Blog 18: Industrial action ballot – your time to be actively involved (5/6/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 18 here. Surfing the waves of industrial debate with all the guile and balance of an overly laden waiter confronted with Mr Tickle, and a slippery floor, and then realising he has his best bone china (perched parrot like) upon his soup stained arm. 

As I write this the ballot of estates and facilities staff, procurement, and medical engineering staff has gone “live” for UNISON members. This is a trade dispute that largely involves our fears over changes to terms and conditions, and our opposition to staff losing their status as NHS employees with the proposed creation of a Leeds Teaching Hospitals Wholly Owned Company. If you work in these teams, and are a UNISON member and haven’t received your ballot paper then please, please, please get in touch with your branch so we can update your details and issue your ballot paper. When you receive your ballot paper please, please, please return it correctly and take part in this democratic process. We have heard so much opposition to these plans at meetings, and on corridors and we have been driven by your passion. This is your time to be actively involved. We cannot do this without you. We need YOU to show unity and strength and ensure that employees at Leeds Teaching Hospitals remain 100% NHS.

UNISON, Yorkshire and Humberside have worked in Gambia to help build a school. Following on from that project Wendy Nichols (Regional Convenor)   and Jim Bell, the project co-ordinator, met with representatives of one of the three public hospitals in the whole of the Gambia, Serrekunda Hospital.

This meeting resulted in a memorandum of understanding between Y&H UNISON and the Hospital. The hospital has a team of 12 Cuban doctors and nurses providing medical support but the hospital deals with the poorest people and is really struggling. They need beds, sheets, blankets, medical supplies and equipment. Jim Bell has had discussions with another charity in the UK who collect and store

equipment, clothing etc. and who then ship containers out to the Gambia. The charity has agreed to store any bedding and equipment we can collect and send container loads across to Gambia provided we meet the transportation costs. The total cost per container is approx. £4,500 with a further £500 for transport from the docks to the hospital. So for each container we send we would need to raise around £5,000. What do we want you to do? We would like you to speak to your line managers and see if there are usable beds, bedding and/ or medical equipment that they are prepared to donate to our project? Many areas have old equipment etc can your teams donate some of them to our project? Remember, this is one of the poorest countries in the world with little in the way of health care, everything we do will help save lives and improve the lot of the poorest. Following generous donations from the employer in particular the Theatres and Anaesthetics CSU – Leeds Teaching Hospitals UNISON Branch has now sent thousands of pounds worth of “out of date” medical equipment to this hospital. Thank you. If you have got some equipment and have ok’d it with the right managers  (we don’t want any Del Boy equipment falling off the back of a sluice) then call 64369 and we will have someone over to you quicker than a middle manager on hearing the word “cost saving exercise”.

The May Day march on Saturday the 5th around Leeds was brilliant, not just because of the blue skies and pop up bars on Millennium Square but the speeches were excellent too. Including one from our brother in arms, Wilson Tweed of UNITE Leeds Teaching Hospitals, who not only spoke of his own branches work to keep all NHS staff within the NHS, but also kindly gave thanks to the work of our branch.

The whole of staffside believe NHS staff should be retained to work directly for the NHS. The staff who are under threat hopefully take comfort that colleagues around the trust, and who rely on their support services, are 100% behind them.

…. Speak soon xxx