In the year to 31 March 2015 there were 587,000 JSA sanctions before challenges and 506,502 after. They have fallen by about 44% from their peaks, the main reason being a fall of 37% in the average number of JSA claimants. There is also a downward trend in JSA sanctions as a percentage of JSA claimants, from peaks of 6.77% per month before challenges and 5.83% after in the year to March 2014, to 5.49% and 4.73% respectively in the year to March 2015, although rates have levelled off in the latest quarter. Sanction rates are still 84% and 70% above those inherited from the previous Labour government. These figures do not include jobseeker sanctions under Universal Credit, which probably reached some 1,700 per month by March 2015. No update is available on the proportion of JSA claimants sanctioned, which was about one quarter in the five years to March 2014.

ESA sanctions have also fallen, to 43,300 before challenges and 33,353 after in the year to March 2015. This partly reflects the decline in the ‘Work Related Activity Group’, but as a percentage of claimants, sanctions before challenges have also begun to decline slightly, and after challenges have stabilised. In the year to March 2015 the monthly rate was 0.71% before challenges and 0.55% after.

New data show that sanctioned ESA claimants are almost as likely to be sanctioned repeatedly as are sanctioned JSA claimants. Under the new regime since 2012, the former received an average of 1.69 sanctions each after challenges, and the latter 1.81.

A clarification by DWP has revealed that while all ‘reserved’ decisions that become actual sanctions are recorded as adverse decisions, the published statistics are giving us no idea at all of the actual numbers of reserved decisions or of the proportion which end up becoming actual sanctions. Halving of the proportion of ‘reserved’ within total decisions under the Coalition may reflect stricter enforcement when people make renewed claims.

Under the ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ regime, the proportion of JSA sanctions overturned after challenge remains at about 13%, but for those claimants who actually make a challenge it has risen to two-thirds. For ESA claimants, the proportion of sanctions overturned after challenge has fallen from about 35% to under 20%, and for those who actually make a challenge it has fallen from 60% to 40%.

As a result of complaints by Jonathan Portes of NIESR and myself, the UK Statistics Authority on 5 August recommended changes in the content and presentation of the sanctions statistics.

At the end of this briefing there are notes on this and other recent developments in relation to sanctions, and comments on reports from the OECD and Resolution Foundation. An Appendix reproduces a statement given by a recent claimant to her Jobcentre when she gave up claiming JSA despite still being unemployed. It illustrates many defects of the current JSA regime.

Read the full report here: 15-08 Sanctions Stats Briefing – D.Webster Aug 2015

Jeremy Corbyn in Sheffield

South Yorkshire Community Members were delighted to get the chance to see Jeremy Corbyn yesterday in Sheffield and took the opportunity to distribute 100’s of our flyers urging those not in employment to organise within our Community’s. See a snap shot of Jeremy’s speech highlighted above where he talks about solving the countries housing crisis, helping people back into work and reducing the Welfare bill! sensible policy’s that reject the Madness of Austerity and paint a vision for a healthy society built on need rather than cruel and unnecessary cuts and poverty wages. Yet again 100’s of people packed the meeting and 100’s more attended the overflow Rally outside proving that Corbyn’s policy’s are attracting the attention of the massive sections of our community. Tony Blair has been attacking Corbyn yet again today talking about “Alice in Wonderland” ideas, but it seems the more Corbyn is vilified by the right the more support he attracts! see below some photos from the Rally including our fantastic banner of Course!

corbyn 1 corbyn 4 corbyn2 corbyn3

Barnsley People’s Assembly

A newly formed Barnsley branch of the People’s Assembly will hold a launch evening at the Civic on Thursday 24th September, from 6.30 to 8.30pm.

The People’s Assembly is a broad, national campaign that is not aligned to any political party and exists to bring together support against austerity from all parties, trade unions, community groups and activists. It opposes cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, communities and welfare services.

The guest speaker at the event will be Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East.

Download the flyer: BarnsleyPeoplesAssembly_LaunchFlyer

Action Packed Day in the Community Centre

Busy day at the office yesterday, 15 ESOL learners in our class today, Richard Vivian gave a lengthy interview with Channel4 about the cruel and unnecessary welfare Reform and the devastating effects on our community’s, and on top of all that we had our fantastic  colleagues from Unite Community Stoke on Trent visit us with David Condliffe! All in all a very good and productive day!

Spanish Civil War Tour

Recently one of our Unite Activists took part in a Tour of Barcelona to learn about, The Spanish Civil War, a pivotal event in working class history and with the defeat of the workers movement saw the rise of fascism across Europe. Below are details on how took book the tour, information and films.

