Skills for Life

This section explains what Skills for Life is and how to gain training for work.



Learning Rep Spring 2018 Print E-mail

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Application Form Print E-mail

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Useful links Print E-mail
  • Central Arbitration Committee - CAC is a permanent independent body with statutory powers whose main function is to adjudicate on applications relating to the statutory recognition and derecognition of trade unions for collective bargaining purposes, where such recognition or derecognition cannot be agreed voluntarily.
  • Certification Officer
  • Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) - BEIS helps ensure business success in an increasingly competitive world. It is the voice for business across Government.
  • Employment Tribunals - information on how to apply to an employment tribunal and what to do if you have to appear before one.
  • Fit for Work - Employer - expert advice on work-related health issues and free occupational health referrals.
  • Government Gateway - You can use this website to register for online government services.
  • GOV.UK - The place to find government services and information, replacing Directgov and Business Link. 
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for the regulation of workplace health and safety in Britain.
  • Information Commissioner's Office - This website provides information on the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Low Pay Commission - The Commission is an independent statutory non departmental public body set up under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 to advise the Government about the National Minimum Wage.

Equality and diversity

  • Age Positive Group - We are a team working in the Department for Work and Pensions in Sheffield and London, responsible for strategy and policies to support people making decisions about working and retirement. The Age Positive campaign promotes the benefits of employing a mixed-age workforce that includes older and younger people.
  • Disabled people, GOV.UK - Visit the GOV.UK website for information and services for disabled people on rights, employment, financial support, equipment and much more.
  • Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) - The EASS Helpline advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights, across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) - The Equality and Human Rights Commission promotes equality and human rights in the hope of eliminating discrimination.
  • Equality North East - This organisation tackles equal opportunities and diversity issues in employment in their region.
  • Equality Britain - Equality Britain aims to promote opportunities in Employment and Education to people from all sections of the community.
  • Fair Play Partnership - Fair Play provides a range of support, guidance, training, research and consultancy services on diversity, equality and social inclusion issues.
  • The Gender Agenda - tackles gender equality issues and research in Britain.
  • UK Resource Centre for Women in science, engineering and technology - This is the official website funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform as part of their Strategy for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology.
  • Diversity Works for London - Diversity Works for London (DWfL) campaigns for a London where businesses harness the benefits of a diverse workforce and supplier base and provide excluded Londoners with a chance to share in the city's opportunities and prosperity.

Advisory organisations

  • Access Association - The Access Association's aim is to improve access and facilities for all people with specific accessibility requirements.
  • Age Works: Profit from experience - an organisation dedicated to championing the rights of people between 45-65.
  • Citizens Advice Bureau - The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice from over 3,200 locations, and by influencing policymakers.
  • Labour Relations Commission (Ireland) - The Commission provides a range of industrial relations advisory and mediation services to meet the particular demands of employers, employees and their representatives.
  • Supply2.gov.uk - Suppy2.gov.uk is the only official lower-value (typically below £100,000) contract opportunity portal, created by the Government, specifically to assist small businesses to sell to the public sector and grow their business.

Professional organisations

  • Confederation of British Industry (CBI) - The CBI aims to help create and sustain the conditions in which businesses in the United Kingdom can compete and prosper for the benefit of all.
  • Employee Relations Forum - The Employee Relations Forum is a high profile network of HR professionals, trades union representatives, employment lawyers and academics.
  • Employers Forum on Age (EFA) - The EFA is an independent network of leading employers who recognise the value of an age diverse workforce.
  • Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) - The FSB represents the interests of the self-employed and small businesses and aims to promote and further the interests of these throughout the UK.
  • Forum of Private Business (FPB) - The FPB fights for fair treatment of private businesses by decision-makers and supports the profitable growth of members.
  • The Labour Research Department (LRD) - This is an independent, trade union based research organisation that provides research for trade unions and the labour movement.
  • Trade Union Congress (TUC) - The TUC is the voice of Britain at work. With 70 affiliated unions representing nearly seven million working people from all walks of life, we campaign for a fair deal at work and for social justice at home and abroad.

 

 
Pay deductions ACAS Print E-mail

One of three conditions has to be met for an employer to lawfully make deductions from wages or take payments from a worker. The deduction or payment must be:

  • required or authorised by legislation (for example, income tax or national insurance deductions)
  • authorised by the worker's contract - provided the worker has been given a written copy of the relevant terms or a written explanation  of them before it is made
  • consented to by the worker in writing before it is made.

