Welcome to Essex County UNISON

NJC Pay Claim 2021

A national consultation is under way on the NJC pay claim for 2021. This covers branch members employed ins schools and Essex Fire & Rescue. More details are on the Pay 2021 page.

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Sue Gainey

The branch is very sad to have to record the passing of Sue Gainey, our recently retired Branch Secretary. Sue passed away on Sunday 14 February 2021. She was at home with family.

Sue joined NUPE many years ago when she was working as a Home Help and later Home Help Organiser. She became the leading steward in the south of the County (she was a proud Canvey Island girl). When UNISON was formed in 1993 she became a member of the new Essex County Branch and carried on representing members across the County Council. By the mid-90s he was fully seconded to work for the union, alongside her great friends Babs Whitfield, Mick Mahoney, Kevin Hussey and Mary Feakins. As one of the youngest in this group she kept the flag flying, until, on Babs’ retirement in  2013, she became Branch Secretary until retiring last year.

Sue was a traditional trade union fighter. She argued for what she believed was right and would not give up while there was still life left in a cause. She was in her element when defending a member against an unjust accusation or negotiating against the employer for better pay and conditions (or, in recent years, to try and stop the downgrading of terms and conditions.) Many UNISON members across Essex have reason to thank her for her efforts, not just in taking cases herself, but also in advising and mentoring other stewards, representatives and branch staff.

The sympathy and condolences of the Branch go to Sue’s family.

Winter fuel grant

There for You Winter has a limited to fund to offer grants of up to £200 to UNISON members struggling to pay fuel bills this winter.

Members whose income is less than £18,200 (if living alone) or £26,000 (for a family) can apply. Applications will also be accepted from members in receipt of either housing benefit, Universal Credit or council tax reduction.

Apply now

Alternatively you can download an application form to print and freepost back to us. Details are on the form.


Unison, Essex Branch will continue to update this front page with information regarding the Covid-19 situation relating to members’ working practices and wellbeing. Previous information published here, together with any other information, will be moved to the new Covid-19 page as this front page is updated.

The new menu tab for Covid-19 is shown in the menu above.

Covid-19 Update 2nd June 2020

If your employer requires you to work at home, you may be able to claim for increased costs due to working from home, eg, heating and electricity. Below are 2 links that should help. The first is to Martin Lewis’ blog that has some useful information and the 2nd is to uk.gov web site relating to this subject:





We always need new Unison reps in a number of roles – do you think you could help?


Elected by UNISON members to represent members in a workplace or department (or part of one.) Stewards have full rights to represent their members by meeting management, attending the branch committee etc. There is a full range of training for stewards, and the branch appoints a mentor from amongst experienced activists to advise you.


Elected by UNISON members to represent employees in a workplace or department (or part of one) on health and safety issues specifically. There is clear legal protection and definition of what H&S reps can do. We particularly need people to do this job within Essex County Council departments but volunteers from any workplace would be welcome.


If you don’t feel able to do either of the other jobs we can always use people to act as named contacts between the branch and a workplace/ department. We can email or post you useful information and from time to time we may ask you to find out the feeling amongst members on specific issues for us.

If you are interested in doing any of these jobs or helping UNISON in some other way, please contact the branch office.



In 2016 UNISON branches in Essex were restructured and the Essex County Branch now covers only three groups of members:

  • Members directly employed by Essex County Council.
  • Members employed by Essex Fire & Rescue Service.
  • Members employed in LEA maintained (Community or Voluntary Controlled ) schools.

If your employer is one of those above the office telephone number remains 01245 354044. If all our lines are busy, email unison@essex.gov.uk and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

NOTE -If you work for other employers (including voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies) contact the UNISON Essex branch tel. 01245 608949 email unisoninessex@gmail.com




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