Friday, 29 June 2012

Have your say on the NMC fee's increase

Have your say on the NMC proposals at:

UNISON will be responding to this consultation nationally however it is important that you also tell them what you think.

NMC fee's increase

After the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) decision to raise its yearly registration fee from £76 to £120, UNISON is calling on all members to sign an e-petition in order to get the issue debated in the UK parliament.

Over 45,000 people have already signed the petition and when a petition reaches 100,000 signatures it has to be debated in the House of Commons. The NMC is trying to justify the 58% increase in fees by claiming that it is due to a rise in the number of fitness to practice cases and the costs associated with them.

UNISON says that serious questions need to be asked about the financial management of the troubled regulatory body, which has been in special measures since 2008, and has had 6 chief executives and 3 chairs in that time.

Registration with the NMC is, in effect, a licence to practise and is compulsory for any nurse or midwife wishing to practise in the UK. Unlike other health workers such as admin & clerical or ancillary staff who are also struggling to make ends meet, nurses and midwives must pay professional registration fees every year or they cannot work.
Gail Adams, UNISON Head of Nursing said: “Hard pressed nurses and midwives will rightly be very angry about plans to make them pay more to allow them to work.”
“Not only have nurses and midwives had their pay frozen for 2 years, with 2 more years of pay austerity on the horizon, they are also having to pay more for their pensions.”
“The UK government should start applying serious scrutiny to the NMC and it must also step in and persuade the council that now is not the time to raise its fees.”
“Health workers should not have to pay the price for the NMC’s own failures and for the UK government’s failure to police this body properly.”

UNISON is calling on the NMC to undertake an urgent review of its financial systems and has made it clear that it does not support the NMC fees increase.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

UNISON and GMB to form powerful new Alliance

UNISON and the GMB, two of the UK’s largest unions, announced today that they will form a powerful new alliance to campaign against the Tory-led coalition’s damaging austerity agenda. 

Building on their existing joint work through the TUC and the Labour Party, this new partnership will give a strong new voice to the two million workers represented by the unions. Together, they will use their mutual influence to rally support for an economic plan that will safeguard jobs and vital public services. 

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said: 

“This is an historic day for both of our unions, and for the two million workers we represent. UNISON and the GMB have always had a strong common agenda, and today we are taking a step closer together. 

“Communities the length and breadth of the country are being ripped apart by Tory cuts, while the rich enjoy tax breaks, massive pay rises and bonuses. In the face of this continued attack on working people, it makes absolute sense for us to join forces, and speak with one voice against this mindless austerity agenda which is only dragging the country down. 

“We will campaign for the issues that really matter to our shared membership and, when the time is right we will take action together. Independently we are strong, together we will be a force to be reckoned with.” 

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said:

“Trade unions are the only constant beacons of opposition to austerity. The destruction of services and jobs under the current Government cannot be allowed to continue without serious challenge.

“The latest announcement threatening to throw onto the streets tens of thousands of young people by ending their housing support whilst multi-millionaire backers of Cameron hide behind tax dodges is the final straw in the argument that we are all in this together. 

“The two million members of GMB and UNISON and their families are a powerful industrial and political force who refuse to accept a future of unemployment, despair and the destruction of ambition for their children.” 

Time for Disability Leave to be Rolled out Across Employers

Unison says the time is right  !  

to implement disability leave policies and will develop guidance for branches to negotiate such policies and to challenge bad practice with the Equality Act 2010.

In this time of recession, it has never been more important to for disability leave policies to be negotiated and implemented by employers to ensure disabled members are not discriminated against as a result of disability related sickness absence.
Bill Dunn, Disabled Members' Officer, Highland Healthcare, long time delegate and first time speaker, said that union colleagues at the Disabled Members Conference six years ago were surprised to hear that an NHS employer showed little consideration towards staff members with disabilities.
Following that meeting, he took the UNISON model policy to his employer who stated it was not law and he wasn't aware of any NHS employer in Scotland that had a disability leave policy in operation.
Bill has persisted and fought for reasonable adjustments as time off for disability related medical appointments.
Not all managers have accepted this, and time is expected to be taken as time back, time in lieu or sick leave.
"Obviously recorded sick leave then leads to disabled members being put on Promoting Atendance procedures and then the dreaded capability policy - neither of which aid the health and wellbeing of the member with a disability."