“Do you want to know how the people of Barcelona lived 70 years ago at the height of the Civil War? Relive the historic events in Barcelona between 1936 and 1939 with an expert historian while you discover some of the key areas of the city.”



“We invite you to take a journey back in time and discover, with an expert guide, what everyday life was like in Barcelona for more than 30 months when Barcelona was in the rear-guard of the Spanish Civil War. The 1936 Olympic Games, the defeat of the military uprising, the libertarian revolution and the militia, the realities of daily life, the “May Riots”, Stalinism in Barcelona and the systematic bombing of the city. Using first-hand witness accounts and rigorous documentation, the guide will take you to the sights that were directly involved in the conflict. You’ll discover places that survived intact despite being under threat of shootings, lootings and bombing raids. A fascinating route through history and the streets of Barcelona which has left us such unforgettable places as the Plaça de San Felip Neri, a beautiful spot that reminds us of the harshness of the conflict where you can still see the scars of a bombing raid that took place during the Civil War. It also looks at the hopes of the libertarian revolution and the most moving accounts such as George Orwell’s brilliant Homage to Catalonia.”


To Book a tour Email

Lots of great film on you tube here is one about Irish Volunteers



Brigadista – Irish Brigade in the Spanish Civil War

No Pasaran!

Work Capability Assessments not ‘fit for purpose’ as more than 4,000 die after being found ‘fit for work’

The DWP put out a deliberately confusing report today into deaths for people losing their WCA.
Here is Unite’s press release: Please share
Rollin, Joe – Outlook Web App

Unite Press Release
For immediate use: Thursday 27 August 2015
Work Capability Assessments not ‘fit for purpose’ as more than 4,000 die after being found ‘fit for work’
The Department for Work Pensions’ (DWP) Work Capability Assessments aren’t fit for purpose and should be scrapped in their current form urged Britain’s largest union, Unite, as shock figures revealed more than 4,000 people died within six weeks of being found ‘fit for work’.
The figures released by Iain Duncan Smith’s department, after a freedom of information request, show that between December 2011 and February 2014 4,010 people died after being told they should find work following a Work Capability Assessment. Of that figure, 1,360 died after appealing against a ‘fit for work’ decision.
Of the 4,010 who died after being told they were ‘fit for work’, 3,720 were in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, while 290 where on either Incapacity Benefit or its replacement, Severe Disablement Allowance.
The union accused the government of going to enormous lengths and wasting tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money in legal fees to keep the figures hidden.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary, Steve Turner said: “These disturbing figures show that there is something deeply wrong with Iain Duncan Smith’s Work Capability Assessments.
“It is clear that the system isn’t fit for purpose and in some instances is finding people ‘fit for work’ as they enter the final months of their lives. In its current form it is nothing more than an impersonal tick box exercise that takes no account of people’s complex medical conditions and only causes worry and distress.
“Iain Duncan Smith’s attempts to bury bad news are shameful. He needs to show some humility by scrapping the current Work Capability Assessments and ordering a review into the system’s cruel failings.
“Whether or not someone is fit for work should not be determined by private sector companies driven by profit or targets imposed by Ministers fixated on cutting the benefit bill. It should be trained NHS medical staff carrying out work capability assessments in a revised system with the need for on-going support and assistance at its core.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web:
Notes to editors
  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

Yorkshire Main Heritage Trust Banner Event


This September will mark the 30th anniversary of the closure of Yorkshire Main Colliery. This changed our Village from a thriving vibrant community to one that was unrecognisable. The strong Community cohesion achieved during the life of the Colliery, and supported by our local institutions, soon began to unravel. We all witnessed the infrastructure crumbling year after year, with the green shoots of recovery taking over 25 years to emerge from the burned out housing estates.

On Saturday September 5th, the Heritage Trust are holding an event in the Miners Memorial Garden, followed by entertainment in Edlington Top Club. We will be unveiling and presenting to the Community a replica of the Unions 1920 Banner funded by the Heritage Lottery fund. This was made with the support of Northern Banners and used art work provided by students from Sir Thomas Wharton Community College. Strap lines for the Banner poles have been provided by the family of primary schools.

We will also be presenting a Timeline of the Collieries proud history imbedded in to the large stone in the corner of the garden. This was sponsored by Keepmoat, and will be supplemented by a piece of Pit Art sponsored by Profab Engineering.

