Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Health and safety for disabled workers

People with disabilities should receive equal treatment at work, including equality regarding health and safety at work, according to a guide from the public services union UNISON, produced with health and safety reps in mind.
Disability and health and safety aims to highlight some of the workplace health and safety issues faced by disabled workers. It offers advice on how these issues can be resolved with the use of health and safety and equality legislation, including the 2010 Equality Act.
Health and safety should not be used as an excuse for not employing or not continuing to employ disabled people.

Research debunks right-wing myths on union facility time

A document setting out some of the benefits of union reps to the economy has been published by the TUC amidst a concerted political attack on trade union facility time in the public sector.

Facility time for union reps: separating fact from fiction, written by Professor Gregor Gall of the University of Hertfordshire, also debunks the recent Taxpayers’ Alliance calculation of the amount spent by the public sector on paying staff to do union work.

The TUC report estimates that having union reps in workplaces could be saving public and private sector employers up to £701 million a year.

This comes from: having more productive and better trained workforces; safer workplaces; and fewer cases taken to employment tribunal, which means staff stay in post for longer, allowing employers to spend less on recruitment and retention.

These benefits are quantified using figures provided by the then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) in 2007.
They were set out in a review of workplace representatives’ facilities and facility time, and put a total UK figure on the savings to employers from the presence of union reps of between £372 million and £977 million a year.

The new report calculates that, taking account of inflation, the savings for the public sector alone (the focus of the recent attacks) are between £267 million and £701 million a year.
Gall’s report also heavily criticises the methodology used by the Taxpayers’ Alliance in its calculation that taxpayers fund trade unions to the tune of £113 million a year.

The figure has been used by, among others, the recently formed Trade Union Reform Campaign, headed by Conservative MP Aidan Burley, in its bid to put a further squeeze on unions.
Gall says the two key areas of failure are the inclusion of sums spent on union-led activity on learning and skills, and the inclusion of facility time for organisations which have long-since ceased to exist — or are not trade unions at all.

His report says that, “in reality, the TaxPayers’ Alliance report reveals that less than £80 million a year was spent on trade union facility time in the public sector”. Using that figure as the basis for a cost-benefit analysis means that for every £1 spent on union facility time in the public sector, between £3 and £9 is returned in accrued benefits.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said that “the highly exaggerated and wholly inaccurate figures being bandied around by groups and individuals on the right,” were “nothing more than a thinly-veiled attack on unions and their ability to represent workers across the public sector”.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS civil service union, said PCS reps “work incredibly hard on behalf of our members, often in their own time”.
He said: “The truth is that, if they got their way, these discredited MPs leading a purely politically motivated campaign would damage our economy to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds a year.”
Labour MP John Healey says the return on investment in union reps is “why employers aren’t leading the call for this attack”.
Healey added: “They know the benefits that unions can bring to their organisation.”

Source: Labour Research magazine, March 2012

Thursday, 23 February 2012

RBS bonuses - UNISON response

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, said today that that the millions spent on bonuses at the 82% taxpayer-owned bank RBS, would be better spent on keeping vital local services running. The union said that the bonus pot could fund more than 32,000 nurses, midwives and paramedics, 27,000 trained social workers, or more than 68,000 care workers to help support elderly and vulnerable people to stay in their homes. Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said: “While hardworking families struggle with pay and job cuts, and communities lose vital local services, RBS bankers are being lavished with bonuses worth £785 million. Pay in the bank’s investment arm has gone up by a third in the last year, on top of salaries the majority of us couldn’t even dream of. The bank is still making a loss – it is a reward for failure, and another clear sign that we’re not all in this together. “This bonus pot could pay for more than 32,000 nurses, midwives and paramedics. It could fund more than 68,000 care workers, or 27,000 social workers - what do you think is worth more to our country? “The government needs to ditch its warm words on fairness and take real action. It is only right that the sector that got us into this mess takes responsibility for getting us out of it. Cutting these bonuses and imposing a tiny transaction tax on the banks would be a major step in the right direction.”

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Diabetes link

Prolonged working on rotating night shifts puts women at an increased risk of suffering type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

The authors studied the incidence of type 2 diabetes among female nurses working at least three nights and 19 days a month. They found a correlation between women working rotating night shifts and type 2 diabetes (as well as weight gain).
It found the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 20% for women working rotating night shifts for between three and nine years, 40% for those doing between 10 and 19 years and 58% for those doing it for over 20 years.
Previous studies have demonstrated a link between shift work and the incidence of cancer as well as cardiovascular disease.
The study is at: www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001141

Source: Labour Research magazine http://www.lrd.org.uk/ February 2012 issue

Monday, 20 February 2012

Branch AGM 25th February 2012

Remember it's the Branch's AGM this Saturday 25th February 2012 at  10am in the Moorings Hotel , Hamilton Road , Motherwell.

Get Along and hear all the latest Branch news , take part in the debates and catch up with some colleagues past and present.   

The Branch needs a quorate AGM to meet the unions rules ,elect it's Officers and to continue to operate .                  

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Monklands Visit

Tomorrow we'll be at Monklands General Hospital , outside the Choices Restaurant  from 9.30am  to 3pm come along and see us , pick up some info have a blether about the latest on Pensions.

We can sign up new members and stewards on the day so don't be shy come and say hello and get one of our famous pens !

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Branch Joins the Twitters & Tweeters

The Branch is now set up to tweet to  members ,activists and the world !

