Blog 51: A better working life, Overtime and NEC elections

Blog 51 is here, and we are embracing the sun kissed beer gardens with an affection normally reserved for family members at midnight staggering out of a well stocked wedding, but resisting the giant queues outside Primark, more out of a lack of tolerance to shopping, than social distancing concerns. We are opening up, and looking back, reflecting on what was, and demanding a much better. Lets get our teeth stuck into summer and a better working life for us all. If you want to be active in your union contact us at unison.sjuh@nhs.net – you’ll be welcomed with open arms (at a distance of 2 metres).

We have had reports in the past that some departments “don’t pay overtime”, “we only pay bank”. Perhaps this is what you’ve been told and accepted as your norm. Well, it’s untrue. If you agree to working over your contracted hours, then it’s up to you to choose how you are paid for those labours. Obviously the manager may not then choose to offer that overtime, but as an employee you are entitled to request it. Further, many departments in the hospital default straight into overtime the minute the clock ticks past your 37.5 contracted hours. Agenda for change says;-

3.1 All staff in pay bands 1 to 7 will be eligible for overtime payments. There is a single harmonised rate of time-and–a-half for all overtime, with the exception of work on general public holidays, which will be paid at double time.

3.4 The single overtime rate will apply whenever excess hours are worked over full-time hours, unless time off in lieu is taken, provided the employee’s line manager or team leader has agreed with the employee to this work being performed outside the standard hours.

If you are at a disadvantage by being only offered bank, please shout out and contact unison.sjuh@nhs.net – we are encouraging our members to challenge “bank only” and hold out for overtime if it is of benefit to yourself? If your department won’t pay, then you may look for a department which does, or ask us to have that conversation with your management team. unison.sjuh@nhs.net .

We know some members may wish to retain the flexible option of bank, and the more frequent payments and we are certainly not against that. However many will just be doing extras on their own ward routinely, and we feel they shouldn’t be coerced into thinking bank is their only option. It may even suit you personally to opt for time back (again another right of yours) …..However know your worth dudes, and allow us to help where necessary.

Another related issue is if you are a part time worker, and you are regularly allocated overtime ( at a flat rate due to your part time status) you may wish to enquire about increasing your contracted hours? Yes you may lose some flexibility, but you will gain more annual leave. Something to think about?

In the coming weeks you will be receiving voting papers for UNISON’s NEC elections. The Branch have made their nominations already, but each member has the individual right to vote. Clearly these are important decisions with the pay deal on the table, and whoever is elected will fight / accept /negotiate that decision differently. Depending on how you feel about key issues, like pay, it may influence who you put you X to. Take some time to read the addresses when they pop through your door.

What is the NEC?
The NEC is made up of representatives elected from all of UNISON’s regions and service groups, as well as seats for four Black members, two young members and two disabled members. It has the power to act on behalf of the union and is responsible for implementing UNISON policy and delivering on the union’s objectives and priorities.

UNISON’s rule book says we have to elect our NEC every two years.

When is the ballot?
The ballot opens on 4 May 2021 and runs until 27 May 2021. The results will be announced on 11 June 2021.

If you are a member and don’t receive your papers, that is a good indication that your contact details are out of date. Again we urge you to ensure your address is current on our systems. This will be crucial in the potential fight back against the governments 1 % pay cut offer. Contact us unison.sjuh@nhs.net .

As we open up, and get a respite from the stress filled, unsettled, and occasionally dreary lives we’ve been living this last year we encourage all our members to stick to the guidelines and challenge any occurrences of rules becoming less strict, too early. A good example is social distancing in rest rooms. Make sure you and your colleagues keep up the good work and give us a buzz if you feel standards have slipped as the vaccinated naturally relax. It must be quite unsettling for the shielders to come back from isolation to be met by busy areas , so please keep up the excellent and disciplined work you have done and keep each other safe.

….Speak soon XXX

John Ingleson – UNISON Branch Chair