UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

UNISONActive debate: Tough Choice for NHS Employees‏

We in the NHS have heard nothing but lies from this ConDem Government, double counting funding for social care has meant that rather than being protected the NHS is facing a real terms reduction in its funding whilst also charged with £20bn productivity savings.

Staff within the NHS were facing a two year pay freeze from next year and incremental progression was used to mitigate this. The pay freeze was forced upon NHS staff with no consideration of the NHSPRB.
Approximately 70% of staff on AFC T&C’s would be financially disadvantaged by this proposal. Mike Jackson has been quoted as saying the suggestion was “deplorable”.

UNISON is committed to defending the NHS under the “Our NHS Our Future” campaign, Dave Prentis spoke of being “fierce defenders of our members and the services they deliver” and gained credibility when mounting the legal challenge to the Government’s NHS White Paper. The health sector is growing in membership as staff turn to UNISON for protection of their T&C’s. Our members are being hit hard, working on reduced numbers, constantly being asked to do more for less which has seen a huge reduction in staff morale within the NHS.

Our members, as public sector workers, are being vilified by the Government and the right wing media. We are being seen as both the cause and the only solution for the financial crisis, Our members are asking why those responsible for the global economic crisis are not being penalised, why those tax evaders/avoiders are allowed to carry on regardless whilst they, as hard working tax payers are being asked to contribute more and more.

Members are wondering whether they can trust anything else this Government pledge or promise. What will this mean to their white paper proposal to reduce managerial costs by 45%? What about those FT’s that have already removed incremental progression without guaranteeing no compulsory redundancies? Will FT’s be subjected to this proposal? How will we ensure standards are maintained with regards to training? How will we ensure appraisals are carried out if there is no incentive for the employee or employer? What will they come after next?

Members will be looking to UNISON and the health SGE to give strong leadership at this time. I understand that people may think we should accept the offer as it secures jobs, we should be sympathetic to the workforce but if they are allowed to do this it is just a question of where will it end? We know Trusts will still use their strong armed tactics to sicken staff into leaving or through the use of stringent capability, disciplinary and sickness policies to thin out the workforce to prevent paying staff the redundancies they have earned.

As Dave Prentis said "United, determined, ambitious for our people and our union – this really will be our time. I agree, this is our time.

Linda Hobson

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