Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Pay! We Are Worth It!

Let us be very clear: A dispute is looming within the National Health Service over pay!

After pay freezes and real time pay cuts, the way this government has treated the Pay Review Body (PRB) is disgraceful and unacceptable.

Bearing in mind that the PRB recommendation of 1% was not a King’s ransom, the action of the Government is doubly deplorable.

I hate to say it but brace yourself for industrial action within the UK Ambulance Services!
Last week’s UNISON Health Conference in Brighton was full of angry delegates. Delegates who are health professionals throughout the NHS, Delegates who hold responsible positions at all levels, Delegates who love their jobs and care for patients.

How any Government or Health Secretary can push these people to breaking point is beyond me. But push them they have!

Health professionals calling for strike is a warning not to be ignored.

UNISON Head of Health, Christina McAnea, sent a letter to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, a week or so ago, telling him to step back from the brink!. I have never, ever, read such a strong letter and message to any Secretary of State.

The Conference also passed an Emergency Motion from the Health Service Group Executive (HSEG) calling for a sustained campaign and strike ballots. It put in position a strategy to involve all members and all parts of the Health Service.

I spoke in the debate on behalf of the Executive.

We are guardians of the NHS. This pay ‘offer’ is divisive, not only in the workplace but also across the UK. It is being treated differently within the devolved nations
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We know that a gauntlet has been thrown down. We pick it up or we walk the other way! UNISON will pick it up on behalf of our members, patients and the NHS.

If we had been able to negotiate with the London Ambulance Service who knows what would have happened.

We couldn't, we didn't, we haven’t!

We are part of a national union and part of national pay bargaining, albeit with the PRB as a conduit (for now!).

We know this is not the fault of LAS management and our dispute is not with the LAS; but because of the disgraceful attitude if this Government towards public sector staff, particularly health staff, we are all dragged into any dispute and action that emerges.

Our dispute will be radical and not reckless. No baby will be thrown out of the bathtub!

Support your Union. Support the NHS. Support NHS Ambulance Services.


Eric Roberts

Branch Secretary, LAS UNISON