BASED THERAPY
We are lucky enough to be able to fund another Lego Based Therapy course, as we are aware that some members have not been able to get a place on the courses already advertised.
Therefore, the branch has arranged to facilitate a further course (3 x 45 minutes) using the same tutor. The details for this course are:
Tuesday 23rd November
@ 4pm – 4.45pm
Tuesday 30th November
@ 4pm – 4.45pm
Tuesday 7th December
@ 4pm – 4.45pm
Please contact Karen on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07748 152707 to book a place.
This course has proved to be very popular and quickly becomes oversubscribed as places are limited, therefore if you want a place please get in touch as soon as possible.
Also be aware that you will need to complete all three sessions.
Cangen Torfaen Unison Branch
SCHOOL STAFF FORUM
To register a place, please contact us at email@example.com or call 01495 766356 on November 16th, 2021 from 16:30 to 17:30 on TEAMS.
Make a date for UNISON School Staff Forum with Rosie Lewis are Regional Organiser and School Lead. Your opportunity to ask questions online and members and non members of Torfaen Schools are welcome.
STARS IN OUR SCHOOLS 2021
Stars in Our Schools 2021 is fast approaching and we've just opened up our 'nominate a star' prize draw.
This is your chance to let a member of school support staff know how much you value the fantastic work they do. Anyone can nominate a school support staff worker for entry into a prize draw to win a £25 Marks and Spencer voucher. (And if your nominee wins, you'll receive a £25 Marks and Spencer voucher too!)
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Wales will be first UK nation to make teaching of black histories compulsory #BlackHistoryMonth
A MONUMENT of Wales’ first black headteacher and #BlackHistoryMonth campaigner was unveiled in Cardiff.
Betty Campbell, who died in 2017 at the age of 82, defied her doubters after being told as a child that her dream to become a head teacher was “insurmountable”.
BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK
We’re lighting up in support of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2021.
Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall, the boathouse at Cwmbran Boating Lake, and the Civic Centre in Pontypool were illuminated in pink and blue in honour of parents and families in Torfaen who have lost a baby in pregnancy or infancy this week.
Just know, that even in these difficult and unprecedented times, there is help and support. Link to Baby Loss Awareness Support
If you have been affected by baby loss the Stillbirth & Neonatal death charity (Sands) has information available on their website. Link to Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity
#blaw2021 #babylossawarenessweek2021 #babylossawarenessweek
GREEN UNISON WEEK
Green UNISON Week 18th - 23rd September 2021, here are some of the fantastic resources and webinars planned for next week.
Not only is next week UNISON’s Green Week, it’s also Adult Learners Week – which is kicked-off this evening with the Inspire Adult Learning Awards. The WULF project is up for a national award, and you can register here for a Zoom link or watch live on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC14H_5gDYMR6PGJh3iWbarA to find out if we win!
Link to YouTube here
• Monday 20th September – 12pm-1pm – WATCHPARTY: A MESSAGE FROM THE FUTURE II – a lunchtime viewing and discussion of the powerful short film and the role of the union in bringing about the Just Transition.
Watch the short film link here
• Tuesday 21st September – 11.30am-12.30pm - MENOPAUSE IN THE WORKPLACE AWARENESS – join Jenny Griffin for this all-Wales webinar looking at the issue of menopause in the workplace and why it’s a union issue, all ages and genders are very welcome to attend Register FREE for Menopuse In The Worplace
• Wednesday 22nd September – All day - WELLBEING WEDNESDAY – in partnership with our South Wales Local Authority Branches – a day-long programme of webinars ranging from Mental Health Awareness, through Secondary & Vicarious Trauma and Online Misinformation, to an evening hour of Mindfulness Wellbeing Wednesday (for South Wales Local authority employed staff) Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite
• Thursday 23rd September – 10am-11am - GREENING YOUR WORKPLACE – join Richard Speight to discover more about the impact of the climate crisis on public services, how public service jobs are green jobs, and what more we can do together as a union to help bring about the Just Transition to a zero-carbon Wales.
Register here for FREE for Greening Your Workplace
• Friday 24th September – 11am-12pm - INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL CHAMPIONING AT WORK – learn how public service workers can help their colleagues, friends, and relatives to gain the digital skills they need with our free training and support, in partnership with Digital Communities Wales.
