Monday, 27 November 2017

Women to the Front - Thursday 30th November

The film is the brave testimony of seven Colombian women fed up with a society that kills them. The protagonists, through their lives, construct another reality from scratch, from the foundations, from an optic where violence is not the rule that dictates their lives. There are seven independent stories that speak of dialogue and consensus. They repeat that patriarchy silences and annihilates them.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Unison lunch

Come along for coffee, tea and sweet & savoury treats! For your chance to ask questions, raise issues and find out more about the union.

1st November, 12:30-13:30, JHB128 – Executive Meeting Room, Headington Campus

  • You don’t need to be a member of Unison…
  • Meet Unison stewards, officers, and other members…
  • Everybody is welcome! Bring a friend!

Refreshments provided.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Launch Event of the Oxfordshire UNISON Black Members Group

Date: Friday, 20th October 2017, to coincide with Black History Month. 

Place: Union Hall, John Henry Brookes Building, Gipsy Lane, Headington, OX3 0BP

Time: 5pm - 7pm

This event promises to be a wonderful cultural celebration of Black history, with talks, music, creative artwork by some of our members - and food!

This exciting event is being held at Oxford Brookes University and will include a panel discussion and an exhibition celebrating Black history.

This will be a really joyful evening. Do come along, and please do spread the word as widely as possible!

To attend, sign up via EventBrite.

Everyone welcome!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Black History Month - Upcoming events October 2017

Self Care Workshop: Keeping well at University 
Workshop facilitated by Bee Tajudeen from Black Blossoms

Managing your wellbeing; how to deal with the challenges and stresses of life. 
This workshop will provide an opportunity to think about your work/life balance, discover resources around the University and gather helpful tips of self-care strategies. 
We will explore: - What self-care means - Why it is necessary to prioritise self-care in our lives!

Lunch will be provided. 

Organiser: Oxford Brookes UNISON and Brookes Union 

Contact: Beverly Sesay –

WHO: Open to all 
WHEN: Friday 20 October 2017, 12:00pm - 1:00pm 

WHERE: Union Gallery, John Henry Brookes Building, Headington Campus

Thursday, 3 August 2017

UNISON South East Sponsors Black Women’s Conference 2017

UNISON South East and the South East Regional Black Members committee agreed on a sponsorship deal with the organisers of this year’s Black Women’s Conference, the daylong conference had a selection of panels & workshops. It offered a safe space where Black women can meet, share & feel empowered in discussing issues, form stronger bonds.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Another legal victory for UNISON

UNISON in Court of Appeal victory over employers who fail to consult unions
UNISON has won a landmark court victory today (Friday) that makes it much harder for employers to ignore staff when making major changes in the workplace.

The Court of Appeal ruling means that for the first time employers will be obliged to consult with unions around any workplace issues that affect their members.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Employment tribunal fees ruled unlawful

The Supreme Court has ruled that fees for workers bringing employment tribunal cases are unlawful.

Unison successfully argued that these fees prevented workers getting access to justice, especially low-paid workers.

The Unison campaign has lasted four years, and the ruling is a direct result of the union's campaign.

The government will now have to repay all those who were unlawfully charged for their cases.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Higher Education Race Action Group Conference

Oxford Brookes Unison Branch Sponsors HERAG Conference

by Kanja Sesay

On the 14th June, the Higher Education Race Action Group (HERAG) held its 4th Think Tank conference in London. The conference explored themes that are pertinent to the current discussions and research around race, such as BME (Black Minority Ethnic) representation and success in postgraduate courses and/ or increasing the pipeline into staffing and leadership roles. Developing a consistent approach to improving the BME retention and attainment and ensuring effective implementation within the institution. Other themes such as the development of targeted race equality policies without taking a deficit model approach were explored.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

BME Forum

There will be a UNISON BME event this Friday 7th July, for all self-defining BME members.

The venue is JHB406 (John Henry Brookes Building) from 4pm to 6pm.