Elder Abuse is Debated at UNISON National Conference

Scottish vulnerable persons legislation could be a model for the UK, Conference was told as it voted unanimously to back a strategy to tackle elder abuse.
Moving an amendment to the Retired Members Committee motion, Strathclyde Police and Fire’s Brian Molloy called for a campaign to get Westminster legislation similar to Scotland’s Adult Support and Protection Act.
Conference heard a host of horrifying statistics about the level of elder abuse, especially in residential care. The fact that UNISON backed this motion unanimously showed it was a “union that cares”, said the mover.
UNISON will now highlight the problem, work to eradicate abuse and encourage MPs to pass legislation to protect older people.
Brian Molloy told Conference that the Scottish model was one way of achieving this: “I am very passionate about Adult Support and Protection issues and the protection of the vulnerable of our society. All the citizens of the UK have a duty to protect the most vulnerable people living in our society.
“The Scottish Act places a statutory obligation on the police, the NHS and the local Authority Social Work to record incidents, refer incidents and share information into incidents relating to vulnerable adults in a coordinated way.
“The support and protection of adults at risk is paramount, however, probably one of the greatest benefits to come out of the act is the awareness it has raised across all the statutory agencies, support agencies and voluntary groups, and the greater public at large.
“This awareness gives all involved in the support and protection of
adults at risk a renewed confidence. Confidence to know exactly what to do, who to contact and when to do it.”
Edinburgh’s Marlyn Tweedie also warned about the institutional elder abuse that comes from cuts in services and privatisation.

UNISON Conference urges Support For Demos 20th October

UNISON will continue to put forward an alternative economic strategy focused on building a successful economy in order to support a better society.
This economic strategy based on reality, not the coalition myths - a strategy that will create demand in the economy, will create employment through investment in skills and infrastructure, and that sees investment in public services as a boost to the economy.
"We have already agreed it wasn't the nurses, janitors, social workers or any other public sector worker who broke the bank" said Jane Carolan, NEC.
"And it wasn't just the bankers, financiers and speculators on their own, but a rampant free market casino capitalism unregulated and unfettered by either national or international law"
Jane slammed the Tory austerity agenda, an agenda not borne out of economic necessity but of free market ideology that seeks to diminish the state, an agenda that makes no economic sense whatsoever.
"Public services slashed, unemployment rising, for a million young people the future is bleak. There is no economic growth. Our economy is in recession. Income is falling for the nation and for the individuals while basic prices rise. But the millionaires cheered their tax cut from Cameron."
"As a union, we have to speak out for our members to defend their jobs and standards of living. But as a union that believes in social justice we also need to speak out for the unemployed, those losing benefits, those reduced to poverty, as the poorest lose most when public services are cut."
"Why don't we invest in public services to ensure that basic needs like health and education are met? Build new social housing. Not just creating jobs but tackling inequality."
"Mind you, there are cuts we support - cancel Trident, cut military spending on unnecessary wars, cut out PFI, cut privatisation, cut the use of parasites called consultants. Those cuts will save over £100billion per year to be put to good use."
Lillian Macer, Scottish Regional Delegate, said that the coalition austerity measure have indeed, as we told them, proven to be avoidable, unfair and regressive.
"UNISON Scotland through the STUC will continue to pursue the There is a Better Way Campaign with passion, vigour and new ideas for a better society.
“We will continue to expose the coalition for what they are - idealogues pursing an agenda to benefit theirselves and their superwealthy funders.
Support the Alternative on October 20th!
UNISON's alternative budget