There are exemptions from these conditions which allow an employer to recover, for example, an earlier overpayment of wages or expenses to a worker.

The law protects individuals from having unauthorised deductions made from their wages, including complete non-payment. This protection applies both to employees and to some self-employed workers.

There are extra protections for individuals in retail work that make it illegal for an employer to deduct more than 10 per cent from the gross amount of any payment of wages (except the final payment on termination of employment) if the deduction is made because of cash shortages or stock deficiencies.

Workers who believe they have suffered an unlawful deduction from wages should take it up with their manager and/or HR/payroll department. If this doesn't resolve the matter, recourse may be made to formal internal procedures. Only if all else fails should a complaint to an employment tribunal be considered.

Limit on a claim for an underpayment

The introduction of The Deduction from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014 means that when making a claim for backdated deductions from wages for holiday pay, a two year cap will be placed on all claims that are brought on or after 1st July 2015. This means that the period that the claim can cover will be limited to a maximum of 2 years.

 

 
Mental health first aid – we all have a role to play Print E-mail

Huma Munshi, along with a number of colleagues at the TUC, has recently been trained as a Mental Health First Aider – in this blog she writes about the course and how people can support mental health at work....

Along with a number of TUC colleagues, I took part in a two-day training session on mental health first aid. The purpose of the course was to develop the confidence and the capacity of the participants to provide “first aid” to colleagues who may be showing signs of mental distress. 

There are some facts we may all be familiar with: one in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Stress, anxiety, depression can often be a very natural response to the pressures we may all face: be that at work, in our personal lives, financial worries or trauma. But there are also some other facts I learnt at the training course which struck me. The suicide rate for men is significantly higher than for women, the UK suicide rate was 10.8 deaths per 100,000 population in 2014. The male suicide rate was more than 3 times higher than the female rate, with 16.8 male deaths per 100,000 compared with 5.2 female deaths. Notions of masculinity and staying quiet in the face of mental distress all make it harder for some people to access appropriate help.

The trainer emphasised the importance of making sure the person in distress is safe. Despite the media’s sensationalised headlines, a person with severe mental health problems is more likely to hurt themselves or be a victim of hate crime.

After safety considerations have been met it is important to reassure the person, provide initial help and guide a person towards appropriate professional help. Throughout the course there was an emphasis on what we as an organisation and as individuals can do to address the stigma that still surrounds mental health. A person may internalise this stigma or shame and may be less likely to ask for help.

There are a number of steps we can all take to ensure we proactively create a positive working environment. This can be though calling out bullying if we witness it to offering a sympathetic ear when a colleague may be under pressure. It may not always be obvious that someone is going thought a difficult or distressing time. People experiencing mental health difficulties may be high functioning so may not always show signs of experience mental distress. Given we spend so much time in the workplace, it makes sense to have a workplace which is safe and has a positive impact on our wellbeing.

The two day course was an intense and challenging experience but I see it as an opportunity to use the learning to raise awareness amongst colleagues. Any one of us could experience a traumatic experience or significant levels of stress that could have an adverse reaction on our mental health. There is a great benefit in learning about mental health, listening to our colleagues without judgement and providing support. The barrier of shame and stigma can only be removed through dialogue.

 
Welcome Print E-mail

Every member of UNISON belongs to a branch. Why not get active by going along to a branch event to meet other UNISON members and find out what the branch is doing? You’ll be made very welcome and it’s a great chance to find out more about what the union is doing for you.

 
Rights for stewards and reps Print E-mail

Rights for stewards and reps

Stewards, health and safety reps, union learning reps and branch officers have a right to paid time off for training in their union duties in most workplaces. This also applies to part-time activists and those who take part in online courses.

The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 sets out the basic rules governing union reps’ rights to paid time off for union duties.

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It is best to give several weeks notice to employers and to provide managers with information about the course as required.

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UNISON Commitment Print E-mail

UNISON’s

commitment to equality is

enshrined in our core aims & objectives,

which means that we will not condone

any act of discrimination, harassment,

victimisation or bullying whether the

victim is a UNISON member or not.

 
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