Welcome to UNISON, our Trade Union. We support and protect almost 1.3 million working people and offer a huge range of benefits to our members. We represent over 8,000 members in the City of Sheffield and those employees engaged in delivering public services allied to the Council, in addition we have members in Further Education Colleges and the Community and Voluntary Sector within Sheffield.

National March and Rally: Sunday 4th October 2015

March and rally 4 October 2015

Manchester, Sunday 4 October 2015
As Conservative Party Conference meets in Manchester this year, thousands of trade union members and supporters will march through the city, taking a clear message to the Conservative Party about their Government's damaging programme of austerity and their attacks on the rights of working people and their unions.

Sign up here and pledge to come on the march. The TUC will keep you updated by email with information about attending the event as it develops, and about actions you can take to help the campaign.

Latest News

Latest Newsletter published (23/07/15)
School Support Staff Campaign – update July 2015 (02/07/15)

As members are aware, UNISON has set up a high profile campaign to defend and promote the vital role teaching assistants and their support staff colleagues play in providing children with high quality education. UNISON members and the Working Party (WP) set up on their behalf do not accept standards will be raised by downgrading, “phasing out” or demotivating qualified experienced staff. The WP meets approximately once per term to discuss strategy and organise next steps.

1)     Full Council Meeting – Wednesday 1st July
Lisa Smith presented the 1500 name petition to the Full Council Meeting.
Most councillors were present and the public gallery was full. Presenting the petition gave UNISON an opportunity to share with all council members the aims of the WP.
The speech was well received and the councillor for Children Young People and Families, Jackie Drayton responded directly. I understand there will also be a written response which I will share as and when.

2)     Meeting with Sheffield’s Chief Executive:-

The WP has arranged to meet the authority’s Chief Executive, John Mothersole on:-

Wednesday 23rd September at 4.30pm

The meeting with the Chief Executive will take the same format as the one with Councillor Drayton (Cabinet Member for CYPF). It is vitally important we continue to meet with key figures and influential organisations in the authority.

The pre-meet will be in the UNISON office on:-

Thursday 17th September 4-5pm  

If you wish to attend this meeting please contact the branch office on 0114 2736307 and ask to speak to Lisa Smith.

3)     Follow up meeting with Councillor Drayton:-

This will now take place after the meeting with the Chief Executive, probably in the second half of the autumn term.
The purpose of the meeting is for Councillor Drayton to feedback on her commitment to raise the WPs concerns with her cabinet colleagues, the City Wide Learning Body (CWLB), Schools Forum etc.

4)     Future direction of the campaign:-

As well as continuing to meet with key figures, the WP recognises the need to maintain a high profile with the public.
Further discussions regarding keeping the campaign in the public eye will be discussed in the autumn term.

Finally, many thanks to all those who continue to support the WP in its aim to stop school support staff being  treated like second class citizens. We play a vital role in raising and maintaining standards in our schools and we will not be side-lined!


LGBT UNISON - Out For The Weekend - Extra 5% off - Book now! (07/05/15)

UNISON's LGBT 'Out for the Weekend' for next year will be held on:-

Friday 29th April - Monday 2nd May 2016

UNISON Croyde Bay Holiday Resort

Get 2015 prices + Take an extra 5% of if you book before Monday 11th May 2015

3 nights in the Hotel
Dinners & Breakfasts included
Pool, Jacuzzi, Steam Room, Gym
Tribute Acts

All for just 153.90 per person!

CALL: 01271 890 890

Celebrate the start of the Pride season with Croyde's LGBT Weekend - It's a great social event!

Terms and Conditions Apply. Subject to availability. May not be used in conjunction with any other offer. Offer may be with­drawn at any time. Price includes UNISON discount.  Non-members add 17.65%. Does not include special offer or dis­counted stays. Must book before departure. Price after sale, £165 UNISON rate.

Buying Pension lost due to absence - form (08/04/15)

Before using the online calculator to obtain a quote for buying back lost pension you must first obtain a written statement from your employer. Please download this form and fill it in - your employer is required to provide the information requested to enable you to complete the online form.

