Blog 55: Giving hope to fight back and getting involved in your union

Hi Dudes,

Blog 55 is here, with our brow furrowed, and eyes narrowed at the prospect of that real terms NHS pay cut, an unfair rise in national insurance tax, Covid infections galloping away, no end to the NHS staffing crisis, and Leeds United’s sluggish start to the Premier league. We are told to rise like lions after slumber, shake off our chains and create a New England. In truth we are seeing you are exhausted. You hate the 3% pay award, and feel the insult, but also feel powerless to reject it “what’s the bloody point !!”.

We accept as a union we must do more. We must give you the hope that there is a point to fighting back. It is that hope that will then turn to action, and action which will in turn, turn to taking back power from these Etonian gangsters who lie, and lie with zero accountability. We know we need to do more, but we are ourselves limited when our members are not active. A tea break chunter does not a revolution make. It’s a vicious circle. We will continue to represent you, and continue to keep pushing for a better working life, but we need our members (you, yes you Eric & Enid) to swell our numbers and use your voices. Swamp us with ideas, demand more from us, and kick us out of our Branch positions, GET ACTIVE.

“There are two flames burning in the human heart all the time. The flame of anger against injustice, and the flame of hope you can build a better world.”Tony Benn

I see the wonderful work our Branch produces. I’m involved in, and see others involved in some fantastic support for our members in their time of need. I see a great deal of selflessness, intelligence, kindness, and patience on display daily. However we must take this individual fire fighting and turn it into a collective Leeds Teaching Hospitals movement. This corrupt government does not want to see an engaged, educated, and solid NHS workforce against them. Let’s give them just that.

“With all their faults, trade-unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in man, than any other association of men.” Clarence Darrow (I’m sure he also meant women).

One way of becoming active is by becoming a Health and safety rep. A rep who has recently completed her training commented to me that she really wants to promote the wellbeing aspects of Health and Safety. She wants to see a greater balance between recognising physical threats with mental health and well-being issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted why workplace safety is so important, but we can’t make workplaces across LTHT safer without YOU! The words Health and Safety may conjure up visions of clipboards, regulations and paperwork, but it’s really not like that (there’s more biscuit eating). Being a Safety rep means you will be playing a crucial role in making sure our workplace is safe, secure and clean for all your colleagues, patients, and visitors. You’ll also gain new skills and meet others who are passionate about workplace safety.

What do Safety reps do?

  • talk to members about their health and safety issues and work together with management to resolve these issues.
  •  investigate potential hazards
  • raise concerns with your employer to improve safety in the workplace and deal with specific problems that arise at work
  • promote better health and safety in the workplace and encourage everyone to get involved in the union –

Safety reps have the right to:

  • take an active part in workplace risk assessments
  • investigate potential hazards and ‘dangerous occurrences’, and examine Datix trends
  • investigate members’ complaints
  • carry out inspections of the workplace in work time, at least every three months;
  • require their employer to set up and attend a safety committee – In the Trust this takes place quarterly as the Health and Safety Consultation Committee (HSCC)
  • be consulted on new working practices and new technology
  • receive safety information from their employer (e.g. inspectors’ reports, hygiene surveys and risk assessments)
  • attend union-approved training courses without loss of pay; and
  • have access to a phone and office equipment, and paid time off work, both to carry out inspections and to meet staff and other safety reps

If this sounds like you then contact us (unison.sjuh@nhs.net) and become active. It is in all our interests to have as many eyes, ears, and brains working to all our mutual benefit.

“We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power… this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others…” – Martin Luther King Jnr

……speak soon xxx