During the event in the Garden, entertainment will be provided by City of Sheffield Pipe Band, Charlotte Leese vocalist, plus performances by local community groups.

Speakers at the event will be Michael Dugher MP, Tosh MacDonald, President of ASLEF, former Edlington residents & Chris Skidmore, Chairman Yorkshire Area NUM & David Douglass, author & former NUM official.

Following the event in the garden a reunion will be held in the Top Club, with folk music & a Gig supported by top bands for the younger generation.

On site catering will be available in the car park adjacent to the club.

AUGUST Action Update


AUGUST Action Update

Lots Going on right across our Region! come along get involved! get active!


Unite Community NE, Yorkshire & Humberside


Dear Community Member,

In the three months since the Election of the Conservative Government we have seen an escalation of the attacks on worker’s rights and on the poor and vulnerable in our communities. As Unite Community Members many of you are at the forefront of resistance to this government and its attacks on our communities. As you know, Community branches across our region are working tirelessly to stand up for public services, fight welfare sanctions and support communities and workers who are under attack from the Tories.

Listed below are just some of the campaigns and events which we are organising over the coming weeks and months. It is by no means exhaustive and new events are being organised every week. Our blogs and facebook pages are constantly updated and carry updates on all our events and campaigns.




Many members have contacted us enquiring about travel provision for the demonstration outside the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on October 4th. Unite NEYH will be providing transportation to and from the demonstration for all our members and places will be available to book via the Unite website. Unite Community are hoping to have a strong presence at the demonstration as we did at the People’s Assembly march in London and the Durham Miners Gala. More detailed information will follow as buses and schedules are confirmed.






* PIZZA EXPRESS – Unite Community members across the UK have been supporting1 Unite members in the hospitality industry in their struggle for better terms and conditions. As you may have seen recently our campaign in support of Pizza Express workers was featured in the National media. Unite are running a campaign to stop Pizza Express stealing their workers tips. Workers in this sector have to survive on very low rates of pay and often rely on their tips to make ends meet. Community branches will be helping to recruit Pizza Express workers to the Union and supporting them through pickets and demonstrations outside restaurants. This is a well organised nationwide campaign and we would encourage as many Community members as possible to get involved.[1]


* SPORTS DIRECT – An article in today’s Guardian newspaper reports that 25% of job seekers are being pushed into Z hour contract positions. One of the worst offenders in the abuse of casualised workers is Sports Direct. Unite Community will be holding a nationwide Day of Action against billionaire Mike Ashley and his Victorian employment practices. This will be timed to coincide with the Sports Direct AGM on the 9th September. Unite Community NEYH are hoping to co-ordinate events in all the towns and cities in our region.[2]


* FRESHERS WEEKS – We have so far arranged a number of events for the upcoming Freshers Weeks. Events are confirmed for Sheffield University, Sunderland University, Leeds and Keighley Colleges amongst others. With the continuing attacks on student financial provision and on further education funding it is imperative that we recruit and organise amongst students in further and higher education. We are hoping that every branch can organise a Freshers recruitment event in the Universities and Colleges in their area. I have ordered a new gazebo for the North East of the region and am producing student specific leaflets for these events.

For information on how to get involved in the Pizza Express, Sports Direct campaigns or how to help recruitment at Freshers events please contact me directly at








Demonstration against benefit cuts, Durham


First of all I’d like to thank the Durham comrades for the fantastic welcome they gave members from across the region at this year’s Unite Political School and the Miner’s Gala. I know that our members from Yorkshire and the East Midlands who came to the Big Meeting this year enjoyed themselves immensely and that there will be even more of us making the journey up the A1 next year!

Our members in Durham are cementing the great relationship we have with the Durham Miners Association and the local community by organising outreach work around social security rights and the fight back back against benefit sanctions in communities across Co Durham. The first training days in this programme take place on Wednesday 30th September and Thursday 1st October at Redhills, Durham. The second part of the course takes place across two days on the 7th & 8th at the same venue. A half day course on Benefit Sanctions and how to combat them is in the process of being booked. All the training is being led by professional Benefits Rights advisers from Durham County Council. We urge all our members in the NE who are interested to join us over these two weeks. If you are interested, please contact me directly and I will pass on your details to the team at Durham.

As well as the fantastic ongoing work taking pace at Durham, recent months have witnessed the emergence of the beginnings of a new branch in Sunderland. Our Dynamic Duo of Kathrine and Dave have been joining scores of new members, been running street stalls and have even found time to set up a clothes bank in Penshaw! We will be leafleting across Sunderland and running street stalls in the run up to a public meeting in the city, after which we will constitute an official Unite Community branch there.

