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Here is Melanie's article for the May newsletter....omitted from the newsletter by mistake...oops -sorry Mel!

BRANCH SECRETARY’S REPORT
Hi All and welcome to Neath Port Talbot’s May Newsletter.

The branch held successful Annual General Meetings this year, with separate meetings being held in Celtic Leisure and NPT Homes.  It was good to meet with you all to hear your concerns and next year we plan to hold these again, with extra AGMs being held in the College.  The turn-out was one of the best we have ever had and I would like to thank all those who attended.

It’s been a tough time recently for many of our members who have been affected by the job losses at TATA Steel.  It would be a disaster for this area if we lost the steel industry here, so let’s hope that a buyer can be found soon and the plant can be saved.  If you have been affected and are finding things financially difficult, UNISON may be able to help with debt advice or financial support through our charity THERE FOR YOU.  Please contact our Welfare Officer, Hazel Dance for further advice.

As you are probably aware (and you must be living in a far off planet not to have heard), there is to be a referendum in June on whether or not the UK should remain in the EU.  UNISON recognises that the EU is far from perfect, but following consultation with branches, the NEC has recommended that our members vote to remain within the EU.  The main reason is that many of our employment rights, are as a direct result of being in Europe and there is a real fear that hard fought worker’s rights, particularly around equalities, would be eroded if we were to exit the EU.

Once again the branch is organising a Summer Trip.  This year we are going to Heatherton and details can be found in the newsletter.  It is anticipated that this trip will be popular, so make sure you get your applications in early.

As always the branch is looking for new activists and we would welcome anyone who feels they can contribute, to put themselves forward as either workplace reps or contacts.  For more information, please contact Laura on 01639 763820.

It is with great pleasure that I can report that two of our activists have recently received awards.  Congratulations to Alison Lloyd who was named Rep of the Year for her outstanding work over the past 12 months.  Also to Debbie John, who won the award of Learning Rep of the Year.  This was particularly pleasing as Deb has only been in office for the past year and it was fantastic that her work around dementia awareness has been recognised via this prestigious award.  WELL DONE BOTH OF YOU.

Have a great summer everyone and I look forward to seeing some of you on our Summer Trip.

Best Wishes
Melanie Fender
Branch Secretary

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