Friday, 27 November 2015

UNISON Urges Meaning Negotiations

As staff at BBraun Sterilog return to work after a 24 hour stoppage and begin a seven day work to rule, UNISON urges the employer to enter meaningful negotiations to being the dispute to a close.

Staff employed by the company, BBraun Sterilog, are employed to clean and sterilise surgical equipment. This is used in hospitals across Birmingham including the Women’s and Children’s Hospitals. They are taking industrial action because of a threat by the company to remove breaks.

Ray Salmon, UNISON West Midlands Regional Organiser said:

“Following a successful day of action yesterday we urge the BBraun Serilog, as well as hospitals in the Pan Birmingham NHS Trusts, to come to the table and participate in meaningful negotiations to end this dispute.

The staff working at the company work in sterile environments. This is to ensure the public can go in to operating theatres knowing hospital staff caring for them have clean and sterile equipment with which to carry out their work. What this means for the staff is working in a hot and oppressive environment, wearing surgical scrubs. There is limited opportunity for them to take refreshments except within these short breaks.”

UNISON and the staff are keen to bring the dispute to a close but this can only be done if all parties engage in the negotiating process.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Tax credits u-turn will bring huge relief to nearly three million working families, says UNISON

Commenting on the announcement today (Wednesday) that the Chancellor is to reverse his planned cuts to tax credits, Ravi Subramanian UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:

“Nearly three million working families countrywide have breathed a collective sigh of relief. Since the cuts were announced in the summer, parents have faced increasing anxiety over losing the tax credits they rely upon so heavily.

“We’re pleased that the Chancellor has made good use of the thinking time last month’s Lords vote gave the government.

But the real credit for today’s decision goes to the many brave parents who talked publicly about their already stretched finances, and the distress and hardship the cuts would cause. Their stories convinced the government this unfair tax credits grab was wrong.

The government must now do more to encourage employers to pay staff more – at least the real living wage of £8.25 an hour. This would make a difference to the many low-income families still struggling to make ends meet.

In 2018 new claims for tax credits will stop, and the families receiving them will start to be switched on to Universal Credit. The Chancellor must not use this change as a way to revive his original plans and leave working families worse off in 2020 than today.”

UNISON reacts to spending review announcement on NHS

Commenting on the announcement on the NHS today (Wednesday) by the Chancellor, Ravi Subramanian Unison West Midlands Regional Secretary said

"So far the government’s plans for funding the NHS have been all smoke and mirrors. There has been no consistent plan to deal with the social care crisis and its consequent impact on the NHS.

There’s also been no strategy to prepare and adapt the health service to deal with the challenges of an ageing population, or one strategy to fairly pay its overworked staff.

The new funding will do little to stop long ambulance queues outside A&E departments and little to help organisations that are already in black alert.

Also commenting on the scrapping of bursaries for student nurses, Ravi added:

“Scrapping student nurse bursaries at a time when the NHS is struggling with a shortage of nurses is wrong and irresponsible.

The bursary is a major incentive for people to train as nurses as it helps attract older and diverse candidates. Nurses are already the lowest paid of all those who take vocational degrees. The starting salary is lower than a newly qualified teacher or a graduate police officer. Adding financial pressures onto roles that are so vital makes no sense and will deter many from applying."

UNISON Warns of Disruption to Hospitals Across Birmingham

UNISON has today warned of disruption to hospitals across Birmingham as staff employed to provide sterile serves to all the major trusts in the area take industrial action this Thursday (26th November 2015). 
Employees of BBraun Sterilog will be striking over the decision by their employer to dismiss any staff who refuse to give up their breaks while at work. There will be an all out, 24 hour stoppage from 0001hrs on the 26th November 2015 and staff will work to rule from then on.
The staff provide specialist services to sterilise medical instruments used in hospital theatres and specialist units. The action is likely to affect hospitals such as The QE, the Children’s Hospital and the major A+E departments in the city.
The dispute follows an attempt by BBraun to force staff to give up breaks. The work they carry out is in a controlled environment which prevents them from taking refreshments while in the workplace, irrespective of the temperatures, protective equipment they have to wear or a number of other difficult working conditions. Many of these staff have had these breaks for a number of years which predate their employment with BBraun before being transferred to the private company from the NHS.
Ray Salmon UNISON West Midlands Regional Organiser said:
“It is disappointing that this has come to a strike. We have tried to resolve this amicably but BBraun have consistently refused to listen to their staff or offer a sensible resolution. Once our members made it clear they didn’t feel they could give up their breaks the company changed from a reasonable employer to take a hard line and have taken steps to dismiss staff’.
Despite the potential impact on major NHS services across Birmingham the NHS trusts have refused to assist and resolve the dispute.”
Ray Salmon added
‘I have never experienced such a poor response from the NHS Trusts on an issue like this. They transferred their staff to BBraun and despite contracting them to provide the service they think they can ignore this action. This is a very dangerous position to take.’