Unite Community will also be in attendance at the Easington Heritage Day on the 12th September in the Welfare Park, Easington, Co Durham. The event is a celebration of the town’s industrial and political heritage and will feature a mix of music, arts and politics. Unite Community will be marching with our various banners and running a stall, transport ds being organised from across the region so get in touch if you’d like to join us for what looks being an excellent day out.[3]

In other good news from the North East, we note that far right extremists from the EDL have cancelled a planned march through Shotton Colliery on 5TH September. Nice to see the far right being pushed back in our region, let’s hope it continues.


A nicer event altogether is taking place in Easington, Co Durham on Saturday, 12th September. As part of the National Heritage Open Day programme, Easington Colliery Heritage Group would like you to enjoy a day of celebration, reflecting on our past and highlighting our future.

This FREE ENTRANCE family event will begin with a musical parade from our former pit site, then follow with arts/crafts for children, rides, live music and guest speakers, poetry, film and photography, bar, local food and much more! Unite Community will be there, marching with our banners and running a stall. We will be organising transport from other parts of the region for any members wishing to attend. [4]





Over recent months the number of members living in and around York has seen steady growth. This is mainly due to the hard work put in by various members of the Leeds branch who have recruited scores of new members in and around the city at a variety of events. Until now members in York and much of North Yorkshire have been included in the Leeds City Branch but as their numbers have grown it has become apparent that we need to constitute York as its own branch.

We will be contacting all members in the York area this week to ask for volunteers to sit on the branch committee. Full training is given to all branch officials and the Leeds branch committee will be on hand to assist with the setting up of the new branch. Again, please contact me via e-mail if you would be interested in taking up one of the positions.

LEEDS CITY COLLEGE: Leeds members will be running a stall this Thursday, 27th August, at the Leeds City College Fresher’s` event. This event is being organised in conjunction with the Students Union there. We expect the event to be packed out and it should be a good opportunity to recruit members and engage with the students about the great work Unite Community is engaged in. Again, please get in touch if you would like to help out.






grredy greek 2 banner1


Unite Community are planning to hold a recruitment stall at the Jeremy Corbyn event on Saturday 29th at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. We had stalls at the hugely successful events in Middlesbrough and Newcastle last week and signed up several new members. If anyone is available to help out in Sheffield please get in touch.

Unite Community members have been helping out with industrial recruitment in recent months and we are hoping to continue this at a range of sites across South Yorkshire. Officers are currently running recruitment drives at ASOS in Grimethorpe and IPL in Normanton. If any members have an hour or two to help out with this it would be very useful indeed.

Please contact if you can assist at ASOS, Grimethorpe or speak to if you can help out at IPL, Normanton. Travel from Leeds, Barnsley or Sheffield will be arranged for any members living there.

As well as running the hugely successful Community Support Centre in Barnsley, a number of our comrades there also find time to help out at the local Drop In club which feeds Barnsley’s homeless three times a week. The work the people do there is a lifeline to some of the area’s most vulnerable people. Unfortunately, as with many other projects, they really need more people to assist them. Anyone in the area interested in helping out should contact Peter, the project organiser on 01226 247652 or 0752 846 8327.





As many of you will have heard our Community branch at Botton Village, North Yorkshire have won significant concessions from the charity managing the village and have retained “shared living” there for the time being. The Co-workers at Botton have been supported by the wider Unite membership and Officers and staff throughout the union. They are undergoing media and campaign training and establishing a very active branch up in North Yorkshire. As we have discussed with several branches over recent months I am currently organising a visit to our newest branch for members from other branches. As with all other events listed above, please contact me directly and to express your interest. Once we have an idea of numbers, I will make firm travel plans. [5]





As we prepare to start a new academic year I am beginning the task of contacting FE Colleges and schools across our region as part of Unite’s “Unite in Schools” project. This project aims to take educate the next generation of workers about the benefits of Trade Union membership and explain the positive role unions play in civil society. We are currently organising training for members to deliver the Unite in Schools programme and would encourage any members who are interested in taking part to get in touch.

In addition to our Schools project we are also providing a wide range of training to our members. A full list of the courses available is detailed in the attached document.



So, it looks like being a busy couple of months coming up for all our Community branches. I look forward to working with you all in the coming weeks and months and to forging ever more successful campaigns across our region.


Yours in solidarity


John Coan – Unite Community Coordinator NE,Y&H region.






Unite Community Education

Educate, Agitate, Organise!

