Tuesday, 11 November 2014

UNISON survey shows Scotland’s occupational therapists struggling to maintain service

A report out today (Tuesday) by UNISON shows that Scotland’s occupational therapists are struggling to maintain the level of service their patients need in light of budget cuts and staffing shortages.

Those surveyed in the report – Under Pressure: Scotland’s occupational therapists speak out – said they had huge concerns about the impact cuts are having on the service. An overwhelming majority (82%) reported increased workloads, 60% reported having to cope with reduced members of staff and almost half (48%) reported funding cuts.

There were recurring themes among the concerns: assessments being overruled because of resource pressures; and failure by management to replace absent colleagues, specifically for maternity leave which, given the virtually all-female composition of the workforce, is more common than in many other groups of staff. When asked if they regularly worked more than their contracted hours 60% of respondents said they did – an extra five hours a week was the average.

While the majority (58%) of respondents reported their standard of living had dropped in the last 3-4 years. Some of the views included:

“Staffing has gone down in the last few years but the same level of service is expected. You begin to dread someone saying they are pregnant because you know you will be left really short during mat leave which is an unpleasant feeling because you want to be pleased for people’s good news.”

“Senior managers are now scrutinising OT recommendations and refusing some, despite a qualified OT having made the clinical decision that equipment or adaptations are required to meet the client’s needs.”

• “Everything costs more but pay doesn’t match the increase. I have to be careful to only buy essentials when shopping.”

Sandra Dee Masson, an occupational therapist and vice chair of UNISON Scotland’s Health Committee, said: “Occupational therapy plays a vital role and yet isn’t taken into account when planning services and looking forward to patient care. Failing to properly utilise occupational therapists in the planning process completely undermines the effectiveness of change, there are instances where patients are discharged from hospital with inadequate OT consideration which results in readmission.

“Better investment in and coordination with occupational therapists would not only improve the patient journey, but it would improve outcomes, deliver better value for public money and improve the working lives of a dedicated group of workers who are very definitely under pressure.”

Dave Watson, UNISON’s head of bargaining and campaigns, said: “The picture that emerges from this report is one of a dedicated but frustrated workforce wanting to deliver a service but finding it increasingly difficult to do so. Pressures on budgets and changes to service delivery mean they are increasingly unable to deliver a service to the standard of which they are capable. Workforce demand is increasing while the workforce itself is diminishing. “This is played out against a backdrop of the majority of the workforce finding that their own personal circumstances are becoming more difficult as inflation and minimal or absent pay rises eat away at the value of their wages.”

Copies of the report can be found here

Monday, 10 November 2014

Vote YES to keep your union's voice

UNISON Scotland is urging all members to defend the union’s campaigning voice by voting ‘yes’ to keep its unique political fund. The ballot runs from 1-30 November.

Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish secretary explains: “Like all trade unions, UNISON is required in law to have a political fund for campaigning generally and specifically to affiliate or donate to any political party.

“UNISON is unique in giving members four options - to join the General Political Fund for general campaigning, or the Affiliated Fund which is connected to the Labour Party, or contribute to both, or to opt out of the fund.

What’s political?

The best way to define this is to list the kind of campaigns that the union could not have mounted without a political fund.

promoting and defending public services through Scotland’s Public Works campaign

lobbying and campaigning against outsourcing and privatisation, including the victory in Edinburgh

campaigning for fairer pay through the Worth It campaign

fighting racism and discrimination, including our successful fight against the BNP

defending pensions

improving employment rights, including paid holidays, rights for agency workers - and building support to stamp out zero hours contract abuses

getting legislation for more equality including through public sector equalities duties

extending coverage of the Scottish Living Wage and getting this issue up the political agenda in the Scottish Parliament and in public sector agencies and the Third Sector.

UNISON Scotland support for the People’s Assembly and we have contributed to a new campaigning guide issued by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity Scotland.

UNISON Scotland responses to consultations conducted by the Scottish Parliament are in part resourced from the Political Fund and have included:

Appointments to Public Bodies Building Standards Careers Service Energy & Fuel Poverty Environment Equality Ethical Standards m Finance Freedom of Information Health & Community Care Housing Justice Lobbying PPP/PFI Regulation of Care.