If you are interested in attending, please email to confirm your attendance.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Unison National Delegate Conference

Two delegates from Oxford Brookes Unison branch attended Unison's National Delegate Conference, an inspiring event that brings the whole union together to discuss motions on topics such as increasing the minimum wage, tackling poverty and inequality, the rights of workers from other EU countries, organising in the workplace to defend our members and colleagues against racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ablism; and working to tackle stress and increased workloads.

Friday, 16 June 2017

2017 Pay Offer

The employers have made a final offer of an increase of 1.7% or approximately £365 a year whichever is the greater. This means that everyone at Brookes on Grade 6 or above would get 1.7% while staff on lower grades would get between 2.43% (at the very bottom) and 1.7% at the top of Grade 5. Apart from a very few staff who are on Grade 1, our lowest paid staff are on Grade 2 and people at the top of Grade 2 would get £364 per year which is a rise of 2.19%.

To put this in perspective, average pay rises across the country are currently 1.7%, (although as the public sector is still capped at 1%, this means that private sector pay is rising by more than 1.7%) and inflation (as measured by the Government’s fiddled CPI) is 2.9% - the more realistic RPI figure is currently 3.9%. Both CPI and RPI are predicted to rise further as the year goes on, so will be still higher when the rise is implemented in August.

Positive features of the offer:
  • It gives (slightly) more to the lowest paid
  • It means that many/ most staff (at Brookes and nationally) will be earning more than the Foundation Living Wage
  • It is more than public sector workers will be offered
  • It is more than we received last year

Negative features of the offer:
  • In real terms (i.e. taking account of inflation), it is actually a pay cut for everyone
  • Instead of redressing many years of pay cuts, it cuts real pay further
  • For Oxford Brookes, it does nothing to address the high cost of living in/ around Oxford
  • There is plenty of money in the HE sector if the employers wanted to offer a fair pay rise

UNISON’s National Higher Education Committee has considered the offer and is clear that it is the best that can be achieved by negotiation (in other words, that it will only be improved by a sustained national campaign of strike action). They are now consulting all UNISON members to find out what members want UNISON to do. The other unions are consulting their members.

UNISON and the other Trade Unions have worked hard to get the best deal that can be obtained just by negotiation. However the national employers have decided, yet again, that they can get away with making a pitifully inadequate offer. The decision is now yours. The choice is very simple – either you will decide that we should accept the offer (no doubt, very reluctantly and resentfully) or you will decide that you are prepared to join in a campaign of strike action to improve the offer. THERE IS NO THIRD CHOICE. Voting to reject the offer if you are not prepared to take part in strike action will NOT achieve an increase, will undermine the credibility of the negotiators in future negotiations, will cost the union time and money that could be better spent on achieving other things and will delay the implementation of offer, inadequate though it is. ABSTAINING IS NOT AN OPTION. Not voting at all is the worst of all worlds. A low response will leave the negotiators having to guess what members want, again putting them in a very weak position against the employers and likely to go down a road that is not what members want.

If you have any questions about the offer, either contact your steward or come to one of the meetings (details enclosed). If you want to make any comment about the offer, come to one of the meetings.

The Consultation Process

Every member will receive either a paper ballot paper or a link to an electronic ballot. In each case, the process requires you to give your p-number. This is solely to stop anyone voting more than once and will NOT be used to identify which way anyone voted (but votes where no p-number is given will NOT be counted).

You can vote using our online ballot paper – it will automatically capture your p-number and will not allow you to vote more than once. Please ensure you vote before 1.00 on Monday 3rd July.

Meetings to discuss the Pay Offer will be held on:

  • Wheatley Campus - Tuesday 20th June 2017, 1pm - 2pm in room EL20
  • Headington Campus - Monday 26th June 2017, 12pm - 1pm in JHB 128 (Exec suite)
  • Harcourt Hill Campus - Tuesday 27th June 2017, 10am - 11am in Westminster (SU) Bar
  • Swindon campus – contact Aaron Worsley (3135/ 5104 –

Please make sure you vote. It is a very difficult choice to make but only you can make it. It is not fair on the negotiators and undermines the position of us all if people do not vote – because it leaves the negotiators having to guess and weakens them (and hence us) when they meet the employers.

