As the majority of members, and the majority of the workforce in the public sector, women form the largest voice in UNISON and lead the organisation in nearly every activity. Our branch should be no different!

How can you get involved?

International Women’s Day – We Need You!

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #balanceforbetter – whether that’s addressing the balance of women in the board room, closing the gender pay gap, equalising the division of domestic and emotional labour, or working on a better work/life balance. I would like to offer the opportunity to our women members to start a wider conversation about some of the issues women face in the workplace, how we might achieve a balance and the benefits of joining a union.

We’ll be holding a stall in LUU on the day (11:00 – 14:00, Friday 8th March) and will also be collecting donations of women’s toiletries for the Trussell Trust. If you’d like to be involved, please email us at unison@leeds.ac.uk.

Survey for Women Members – Workplace Issues and Educational Opportunities

To mark International Women’s Day,  we’ll be releasing a survey to our women members.

The survey will provide an opportunity for our branch to find out more about the issues that affect you in the workplace, or cause you the most concern. Our hope is that this will expose any commonly experienced issues (reported or otherwise) that have direct consequences for / disproportionately impact women. For example, issues around gender-related health, maternity, caring responsibilities, professional relationships, sexual harassment, and Universal Credit. The more visible these issues are to us, the easier it will become to organise around them and make progress towards eliminating them, together.

The survey also provides an opportunity to indicate the kinds of educational opportunities our branch could provide that you might like to engage with, for example workshops, and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions with the potential to bring in external speakers. This is in collaboration with Angela Blackburn our Education Officer. Look out for the survey launch on March 8th!

The survey is anonymous. Comments collected will not be published but may be shared with the branch committee in order to facilitate organisation.

Women’s Self-Organised Group (SOG)

As mentioned at the AGM, action doesn’t just revolve around one day of the year, we’re always looking to increase participation within our branch. One of the ways we can do this is via a self-organised group or SOG. It does exactly what it says on the tin, in that we need to organise ourselves. SOGs aren’t just confined to branches, there is also an opportunity for nominations to be put forward for branch members to attend a Regional Women’s SOG and even a National one. If this is something you think you’d like to do, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to provide advice and support. Or for more information visit the Unison Website.

Fancy becoming a rep?

In terms of representation, the majority of our members, nationally, regionally and within this branch, are women. This should be reflected in the make-up of our representatives. We need more women reps!

Becoming a union rep and providing support and advice to members can be a very rewarding way to get more involved with your local union branch, and provide you with an opportunity to develop new skills. We’ll provide all the support you need to get the right training as well as a mentor to get you off to the best start.

Contact us at unison@leeds.ac.uk for more information.

Women’s Strike Assembly

The Women’s Strike Assembly are also holding events on the 8th March during the working day and we have received some queries from members about joining their planned walk-out/demonstration at 12pm and Assembly at 4:30pm. Unfortunately UNISON has no mandate to formally support this action due to the legal restrictions around strike action. Therefore, if people do want to go along they need to make sure they have a genuine reason for being out of work at these times (e.g. lunch break, leave, flexi-time, normal working routine). Our branch has contacted our Regional Women’s Officer to find out if there are other ways in which we can show our support.

In solidarity,

Katie Moore

Workplace Representative | Women’s Officer UNISON University of Leeds Branch

E: unison@leeds.ac.uk