More about UNISON's Unique Political Fund

Following a ballot of all members in 1995, UNISON uniquely decided to have a political fund with two sections. Following a ballot in Mrach 2005, 85% of those who voted said Yes to continue the fund, which will allow UNISON to continue campaigning in the political arena, including the current campaign to defend public sector pensions.

The General Political Fund (GPF) which finances political campaigns in the wider public arena. It is not affiliated to any political party - is used for general campaigning, for example the long campaign for a Scottish Parliament. A branch can access these funds when it needs to run campaigns concerning political decisions.

The Affiliated Political Fund (APF) or LabourLink finances our affiliation to the Labour Party.

Members individually choose which fund to contribute to. They can also decide to opt out of any political levy or contribute to both funds.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Monklands petitioning

Great day at Monklands yesterday fellow workers, patients and visitors supporting our campaign to end the Pro£steering in NHS Lanarkshire. Over 500 names on our petitions and 200 individual letters to local politicians! SOLIDARITY AT WORK

Thursday, 23 October 2014

East Kilbride News highlights issues in Hairmyres

Article from this week's East Kilbride news on ISS at Hairmyres bringing in cleaner's from Coventry to help clean hospital following a Healthcare Enviroment Inspectorate visit. This despite the fact that ISS have earned extra thousands of £££'s from the taxpayer through NHS Lanarkshire. This weeks EK News article here

Branch active and campaigning against the PFI pro£iteers in Hairmyres and Wishaw

We have had a great response from the staff and general public at our two stalls in Hairmyres on Tuesday and Wishaw General today, with over 1,000 signatures collected in support of our campaign.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign so far, and to those who have already committed their support to the Branch.

Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more campaigning and perhaps a sighting of a Fat Cat!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Branch now on Facebook

We are now on Facebook with our PFIs bleed the NHS dry campaign. Please like, follow and share! You can find us here

An easy way to contact your local politicians.

We have produced a put online a draft letter for you too use/adapt while writing to local politicians, which can be downloaded. Below you will find the same text and a link to send it to your local politicians MSPs, MPs and Councillors simply by imputing your postcode. Simples! Copy and paste the letter below and then visit this page .

Suggested letter



I am writing as a constituent who has grave concerns surrounding the proposals of NHS Lanarkshire to extend the Soft Facilities Management (cleaning, portering, catering, and security) contracts with private contractors Serco at Wishaw General and ISS at Hairmyres Hospital.The NHS Lanarkshire Board requires to make this decision by the end of 2014.

It is my understanding that the Board intends to simply roll on the contracts with the existing Private providers, thereby continuing to pay taxpayers money to the shareholders of SERCO and ISS, for the provision of public services. UNISON and the other Health Unions and Professional Associations are campaigning to have the services brought back in house, and I as a constituent and service user support this view and would request your support to lobby the Board on this issue.

I firmly believe that staff employed in Wishaw General and Hairmyres should be employed by the NHS and not private companies who are in the NHS to bleed money from it. There is a real opportunity for NHS Lanarkshire to bring back in-house these services and ensure quality and public control of public money.

I look forward to hearing your view of this vitally important issue.

Yours sincerely

We would like to thank those friends and supporters who have already acted on this request. Please share widely and encourage others to do likewise remember PFIs bleed the NHS dry!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Time up for PFI Pro£iteers in Lanarkshire

UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch has launched a campaign to bring staff providing 'Soft' Facilities (catering, portering, domestic and security) currently employed by Serco in Wishaw General Hospital and ISS at Hairmyres Hospital back in-house.

The Branch has taken the decision after discovering that NHS Lanarkshire planned to rollover the existing contracts on both sites to the private pro£iteers who are currently operating them. The Health Board has 'bench-marked' the services in both hospitals against the in-house services at Monklands Hospital.

UNISON believes this 'bench-marking' exercise was a farce, who in their right mind would compare services currently provided at a dilapidated Monklands with relatively new facilities at Wishaw and Hairmyres. To be clear this is NOT an attack on the staff who provide a service in Monklands but more a comment on the great work they do in difficult circumstances in an extremely old building not fit for purpose!

