EOC staff… here’s why you should be with UNISON

Dear Colleagues,
I am writing to introduce you to UNISON, the public sector union. We represent, support and protect almost 1.3 million public sector workers across the UK and offer a huge range of benefits to our members.

Why should I join UNISON?
As a member of UNISON East of England Ambulance Branch, you will be joining thousands of your colleagues who already enjoy the benefits of being part of Britain’s largest public sector trade union, as well as the protection and collective bargaining power that this brings.

UNISON is the only union recognised by the East of England Ambulance Trust and enjoys a very successful partnership working arrangement with the management within the organisation. This, in turn, means your voice will be heard during negotiations at all levels from local representation right up to the Trust board. With the current political climate, having a voice in the workplace to represent your views, as well as to protect your rights and welfare – there is no better time to join than now!

What has the Trade Union Movement done for me?
Well, thanks to the Trade Union movement, you like millions of other workers only have to attend a 37.5 working week, if you are ill you received sick pay, you have annual leave entitlements that give you time away from your workplace. You have maternity and paternity rights to take time off and support your family. You receive a national minimum wage and are protected by the health and safety regulations that the movement fought hard to protect workers.

What has and is your union doing for you?
UNISON represents all staff within the public sector, as an employee in EOC you are represented at meetings held locally with you management teams, locality partnership forums (LPFs) and Staff Partnership Forums (SPFs). There are at least 5 members of EOC staff that sit on the regional branch committee so the views and feeling of EOC staff are heard and acted upon at each meeting, you are also represented regionally and nationally.

We’ve been looking at annual leave in EOC since the end of last year and raised a formal grievance with the trust on 2nd April over this ongoing issue.

According to freedom of information requests, staff in all 3 EOCs are being managed under different annual leave limits than the rest of the trust. Each EOC has an ‘arrangement’ outside the limits set in our annual leave policy – and these documents are dated July 2015. Most teams in EOC are permanently reduced to 75% of the agreed leave levels in our annual leave policy. This appears to be very unfair on EOC staff – our annual policy is clear it applies to ALL staff.

Over 90% of EOC staff taking part in our survey monkey were not aware they were being managed at levels outside the annual leave policy. The ‘arrangements’ were not available to staff on the intranet.

We’ve asked for all staff in EOC to be managed under our agreed signed off annual policy and ensuring that the leave limits are adhered too.

There also needs to be some reaffirmation of the governance we have in place to ensure management do not disregard signed off agreed policies.

Is UNISON only interested in front line staff?
Not at all! However, the current working conditions of front line staff are unsafe and have a massive impact on EOC staff.

Although the trust have boasted that they have recruited hundreds of new staff, have dispatchers had more resources to utilise? No, because we have also lost hundreds of existing staff due to the working conditions.

Just like EOC staff, front line staff are under enormous pressure to provide clinical care when we as an organisation have experienced a massive increase in demand. We all know this isn’t the fault of EOC staff and UNISON is trying to work with the trust to improve working conditions for all, this includes EOC staff.

The local put the heart back campaign is about staff focused changes to improve conditions and moral, help recruitment and mention of staff and in the long run help us all provide a better service to patients.  We know EOC staff want have more clinicians in the control room to filter calls, to have more resources to send to the increased call demand, to not have a shortage of crews in the morning as a result of late finishes, to have the accessibility of resources around meal break windows, to have crews green at hospital in a decent time as well as resources available at the end of shifts so crew change over can take place and fresh resources are available to respond.  UNISON is working on this and you are in prime position to help make these changes.

Why do you buy household insurance? To protect what is yours!
Well, UNISON membership is your insurance policy in the workplace …. Unions brought in the current terms and conditions, that millions of workers enjoy today; from the working week, annual leave entitlements, minimum wages to health & safety in the workplace. We are here to protect those values and we strive everyday to improve them.

I hope you take this opportunity to sign up, you can sign up in minutes online at https://joinunison.org it will cost you as little as £11 a month (dependant on your pay) and your money will be well spent protecting your interests at work and as well as your profession and career.

For more information about the UNISON East of England Ambulance Branch, current campaigns, news, details of senior branch officials as well as dates and minutes of meetings – please see: www.eeas-unison.com.

Kind regards,
Stuart Reeves
Membership Officer
UNISON East of England Ambulance Branch 20106

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