See also the Pay Offer leaflet from Unison PDF

Unison lunch

Thursday 29th June, from 1.30 to 2.30 pm in Gibbs 126.

Delicious snacks and light refreshments provided.

Non-members welcome.

Monday, 22 May 2017

New HR disability network

The Human Resources directorate are organising a new Disability Network at Oxford Brookes.

The initial approach is to invite colleagues, interested allies and supporters to a lunchtime meet up (with lunch!) where networking needs, ideas and models can be shared.

The first lunchtime meet up will be on Tuesday 13 June from 12 to 1.30 pm, in ​Room JHB 205, Headington Campus​.

​A number of colleagues have suggested that a focus for communication and support for disabled staff would be beneficial. This would be inclusive of staff with mobility issues and physical disabilities, dyslexia and specific learning difficulties, long term conditions and mental health issues. A network
​could​ also connect allies and supporters and those who may be caring for friends or family who have become disabled.

The aim would be to create an inclusive and flexible network. This could enable experience to be shared, ​raise awareness and ​​give positive profile​ ​to ​disabled members of Brookes community, support good practice and encourage career development. The network can also provide a route for listening to the voices and experiences of Brookes community to influence policy and practice development.

One focus could also be to develop an event for Disability History Month in December to increase awareness of Disability Equality at Oxford Brookes.

Please let Jane Butcher know if this is of interest, if you can attend, and any access or dietary requirements: ​

Thursday, 18 May 2017

UNISON There for You: School Uniform Grants Programme 2017

If you have children in full time education, you may be eligible to receive a school uniform grant from UNISON’s charity There for You.  To be considered, you must either be:
  • In receipt of Housing Benefit; or
  • Your net annual income is £18,000 or below [Note: We ignore the following income Child benefit, any childcare element included as part of your working tax credits, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment].
Also, you will need to have paid a minimum 4 weeks membership subscriptions before 22nd May 2017
To take advantage of this grant please complete the forms below and return to us with all the supporting documentation requested. We’ve also included a Q&A setting out the full conditions and eligibility criteria which should answer any questions that you have.
Please note the closing date is 21st July.

For more information contact us on 020 7121 5620 or email or contact your branch welfare officer.

15th May 2017 till 27th May 2017

UNISON Recruitment Week
This week and the coming week are national UNISON Recruitment Weeks, and we've got some fun and informative events planned here. Please come along and bring any colleagues who are not yet members, to chat with branch stewards and officers, ask questions and find out about issues including declining pay in universities and what we're doing about it.
Please put up the attached poster around your workplace if you can, or leave in work kitchens/ on desks etc., to help us draw lots of non-members to these events.

Many thanks
UNISON Branch Committee - Oxford Brookes University

Friday, 7 April 2017

Brookes Unison AGM

Talk by Tony Jones (Unison Regional Official)

Tony spoke about the attack on the NHS at our AGM. He says we need to fight for the NHS or it won't be there in 5 years' time in its current form. Tabloid headlines claim that the NHS is under massive pressure - but there are currently no epidemics causing this pressure, so it must be caused by funding cuts.

The NHS only needs an extra £8 billion pounds over the next five years (which isn't actually all that much money in the context of government spending). Theresa May says that this funding gap has to be filled by "efficiencies" (in other words, cuts & closures). The Sustainability & Transformation Plans for the NHS were drawn up in secret. They were going to be released for consultation, but were leaked in advance.

Noam Chomsky says that underfunding a service you want to privatise is a classic right-wing technique. The government is reducing funding for the NHS to make it seem unsustainable; operations are being cancelled, there are longer waiting lists, cuts to A&E departments. This is a manufactured crisis.

What can we do about it? Campaign. Spread awareness. Vote in local elections. Write to your MP.