UNISON has produced a PFI bulletin which we have directly mailed to all Lanarkshire MSP's and MP's along with a letter asking them to support UNISON's campaign to bring the staff back in-house were they belong.

The Branch has also produced a model letter for members, their families and supporters to send to local MSP's and MP's urging their support and a petition asking the general public to also support this campaign.

Let's be clear PFIs are bleeding Lanarkshire's NHS, its time to put a stop to pro£iteers draining OUR National Health Service.

Support our campaign You can support our campaign in a number of ways you can directly email NHS Lanarkshire Chairperson Neena Mahal Nina.Mahal@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk and/or Chief Executive Ian Ross ian.ross@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk

Alternatively you can write to them both at: NHS Lanarkshire Headquarters, Fallside Road, Bothwell G71 8BB

PFI what to do with letter here

Print of letter to send to local politicians here

Print of copies of the petition here

PFIs BLEED THE NHS DRY! sticker here

UNISON PFI bulletin here

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Video: The secret deal that threatens the NHS - TTIP

Cancer patient Paul Giles travels to Brussels find out how the new TTIP trade deal could threaten NHS services http://www.redpepper.org.uk/video-the-secret-deal-that-threatens-the-nhs/

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Happy Birthday NHS - 66 today!

UNISON Lanarkshire health Branch wishing our National Health Service a happy 66th birthday today.

Friday, 4 July 2014


UNISON members along with other ISS employees would have received a letter on 2nd July from Toby Pryor, Divisional Director advising that “there have been a number of rumours circulating recently in relation to ISS affecting changes to the terms and conditions of employees working at Hairmyres Hospital. "I can appreciate this is unsettling and I am therefore taking the opportunity to write to you to assure you this is not the case.” Mr Pryor goes on to state that “while ISS have been in discussion with national union representatives in relation to sickness enhancements, these discussions have been solely in relation to England and as such have no impact to employees working with us in Scotland.” We don’t mean to be pedantic about Mr Pryor’s letter however for the sake of accuracy and to ensure there is no dubiety we have printed extracts from the letter dated 7th May received by UNISON on the back of this newsletter. Contained within those extracts you will see that ISS planned originally to introduce these cuts at a UK level on 1st June 2014, hoping that the trade unions at a UK level would accept their proposals, which would impact on staff in Scotland. ISS subsequently agreed to hold off until 1st August 2014. On receipt of this letter UNISON published a bulletin to all ISS members within Hairmyres and a general bulletin for all other NHS staff—who were very supportive—to bring to their attention the proposed attacks on terms and conditions. We also sent a letter (24th May) to ISS at a UK level advising that we would NOT be accepting any cuts to our members terms and conditions and if need be, would take all steps available to us to fight them, if as they suggested they decided to implement the cuts regardless of the trade union position. Our letter to ISS was also copied to the Chief Executive of NHS Lanarkshire and our Branch Chairperson, Lilian Macer also raised the issue with NHS Lanarkshire. On Monday 23rd June, two UNISON representatives attended a UNISON ISS meeting in London to discuss the planned attack on terms and conditions. At that meeting ISS re-iterated that this affected contracts in England and only one in Scotland. Following that meeting UNISON advised ISS that any planned changes to terms and conditions would need to be negotiated at a local level i.e. Hairmyres site. On Wednesday 25th June, UNISON Regional Organiser, Robert Rae received an email from Paul Cronin, Employee Relations Director of ISS inviting UNISON to a meeting on 18th July to discuss their proposals in more detail. On Friday 27th June, UNISON took the decision to send out a consultative ballot to its members within ISS seeking guidance on whether you would be willing to take industrial action to protect your terms and conditions. We also issued petitions to members and stewards to raise awareness across NHS Lanarkshire about the proposals to your fellow workers, in the event that you needed support to fight these issues industrially. We believe as a consequence of the pressure brought to bare by UNISON—no other trade union did anything publically—including the subsequent consultative ballot which made ISS reconsider their proposals. We remain convinced that what we outlined was going to happen had it not been for UNISON’s intervention on your behalf. Nothing that UNISON issued therefore was factually incorrect. **************************************************************************** Extract from ISS letter dated 7th May The proposals affect all those operatives—Porters, Housekeepers, Healthcare Cleaners, Security and Catering staff—employed on Afc terms and conditions of service who are contracted to work at weekends or who do so on rosters including weekend work undertaken other than in overtime. They are employed across all NHS Trusts in England (NHS Board in Scotland) in which we are the Soft Facilities Management contractor. Our preferred method of implementation is, by agreement with the unions on behalf of the workforce. However should this not be possible then we will need to consider our options for implementation which, as a last resort, may require imposition of the change in relation to all affected employees. Our proposed timescale is to achieve implementation by 1August 2014. Chris Ash Head of Healthcare **************************************************************************** Organising in ISS As a footnote to this whole issue there is another trade union organising within ISS however they did not contribute anything to the fight that we are aware of, other than piggy backing on UNISON raising the issue at an NHS Lanarkshire Partnership meeting on Monday 30th June. UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch continues to work on behalf of its membership within ISS, and would encourage you get more involved with the branch. If you have an enquiry or wish to speak to the branch, or get more involved please get in touch. Contact details at the bottom.