Buying Pension Lost Due to Absence pdf


Restructuring the Housing & Neighbourhoods Service (03/03/15)

Dear member,

Re: Proposal for Managing Employee Reductions (MER 198) - UPDATE

We would like to send a huge thanks for the continued support and attendance at the consultation meetings. Consultation meetings with members are still ongoing.

Comments and proposals from our first round of meetings have been submitted however, we have not formally tabled our position. Once we have collated and completed our first round of consultation our proposals will be formally tabled with management for negotiation.

Management are aware of our initial position regarding the MER and the responses we have received from members to date, clarify and support the trade union’s initial concerns regarding this proposal.

The joint trade unions have received an initial legal response regarding TUPE and once written formal advice have been received from our solicitors, we will share this with members and management at our consultation meetings.

We are requesting feedback from members on the following topics:

  • Job Descriptions/Amendments/Role Profiles
  • VER/VS
  • Structures (particularly around your teams)
  • Pooling/Recruitment

It is imperative your comments and concerns are forwarded

We continue to push management to ensure that the corporate MER Policy is adhered to.

The joint trade unions agreed in principle a Joint Communication strategy. We entered in to that strategy in spirit of joint, clear and consistent information, however we have received information from members that causes us concern. This is centred on the communication of current positions.

UNISON, GMB and UNITE continue to challenge the structure and timelines of the proposal and the proposal for 84 new jobs on your behalf. We also continue to challenge the misleading information which has been conveyed to members. We feel this is a failure to observe joint working and is divisive.

We are urging all members to question misleading information, challenge where appropriate and inform their trade union as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Joanne Crooks

Steve Wellings

Joanne Smeaton


Education Convenors Report to Sheffield UNISON AGM 2015 (02/03/15)


2014 – 15 has been another difficult year as schools attempt to balance stand still or decreasing budgets with ever increasing demands to raise attainment. School support staff continue to be subject to redundancy and downgrading. The  expectation that it’s a given that support staff work significantly above and beyond their job description continues to cause UNISON serious concern.

Since the last AGM and in line with the authority’s new Trade Union Facility Time agreement, education  convenors have reduced their capacity from 3 FTE reps to 2. Along with our corporate colleagues, education convenors have worked hard to minimise the impact of this significant cut to facilities time on UNISON members. Supporting individuals who find themselves in vulnerable positions and representing members collectively remains our priority.

Good News on the Living Wage:

School Catering staff - The commitment of school catering staff, directly supported by Sheffield UNISON branch has resulted in the Living Wage being paid to some of the lowest paid workers in schools.

Church of England  school staff - Nationally UNISON has negotiated a landmark agreement with the Church of England to bring the living wage to staff in all of its schools. The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said:- “Church of England Schools were set up to serve the poor and the marginalised. The new agreement with UNISON will reward schools with Living Wage accreditation for their commitment to treating staff fairly.”

Academy Enterprise Trust (AET):

Last year AET, the largest national academy sponsor in England announced its intention to privatise an unprecedented range of school support staff.
Locally AET is responsible for Firth Park Academy.  UNISON members supported by branch reps, vehemently opposed this move and engaged in a pro-active campaign of opposition. This was supported nationally by UNISONs “Stop the Schools Sell Off” campaign.

At the end of last term (December 2014) AET announced it would not be proceeding with plans to set up a Joint Venture Partnership with a private provider. UNISON members at Firth Park Academy contributed significantly to the success of this campaign and we extend our thanks to them.

School Support Staff Campaign:

Redundancy, downgrading and a complete disregard for the professional roles school staff undertake prompted UNISON members to set up a Schools Working Party. The Working Party has engaged in a public campaign to defend and promote the contribution school support staff make in providing high quality education.

The campaign has followed the usual routes of petitioning, writing to councillors and MPs as well as events outside the town hall. The public have been extremely supportive of the campaign aims ie for elected representatives and influential groups within the authority to not only challenge the practice of downgrading school support staff , but to actively encourage the retention of experienced staff.

The Working Party recently met with the cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families, Councillor Drayton. It was made clear that  her that replacing highly skilled employees with staff working at lower levels, with little or no hope of career progression, will not raise standards in our schools. Councillor Drayton committed to using her position within the authority to raise our concerns with influential organisations throughout the city including the Schools Forum, City Wide Learning Board and School Governors.  We aim to meet with her again in the near future.