Follow us at @unisonlanhealth and we'll keep you updated with events as they happen whether it be on the Pensions Dispute , NHS Reforms or issues we are pursuing on your behalf .  

Monday, 6 February 2012

Ending corporation tax relief for big bank bonuses could raise £1.7bn a year

Ending corporation tax relief for pay and bonuses worth more than 10 times average annual earnings (£26,200) could raise around £1.7bn a year if applied to the banking and financial services sector, according to a new TUC report published today (Monday).

The TUC report Bonus Season uses data from the Labour Force Survey to show that over a third (36 per cent) of employees earning more than £250,000 a year in the UK work in banking and finance.
The report then uses HMRC data to estimate that around 81,000 people have incomes of over £262,000 (10 times average annual earnings) that come primarily from employment, including 29,000 people in banking and finance.

The report finds that total pay on earnings above £262,000 - which the TUC believes should be disallowed as a deductible expense for corporation tax purposes - is around £6.8bn a year.

Ending corporation tax relief on earnings over £262,000 in the banking and finance sector would raise £1.7bn a year - vital revenues towards paying back the deficit created by the financial crash, says the TUC.
The report also estimates that extending the scrapping of corporation tax relief for top pay and bonuses over 10 times average earnings to all UK companies would raise around £5bn a year.

With the government effectively cancelling out its own levy on bank balance sheets by cutting the rate of corporation tax from 28 per cent to 23 per cent by 2014, the banking and finance sector is no longer making a proper contribution towards paying off the deficit it played a key role in creating, says the TUC.

A previous TUC report The Corporate Tax Gap showed that banks already pay well below the headline rate of corporation tax and that that the scale of bank losses at the height of the crash has allowed them to knock £19bn off their future tax bills, despite an £850bn bailout from taxpayers and the Bank of England.
The fact that banks are back recording big profits and handing out billions of pounds in bonuses proves they can easily afford a new tax on big bonuses, says the TUC.

The TUC believes that making earnings more than 10 times average annual earnings liable for corporation tax would not only raise revenue but also tackle growing pay inequality by encouraging companies to spread pay across the workforce, rather concentrating it on those at the very top.
As well as calling for top pay to be liable for corporation tax, the TUC believes the following changes would help tackle the growing pay divide between top executives and the rest of the workforce:
  • Bring a much-needed dose of economic reality to executive pay decisions by introducing worker representation on to remuneration committees.
  • Make executive pay more transparent by publishing the ratio between top pay and both median company workforce pay and the lowest paid members of staff.
  • Tackle the closed shop of non-executive directorships (NEDs) by forcing companies to advertise positions externally.
  • Make rates of pay increase for directors reflect those of other employees, with an explanation given in the remuneration report should this not be the case.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Irresponsible banks played the biggest part in causing the crash. But while the rest of us are still paying a heavy price, banks have gone back to business as usual with eye-watering bonuses for their top staff. It is only right that they share these with the rest of us, and making the top bonus pool liable for corporation tax means they would pay a little more towards clearing up the mess they made.

'We should not forget they have enjoyed a level of state support no other industry could dream of, including an £850bn bailout from taxpayers and the Bank of England.
'Scrapping corporation tax relief for earnings over £262,000 will help pay off the deficit and tackle the growing pay divide that has seen a tiny minority of super-rich individuals receive inflation and performance-busting pay rises while everyone else suffers real terms wage cuts.
'The Chancellor should use his budget to end the privileged status that the financial services sector enjoys at the expense of everyone else by announcing a this new tax on excessive pay and bonuses, as well as taking proper steps to reform our failed executive pay culture.'

- Bonus season is available at www.tuc.org.uk/bonusseason
- The TUC report Corporate Tax Gap published in October 2010 is available at www.tuc.org.uk/extras/corporatetaxgap.pdf

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Roadshows Continue

In the past week we've been meeting and greeting old members and welcoming new members at Roadshows at  Wishaw General and Monklands .

We've got more to come and next week we'll be at Hairmyres Hospital in the dining area on Tuesday 7th February and Monklands at the Choices Restaurant on Thursday 9th February , both events will run from 9.30am till 2pm - so why not come along and say hello , have a blether or pick up some info on the benefits of being part of the biggest Union in the Health Service.

Union reps provide excellent value for money

Union reps could be saving employers as much as £701m a year or £2m a day, according to a report published last week by the TUC.
It calculated that for every £1 spent on union facility time in the public sector, between £3 and £9 was returned in accrued benefits.
The report “Facility Time for Union Reps: Separating fact from fiction”, says that in workplaces where union reps negotiate on behalf of their colleagues, employers benefit from significant cost savings.
These come in the form of more productive - and better trained - workforces. An earlier government report cited in the study showed that workplace-related injuries and illnesses were lower in unionised workplaces, again resulting in savings of millions of pounds for employers.
As fewer cases were taken to Employment Tribunal and as staff tended to stay in post for longer when there were union reps in the workplace, employers spent less on recruitment and retention, with additional savings from lower dismissal rates.
The report also showed that a good deal of the work of union reps takes place in their own time - 16 per cent of reps said that less than a quarter of the time they spent on union work was paid for by their employer.
Written by Gregor Gall, Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Hertfordshire, the report demonstrated the overall value of union reps to the UK economy, not only helping improve workplace conditions but also enabling private and public sector employers to keep costs down, and so deliver huge savings to the taxpayer.
The report was commissioned following the government’s announcement in November 2011 that it would review the provision of funding for trade union facility time in the public sector.
To read the report, go to the Trade Union Congress website.