1. The UK general election is due to take place on the 8th June, which is the same day that the Branch meeting was scheduled. Accordingly, the Branch meeting will now take place on the 15th.
2. At the May Branch meeting, Andrew McCready was elected Branch Treasurer. A replacement editor for the Branch website was not elected, and in the interim that role will be filled by the Branch Secretary, Andrew Gray.
2017: Yet another real terms pay cut – what next?
The NHS Scotland pay award for 2017 was 1% for most AfC staff (i.e. those earning more than £22,000). In March 2017 the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation was 2.3% (the Retail Price Index (RPI) was 3.1%) – so, in real terms, yet another pay cut.
This was the latest in a long line of real terms pay cuts:
2016 1% pay rise (CPI 0.5%; RPI 1.6%);
2015 1% pay rise (CPI 0%; RPI 0.9%);
2014 1% pay rise (CPI 1.6%; RPI 2.5%)
2013 1% pay rise (CPI 2.8%; RPI 3.3%)
2012 zero pay rise (CPI 3.5%; RPI 3.6%); and
2011 zero pay rise (CPI 4%; RPI 5.3%).
Since 2011, the overall pay rise has been just over 5%. To keep pace with inflation as measured by CPI would have required 15.6%, or 22% to match RPI inflation. On either measure of inflation, a substantial real terms pay cut in the past six years.
What do you think is the way forward? Should we continue with the UK Pay Review Body (PRB), perhaps with a changed remit to make it more independent of Government influence? Should we have UK pay bargaining outwith the PRB. Should we have pay bargaining for NHS Scotland separate from the rest of the UK? Should we ballot on strike action, overtime bans, work to rule? Some other strategy?
Your view is important. Discuss this with your Unite colleagues and let your senior representative know the outcome.
Unite members in Scotland benefiting from legal services.
So far, in the first quarter of 2017, Unite Legal Services have obtained £1,159,025 damages in Employment cases and £2,245,687 in Personal Injury compensation for its Scotland members through our three panel solicitors – Allan McDougall, Dallas McMillan and Thompsons Solicitors.
There have been 269 free wills prepared and 179 members have received free legal advice. Members do not pay any legal fees when pursuing a claim through Unite Legal Services and retain 100% of any compensation awarded.
Find out more about Unite Scotland legal services here
Resignations from Branch Office
Following the resignation of James Ito as Branch Treasurer and Website Editor, and Donald Sime as Branch Auditor, by-elections to fill the resultant vacancies will take place as follows:
April Shop Stewards' Committee (date and venue details here)
May Branch meeting (date and venue details here)
Branch Website Editor
Revised recruitment and retention premia (RRP) policy
The NHS Scotland Scottish Terms and Conditions Committe (STAC) has published revised guidlines for submitting RRP applications. The Directors Letter and policy attachments can be downloaded here
AfC 2017 pay scales published
The Scottish government has published the Agenda for Change pay scales to take effect from 1st April 2017. The salary scales will
increase in line with Scotland’s Public Sector Pay Policy. This will mean that all pay points currently over £22,000 will receive a 1% uplift, and all pay points currently £22,000 or below will receive a flat rate increase of £400. The circular and attached pay scales can be downloaded here.
Unite Scotland lead officer for health Gordon Casey said: “Our members in the NHS are dedicated, committed and hard-working. We all rely on them. They deserve a fair pay rise that at least keeps their heads above water.
“What the PRB has proposed is woefully inadequate and means that the majority of NHS staff will have experienced a loss of income in real terms of about 17 per cent since 2010.
“Our members deserve more. A one per cent increase will see them continue to lose money in real terms – especially now that inflation is on the rise. We will now take time to consult with them and decide on a way forward.”
Election of senior representative
Following the resignation of Paul Britten as a senior representative, a by-election to fill the vacancy will be held at the April Shop Stewards' Committee - date and venue details here.
New senior representative areas of responsibilities
First of all, welcome to Jen McAlpine who was elected as a senior representative to replace Caroline Fyfe who has retired from the NHS.
Jen has been a shop steward for Unite in Speech and Language Therapy since June 2015 and has found being a shop steward both a challenging and rewarding experience but one which has further reinforced her passion for worker's rights. She is excited to be taking up the role of senior rep and looks forward to working with her colleagues in this capacity.
As well as the change in personnel, there has been a reshuffle of senior representative areas of responsibility and these are detailed here.
Healthcare Science Week masks a ‘stressed and demoralised’ workforce
The glossy launch of Healthcare Science Week last week masks a world of overwork, stress, plummeting morale and staff shortages,
There are an estimated 60,000 healthcare scientists and support staff in the UK and a recent survey by Unite of healthcare science members paints a picture of a dedicated workforce bending to breaking point under the weight of the NHS financial crisis.
Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: “With a fanfare, the NHS Employers organisation is promoting Healthcare Science Week to highlight the profession as an attractive career.
“But what is being sidestepped is that the profession is on its knees. However dedicated you are, it is a struggle to perform to your best in an environment of cost-cutting, and work-related stress.