Monday, 16 November 2015

Congratulations to... West Midlands Regional Awards

On Wednesday last week the West Midlands Regional Awards took place at the Rep theatre in Birmingham. Congratualtions to all the winners.


 Gina Meredith Customer Service Award

Birmingham branch won this award

Sittu Ahmed of the CVS branch; Ian Houston of the UHNM branch and Helen Randle of the Dudley Group of Hospitals branch were all highly commended

Irene Barker – best recruiting and growing branch

George Eliot branch

Adele Gwyne Organising Award

Coventry and St Cross branch

Recruitment Innovation

Walsall healthcare and UHNM branches were joint winners

Dudley Group of Hospitals were highly commended


Birmingham branch


Black Country Health


Dave Warren, Keel University branch

Health and Safety

Mike Maley, Walsall General branch

Learning at Work

Winners were West Midlands Fire

Birmingham branch were highly commended

Friday, 23 October 2015

17th Annual West Midlands Health Conference

Health branch activists from across the West Midlands region, gathered at the Bescott Stadium in Walsall for their 17th regional annual health conference.

The general secretary, Dave Prentis, opened the conference with a morale boosting speech to delegates. Dave reassured conference that in spite of the barrage of anti trade union legislation UNISON remained strong and popular amongst working people.

To illustrate this he told conference that since this government came to power over 700,000 people of the have joined unison which demonstrates that unions are as relevant today as they always have been.

Delegates then split into 3 focus group sessions on:

Change Management and Downbanding – facilitated by Alan Lofthouse

Managing Sickness Absence (incorporating stress in the workplace) – facilitated by Robert Baughan

The Changing Face of UNISON - facilitated by Dave Johnson

After lunch delegates listen to 2 presentations followed by QAs on:

- TUC’s Work on Public Services and Austerity – Matt Dykes, TUC Senior Policy Officer for - Public Services

- Trade Union Bill – Rob Smith, Thompsons


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Personal Injury Success - September

Every month UNISON wins thousands of pounds for our members who are injured at work or at home through no fault of their own.

Unlike no-win no-fee lawyers the union does not charge for this service and all the compensation goes to the member.

In September this year we won over £232,500 for our members.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

UNISON’s reaction to the Prime Minister’s speech in Manchester

Commenting on David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative party conference today (Wednesday) in Manchester, UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
"The Prime Minister talks of launching an ‘all-out assault on poverty’, but his government is soon to make almost three million working families and their five million children significantly poorer. Cuts to tax credits next April will hit the incomes of families already struggling to get by, forcing them deeper and deeper into debt.
David Cameron recognises the need to make the UK's inflated housing market more affordable, yet anyone wanting to buy one of the new 'affordable' starter homes needs to be earning at least £76,000 a year in London, or £50,000 elsewhere.
According to the Treasury, only 30 per cent of the population earn more than £50,000, pricing the starter homes way beyond the reach of most workers, including public servants like nurses, teaching assistants, PCSOs and school cleaners.
Developers given the option of providing 'affordable' housing are likely to opt for homes to sell rather than rent, leaving anyone who doesn't earn enough to get a mortgage high and dry.
This housing crisis is forcing public sector workers to live further and further from their places of work. Four more years of pay restraint and the cuts to tax credits will make it increasingly difficult for local hospitals and councils to recruit and retain staff.
The government must commit to a national public house building programme to deliver the low rent and affordable homes people need. This would lower housing costs, cut the housing benefit bill, and make it much easier for people to rent or own their own homes.”