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A round-up of union news from across the South West

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West Country Workers

The latest edition of West Country Workers features articles about sexual harassment, unions on the buses, online activism, union holidays and the story of the return of the Tolpuddle Martyrs to Plymouth.
Order copies from your union or from PDF is online here


Monday 10 February 7pm

1-in-2 women and 2-in-3 LGBT+ workers experience sexual harassment in the workplace. This is a shameful reality in the year 2020. In most workplaces, the onus is on the victim to report - which can be isolating, confusing and traumatic. 4-out-of-5 people don’t feel able to report sexual harassment to their employer. Employers need to change their approach.

We're demanding employers take all reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation. We’ve got a radical yet practical plan to make this happen across every sector and workplace - but we need you with us. 

Sign and spread the petition here

Kick off #Heartunions week by joining our urgent call on Monday 10 February at 7pm with Frances O’Grady and others to discuss the plan and how we will take action together. 

Sign up for the call

Fighting for hearts and minds

International Workers’ Memorial Day

28 April 2020

This year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day activities will highlight the harm caused by occupational stress and related conditions, including depression, anxiety, burnout, work-related alcohol and drug misuse and work-related suicides. The global union confederation, ITUC, has announced the theme for 28 April 2020: ‘Tackling psychosocial hazards at work – taking the stress out of the job’

The world’s largest health and safety event will draw together campaign targets including the harm resulting from low pay, high workloads an unacceptable working hours and work patterns. It will also highlight the real-life pressures that lead to work stress, including inadequate staffing, job insecurity, downsizing and precarious work. Bad management practices that contribute to the explosion in work-related psychosocial problems will also be highlighted, including punitive sickness absence policies and disciplinary procedures, oppressive performance management, targets and appraisal systems and a lack of control at work. 

New resources and updates on the ‘union fight for hearts and minds’ will be made available on the dedicated ITUC/Hazards 28 April 2020 International Workers’ Memorial Day website and TUC Workers’ Memorial Day pages.

Email the details of events to the TUC at:

Health and Safety resources for reps, activists and campaigners

Here is a list of some of the TUC’s resources

TUC guide to responding to harmful work-related stress.

Tackling workplace stress using the HSE Stress Management Standards, TUC and HSE guidance for health and safety representatives.

TUC workbook on mental health in the workplace.

TUC mental health awareness training.

TUC health, safety and wellbeing guide.

Bristol Defend the Asylum Seekers

Bristol Defend the Asylum Seekers is seeking trade union support and offering briefings on asylum health matters, ID checks and upfront charging in the NHS. 

Check out he Facebook page and latest Newsletter Health care briefing link here


Work, Skills and Going Digital conference

Thursday 13 February 10.30am-4pm

DoubleTree by Hilton, Bristol City Centre

The world of work is changing fast. Increasing automation and advancing technologies means workers have to keep pace.

But how do we engage the workforce? What opportunities are available?

Apply for your free space at this unionlearn event and find out how you can bring more digital and adult learning opportunities into your workplace.

Register here

South West Trade Union Courses

To find the nearest course to you, please click here
For further information about any of these courses please contact Alison Foster, trade union education coordinator

The TUC Education website contains lots of useful resources for reps.

ENotes are great resources to help reps keep up to date on key workplace issues.

We also hold regular 
webinars which you can join live or watch after the event


Dorset says… Low Pay – No Way!

Wednesday 5 February 7pm

The Dorford Centre, Bridport Road, Dorchester


Nigel Costley Regional Secretary, SouthWest TUC

Amanda Brown Joint Secretary, Unison Dorset (p/c)

Low Pay – No Way! is a campaign to contest poverty pay and social deprivation. It’s backed by Dorset Trades Union Council and Weymouth & Portland Action on Wages (WeyPAW). We support all those fighting for a real living wage, for Equal Pay for women, for full legal rights at work, and for trade union organisation.

PLUS: Lobby Dorset Council for action on poverty wages and rights at work: Tuesday 18 February, 6pm, County Hall, Dorchester.



Area Organiser - UNISON


Salary/Hours: £40,347 per annum including annual subsistence allowance - Full time

Closing date: 18 Feb 2020 17:00

Read the full job here.

CWU Bristol and District Amalgamated Branch 100th birthday

Saturday 8 of February 7pm until 11pm

The Bristol Harbour Hotel, 53-55 Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1HT

The Bristol and District Amalgamated Branch of the CWU is 100 this year. To celebrate it is having a do with buffet, speeches and DJ entertainment.

If you have been connected with the history of this key CWU and wish to attend please email

Challenging conversations about race

26 February 10.30-4pm

Exeter Community Centre, 17 St. David's Hill, Exeter EX4 3RG

Challenging conversations is part of a union rep's job. From talking to new colleagues about joining a union, to encouraging members to get more involved.

But people's personal opinions, often fuelled by skewed media reporting, political headlines and far right rhetoric, both in the streets and on-line, can lead to comments that are difficult to hear and not in keeping with our union values.

But how do you counter this without causing offence or an argument?

Do you throw facts at the person? Dismiss them? Is a discussion even worth having? What if the individual is a good workmate or even a family friend?

This event helps reps eager to learn more about having challenging conversations in the context of race, migration and Brexit.

Speakers include:

  • TUC Race Equality Officer

  • Hope Not Hate trainer

  • TUC South West will also provide materials for reps to use afterwards.

Book your place here

What Workers Need Now

Tuesday 17 March 7.30pm
The Aquarium, Plymouth

South West TUC and Plymouth Trades Union Council are holding a meeting to hear Frances O'Grady TUC General Secretary set out the priorities for the trade union movement in 2020.

Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival planning meeting
Thursday 6 February 10.30am-1pm
Shire Hall, Dorchester

Tolpuddle tree-planting
Thursday 6 February 2pm

Annual Meeting of South West Trades Union Councils
Saturday 29 February 10.30am-3.30pm
Railway Club, Bridgwater

What workers need now
Tuesday 17 March 7.30pm
The Aquarium, Plymouth
Hear France O-Grady, TUC General Secretary

Tolpuddle Martyrs plaque unveiling
Wednesday 18 March 10am
Mayflower Steps, Plymouth Quayside

South West TUC Annual Conference
Friday 27- Saturday 28 March
UNISON Holiday Centre, Croyde Bay

International Workers' Memorial Day
28 April

May Day - Day of Action for a New Deal
1 May

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