A large part of this year has been spent supporting members with TUPE because of the Government cuts as OHFT has to tender/bid for work. I don't believe that when the NHS was set up in 1948 it was ever expected to become a "business". Too many services and more importantly jobs are being trimmed to the bone so that it becomes unsustainable and the workload becomes unmanageable. Staff are burning out and there isn't enough funding to deliver a service that the staff and patients can be proud of.
These cuts not only cause physical issues for members but also their mental health suffers. This year our workload has increased and we've tried our best to support our members. We have represented members with anything from disciplinary hearings caused by "burn out" to helping members to apply for welfare to fund some of their every day bills, this is a service Unison supplies but it's a disgrace that this has to happen in 2014.
We've recruited new stewards who will be trained to support members in the next month so we'll become a louder voice when dealing with issues that members need support with.
We are still negotiating with management over the thorny issue of staff car parking, we don't object to the issuing of permits but we strongly object to paying for this, members cannot afford more to be taken out of their earnings. The joint union petition against charges has been supported by hundreds of staff.
We have spent a considerable amount of time campaigning for a pay rise and so far have had two successful strikes with members giving strong support to the picket lines. There was a lot of anger at the few well paid members who scabbed on the strike, leaving the lowest paid to fight for their wage rise. Over a hundred Unison members have had more than 4 hours pay deducted for the Oct 13th strike. Union Stewards in OHFT have lodged a collective grievance demanding the full amount owed to staff is returned in good time for Xmas.
The recent letter from the Chief Executive about the downgrading of the Trust’s financial status (see back page) will no doubt increase pressures on staff. We will need more new stewards to defend ourselves in 2015.
Jane Lacey - joint convenor