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.

Latest News

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.

Reporting Hate Crimes (28/11/14)

Being a victim of or witnessing a Hate Crime can be a very traumatic event, but what exactly constitutes a hate crime? The definition is as follows…

‘Any incident, which may or may not, constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate’.

The most important part of the definition is the word ‘perception’. If you perceive a comment, action or incident that you witness or are a victim of to be motivated by prejudice on the grounds of age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender this constitutes a hate crime.

The Council has a procedure for reporting Hate Crime and the process that follows is outlines on the Hate Incidents and Hate Crime intranet page.

If you do witness an incident or believe you’ve been a victim of a hate crime don’t ignore it, report it!!!

If you would like to speak to UNISON regarding Hate Crime, please contact the Branch on 01142 736307 or alternatively by email at lgbranch@sheffunison.org.uk

Statutory Youth Service petition - your help needed (26/11/14)

Below is a link to a petition on ‘Statutory Youth Service’. Please sign and encourage friends and colleagues to sign to ensure that our young people receive a statutory funded Youth Service from all local authorities that make up the UK.


Why is this important?
Currently there is no statutory obligation placed on local authorities to provide a Youth Service via the respective Councils in the UK. Recently, this has meant that councils when faced with Government austerity cuts have chosen to cut vital services to our young people.
Through these draconian measures many Youth Centres in the hearts of our communities have already faced forced closure and hundreds of thousands of young people now face a much reduced range of services, support, guidance and now lack access to opportunities to acquire critical life skills.

Youth workers who have trained over three years to become professionally qualified are being put out of work after many years of loyal service. The young people in disadvantaged communities, in particular, are being harder hit by these measures. For many vulnerable young people their locally provided service is a lifeline and is a much needed supported pathway to a more productive, happy and fulfilled adulthood.

Up and down the country young people, communities , supporters and their Youth Workers have been trying to resist these cuts - but a much louder voice is needed to ensure that services are put on a statutory footing - helping to prevent even more cuts and the betrayal of our young people in the future.

With your help and public outcry we may be able to ensure our young people receive the necessary services, opportunities and support that so many so desperately need and rely so heavily upon. Please help.

Holiday pay too low? Act Now! (19/11/14)

Two recent legal cases on holiday pay could mean that UNISON members may have claims for underpayment if they did not receive their normal pay when on annual leave.

In the first - known as the Lock case - the European court ruled in favour of a UNISON member who argued that paid annual leave should include commission payments if these were part of normal pay.

And recently, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled in another case that overtime payment should be included in holiday pay if members are required to work overtime regularly.

The EAT took the UNISON Lock judgement into account when it reached its decision.

Both cases referred to the European Working Time Directive, with its guarantee of paid leave, and the judgements only apply to the statutory leave entitlement.

Both issues may affect members who have been underpaid in the past when taking leave and UNISON will support members who have a claim.

As with all tribunal cases, there are strict time limits for when a claim must be submitted: for these cases it is three months, less one day, from date of the last alleged underpayment following a period of statutory annual leave.

If you think you may have been underpaid talk to your local UNISON rep or branch now. The strict time limits mean that you might lose out if you delay.

Fill out the Holiday Pay Case Form here... and hand to your local UNISON rep or branch office.

UNISON briefing for registered social workers (04/11/14)

You can find the briefing here...

The Bisection of Sheffield City Libraries (29/09/14)

Sheffield City Council have given away 14 Community Libraries to Volunteer Community Groups and Independents and closed the Mobile Library Service completely.

100+ full time and part time staff (with over 1,500 years of service between them) have taken VS/VER, leaving the same number of staff to run the remaining 12 Council Community Libraries, plus Central Services.

The staff that have left, given the choice, would have still worked within the Library Service, had the 14 Community libraries remained open.

All of the “leavers” and “stayers” have worked in a thoroughly professional and committed way, giving a first class service to the public over the years.

Will the voluntary and independently run Libraries be able to give the same commitment?

Will these sections of communities within Sheffield be left without a Library to visit if/when the Volunteer/Independent Libraries fail?

Time will tell…

Council Convenor Election results 2014 (12/03/14)

Ballot papers issued 4828
Ballot papers returned 480

Rodney Padley 287 (Elected)
Lisa Smith 252 (Elected)
Robert Gascoigne 249 (Elected)
Jane Knight 212 (Elected)
Gareth Burdon 194 (Elected)
Joanne Crooks
Jonathan Mordecai

167 each (Elected)

Angela Hall 142
Carol Ring 124
Alix Cordock 114
Kathryn Spurr 84
Darren Whittaker 81

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