Blog 24: Grovember and White Ribbon Campaign (21/11/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 24 arriving like an Yorkshire Terrier greeting a postman. Plenty of comedy nips, hideous yaps, and the occasional opportunity for a belly rub.

It’s been a busy month for your Branch. We’ve been up to all sorts. Member meetings, recruitment stalls, campaigning, and the bread and butter work of representing you, our members.

Your Branch is now an accredited partner of the White Ribbon campaign. https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/.

To achieve this, the Branch had to show we were committed to the campaign, with plans for promotion and education. Our branch now has two White Ribbon Ambassadors, and two White Ribbon champions. We are having stalls at St James’s(Bexley Wing morning), and the LGI jubilee Wing afternoon) on Friday 23rd November. Come along, say hello and take the pledge “Never commit, excuse, or remain silent about male violence against women”. We will also have white Ribbons for sale on the day. We are holding the stalls after talks with the Trust Safeguarding team who have been very supportive. Some people challenge White Ribbon for solely focusing on male violence against women. This is their retort.

“The important thing to recognise here is that there are already campaigns and charities that focus on the other victims, and are very helpful in those circles:
However, the largest number of violent incidents involves men against women. We are here to stop that by encouraging men to be part of a conversation that is still largely considered a women’s issue”

Two women a week in the U.K are murdered by their partner or ex-partner!!! Every time I read that statistic I’m very proud that our branch are , in our own way, trying to address this issue. It is a real trade union issue. Women suffering from domestic violence are more likely to have problems in the workplace. Time keeping, absence, poor performance. These potential warning signs may be first seen at work. It is important that colleagues, line managers, and workplace union reps are sensitive to this possibility. The trust has recently published their new domestic violence policy which aims to advice managers, HR, and employees deal with any such incidents. It’s great that this issue is acknowledged but like our support for food banks is tragic that its needed in the first place.

Another issue we have been campaigning on is overrunning elective lists in paediatric theatres. Staff, although understanding that it is sometimes the nature of the beast working in theatres, are getting worn down by the amount of late finishes that they endure. We held a UNISON meeting before work, where all members were encouraged to participate to air their frustration’s but also seek constructive ways forward. I then met with theatre managers to discuss these outcomes. Plans are now being made to redress the balance of late finishes; a new scheduling protocol is being discussed. This is another example of when UNISON members professionally speak out, we can effect positive change. The campaign continues, but I am hopeful that we will see improvements for everyone involved.

Have you seen our recruitment stalls this month ? UNISON is holding what is called “Grovember”. The aim of this strangely titled activity is to increase our UNISON membership locally and nationally. It may be a little confrontational to write, but the truth remains to say that the bigger our union the greater our influence. Departments with a stronger (what we call membership density) can influence the direction of change to a greater extent than a weaker membership. This is amplified into the entire workforce in a company or business, and again at a national level where UNISON will lobby to influence national policies. To strengthen our membership, and increase your influence we are giving away £5 high street vouchers to new members in November (sorry Grovember) and for existing members if you update your existing details e.g. email address, phone number etc you’ll be entered into a monthly draw where you can win a £20 voucher. What’s not to Like !!!. On a similar note the news from head office is that UNISON is now the country’s biggest Trade Union.

Anyway, I better dash. Time to think about Christmas trees. I must go seek out some glittery baubles.

….speak soon xxx