Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Huge Mobilisation and Growing Public Support for NHS Strikers

Health workers on strike yesterday received tremendous support during their four-hour stoppage. Tens of thousands walked out in protest at the Government’s decision to deny a paltry 1% pay rise to all NHS staff.

There were picket lines at every acute hospital, ambulance station and across many community health services in the West Midlands and while on strike workers provided life and limb cover and cared for anyone in need of emergency treatment.

Franco Buonaguro, UNISON West Midlands Regional Head of Health said:

“While the anger is spreading, so is the public support for NHS workers’ fight for fair pay.  NHS workers don’t go on strike lightly but they do so carefully and safely. Patient safety is paramount and this is why workers stopped for just four hours. All we’re asking for is fair pay, and the public understand that.

The growing public support for health workers is overwhelming. They understand health workers are being reasonable. We are not talking big money or bonuses here, it’s simply the money that the Independent NHS Pay Review Body said they should have.

NHS services were affected in every major hospital and ambulance station.” 

He went on to say:

“It is irresponsible of the Government to not even try to resolve this dispute. Their behaviour is in danger of putting patients and the public at risk.

NHS workers will now take part in action short of strike action between Tuesday 25 November and Sunday 30 November, with members working to rule.”

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Police Front Counter Closures

We were shocked to hear the announcement yesturday from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner of the extent of the cuts to take place to police front desks.
 
A review had been taking place but the announcement that twenty seven are set to close was unexpected. The closures will happen over the next 12 months and will mean that just ten front offices will remain open between 8am to 10pm and only Birmingham Central will remain open 24/7.
 
Our Regional Organiser for Police and Justice, Charlie Sarell said in response:
 
“UNISON is of course worried about the extent of these cuts and the service this will provide to the general public. The reasoning behind this review and the extent of the closures is clear, it is the fault of the Conservative government. The ongoing cuts to police funding is penalising the West Midlands unfairly, while some County forces in the south are not being affected. UNISON will be working hard to protect our members jobs but given the extent of the cuts we are significantly worried that they and other staff will be facing compulsory redundancies.”
While the Branch Secretary of West Midlands Police branch, Jill Harrison added:
 
“This is going to have a massive impact on our members and all the police staff across the West Midlands. We will be working hard to support all those affected by these significant changes, but this is about more than just jobs, it is going to impact on the local economy too. There is an unemployment issue in the West Midlands and making more people redundant will only make this worse”
 
The details of the announcememt can be found here

Monday, 17 November 2014

Congratulations to the Winners

Our regional awards on Wednesday Night where a great success and it was a pleasure to have Lucia McKeever our President to present the awards. The winners were:

Gina Meredith Customer Service Award-
Richard Pittaway
Amelia Rout
Sue Forrester

Irene Barker - Best Overall Recruitment
George Eliot

Adele Gwynn Organising Award
Dudley Group of Hospitals

Recruitment Innovation - Sponsored by UIA
UHNS (Victoria Wadley)
Walsall Health Care

Communications - Sponsored by UNISON Protect
Sandwell General

Campaigning - Sponsored by Thompsons
George Eliot

Equalities
Birmingham Community Health

Health and Safety - Sponsored by Croyde Bay Holiday Resort
Redditch and Bromsgrove (Laney Walsh)

Learning at Work
Birmingham Branch

Congratulations to all the winners and make sure you check back to the blog next week when we will be profiling each of our winners and the work they did to win them the award.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

And the Winner is...

Votes counted, trophies polished and speeches written: Tonight is the night that our regional awards take place at The Rep Theatre in Birmingham with 9 categories to be decided with over 25 nominations; competition was tight!
The awards ceremony is our opportunity to celebrate the past year and the successes of our many branches across the region.
To keep up to date with the action throughout the evening follow us on twitter @unisonwestmids using #wmuawards14
 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Second Day of Action by Health Workers

Following the last NHS stoppage on 24th October we were hopeful that the Government would sit round the table and continue discussions about pay but they haven’t! So the Service Group Executive (Nationally) has been forced to take the decision to move to a second day of action on Monday 24th November 2014.

We are not doing this alone and a total of eleven trade unions will be taking part. These include:

  • UNISON
  • Royal College of Midwives (RCM)
  • Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT)
  • Society of Radiographers (SoR)
  • British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT)
  • GMB
  • Unite the union
  • Managers in Partnership (MiP)
  • Prison Officers Association (POA)
  • Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association* (HCSA)
  • British Dietetic Association * (BDA)

More information on the action can be found @ http://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/health-care/key-issues/nhs-pay/home/   

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Tory MPs who won’t say if they voted themselves a tax cut

In April the top rate of tax was cut from 50p to 45p. UNISON (West Midlands) wrote to all 59 MPs in the West Midlands to ask them if they benefited from the tax cut. Most Tory MPs didn't respond!

