Free transport to Tolpuddle Festival, 22nd July

1607Tolpuddle058Wiltshire and Swindon GMB are putting on free transport to the Tolpuddle Festival on Sunday 22nd July.

To book your place, please contact Martha de Bruxelles on 0794 4072 823 or email her on Gmbmartha@outlook.com

The festival itself is free on the Sunday, and is a fantastic day out for the whole family, with a variety of music, performances, food and drink stalls, a children’s area, and a procession through the village.

Coach timings:

Swindon Bus Station, Bay 17 at 0845.

Ellendune Health Centre Car Park, Wroughton at 0900.

Market Place, Devizes at 0930.

Comfort stop at 1015.

Tolpuddle around 1130.

You can download the flier for the festival here:

The festival commemorates the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who wete the brave pioneers of modern trade unionism. In 1834 six farm labourers from Tolpuddle were arrested on a charge of administering an illegal oath. The real offence was forming a trade union to defend their livelihoods. They were sentenced to seven years’ transportation to the penal colonies of Australia. The news provoked an immense outcry, leading to the first great mass trade union protest. The campaign won free pardons and the Martyrs returned home. It was an historic episode in the struggle for trade union rights in Britain and around the world. The story has been marked ever since with rallies and festivals to celebrate the rights of working people and the values of solidarity

Priority will be given for GMB members and their families.

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Changing the Culture – reducing violence in schools

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Do you work in a school? Are you concerned about the levels of violence and abuse?

There are still spaces if you wish to attend. GMB members are welcome to attend without prior registration, just turn up on the day. Registration is from 9:30 am with a 10:00 am start, at the County Ground, County Road in Swindon –  SN1 2ED  . Lunch is provided.

The Agenda and Speakers details can be downloaded here (PDF)

GMB believes that it is time to change the culture, so that violence against school staff from pupils is seen as unacceptable. We have organised a conference in Swindon on 12th April, during the school holidays, and we would really like school staff affected by the problem to come along. There will be opportunities to explain your own experiences in a supportive environment, if you wish to, but feel free to come along and just listen.

The purpose of the conference is to find solutions, and we have invited experts, as well as representatives of school management, and from politicians from all parties.

Almost half of school support staff in the area covered by Wiltshire Council have experienced violence from pupils in the past 18 months, according to a recent survey conducted by GMB. A year ago a similar survey conducted among Swindon school support staff revealed very similar results.

GMB, the trade union that represents school staff including teaching assistants, caretakers, office staff, bursars, librarians and cleaners, released the figures yesterday from a survey they carried out with their members – with 48 per cent reporting physical violence against them, and only 32% reported that they had experienced no abusive behaviour from pupils.

The details of the multi-disciplinary conference are as follows:

“Changing the Culture”
12th April
10:00 AM
County Ground
Swindon
 SN1 2ED

Key speakers will include Dr Amanda Holt from Roehampton University, a leading academic expert on violence by children; Gary Rubin, a partner in the law firm Blackfords LLP, Karen Leonard a national officer of GMB trade union; and Councillor Fionuala Foley, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services for Swindon Borough Council. 

The conference will also hear from Martha de Bruxelles, a teaching assistant from a Trowbridge School, and Peter Baldrey from Wiltshire NASUWT (the teaching union), as well as experts in child behaviour, and school management.

The conference is free, and is open to anyone working in a school, or in the education sector, and to school governors. Anyone interested in going should email their details to  changingtheculture@outlook.com

 

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Swindon Borough Council proposed pay rates

GMB members working for local authorities are currently balloting on whether or not to accept the pay offer from the National Employers for Local Government Services.

GMB welcomes the fact that we have broken through the government’s pay cap, and that the proposed pay offer benefits most those on the lowest pay scales, we believe that this is the best offer that can be achieved by negotiation.

Swindon Borough Council does not exactly follow the national pay scales, for historical reasons. You can check what the Swindon pay scales, are, and what the proposed pay rise would be here: proposed SBC payscales

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Please take our survey – violence in schools

school survey graphic

GMB is extremely worried about the rising level of violence and aggression in schools. We are seeking stronger action from head teachers, governors and Wiltshire Council, and it would be very helpful for GMB to have recent evidence of your experience in Wiltshire schools, whether schools run by the council, or Academies.

Please complete this survey, and encourage your work colleagues to complete it as well. The survey is open to all staff working in schools, whether you are a member of GMB or not.