Monday, 30 June 2014

ISS update

UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch has issued a consultative ballot to all members employed within ISS at Hairmyres Hospital. This followed on from the plans by ISS at a UK level to cut weekend enhancements from staff’s salary if they are off sick. UNISON believes this is an unacceptable attack on staffs terms and conditions which needs to be resisted. The consultative ballot asks members to confirm whether they would take action short of strike action or strike action in the event that ISS introduce these cuts. The Branch has also issued petitions to stewards and members asking that they urge the wider NHS family in Lanarkshire to sign the petition to demonstrate their support for their fellow workers in ISS. We would urge to sign the petition if you are asked.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

UNISON warns of a major assault on public services as 60 per cent of cuts are still to come

UNISON Scotland launched a report today (25th June)  – The Cuts Don’t Work: The impact of ‘austerity’ cuts on Scotland’s public services – showing what’s really happening to public services across the country.

The report highlights that Scotland’s budget is being slashed by more than £6 billion in real terms. Around 50,000 public sector jobs have already gone with a further 60,000 expected jobs expected to go over the next 5 years. And local authorities have little choice but to put up charges for services like school meals, burials and cremations, day care and home care rates as they attempt to balance the books as a result of the ongoing council tax freeze.

While the cuts affect everyone in Scotland, it is the most vulnerable who are hardest hit, as services are cut back, jobs go, pay is cut and living standards fall.

Lilian Macer, UNISON’s Scottish Convener, said: “It’s impossible to take this level of funding and staffing out of public services without serious problems arising over time. And 60 per cent of the cuts are still to come. It’s a major assault on services everybody relies on.

“Some problems may become visible suddenly and dramatically if something goes wrong, for example in food safety, or hospital cleaning where lives can be put at risk. Others may not be noticed in headline news, but are also deeply damaging to the people affected, their families and communities.

“It could be local libraries closing, or the rushed - and very impersonal – 15 minute care visits your grandmother gets, or children whose lives could have been helped and turned around with proper social work support and intervention. Then there is the isolation of people who relied on day care centres that have closed down.”

The report also looks at how the cuts are piling on pressure to overworked, underpaid staff across Scotland including in hospitals, schools, police support staff, colleges and the voluntary sector and it is bringing public services to breaking point. Some of the comments included:

o    “If I was given the time and energy to apply to the families that I work with I could change their lives forever, but currently we stick plasters on wounds that need stitches.”   Social worker

o    “Growing workloads are a real problem. We often have to work through breaks, or work late, just to do the job properly and deliver the right level of care.”   Community midwife

o    “It’s getting worse. I don’t know where it’s going to end, no one cares about the patient or client anymore.”   Home carer

Lilian Macer continued: “This report shows the damage cuts do to local communities, local economies and the fabric of our society. They are the result of decisions and choices made at every level of Government; local, Scottish and UK.

“We can afford public services. Cuts are neither necessary nor inevitable and UNISON will continue to campaign  for the properly funded and accountable public services our society needs.”

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


View personal information without authorisation and you could face disciplinary action

NHS Lanarkshire has implemented a new communication plan which went live on 2nd December 2013.  Employees have been notified of changes through payslips and introductory events.