In the meantime UNISON will continue with the campaign to defend and promote the vital role all school support play in providing high quality education.


Schools remain one of the few areas where employees can be made compulsory redundant. Since last year we have managed to include in the revised “Model School Staffing and Redundancy Policy for School”) the offer of an enhanced redundancy payment. This wasn’t previously included in the schools policy and is a welcome addition. However as you are doubtless aware governing bodies, including those in authority maintained schools can choose not to adopt the this or other model policies.
UNISON will continue to put pressure on all school employers to adopt model authority policies and adhere to them in their entirety.


Despite UNISONs inherent opposition to the “back door” privatisation of schools via the academy agenda, we continue to support individuals in academies as well as campaigning to retain and/or improve terms and conditions.
The recent success at Firth Park Academy is an excellent example of how UNISON can work to oppose decisions made by a large and influential organisation.

Newsletters/ Communication with members:

School specific newsletters are sent to UNISON members in schools at least once every term (3 -4 per academic year). This is a bulk mailing sent directly to school addresses.
Where necessary, members are written to individually. Newsletters are also available to read on the Sheffield UNISON website as is information relating to campaigns and events.

Stars In Our Schools:

Following the success of last year’s” Celebration Day for Teaching assistants”, UNISON decided to this year include ALL school support staff.

We wrote to Headteachers asking them to speak to their staff teams to collectively nominate a “Star in our School”. UNISON received individual and group nominations from a broad range of support staff roles and the winners attended a presentation at the Town Hall on the 11th December 2014. Councillor Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for CYPF presented certificates and gifts on UNISONs behalf.

School support staff should be recognised for the excellent work they do. UNISON is acutely aware of this and will continue to raise the profile of all school support staff via individual events and the School Support Staff Campaign.

Lisa Smith
Jane Knight
Rod Padley


UNISON Labour Link update (16/02/14)

The Branch Labour Link Committee which meets regularly to co-ordinate our work in the Labour Party. This is open to any Branch member who pay’s into the Labour Link (the affiliated political fund); although to participate fully in all aspects of our work you will need to be a member of the Labour Party.

Forthcoming meetings are on the following dates in the Branch Office all starting at 4pm –

  • Tuesday 17 Feb 2015, Tuesday 17 March 2015, Tuesday 21 April 2015, Tuesday 19 May 2015,
  • Tuesday 23 June 2015, Tuesday 21 July 2015, Tuesday 15 September 2015, Tuesday 20 October 2015
  • Tuesday 17 November20 15, Tuesday 15 December 2015

If you are interested in attending these meetings please contact the Branch Office on 2736307, or email me at ken.curran@outlook.com and I will then get back to you as soon as possible.

The issues that will be dominating over the next few months will be the General Election on May 7th. This is UNISON’s number one priority.

In Sheffield the focus will be on Sheffield Hallam where UNISON member Oliver Coppard is taking on Nick Clegg and looking to overturn a 17,000 majority. The Campaign in Sheffield Hallam is well under way with campaigning activity across the Constituency and if any member can give assistance please get in contact with me or contact Oliver Coppard’s campaign directly at www.olivercoppard.co.uk  or oliver@olivercoppard.co.uk . Alternatively he can be contacted via Twitter  www.twitter.com/olivercoppard or Facebook at www.facebook.com/olivercoppardsheffield.

To take part in any political activity unions have to maintain a political fund - and in UNISON you can choose whether to pay a proportion of your subscriptions into the Labour Link (the affiliated political fund), the general political fund (GPF), both, or neither.

Labour Link works directly within the Labour Party to take UNISON’s policies into the heart of the party. We work at local and national level and have a network of Labour Link officers at branch, regional and national levels who work together with other affiliated unions to promote our agenda.

Our Branch is affiliated to all the local Constituency Labour Parties, and has delegates to many of them. Through Constituency Labour Parties we also send delegates to the Sheffield District Labour Party – the body which organises campaigning across the city for the Labour Party.


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