Register here for 'Introduction to Digital Championing @ Work.
Despite your courage and sacrifice throughout COVID-19, council and school workers have been offered 1.75%. With inflation at 3.8%, that’s a real terms pay cut. UNISON is launching a consultation and strongly recommends members vote to reject such an unfair offer.
Read more info here. Link to Council and school pay reject vote
CLAPPING DOESN'T PAY THE BILLS
Public service workers deserve a decent pay increase.
Staff in the NHS, in social care, in schools, in councils, in the police and elsewhere, have provided vital services to our communities during the pandemic.
Pay has been cut in real terms over a decade of being frozen or capped. Follow UNISON Cymru Wales campaign. Campaign details along with our consultation on unfair pay offers
UNISON - FAIR PAY
Pay is coming to a head and we need all of our members and activists to take part in every ballot and every consultation. UNISON is fighting to get the fair pay rise you deserve. Link here to Christina McAnea report.
Torfaen UNISON are now able to offer members a new Talking Therapies initiative, which is accessed by completing a simple referral form. We can then put you in touch with a counsellor who can offer online or telephone support for issues such as work-related stress, anxiety and depression.
Sessions can be accessed quickly and arranged at a time to suit you. This support is offered free to all Blaenau Gwent UNISON members.
This initiative is being administered by Monmouthshire Branch, therefore if you would like to take up this opportunity, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a referral form will be sent to you. If you would like then to complete the form for you over the phone, please call 01291 675502 leaving your name, number and best time to call, and they will call you back to go through this with you. You can now apply online by clicking the link below.
THE WELSH GOVERNMENT - TENANCY HARDSHIP GRANTS
The Tenancy Hardship Grant is designed to support people who have fallen behind on their rent by more than eight weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021.
The grant is designed to help people stay in their homes and prevent them losing their tenancies.
Grant details. Link here to Welsh Government Tenancy Hardship Grant.
If you are in need of any support - Unison's there for you is a fantastic service for members. Check out their website here. Link here to Welsh Government Tenancy Hardship Grant website.
If your not yet a member, here are some of the reasons why you should be. When times are hard UNISON will be there for you.
For you at work and your family at home
And debt advice in times of need
for you and your family
including money off cars and holidays
Our helpline is open until midnight weekdays, and 4pm on Saturdays, closed on Sundays
to help develop your career
we’ll be with you when you need it most
Come along to our FREE online learning event for Nurses! A full day of taster sessions covering Mindfulness, Maths for Nurses, Going Green, Online Lies & Misinformation and so much more!
Book onto one session, or book on them all – the choice is yours!! Just follow the web link below to register your place. The event is funded by UNISON & the UNISON WULF Project, so there is no fee to attend (although please note that some webinars are UNISON member specific). Book your Place now!
UNISON Nursing Event Tuesday 20th July - 12:00 - 12:30 H&S in the Workplace, 12:45 - 13:45 Online Lies and Misinformation, 14:00 - 15:00 Nurse Question Time, 15:15- 15:45 Dealing with Grief, 16:00 - 16:30 Student Nurse Watch Party, 16:45 - 17:45 Green Agenda, 18:00 - 20:00 Maths for Nurses, 20:15 - 21:15 Mindfulness. Register now closed at https://bit.ly/2TidAUY
THERE FOR YOU - FINANCIAL SUPPORT
UNISON charity ''There For you'' can help UNISON members on low incomes with school uniform costs by way of a one-off payment of £50 per child, up to a maximum of £150 per family.
You will be able to download your application form from the link here when the fund opens on Thursday 1st July.
WALES SURVEY - LONG COVID AT WORK
We’re interested in the experiences of people with Long Covid in work. Including people who have lost their jobs because of Long Covid. Long Covid is the term used to describe COVID-19 symptoms that extending beyond the initial infection. Evidence on Long Covid points to symptoms of COVID-19 lasting for weeks, months and possibly years after the infection.
This survey ask questions to better understand how workers with Long Covid have been treated in the workplace.
Employers can no longer mistreat staff who take part in industrial action, says UNISON. Christina McAnea hails important victory for staff involved in strikes or disputes
Employers will no longer be able to get away with mistreating any employees who take part in union-organised workplace disputes following an important legal decision, says UNISON.
Contact Torfaen Branch