UNISON has highlighted how these changes would affect members through previous bulletins.

The new system went live on 2nd December 2013.  This system has provided NHS Lanarkshire with information which enables them to spot potential misuses of personal information and breaches of confidentiality.

Confidentiality breaches include:-

1.  Unauthorised examination of the records of famous or public figures
2.  Accessing your own medical record
3.  Accessing records of colleagues, friends, family or neighbours
4.  Using the login of a fellow member of staff

This is Fairwarning!!

for more information visit http://firstport2/staff-support/ehealth-ict or contact the local UNISON branch office unisonlanhealth@Hotmail.co.uk

Thursday, 5 June 2014

UNISON Scotland annual nursing & midwifery conference

 This one-day conference is open to our members across the whole nursing family, including: nurses, midwives, health visitors and healthcare assistants. Together we will consider the key issues currently affecting members and offer an opportunity to debate the future of nursing in Scotland.

 Provisional agenda
09.00 Registration and coffee
10.00 Opening remarks and welcome
10.15 Ros Moore, Chief Nursing Officer (Scotland)
Community nursing in the context of Social Care Integration
11.00 Thomsons Scotland,
Resonding to the NMC on behalf of members and other benefits
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Gail Adams, Head of Nursing for UNISON
14.00 Referendum Hustings
Neil Finlay MSP and Christina McKelvie MSP confirmed
15.00 Tea and coffee
15.15 Willie Duffy, Regional Organiser and UNISON lead of NHS pensions
15.45 Closing remarks

28 August 2014
Mercure Hotel,
Ingram Street, Glasgow
The cost for attending this one-day conference,
10am-4pm, is £25 per delegate, payable by your branch.

To register, contact your local branch or Jean Fraser on j.fraser@unison.co.uk

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Anti-Roma racism is on the rise - Morning Star

OUR friend Michael came to stay with us recently. We got on to the subject, as one does, of grandparents.

Michael’s grandparents lived in Bethnal Green, and were butchers during the 1930s. He told us that his grandfather carried a hammer with him because as a Jew he feared physical assault by anti-semites.

Mosley’s British Union of Fascists were politically active in the East End of London. This rather stark image reminded me of the waves of racism than have scarred British history.

Before the first world war, the British Brothers’ League were also active in the East End and also targeted the Jewish population.

They were formed in 1902 by Captain William Stanley Shaw and a local Conservative MP, Sir William Eden Evans-Gordon.

The League was apparently not at first anti-semitic but opposed all Eastern European migration to East London.

In the 1950s Afro-Caribbean communities bore the brunt as Mosley tried to win votes with his Union Movement in Notting Hill.

Promoting the slogan Keep Britain White, Mosley’s agitation encouraged Teddy Boys to attack the local black population.

Anti-semitism is once again on the rise.

For example, we have seen recently the horrific killings in Belgium, where on May 24 a gunman killed four people in Brussels’s Jewish Museum.
Racism against a range of groups continues.

Racism often functions as a device used by populist politicians to gather votes. In tough economic times, like the 1930s depression and the current ongoing austerity, racism can be electoral gold for the unscrupulous.

If troubles can be blamed on an identifiable group, the racism can be nurtured and made to grow into deep-seated and enduring hatred.

While a wide range of ethnic identities are targeted, the demonisation of the Roma stands out. Nigel Farage stated in his LBC interview that individuals might be uneasy about living next to Romanians.

Ukip have stressed that Romanians and Bulgarians are likely to arrive in Britain increasing numbers.

Romanian is, however, a code word, it seems — not for the population of that country but to a specific group who are, of course, the Roma.
Farage’s remarks follow an avalanche of tabloid media stories, particularly from the Daily Express, about Roma gangs.

The Roma face racism right across eastern and western Europe and have been subject to hate campaigns in Romania too.

Racism against the Roma is, apparently, more acceptable than racism directed at other ethnic groups.

Tabloid newspapers that in the 1970s conjured up the mugging crisis, demonising Afro-Caribbeans as more likely to commit crime, hammer away at the message that Roma are a source of crime.

Statistics are neither here nor there. Emotive imagery has an effect, irrational fears are stoked up and take hold.

Challenging racist populism is not easy.

I guess we all risk discriminating against a perceived “other.”