All 24 Labour MPs replied. None of them supported the tax cut but only one, Geoffrey Robinson, said he benefited, but said he would be donating the benefit to charity

One of the two Lib MPs in the region, John Hemming, replied and said he benefited but said he would be donating the benefit to charity. The other Lib Dem, Lorely Burt did not reply.

Of the 33 Tory MPs, only six replied to say they supported the tax cut but did not personally benefit. Another five Conservative MPs replied and said they supported the tax cut but failed to say if they would gain; the remaining 22 Conservative MPs did not even bother to acknowledge the letter, despite being sent a reminder. What have the got to hide.

Regional Secretary Ravi Subramanian said:
“There was rightly a scandal about the cover up of MPs’ expenses and this is another looming scandal. How can it be right that Tory and Lib Dem MPs who voted for a tax cut won’t say if they personally gain?

The public, who are suffering austerity, have a right to know if MPs are being sleazy and voting to quietly line their own pockets.”
The MPs who failed to come clean are listed below. If your MP is there why not write to them and ask they why they won't say. What have they got to hide?

Andrew Mitchell - Sutton Coldfield
Chris Kelly - Dudley South
James Morris - Halesowen and Rowley Regis
Jesse Norman - Hereford and South Herefordshire
Bill Wiggin - North Herefordshire
Philip Dunne - Ludlow
Owen Paterson - North Shropshire
Daniel Kawczynski - Shrewsbury and Atcham
Mark Pritchard - The Wrekin
Lorely Burt - Solihull
Andrew Griffiths - Burton
Michael Fabricant - Lichfield
Gavin Williamson - South Staffordshire
Karen Bradley - Staffordshire Moorlands
Bill Cash - Stone
Christopher Pincher - Tamworth
Richard Shepherd - Aldridge-Brownhills
Aidan Burley - Cannock Chase
Jeremy Wright - Kenilworth and Southam
Caroline Spelman - Meriden
Mark Pawsey - Rugby
Nadhim Zahawi - Stratford-on-Avon (Update: on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire on 18 May he said he did not benefit)
Chris White - Warwick and Leamington
Paul Uppal - Wolverhampton South West
Sajid Javid - Bromsgrove
Peter Luff - Mid Worcestershire
Karen Lumley - Redditch
Mark Garnier - Wyre Forest

If you want to write to your MP an find their email address by going to www.theyworkforyou.com

The sample text you can use in your letter is below.

After 6 April 2013, anyone earning above £150,000 will see a reduction in the tax they pay from 50p to 45p in the pound on their earnings above that point.
 
I think this tax cut is both unfair, divisive and damaging. Unfair and divisive because it means those with the biggest pockets are not paying their fair share. Damaging, because it means less income to the government and more austerity which in turn continues to damage the economic recovery.
 
As your constituent I have two questions:
 
1.      Do you agree with the government policy to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p in the pound?

2.      Are you personally likely to benefit from this tax cut? 
 
Yours etc

Friday, 1 March 2013

Tax cut for high earners - do any MPs gain?

Right now councils around the West Midlands are implementing massive cuts to jobs and services services. These cuts will be devastating for the workers who lose their jobs, devastating for vulnerable people who rely on services, and damaging for the local economy.

While these cuts to services are made, in April this Tory-led government will implement a tax cut for people earning over £150,000. It is patently unfair to give high-earners tax cut while vulnerable people see vital services cut.

Ravi Subramanian, the UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary has written to all 59 MPs in the region to ask them if they support this unfair tax cut and whether they will personally benefit. We will be publishing the result of our survey in early April. See below for the text of the letter

THE TEXT OF THE LETTER THAT HAS BEEN SENT IS BELOW
 
Tax cut for high-earners
 
After 6 April 2013, anyone earning above £150,000 will see a reduction in the tax they pay from 50p to 45p in the pound on their earnings above that point.
 
The 115,000 UNISON members in the West Midlands working across the public services have told us they think this tax cut is both unfair, divisive and damaging. Unfair and divisive because it means those with the biggest pockets are not paying their fair share. Damaging, because it means less income to the government and more austerity which in turn continues to damage the economic recovery.
 
UNISON are asking three questions of all MPs in the region and we will be letting our members know who has responded and what we find out. Our questions are:
 
1.      Do you agree with the government policy to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p in the pound?

2.      Are you personally likely to benefit from this tax cut?
 
3.      If you are likely to benefit do you intend to “pocket the gain” or will you being making a charitable donation equivalent to the gain you have made?
 
I would be grateful if you could reply by  Tuesday 19 March as we will be collating the responses ready to inform our members of the outcome of our survey in early April when the tax cut comes into force.

Yours sincerely
Ravi Subramanian
Regional Secretary
 
END OF THE LETTER