Unison Glasgow Clyde & CVS Branch 



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UNISON delivers on low pay agenda for lowest paid staff

Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

UNISON has secured another significant breakthrough in the union’s attempts to eradicate low pay in the public sector after NHS bosses agreed to undertake a review of the roles and responsibilities of staff on Agenda for Change pay Band 1.

Whilst the terms of the agreement are still being worked out, the basic principle is that every Health Board including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will work with UNISON and other unions locally to review all Band 1 job descriptions and that every opportunity will be taken to expand these to secure a real pay uplift for the lowest paid workers in the NHS.

The agreement which has backing at a political level will ensure that an all band 1 staff who wish to transfer to these extended roles will do so by 1st October, 2016 and will see UNISON members increase from £15,358 to £18,103 after progression and pay uplifts.

The deal which has been negotiated by UNISON will deliver real increases in pay for almost 8000 workers across NHS Scotland

Branch Secretary Cathy Miller said, “Once again we’ve shown that UNISON delivers on low pay, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do to ensure that everyone who wants a Band 2 secures the right job description and that for the very small number of people who don’t want a Band 2, that we understand their concerns and protect their position.

It’s important that UNISON members keep up to date with these developments as they progress and we will be in regular contact over the next few months.”



Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

UNISON and others are watching to see what happens next with the UK’s biggest private care home provider, Four Seasons after it quietly sold of £20m worth of assets to an American hedge fund late in 2015.

One broadsheet newspaper reported that the company was struggling to meet interest payments and that UK wide the private care home sector is on the verge of collapse as income and profits are squeezed by the NHS and Local Councils.

In response a company spokesperson said that the company was not in immediate difficulty and that there was “sufficient medium term financial flexibility”.

However these announcements and reports come at the end of a year, which as saw the company continue to close or sell of homes which require major investment or are not profitable.

UNISON Regional Organiser Matt McLaughlin said, “Obviously this report came out late in the year at a time when head offices are closed and people are on holiday. Since then UNISON has been in touch with the company and they tell us that there are no problems. UNISON is however aware that staff and members at Four Seasons are concerned and we will continue to engage with the company in a positive manner to try and ensure that our member’s jobs and the services they provide are protected.”



Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)


NHS union UNISON has welcomed the decision by NHS bosses to stop anti-abortion campaigners from demonstrating outside the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after the union wrote directly to Chief Executive Robert Calderwood.

But there is anger that the group ’40 days for life’ have set their ‘vigil’ on Hardgate Road within sight of the hospitals maternity unit. The British Pregnancy Advice Service said, “A group of strangers ‘witnessing’ women as they access confidential NHS services is a significant invasion of privacy.”

The vigil or “picket” as it has been described by some is set to run for the entire 6 weeks of lent, with ‘witnesses’ carrying large placards that challenge women to reject their right to choose the best decision for them, their families and the baby.

One UNISON member was so angry she chose to speak to her union and tell her story.

Nurse B, works on the new QEUH campus, she is a mother of two, married and in 2013 she was delighted to learn that she was going to have another baby boy in Feb 2014. She describes herself as being “angry” and “upset” by the demonstration.

Nurse B said, “At 20 weeks, my husband and I were given the worst news we could ever have received. Our baby son’s kidneys and bladder had not formed. We were told that he would not survive after birth and that if I carried to term I might die.

We were devastated, in a matter of days we had gone from joy to heartbreak. How were we going to explain what had happened to our other two children? No matter what we did, our baby son was going to die.”

Our member and her husband decided to have a medical termination, she added, “Trust me, we still feel the pain of knowing our son would be celebrating his 2nd birthday this year. There’s not a day goes by when we don’t think about him.”

She said, “People have abortions for many different reasons, it’s wrong to just assume that they don’t want that child because in many cases that is simply not true. We wanted our son very much but ‘God’ had other plans for him.”

UNISON Regional Organiser Matt McLaughlin welcomed Nurse B’s commitment to speak up, he said, “Our member nurse B, has done an incredibly brave thing opening your heart up to others is never easy. It’s fine for people to have an opinion on issues, but women should not have to feel that they are running a gauntlet when they have to access these services and they certainly shouldn’t have the hard decisions they make questioned in this manner.”


Working time is Health and Safety

Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

UNISON has again raised concerns with NHS bosses after a report showed that there were still a number of staff working in excess of 48 hours per week. The union is concerned that this practice is bad for staff health, but also that it is being used to mask deep cuts in staffing levels which could affect services and patient care.

UNISON Health and Safety Officer Tommy McWilliams said, “From the report it seems that there are some staff who are working around 60 hours a week on a regular basis. UNISON appreciates that members are feeling financial pressure and we don’t have a problem with folk working extra hours, but working time is a health and safety issue. Working regularly above 48 hours per week, is bad for your health in the long term and with workers expected to work well over 60 it’s important that staff get the right balance between earning a wage and having a work life balance.”

UNISON has raised this issue before concerned that bank staff in particular were being used to hide deep staffing cuts in nursing and facilities. In a recent email to the Director of HR, the union advised that "UNISON does not support the use of waivers and that continued breaches of the working time directives 48hr week are in our opinion a symptom of understaffing and poor workforce planning.


This issue was supposed to be resolved - we therefore have diminishing confidence that NHSGGC are committed to ensuring safe work practices or staffing levels.”


Electronic record system puts child safety at risk

Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

UNISON and other unions have compiled a list of complaints around the ‘new’ EMIS Web system for Health Visitors after members raised concerns that the system didn’t work and that personal and professional safety was being compromised.

The EMIS web system was billed as the next big thing and is central to management plans to cut staffing across Health Visiting services because staff would be able to gain access to patient records in real time during the patient contact by using iPads which would automatically connect with the NHS systems.