From football to religion, there are many examples of dislike of another group.

I can joke with Newcastle fans about the bitter conflict with my team of choice, Sunderland.

However an innocent game of football has been known to lead to violent conflict in north-east England.

The examples of religion as a source of identity and extreme conflict between groups, whose theology is apparently identical to others, gives rise to persecution in every continent of the world.

There are no easy solutions to fears, hatreds and resulting prejudices but political organisations need to openly campaign against racism.

I am glad to say that the political party to which I belong happens to have a leader who works to challenge racism, Natalie Bennett.

Up for re-election this summer, Natalie is robust in presenting our Green Party policies on migration and migrants. She’s a powerful voice in campaigns against racism and all forms of scapegoating.

Natalie happens to be from another country, Australia. In recent years our party has worked hard to point out that diversity provides many benefits and that racism is a poison.

I think challenging the demonisation of the Roma is especially important.

There are a range of campaigns and groups promoting Roma rights. In particular we need to work to educate people about the Roma Holocaust.

Not only did Hitler and his allies attempt to exterminate Jews, they also worked to wipe out Roma, Sinti and other travelling communities.

While we don’t face the same kind of threat today, it is sobering that racist rhetoric elected politicians in the 1930s who went on to kill millions.

The Roma Holocaust is not well known — and, of course, during the 1940s it was difficult to convince the allied forces of Hitler’s extermination of Europe’s Jews, people like my friend Michael’s grandparents.

Some estimates suggest that 25 per cent of continental Europe’s Roma were exterminated by Hitler and his allies.

The anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were amended to cover Gypsies and it is thought that other than the Jewish community, traveller communities suffered more than any other group from genocide.

Nobody is really sure how many died but estimates suggest at least 250,000 Roma were killed.

When politicians and tabloids raise fears about the Roma, we should remind them of where such fears led in the past. Fear leads to prejudice, prejudice leads to hate, hate leads to violence.

It is never ever justified. Saloon-bar banter needs to be countered with some stark presentation of the facts about where such banter led in the last century.

Roma communities, as the Economist has noted, are Europe’s “most marginalised ethnic minority.”

They suffer the worst health, education and economic prospects in Europe today.

Populists, as we know, pick on those with the worst problems in their immoral pursuit of easy electoral success. We must shame them and the tabloids when they do so.

In tough times we may have legitimate concerns about wages being driven down.

The solution is, of course, to work for stronger trade unions and effective minimum and living wages.

Incidentally the same arguments around migration have been used to oppose women working in particular sectors of the economy.

Migrants, particularly in the form of the Latin American Workers Association, have been at the forefront of campaigns for better pay, in their case for university cleaners as part of the 3 Cosas campaign.

Crime figures are dressed up to link crime to ethnicity, the ethnicity changes with the fashions of popular racism but it is false to associate crime with some supposed genetic or cultural manifestation of ethnicity.

White Europeans have a historical reputation for forming gangs, travelling to other parts of the globe and violently taking property from others.

From the Australian aborigines to Canada’s First Nations to the Iroquois of New York state and African nations, many have been victims of this crime wave.

It is of course described by the words colonialism and imperialism. However, there is nothing innate or enduring about a supposed European connection with imperialism.

The mechanisms and motives that led to racism need to be demystified and a good example of where racism has borne particularly bitter fruit is the Roma Holocaust.

It is vital that we make this example better known.

UNISON - There for You

There for You -  UNISON’s  Welfare charity have set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income with school uniform costs by way of a one-off payment of up to £120.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

ISS members meeting today

UNISON member's employed by ISS at Hairmyres attended a meeting with the Branch this morning to receive a report on the proposed cuts to weekend enhancements while sick.

They were informed of a letter received by UNISON advising that ISS wished to commence contract-by-contract discussions on cutting weekend enhancements from staff that are ill. ISS originally wanted to pursue these cuts (with an implementation date of 1st June) at a UK level, which was rejected by UNISON's national officer.

ISS subsequently have suggested extending their consultation process until 1st August, which was outlined in their letter dated 7th May 2014.