Unite National Education Department

logo com

Community membership education programme


Since its inception, Unite Community has had education at its core and as a key driving force for growth and activism.

It was seen from the outset that education would enable and empower community members to develop their activism in relation to all areas of community action which were to be tackled. In relation to advocacy, street activism, campaigning, public speaking, design of materials and ability to use online methods of activism, education has assisted our members to strengthen their ability to undertake the issues faced in our communities and organise around those issues.

A range of specific customised education courses were built in order to accommodate the needs of community activists and that range of courses is always changing, growing and developing to meet new challenges. The education provision for Unite Community members has been sculpted with the aid of community coordinators working closely with the Unite National Education Department, with learning organisers and key tutors in our regions and nations and with our key activists.





The full range of specific Unite Community courses are listed below, followed by short descriptions of each event.


Community Activist training

Introduction to Unite in the community, looking at the concept of community membership, how it fits into the core values and principles of Unite and links to Industrial activism. The course examines why we launched community membership to provide a voice for those who felt voiceless. We also look at some of the successes of community activism and examine how those wins were achieved. We look at campaigning and organising and examine the key three pillar vision of Unite around organising, politics and internationalism, embedded in the cement of equality. Attendees should acquire a detailed understanding of Unite in the community and  broad knowledge of Unite as the largest trade union in Britain and Ireland.

Community organising

Our community initiative has been successful in recruiting almost 8700 members over the last two years however we need to look at growth in a more strategic manner and therefore this one day organising course has been designed to specifically look at community organising and how to recruit, activate and retain members.

Campaigning in workplace and community

This is a campaigning course which concentrates on how to build effective campaigns, identifying issues, testing those issues, and building wider support. The course looks at existing campaigns analyses a strategic approach to campaigning, considers campaign tactics and is largely skills based. Attendees should develop confidence in their ability to organise and run campaigns within their community.

Public Speaking

This course is delivered over two days which would normally be a few days apart. Day one will concentrate on the theory of public speaking and address some of the anxieties people encounter when attempting to speak in public. The course uses video footage to illustrate the tips and techniques which are covered. Day two concentrates on the practice of speaking in public and the days in between are used to aid construction of a speech which is delivered on day two with positive critique from peers and the tutor. There is an opportunity if attendees wish, for the final speeches to be filmed. Attendees should feel more confident in the art of construction and delivery of speeches in public by the end of this course.

Debating  skills

This course was inspired by community activists who wanted to hone in on their skills in debating. The course looks at debating skills and how to influence through argument. The course looks at a range of techniques in debate and has cross over skills to negotiation and public speaking. Attendees should probably have already attended the public speaking course or at least be confident public speakers. Attendees should feel more confident in engaging in debate.

Social media campaigning

This course is developed to equip people with new skills to develop social media profiles for their campaigns, in order to augment and amplify those campaigns. The emphasis is on building alliances through social media and widening their reach. The course will also examine setting up simple blogsites for branch organisation and exploring the positive aspects of social media for linking our industrial, political and community strands.

Digital publications

This course is designed to look at the quality of our communications in particular focussing on posters, leaflets and electronic communications used in a community setting. It examines drip feed campaigns and looks at techniques which can be used to highlight events and boost attendance.

Street Campaigning

This course is designed to tackle the issue of street campaigning, whether door to door, street stalls or surveys. The course looks at and develops the skills of engaging with people in their own environment and encouraging them to share issues with a view to recruiting them into campaigns and membership of Unite Community. The first day is focussed on the theoretical side of street campaigning, the second day, a few weeks later focusses on the practicalities and gets activists out on the streets actually campaigning and engaging with the public, the intervening weeks concentrate on building for day two with activists working in teams to build for day two.

Speak up speak out

This course looks at the art of advocacy by phone, in person, informally and in formal situations. The course is based around a series of case studies which test and debate these skills using housing, social security, disability, education, energy and fuel poverty as examples. The course is skills based and very practical

Community branch officials course

This is a condensed version of the standards branch officials/branch secretary course run over two to three days and concentrating upon the nature of community branches and how to structure and build these effectively


Regional Workshop

Contact to book you class!

Jeremy Corbyn is coming to Sheffield!

Jeremy Corbyn is coming to Sheffield!

He will address a meeting at 2pm on Saturday 29 August at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, with overspill in Tudor Square….

Unite Community South Yorkshire Branch will be running a stall at this event come along and help out and say hello!

Below are Pictures from Previous Rally’s! Come and join 1000’s of others the time for real change has come!