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Ambulance trusts move to cut sick pay

Ambulance trusts are moving to cut sick pay, in spite of continued warnings from UNISON that, if pay is docked, the union will begin an industrial action ballot.

From April 2013 - following changes to Agenda for Change - other NHS staff in England have not received unsocial hours' payments when they are absent through sickness.

These staff are paid on the section two arrangements, in which an hour-for-hour formula is used for calculating out-of-hours pay.

Ambulance employers think that these changes should automatically apply to the Annex E payments that ambulance staff receive, in which a supplement is worked out and a capped percentage uplift is applied to basic pay. This could see staff losing up to 25% of their pay when sick.

The employers put formal proposals on the issue to the union in the summer, and members voted overwhelmingly to reject the planned deductions, saying that they would be willing to take industrial action if the employers went ahead and imposed the change.

All the English ambulance trusts have notified the union that they will be implementing the change, effective from 1 September 2013.

UNISON continues to talk to employers in order to prevent the deductions being made, but is also putting plans in place to run a formal ballot for industrial action if members have money docked.

Members should look out for more information from their branch.

"Ambulance staff do a difficult, stressful, often dangerous job and face a daily risk of injury, illness and violence at work. It is wrong for the employers to forge ahead with these proposals," said UNISON national secretary Christina McAnea.

"We hear, day after day, about the pressure that paramedics and ambulance workers face, coupled with the rising number of 999 calls.

"Ambulance workers do not take industrial action lightly. They know that lives depend on their care and expertise. But feelings are running high and it is time that the employers recognised that the ambulance service is too vital play games with. We are calling on the employers to continue negotiations and find a way to resolve this."

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Why is UNISON campaigning?

The NHS is under threat from privatisation and cuts.

·         The Tory health act has pushed the profit motive to the heart of the English NHS.

·         Key treatments are being restricted, services cut and jobs lost, resulting in increased waiting times, delays and staff shortages on our wards.

·         Restricted funding settlements are also affecting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 


Our NHS remains the fairest and most cost-effective health service in the world.

Don’t let the Tories ruin it.

999 – answer the call for your NHS.

Join UNISON in Manchester on 29 September.

How this affects you

A longer wait in A&E

A longer wait for test results

A shortage of staff in hospitals

A poorer service, but an increase in your taxes

 

UNISON urges members to lobby their MPs over new 'gagging law'

Whilst MPs were on their summer recess the government introduced a draconian piece of legislation called the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, or the 'gagging law'.

A reaction to another scandal of an MP taking cash and favours from an undercover journalist posing as a lobbyist, the Bill has turned out to be one of the most draconian pieces of legislation the coalition has created - uniting figures from across the political spectrum including Owen Jones, the Guido Fawkes blog, Zac Goldsmith, the Taxpayers Alliance, 38 Degrees, Greenpeace and the TUC.

UNISON policy officer Ben Kind said: "Whilst the media have focused largely on the failed attempt to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists (that ironically will apply to fewer lobbyists than the existing voluntary register!) it is the proposals to further restrict election campaigning by those other than formal political parties and actual candidates - the 'non-party campaigning' bit."
 
"The Bill will gag charities, NGOs, blogs, think-tanks, trade unions and other campaigning organisations by severely restricting how much money they can spend on political campaigning in the year running up to a general election and making the rules apply to so much activity that many organisations will be caught out just by staff and office costs alone. The TUC thinks it may be forced to cancel its 2014 Congress and will be prevented from holding any demonstrations because of the new spending limits. The same could apply to UNISON.
 
"We know the Bill is a cynical attempt to stop those who have complaints about the coalition government and their policies from being able to voice them in the run up to the 2015 general election."

UNISON is urging its members to read more about it and get in touch with their MPs through 38 Degrees and their website.

Use the 38 degrees site to contact your MP about the gagging law

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Unsocial Hours Update

 

Thank you for voting in the recent ballot on Annex E proposals.  As you know, UNISON members in SWASFT rejected the proposals and sent a very clear message that they do not want  to agree changes which would allow ambulance employers to deduct Annex E payments during periods of sick leave to reflect the NHS Staff Council changes made to the standard ‘section 2’ payments earlier this year.

This leaves us in a situation where there is no collective agreement on the issue; with employers arguing that the changes made to sick pay for other NHS staff automatically mean Annex E payments can be cut, and the unions taking the position that cutting Annex E payments without agreement would be unlawful.   The trust has said that it will go ahead without agreement and dock payments.  UNISON will be challenging this, but are talking to the employers both locally and nationally to ask them not to impose changes and to fully consider the implications of entering a formal dispute on an issue on which members clearly feel so strongly.

We will keep you posted on progress here in SWASFT but we will be talking to you and to colleagues in other unions over the coming weeks about the best way to challenge what we see as unlawful cuts to your wages.

In the meantime please keep a record of any deductions in unsocial hour’s payments resulting from sickness and let the Branch know via the address below. In addition any injury you sustain at work must be recorded, no matter how little via the Datix system in order to protect yourselves and assist in the process of claiming an industrial injury if you have to take time off sick as a result.

 

For more information please contact simon@swamb.com , tel. 07773034636 or your local rep.

 

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