UNISON has written to the Head of ISS Healthcare, copying in the local Business Manager and the Chief Executive of NHS Lanarkshire, outlining UNISON's position in the event of ISS pursuing these cuts. We are aware that NHS Lanarkshire fully funds the contract at Hairmyres and as a consequence do not believe these cuts are justifiable in any shape of form.

UNISON members endorsed the Branch position that the proposals were unacceptable and that all options should be considered - if ISS decide to go ahead with these attacks on the lowest paid staff in Hairmyres.

We will ensure that members employed within ISS and the wider Branch membership continues to be updated on this attack on staff terms and conditions.

Some links to information on Private Finance Initative's (PFI):
If you are not a member of UNISON you can join by following this link

Thursday, 22 May 2014

ISS members meeting

A UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch meeting to discuss ISS proposed attacks on weekend enhancements has been arranged for Saturday 24th May at 10.30 am in the restaurant at Hairmyres Hospital.



UNISON Lanarkshire Health branch has received correspondence from our national offices advising that ISS Senior management at a UK level (not Hairmyres) have decided to cut staff’s terms and conditions across their NHS contracts in England and Scotland.
The company propose to withdraw weekend enhancements to all staff who fall ill and as a consequence are not fit for work. Their proposed attack on weekend enhancements and their alternative proposal would mean that staff who fall ill will only receive sick pay based on their BASIC hourly rate.
They confirmed their proposals in a letter dated 7 May 2014.
It is the intention of ISS to have this cut implemented by 1 August 2014.
UNISON has written to Chris Ash, ISS Head of Healthcare, advising that UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch and its members within ISS will NOT
be accepting this attack on our members terms and conditions.
Mary Samson, UNISON Branch Secretary said “UNISON fought long and hard to get ISS staff at Hairmyres onto Agenda for Change rates of pay, and as such we will NOT be accepting a dilution of those rates.”
ISS stated reason for targeting weekend enhancements when staff are off on sick leave is based on their belief that sickness rates are running higher at weekends than on weekdays. This we believe is a UK wide view and does not necessarily reflect the position locally at Hairmyres.
UNISON urges all its members in ISS NOT to sign up to these changes, this affects all staff within ISS—whether you work weekends or not.
If ISS get away with attacking sick pay and weekend enhancements— there is nothing to stop them attacking other terms and conditions at a later date.
Remember they are in the NHS for a PROFIT!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

NMC Online survey on revising the Code and revalidation now open

Dear Colleague

The online survey for the second part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s consultation on revising the Code and revalidation is now open.

It went live at 6pm on the 19 May 2014 and will close at midday on the 11 August 2014.

To read the draft revised Code and the media release launching the consultation click here.

Click here for further information on the Code and revalidation.

Please forward this email to your contacts and colleagues who you feel should be either responding to the consultation or helping promote it to their members, networks or staff members.

Kind regards

NMC Revalidation Team

UNISON granted permission to appeal High Court decision on tribunal fees

UNISON has been granted permission to appeal the High Court's decision turning down its Judicial Review application over tribunal fees.

The Court of Appeal decided yesterday that the basis of the issue is of “sufficient general importance to merit permission to appeal”.

In the High Court last year, UNISON challenged the Government’s decision to introduce Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees.  The union argued that the introduction of fees would deny access to justice for workers treated unfairly by employers and would therefore be unlawful, and that introduction of fees has a disproportionate impact on women.

The High Court appeared to accept the union's argument, but ruled that because the fees were introduced last year the full impact could not be judged. 

UNISON will ask the Court of Appeal to consider the shocking figures released in March 2014 that revealed Employment Tribunal claims dropped by 79% in the first six months after the Government imposed fees on workers bringing a claim.

Official statistics show that the number of claims received in October to December 2013 was 9,801 – 79% fewer than in the same period in 2012, and down 75% on the period July to September 2013. Sex discrimination claims have dropped by 77% compared to the same period in 2012 and by 82% compared to the previous quarter. And there have been 83% fewer equal pay claims compared to the same period in 2012 - 85% less than the previous quarter.

Figures for tribunal claims lodged between January and March 2014 are expected to be released in June.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said: "UNISON has always argued that charging people to bring employment tribunal claims is unfair. We are very pleased that the Court of Appeal believes that our case merits further consideration."