There is already a policy in Wiltshire, but we believe that it needs strengthening, and that it is not being implemented. For that reason, we are also launching a survey across Wiltshire schools to get evidence of how serious the problem is across the county. If you work in a school in Wiltshire, please complete the survey, and encourage work colleagues to do the same. The survey is open to both GMB members and non-members.

The survey is here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Wilts-schools

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Swindon Borough Council policy on violence, aggression and anti-social behaviour in schools

This policy has been adopted by Swindon Borough Council, and has been distributed to Swindon’s schools. Read it here: swindon borough council violence policy

GMB will be approaching academies and we have already spoken to Wiltshire Council seeking to extend the policy to them. GMB believes that the Swindon policy is superior to the arrangements currently in place in Wiltshire.

Having a policy to protect staff is a useful step forward, but the challenge will be to ensure that it is implemented by school management. GMB will continue to take up issues of violence and anti-social behaviour towards school support staff from pupils and parents. Please contact GMB is you need support.

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Advice to GMB members at 24/7

GMB is the union for staff employed by the agency, 24/7 Recruitment, at the Marks and Spencer (M&S) distribution centre in Swindon. Several GMB members received a text message over the last two days, saying that they would not be required to work on the M&S contract until further notice.

GMB have spoken to 24/7 for an explanation. As you know, the agency provides staff to DHL, who run the distribution centre on behalf of M&S.

DHL informed 24/7, at very short notice, that agency staff were not required, and DHL advised that 24/7 needed to act immediately. This is due to very poor business performance by Marks and Spencer, both on food and clothes, which means that work volumes are very low.

As they had to act very quickly, 24/7 selected the staff at random. GMB understands that it is unfair that some of those selected have worked there for many years, while some newer staff are still working. However, under English law, employers cannot use length of service as a reason for choosing between people, as this could be regarded as discrimination.

GMB has every sympathy for the situation that you are in. Unfortunately, the reason for the reduction in workforce is the poor business performance of Marks and Spencer, which is a problem that GMB cannot solve; and 24/7 are behaving in the way that employment agencies normally do in the UK.

As you have an agency contract, 24/7 are offering to find you work at other contracts that they have in Swindon, particularly Iceland and B&Q, where 24/7 currently have vacancies. You would then be given priority to return to M&S when business improves. This is allowed by both the old contract and the new contract, where each of these different sites is known as an “assignment”. If you take work with 24/7 at Iceland or B&Q, then you will still be working for 24/7, and your length of service will continue uninterupted.

 

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Zero tolerance for violence, aggression or anti-social behaviour towards school staff

GMB, the trade union for school support staff, welcomes the introduction of a detailed policy for Swindon schools, which is designed to address the rising level of violence and abuse directed at school staff by pupils and parents.

Earlier this year GMB carried out a snapshot survey of school staff in Swindon that showed 42% of them had experienced violence from pupils during the preceding 18 months.

The snapshot survey also showed that in mainstream schools 25% had been spat at and 46% had suffered verbal abuse. In special schools for pupils who need additional support, 94% of staff had suffered violence. GMB initiated a survey of school support staff after a GMB member had their finger dislocated by an 8 year old pupil and felt the school’s response was inadequate.

Andy Newman, GMB branch secretary said:

“Following the survey, GMB were extremely concerned that 25% of staff reported they were afraid or apprehensive at work, but when they report incidents or concerns to schools management, half of our members reported that the response was inadequate. GMB felt that school leadership teams did not have sufficiently clear guidance on how to deal with violence and aggressive behaviour towards staff.

“We then held detailed discussions with Swindon Borough Council’s Health and Safety team, and we were surprised to discover that not only did Swindon borough council have no policy relating to violence against school staff, but we were unable to find any council in the country that had an adequate policy.

“GMB are delighted that Swindon Borough Council’s Health and safety team took the issue very seriously, and the new policy being rolled out to schools is a big step forward.

“The policy unambiguously states that violence, and aggressive and anti-social behaviour towards school staff is unacceptable, and sets out in detail the responsibilities of school governors, head teachers and other school managers, and of staff themselves, to manage and reduce risks.

“In line with health and safety best practice, not only should all incidents be reported, but for very serious incidents where there is a potential for a life changing injury, then “near misses” should also be reported. Schools should escalate serious incidents, and near misses, to the Swindon Borough Council health and safety team for support and advice.”

 

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