After over 12 months of campaigning for supportive changes to frontline working conditions, we have today issued the trust with UNISONs legal ballot notice. This has to be sent to an employer prior to ballot papers being issued to members.Since our indicative ballot closed, we have been in six weeks of negotiations with the trust.
On 23rd April we asked for a position on our proposals and an implementation date, which we asked to discuss at a planned meeting with the trust on 27th April. This meeting was cancelled, as the trust stated they needed more time to consider our proposals.
The second proposal was shared with UNISON on the evening of 9th May.
We believe the second proposal contains a worsening position for staff and clearly states that the trust needs to reduce out of service time. This is the fundamental problem. Utilisation rates of crews are already too high and yet in order to try and address performance, the trust is still seeking to put more pressure on crews and reduce out of service time.
The underlying problem is a lack of resources against demand and although the trust needs to recruit more staff – retention is just as important.
We met with the trust on Thursday 12th May and asked that the second set of “proposals” were removed from the table. We also asked that the lower acuity (green calls and urgent calls) are removed from the interruptible part of meal breaks; that within 3 months we pilot a second 20 minute break for 12 hour shifts, and that we pilot IX.
Given we have been in discussions for over 12 months and the above formed the basis of a jointly written paper with the Trusts Health and wellbeing lead in February, we asked for a decision by 16:00 on Friday 13th May.
The trust responded saying they needed more time.
The Branch Committee has discussed the issue, the timeline and reviewed the second proposals. We voted to send the trust our ballot notice, which was supported by region and national UNISON.
We have asked ACAS for assistance, as there’s a small window of opportunity left to the trust to reach a resolution, prior to ballot papers going out to members. Strike action is an absolute last resort and we will do all we can to avoid this, although given the protracted timeline and the lack of any action from the trust, we feel we now need to start that process.
Fraer Stevenson UNISON Branch Secretary & Darren Jones UNISON Branch Chair