UNISON has been successful in securing a significant concession from the Government, in that claimants who are successful will now generally have their fees reimbursed.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

NMC increase in fees

Despite already increasing the registration fees for nurses and midwives in 2012 from £76 to £100 the NMC have announced that they want to further increase fees by 20% to £120 in 2015.
UNISON is opposed to the increase and is campaigning against it. Over 100,000 people have already signed the online petition
UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch is calling on all nurse and midwife members to write to the MP and ask for their support in our campaign to oppose the increase.
The Campaign
It’s quite simple. over the next few months UNISON will be out and about in every workplace encouraging nurse members to sign up to our campaign.
We will have packs of standard letters for you and your colleagues to sign, if you are a UNISON member we will post them on to your MP for you.
Alternatively you can use the template letter (cut and paste) below and the following web link to write or email, to your MP direct at the House of Commons.
At this stage we are not targeting MSP's because the issue of NMC Registration and Fees is still reserved to the UK Government.
In addition Branch Secretary Mary Samson is writing to every MP in the Lanarkshire area asking them for their support. Who knows one or two might even agree to meet with UNISON members to hear their views - if they do we will keep members on our email list posted.
Not on our email list? You can make sure you are kept up to date with all of the big issues affecting UNISON members simply email us at

with your name, address and email and we will amend your records to make sure that you are included in our regular email communications to members.
You Can Find Your MP here...
Before you start you will want to find out who your MP is. You can use your postcode to find the name of your MP here..
Template Letter
<<insert your name>> 

<<Your MP's name >>
House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA 

<<insert date>>

Dear  MP

I am seeking your support as a local constituent and one of 670,000 nurses and midwives working in the UK in our fight to scrap further NMC fee increases.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the independent regulator for nurses and midwives on the UK. It is illegal to work as a nurse or midwife without being on the NMC register. In order to be on the register, all nurses and midwives must pay an annual registration fee. The NMC maintains this register in order to 'protect the public'.

The NMC has again proposed an increase in registrations fees, this latest increase will see fees rise from £100 to £120 per annum, a 20% hike. The last increase was in 2012 following a consultation in which nurse and midwives were overwhelmingly against the rise from £76 to £100, a 32% rise, a total increase of 52% in two years. At this time the NMC was bailed out to the tune of £20million by the Government only two years later they state that without a fee increase the NMC will end the financial year with a £7.3 million deficit. This report was tabled at the January council meeting of the NMC. Over 670,000 nurses and midwives pay the annual fee currently totally £67 million. 77% of registrants fees are spent on 'fitness to practice'.

Health Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health has said that

“it beggars belief that the NMC should even consider asking nursing staff to pay such a massive increase in fees.  The family budgets of many nurses and midwives are under severe pressure and one more bill to pay can all too easily tip them over the edge, especially as it comes on the back of the recent pay announcement. Public protection is everyone's business and the full financial burden shouldn't fall to registrants alone.”

I write today to ask for your help and support, to ask questions of the NMC and their financial mismanagement.

Kind regards

Contacting your MP is just the start of the campaign, if your MP is in touch with you, let us know what she/he says - send a copy of their letter or email to UNISON at the contact details at the side of this website.

You could even write to your local newspaper or to the NMC direct

Thursday, 17 April 2014

NHS strike ballot

Delegates at UNISON’s annual health care conference in Brighton have this week given an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote to an industrial action ballot over pay.
Speaker after speaker, angrily condemned the UK Government’s decision not to pay the full Pay Review Body award to NHS staff in England.

The UK government will only allow the pay award to be paid to staff at the top of theirincremental scale. And to add insult to injury, the pay rise will be non-consolidated. All other staff will not receive the pay award. This means
that 60% of NHS staff and 70% of nurses in England will not get any pay award this year.

Christina McAnea, UNISON’s Head of Health, said: “Demand for NHS services is increasing and funding has been cut regardless of what the Westminster Government says and they want you and our members to make up the shortfall by cutting pay and conditions.”

“We face a Government in England deliberately provoking us into a dispute and so no doubt they are already preparing for this. So we must
be prepared.”

The strike ballot will go ahead in England, but talks will be held over UNISON’s position in Scotland because of the different approach being taken by the Scottish Government.