Local branch matters

  • A huge thank you to all our Officers that are stepping down, thank you for the support 
  • Our HERA job evaluation convenor called for grading review volunteers, who will also be needed to speak to members 
  • Branch Accounts for 2016 were approved
  • Branch Officers and Stewards were elected 
  •  Branch Recruitment and Organisation were discussed
  • Concerns were raised about bullying culture in the University and a lack of adherence to procedure: it was recommended that people invest in a recording device for meetings 
  • Future campaigns/priorities were discussed, based on the members' survey
  • Let us know if there are any further issues around car parking 
  • There was a move to a daily parking charge to discourage cars. Charges frozen for 3 years. New parking system was delayed. 
  • Unison response to Brexit was discussed. More support needed for EU members in the branch.
  • Branch Committee proposed changes were agreed: new positions for a LGBT Officer and a Disabled Members Officer. New titles for roles of Casework Convenor, Collective Bargaining Convenor, Grading Convenor.

Unison Pay Claim 2017

  • A joint claim from Unison & UCU has been sent to UK Universities for a pay increase of RPI + 3% or £1200, whichever is greater, plus £10 ph minimum wage 
  • Oxford weighting: management say they pay sufficient salaries; however, our member survey indicated that pay & pay inequality were the biggest issues for members 
  • We need more members to get involved in campaigns, including the national pay campaign
  • The gender pay gap is still an issue; so is gender segregation by job type

Change, Brexit, racism, bigotry - a talk by Tomasa Bullen, Solent University

  • Changing political climate with regard to HE
  • Both Southampton & Oxford voted Remain overwhelmingly
  • Students now expect instant responses and feedback due to paying fees 
  • Support staff are still paid less and treated differently than academics despite many of us being equally qualified 
  • We need £10 minimum wage & cooperation between unions.
  • The HE Bill currently going through Parliament increased student fees to £9250 pa
  • The TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) has 3 levels - bronze,silver,gold. Fees will be higher for universities who achieve silver & gold in the TEF. 
  • Union facilities time is being cut in HE sector 
  • But unions have the power of public pressure, adverse publicity, and solidarity across the sector 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Branch Annual General Meetings

UNISON members are entitled to attend without loss of pay. Advise your line manager now that you plan to come!

Tuesday 28 March at 2.00pm in J116, Wheatley Campus

Wednesday 29 March at 10.30am in Westminster Square Students Union Bar, Harcourt Hill campus

Thursday 30 March at 9.30am in the Brookes Union Hall, JHBB, Gipsy Lane

At the AGM you can:
  • Vote for stewards and officers
  • Hear about and discuss next year’s pay claim and other crucial issues affecting your work life
  • Pick up information and free UNISON merchandise
  • Take part in a free raffle to win lots of prizes including wine and chocolate!

For questions or issues about permission to attend, please contact Jon Appleton, or 01865 48 3196

Live tweets/posts check  #AGMBrookesUNISON on Twitter and Facebook on Thursday 30th March to get all the latest updates. Also we will be using Facebook Live visit @BrookesUnison

Raffle prizes

Member survey 2017

Monday, 27 February 2017

Immigration detention costs lives

As part of our activities for One Day Without Us, Brookes UNISON hosted a talk from Gill Baden of Close Campsfield and the Bail Observation Project.

She described for us the horrendous uncertainty and stress caused to detained migrants, and described how and why migrants are detained, the human cost in separated families, stress and distress, the great risks to the lives of those who are deported, and the enormous cost to the taxpayer of detaining migrants who could be working and living in the community.

There are five categories of detainee:
  • refugees and asylum seekers deemed "failed" (people who have fled war zones and persecution, but whose stories are not believed); 
  • "overstayers" - typically people whose visas have run out or been reclassified, who often didn't even know they were here illegally;
  • people with criminal convictions, who are punished twice by being deported as well as imprisoned;
  • detainees who have asked to go home, but whose deportation is delayed;
  • stateless people; there is no country to send them to, or there is a nationality dispute.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

We are all migrants

As promised, here are the other messages of solidarity with migrants that were posted on our pin-board on Monday for One Day Without Us.

Diversity enriches us all!
We welcome you

We are all migrants

We are all part of one world -
solidarity with migrants is essential in the political climate today.