Brighton-based chair of Unite’s healthcare sciences committee Ian Evans said: “This survey only goes to confirm what all healthcare scientists working in the NHS already knew.
“For years we have strived and delivered high quality results ensuring patient treatment is met in a quick and safe way. This is done, without fuss, normally in the knowledge that this can be anytime of the day, any day of the week.
“How long are colleagues expected to continue to work in an unrewarded and underfunded way is in serious doubt. These concerns have to be addressed now because we cannot be sure how much longer it will be before the service collapses.”
Branch nominiates McCluskey for general secretary
UPDATE The election addresses and further details of all duly nominated candidates can be viewed on the Electoral Reform Services website:
As reported below, the union is holding elections for the post of general secretaryand members of the executive council. At its February meeting, the Branch agreed to nominate as follows:
General Secretary: Len McCluskey
Health: Suzanne Abachor, Ian Evans, Jasmin Suraya
Scottish Region: Eddie Cassidy, Ann Crozier
BAEM: Susan Matthews
Disabled: Seàn McGovern
LGBT: Jenny Douglas
Womens: Jane Stewart
Youth: Jack Youd
(posted 07/02/2017, updated 11/03/2017)
Unite Scotland members’ legal successes.
During the last quarter of 2016, legal action on behalf of individual Unite members in Scotland secured over £1,000,000 in 215 personal injury cases and £118,526 in 64 employment cases.
Individual examples include:
Great work @Allan_McDougall & @Thompsons_Sols
Branch members are reminded that the union offers a FREE will writing service. If you wish to take advantage of this, contact the Unite Glasgow office.
Unite response to the government's review of employment tribunal consultation
Responding to the claims made by the government that the introduction of a fee for workers seeking to pursue justice through an employment tribunal has been a success, the leader of the UK’s biggest union accused ministers of `dealing in alternative facts’.
The £1,500 fee had been introduced by the coalition government, despite warnings from unions that this would be a barrier to workplace fairness.
With the government’s own review confirming that claims had fallen by 70 per cent in the short period since their introduction, Unite the union reiterated its calls for the fees to be scrapped, alongside upcoming plans to impede unions taking personal injury claims on behalf of members.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "The Conservative government is dealing in alternative facts to claim that both the fall in employment tribunal applications is greater than they anticipated and that people are not losing out.
"The actual facts are that when working people are priced out of justice, and it is made exceptionally difficult for their unions to pursue it on their behalf, then the only winners are bad employers.
"Quite clearly the so-called safeguards put in place by the government are not adequate. These need an overhaul now, but the fees really must go along with the crazy plan to hurt working people even further by preventing their union from pursuing personal injury claims on their behalf."
The Branch website has had a makeover: it will now react to the screen or browser window size and reformat approriately (text remains the same size to preserve legibility); buttons change colour on mousing over them; interactive Google maps etc.
All of the old site's materials are still available and can be accessed by clicking on the button at the bottom of the front (home) page.
Unite General Secretary and Executive Council elections 2017
Branch members should note that the campaign statements for members seeking nomination as candidates in the election of the General Secretary and Executive Council 2017 can be found here.
Please note that branches may still also nominate any other eligible member who has not yet told the union that they are seeking nomination - this will be considered at the February meeting of the Branch. We can nominate in the following constituencies: general secretary, National BAEM, National Disabled, National LGBT, National Womens, National Youth, Region Scotland, and Sector Health.
If you would like the campaign statements to be posted to you please contact email@example.com stating your name, branch and postal address including postcode.
January Branch meeting
Branch members are reminded that the January 12th meeting of the Branch and subsequent Branch meetings in 2017 will take place at 6.30 p.m. in the IET Glasgow Teacher Building, 14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow G1 4DB
Rest breaks and the law
The Working Time Regulations (WTR) state that workers are entitled to a rest break if their daily working time is more than six hours. Regulation 30 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 provides that a worker may present a claim to an employment tribunal where the employer has refused to permit the worker to exercise any right to a rest break..
A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision made clear that employers are under a duty to afford workers their entitlement to take a rest break. Where working arrangements are put into place which do not allow workers to do so, that amounts to a refusal by the employer. Conversely, if the employer takes active steps to ensure working arrangements that enable workers to take their rest breaks, they will have met their obligation under the WTR as workers cannot be forced to take the rest breaks, they can only be “enabled” to take them.
The case is a welcome clarification of the right of workers to take rest breaks. In particular, while workers cannot be forced to take their rest breaks, employers must ensure that working arrangements allow them to do so. Where workers are under pressure not to take rest breaks because of working arrangements they will not be prevented from bringing a claim just because they have not requested one.
Information courtesy of Thompsons Solicitors
The Branch website has had a makeover: it will now react to the screen or browser window size and scale approriately; buttons change colour on mousing over them; interactive Google maps etc. All of the old site's materials are still available and can be accessed by clicking on the button at the bottom of the front (home) page.
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