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.