I am a migrant. I love this nation and I make a contribution.
We're stronger together.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Talk and stall for One Day Without Us

I will be posting more photos of members' messages of solidarity with migrants on the blog soon, so watch this space!

We also had an excellent and very informative and moving talk from Gill Baden of the Close Campsfield Campaign and the Bail Observation Project, which I will be writing about soon.

In the meantime, here are some excellent photos of the One Day Without Us stall taken by Beverly Sesay.

Keely on the stall

Messages of solidarity

The banner

Yvonne and Keely on the stall

Monday, 20 February 2017

One Day Without Us - more messages of solidarity

Our One Day Without Us display board is filling up with even more messages of solidarity with migrants...

Messages of solidarity

Having travelled all over the world, where I have always been so welcomed - wherever - I would love to repay all immigrants with an enormous welcome to the UK. Many thanks.

Life would not be the same without Maggie & Chris's fantastic coffee & customer service!

One Day Without Us - messages of solidarity

Our One Day Without Us event is going really well. Lots of people stopped by the stall to have a chat, pick up a leaflet, and leave a message of solidarity with migrants.

At a time when we are being pulled apart - let's stay united

Migrants bring diversity and enrich the culture of Britain

I love migrants because we teach each other about our big wide world 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Actions you can take in support of migrants

From Unison's e-update:
Lobby your MP and take part in the 'One day without us' actions to defend the rights of UNISON members from other EU countries

Tens of thousands of UNISON members moved to the UK from elsewhere in the European Union and work hard to provide vital public services, especially the NHS and local government.

These union members and their families deserve better than years of uncertainty and being reduced to bargaining chips in the forthcoming negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU.

A number of actions are taking place across the country on Monday that you and your members can help with.

UNISON is helping to organise a lobby of MPs in Westminster, alongside campaign groups the New Europeans and the3million. We are also supporting campaign group One Day Without Us in celebrating the contribution that migrants, from the EU and the wider world, make to British society.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Migrant solidarity event

Gill Baden from the Campaign to Close Campsfield and End All Immigration Detention will be speaking on migrant solidarity

in Music Room G11 at Headington Hall

on 20 February 2017 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

as part of Brookes Unison's One Day Without Us event

Contact Yvonne Aburrow - - for more information.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

One Day Without Us event

Brookes Unison is taking part in One Day Without Us, to express our solidarity with migrants.

20 February is the day to remind everybody that immigrants add tremendous value to the culture and economy of this country.

The rise in hate crime and the anti-immigrant rhetoric from both the Leave campaign and the post-referendum government have caused alarm and despondency among both immigrants and people who support an open and inclusive society.

Proposals regarding what will happen to immigrants from both inside and outside the EU have created an insecure situation and will have a massive negative effect on the UK economy and the HE sector.

We will be having a stall in the JHB Building Forum from 10 till 4. All members are encouraged to come along to find out more and (optionally) be photographed for a gallery on our blog celebrating diversity and highlighting why we believe that immigration adds value to Britain's culture and to the economy.

We will also have information about the UNISON support group for EU citizens who may be adversely affected by Brexit. And UNISON has produced a comprehensive guide for EU citizens affected by Brexit.
One Day Without Us is a National Day of Action on 20th Feb 2017 to celebrate the contribution of migrants to the UK, to coincide with UN World Day of Social Justice.
For 24 hours, we are inviting migrants from inside and outside the European Union, and everyone who supports them, to celebrate the contribution that migrants make.
Some may choose to do this symbolically, by wearing badges and lanyards, posting selfies or pictures that show your support, or putting posters in their windows. Some may wish to have a communal meal or a party with the migrants they have known as friends, colleagues, workmates and neighbours. Workers may take a five-minute silence or a mini-rally at lunchtime or tea-time.
There are also those who may wish to highlight migrant contributions to the UK in more direct ways. Some may prefer a march or a rally. Others may decide to stop work or leave their classes for ten minutes or an hour or the whole day.
There are many ways that you can take part in this day. Do what you feel able to do and what you feel is most appropriate to your situation.
Whatever your nationality and place of origin; wherever you live and work, join us and make February 20 a day of protest, solidarity and celebration.
At 1pm we are inviting all migrants and their supporters to take part in a unifying action. Link arms and/or hold up placards. Take photos and post them on social media using our hashtag #1DayWithoutUs. We also invite you to take selfies individually before and after this action and post them with your personal messages of support using the hashtag.
We are millions. Let us stand together and show it.Let’s reject the politics of division and hatred.Let’s make tomorrow better than today.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Union-sponsored Lunchtime showcase for LGBT History Month

