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What We Are and What We Do.

posted 1 Feb 2018, 03:48 by Unison Sussex Police & Justice Staff Branch   [ updated 26 Mar 2020, 07:24 ]

Below are the staff in the Branch Office.We are supported by Officers, Stewards and Workplace contacts these members who have committed to helping us are our lifeline to other members.

Any member can put themselves forward to be a steward, health and safety rep or workplace contact. You can make a difference.

We and current stewards, officers and reps need more support out on divisions, so if you think you could do it give us a call for a chat.

Branch Secretary

Kevin Fuller   

Branch Assistant Secretary

Alan Gates

Branch  Organising Officer

Joanna (JO) Sykes


Laura Watkins

Understanding what the union is about and to allay some fears and maybe misconceptions staff may have of a union .....

Below is the definition of a trade union from the dictionary.

trade union


  1. an organized association of workers in a trade, group of trades, or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests.

The most important part of this definition is the reason  ‘to protect and further their rights and


We are NOT the unions of the 1970’s, they ceased to exist at least two decades ago.  Our purpose is to help, and protect workers.  

Our union is UNISON.  We work on several levels.  Nationally, Regionally and Locally.

Sussex Police and Justice Branch is set up to purely help employees of Sussex Police, together with staff from Sussex and Surrey Probation, The National Probation Service in Sussex and Surrey, TASCOR Custody Staff, the Gurney Fund and Elite Cleaning and Environmental Services.


You may think,  why do I need to join a union?  Here are some good reasons.

We tend to be thought of as only being needed in times of problems or crisis. Yes, we are there to give you support and guidance as a member, should you need it.  But there is much more your union undertakes for your benefit too.

Did you know we negotiate almost on a daily basis, with the employer on issues that cover terms and conditions, how staff operate and how the employer wants to make changes to their staffing? We may not be able  change what an employer wants to implement but we will challenge and debate these matters with the employer because we feel there is a need to do so that we can ensure it is fair and within any legal requirements set out by law.

When the force wants to make changes to terms and conditions or policies or any other working practice we make sure the force remembers that our members are police staff NOT police officers. There are fundamental differences with regard to most of the working practices.

As a Union we cannot always negotiate a deal that benefits everybody favourably but we do try and negotiate so that the least number of members are affected.  Remember as a union we have to look at the overall effect on all members not just the effect on an individual.

The union gets to check every policy that is to be implemented to ensure it is not detrimental to police staff.

The union is involved in the panel to evaluate job roles to ensure that is a fair and Non bias process within the evaluation method that the Force employs. The union isinvolved in meetings Divisionally/Departmentally, as well as at Headquarters at all levels of Command in all areas of the business and meets regularly with the Police Crime Commissioner.  (That is a lot of meetings).

The union monitors health and safety and can be contacted with regards to any health and safety issues that a member may have. Both generically and on a personal level.

If you need support to discuss or to negotiate with your employer, whatever the subject matter. We can be with you to guide and advise where necessary.

Unison has member benefits. It has joined forces with many organisations to offer discounted shopping, insurances, holidays, cars. It can give you access to solicitors, or help setting up a will and much more.

Regional office is there to assist the branches, like ours.  They offer guidance and support that is relevant to the regions they cover.  They take on cases that cannot be resolved at a branch level. They organise and rally for changes and improvements in their local areas.

Nationally Unison negotiates with the government with regard to government policies and the effects these will have on members from all the public sectors. Year on year it tries to negotiate wage claims and increases in pay for its members.  Currently they are fighting to get the government to remove the pay cap on public service employees and to get a pay rise as well. We are lucky enough to have our Branch Secretary sitting on the Police Staff Sector Committee which deals with these negotiations.  

Unions have to call for strike action from time to time but it is actually quite rare.  A union will do all it can to avoid a strike as it can cause hardship to the members. However, it is sometimes the only way employees can make a government or company see how far it has pushed them and they have to make a stand to get the employer or government to listen and  negotiate.  

There are staff who believe that as other colleagues are members, they do not need to join. The union will still do its work.   This in part is true BUT the more members we have the bigger difference we can make and it gives us much more strength for bargaining and negotiating with the force.

Strength in numbers has always been the key for unions.  If all staff held this view there would be no Union and the employers could do what they want (IMAGINE THAT!) without ever being challenged. If you are not a member, give this some thought.

There is a cost implication but this is in line with your earnings and has not been raised

for several years.   The MORE members we have the BIGGER the difference we can make.