UNISON members keep Essex communities running

While most eyes are on the NHS during this crisis, UNISON members across our public services are mucking in and doing their bit.

Sue Hayden, who chairs UNISON Eastern’s local government committee, and her team in Uttlesford District Council are working flat out to help the elderly and vulnerable during the crisis.

“The council’s communities, health and wellbeing team is working with the Council for Voluntary Services Uttlesford and Uttlesford Volunteer Centre to set up a community response helpline,” Sue explains.

“We’re helping with shopping, prescription, offering guidance and support as well as setting up phone buddies.”

The team is solidly UNISON, with branch chair Sue working alongside the branch secretary, branch education officer and other lay members.

In its first month it registered more than 600 people and assisted with almost 700 requests.

Despite the great work, there are some grumblings.

“We’re giving 100% during this crisis but our wages have fallen more than 20% in real terms over the last decade. Last week, local government employers made a ‘final offer’ of just 2.75%.

“It’s not good enough. We want councils to join us in lobbying the government for more funding for a fairer deal.”