part of LGBT History Month 2017
Monday 20 February 12:00 pm
JHB 201, Headington Campus

Learn about the various projects, research, partnerships and engagement work that is being undertaken by Brookes staff relating to equality, diversity and LGBT+ inclusion. A series of short talks followed by an informal gathering over lunch (provided by UNISON and UCU).

Book online

Email for more information

Lunchtime event poster (PDF)

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Invitation to Oxford City & Oxfordshire County AGM

All members of our branch have been invited to Oxford City and Oxfordshire County UNISON branches AGMs on the afternoon of Friday 17 February. At 4 pm on that day the two branches are coming together in the Assembly Room at Oxford Town Hall for some refreshments and an opportunity to hear Dave Prentis and Maggi Ferncombe who will both be speaking.

All members are very welcome to come along to enjoy the social and speakers if they can make it.

Date: 17th February 2017

Time: 4pm

Place: Oxford Town Hall

Refreshments will be provided

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Protect our jobs and rights

A message from unionstogether:

Brexit means…?

The Government are going to have to make choices about their priorities as they negotiate Brexit. 
Will they push for full access to the single market, to protect the many jobs that depend on our trade with the EU? Or will they accept that access being restricted, or subject to tariffs, putting those jobs at risk? 
Will they guarantee each and every one of our rights at work, now and in the future? Or will they leave open the possibility they could be unpicked, one by one, in the years to come? 
Add your name now to back the campaign to protect our jobs and rights, through Brexit and beyond. 
A week ago, Labour MP Melanie Onn put forward a Workers’ Rights Bill, seeking to give the strongest possible legal protection to all the rights that we currently get from being part of the EU. 
Despite their warm words on protecting workers' rights, the Tories not only failed to back it - they 'talked it out', stopping it even being debated.

Those rights at work were hard-won over many years, and now we need to protect them for future generations. 
Will you join us? 
The vote for ‘leave’ was not a vote to put jobs and workplace rights at risk. That’s why we are going to be campaigning to protect our jobs and rights, through Brexit and beyond.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Monday, 16 January 2017

Persecution of Trade Union Activists in Colombia

Michael Holder, a branch member, recently wrote to Rt Hon Andrew Smith MP regarding his concerns about Trade Union activists' rights in Colombia, which is often considered one of the most dangerous countries in which to be a trade unionist or a human rights activist. Michael received a reply from Rt Hon Andrew Smith MP, in which he states that he strongly shares his concerns and that he has written to the Foreign Secretary pressing the points he had raised. Michael received the letter below from the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, in which he informed him that "the EU Working Group on Human Rights, in which our Embassy takes part, has agreed to write to the Ministry of Interior and the Labour Ministry concerning the situation of the Trade Unionists and the planned approach of the Government of Colombia to protect them" and that he has asked the Embassy to ensure that the cases of both Gustavo Rengifo and Deivin Hurtado are included in this letter.

Congratulations to Michael for securing this commitment to action, and we hope it will help improve the situation of our fellow trade unionists in Colombia.

Our branch has for some years made a small annual donation to Justice for Colombia, an organisation which fights against the extreme oppression that trade union activists in Colombia have often endured. A historic peace agreement has recently been announced there, although persecution of trade unionists is still occurring. More information is available on Justice for Colombia's website.

You can find out more about UNISON's approach to supporting trade union rights and human rights worldwide.

Friday, 13 January 2017