Support

How we help

UNISON is a membership organisation and, to be fair to our members, we can generally only offer full support to people who have been in the union for at least 4 weeks and not for an issue which arose before they joined.  If you are not already a member, we may be able to give you some general advice but our first advice is always going to be that you should JOIN A UNION!

If you have a UNISON Rep:

  1. Speak to your workplace rep about your problem. All reps are trained to support members and have back-up from the branch office, the regional office, and UNISON solicitors.
  2. If your rep doesn’t know the answer, they will contact the Branch office or show you how to get in touch.
  3. They will support you as far as they can; this help might include advice, help with making your case and support in meetings with your employer.
  4. Please note, you will need to complete a UNISON case form if your issue requires more support than one-off advice

If you don’t have a UNISON Rep:

  1. Talk to your colleagues. Find out who is in the union and encourage others to join, if necessary, and elect a workplace rep! Workplaces which are unionised and organised have better employee/employer relationship and everyone benefits. We are always happy to talk to anyone who is interested in getting more involved in the union. We can offer a package of support and will not pressurize you into giving up more time than you can afford. Email us on unison@n-somerset.gov.uk to find out more.
  1. To discuss any issue which you are currently facing, contact the Branch office on 01934 634759 or email unison@n-somerset.gov.uk and, if you are a member, we will do our best to find a rep to support you.
  1. The office is not staffed very day so, if it’s not urgent, leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If you’re calling when there is no one in the office and it is urgent, for example, you’ve been suspended;  then call UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.
  1. When you speak to our office you will normally speak to our Branch Administrator who will take a few details and then send you a unison case form to complete if you have not already done so.
  1. On receipt of your completed case form, we will allocate you a representative or caseworker, who will usually arrange to meet with you to discuss your options, best course of action, and how you can best be supported.

Some common issues:

Disciplinaries:

Disciplinary proceedings are an employer’s way of dealing with conduct at work and might include repeated lateness to work, inappropriate behavior or unsatisfactory performance

Your employer should have a disciplinary policy and you should ask them for a copy of this. It will probably include a procedure which follows this order:

  1. An investigation, when you and others may be interviewed.
  2. A letter from your employer setting out clearly the reason for the disciplinary action.
  3. A formal meeting to allow you to state your case.
  4. A formal letter explaining the result of the case.
  5. An invitation to appeal within a set time frame.

You are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague or a UNISON rep at a disciplinary meeting.

If you think you are going to be subject to your employer’s disciplinary procedures, contact your UNISON rep or the branch office for advice and support as soon as possible. You have the right to be accompanied by a UNISON representative at disciplinary meetings.

There is guidance and information about disciplinary procedures on the ACAS website.

Grievances:

You can raise a grievance with your employer when you have concerns about any aspect of your working life. You can also use the grievance process to raise issues relating to the terms and conditions of your employment.

Your employer should have a grievance policy (for some this is a joint disciplinary and grievance policy).  Most will require that you try to resolve things informally in the first instance, and this is a good idea anyway!

It is a good idea to discuss your grievance with us before doing anything; either talk to your workplace representative, if you have one, or contact the branch office. But please complete a case form if you need more than a quick chat.

You have the right to be accompanied by a UNISON representative at grievance meetings.

There is guidance and information about grievance procedures on the ACAS website.

Sickness absence

Most UK workers are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay if they are absent from work for more than four days – there is information about this here.

Most employers will require a “back to work” interview once you return.  Your employer will have a sickness absence policy and it is worth having a look at it to see what is expected from you, whether there are any review points during an absence, what pay will be received and for how long and whether your employer might make a referral to an Occupational Health scheme

You have the right to be accompanied by a union representative at some meetings – check your policy for details or get in touch with us for advice.