In reality the programme has been a shambles with many UNISON members reporting that they can’t get connections, that the process is slower than the paper system and that they are having to take notes and complete the process in their cars or at home.

Regional Organiser Matt McLaughlin said, “Lots of big wigs in NHSGGC have committed to this programme, so it’s no wonder that they want to make it work. However, there needs to be an acceptance that it is not working and that children, families and staff are being put at risk by their inability to accept that what they’ve been sold is still not fit for purpose.”


UNISON discusses pay review

Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Over 60 senior stewards and regional staff from UNISON met recently in Ayr today to plan the union's future strategy on pay in NHS Scotland.

UNISON Scotland has consistently argued that the Pay Review Body is no longer fit for purpose after a series of 1% pay awards, which mean that, in real terms, NHS pay has reduced in the last five years or more.

Speaking at the annual policy event Tam Waterson, Chairperson of the Scottish Health Committee, said: “UNISON believes in the NHS and UK bargaining on pay and conditions, however our members across the UK have experienced different pay deals, determined simply by which nation they live in, the time is now right for Scottish unions to negotiate with our government on pay."

Pay for NHS workers is determined by an independent pay review body (PRB). In recent years only the Scottish Government has honoured the recommendations, however the union remains critical over the level of pay awards which amount to a real terms cut in NHS workers' wages.

Branch Secretary Cathy Miller said, “We need to tread cautiously on this one, Scottish pay bargaining will not automatically lead to better pay deals, just look at our council colleagues. But it is clear that the PRB has failed and we have to seriously consider what the best options are for our members regarding pay.”


Band 1 review

Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

UNISON Scotland’s Health Committee has welcomed the most recent breakthrough in the fight against poverty pay after the Scottish Government agreed to a review of the lowest pay band within Agenda for Change.

This development highlights the benefits of Partnership working which has been the basis of industrial relations in NHS Scotland since 1999 and further enshrines the commitment of successive Scottish Governments and UNISON to eradicating low pay in the NHS.

‎Tom Waterson, Chair of UNISON Health Committee, said “This initiative with the Scottish Government is a major step forward to fulfilling our commitment and indeed Scottish Government’s commitment to improving the lives of our dedicated NHS staff. Further, to have done so without any disruption to our Health Service and our membership again shows what can be achieved when all the parties engage in partnership working.”

NHS Scotland already pays the living wage (£7.85per hour). Increasing all staff to band 2 would allow low paid workers the opportunity to earn an extra £420 in the first year with the opportunity to increase earnings via annual increments to £17,803 per year.

Whilst recently published Scottish Govt workforce statistics confirm that there are around 19,000 (headcount) support staff in NHS Scotland the majority of which are domestics, catering assistants and porters. Most of these staff are already on Band 2, due to job redesigns achieved locally.

There are 5,500 that are paid the lowest pay band (1) with 91% of these workers being at the top of their salary scale.

Regional Organiser for NHS Glasgow and Clyde, Matt McLaughlin, said, "Scotland's biggest Health Board worked actively with UNISON to invest in support staff, the result provided a higher salary for low paid workers, but it also ensured that the skills, flexibility, range of duties and of course recruitment and retention were significantly enhanced, providing many benefits for the health board and a direct benefit to patients."

The union anticipates that that there are around 325 workers on Band 1 across NHSGGC many of them are domestics and laundry workers


He added, “Whilst this agreement will only benefit a few members in Glasgow and Clyde it will have a positive impact on our members at Golden Jubilee National Hospital where the majority of support staff are stuck in band 1. We will be writing to the employers at the Board (and NHSGGC) to bring the Cabinet Secretaries commitment to their attention and in doing so we will be seeking urgent talks.”


Registration Fees Rise

Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

“At a time of pay restraint it is not acceptable for regulators to impose inflation busting fee increases on health and care workers” was the message that UNISON delivered to the Scottish Parliament in an evidence session in June before the Health Committee.

The opportunity arose after the requirement for secondary legislation that increases registration fees for a range of health and care professions UNISON represents. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) increased fees by 5% last year and indicated that they would not increase them again for two years. However, they have now come back for a further 12.5% increase after a perfunctory consultation while Westminster was in election purdah.

They claim this is because of a levy from the regulatory overview body, the PCA. However, only 30% of the increase relates to that with the balance reflecting new accommodation and IT systems. This looks opportunistic, particularly when there was no detailed costing was provided. The HCPC also generated a big operating surplus last year and is substantially increasing its reserves.

Needless to say health and care workers are not getting a 12.5% pay rise! The HCPC argue that they are the lowest cost regulator, but comparing paramedics, OTs and ODPs to doctors and dentists was, to put it mildly, insensitive. A recent UNISON survey of registrants indicates that many staff do not think they get value for money and that the HCPC could do more to reduce unnecessary hearing costs.

Scottish Labour MSP, Richard Simpson, moved a motion of annulment, a very rare procedure in the Scottish Parliament. He made a very strong case pointing to the absence of an Equality Impact Assessment on what is a predominately female workforce. He also drew attention to the huge increase in the Chief Executive's pay, up by £26,000, more than the annual pay of many registrants. Also that the fee for Scottish social workers, regulated in Scotland, is only a third of the cost of their English counterparts who are regulated by the HCPC.

Predictably, SNP MSPs voted against the annulment as this increase is supported by the Scottish Government.

In fairness MSPs did so with no great enthusiasm, they welcomed the fact that this debate took place and that the regulator was put under scrutiny for probably the first time. There is a case for wider reform of UK regulatory bodies and they might find it more difficult if they return for another increase next year.

Putting the increase under the spotlight was probably the best we could have achieved this year. Health and care workers have no choice but to pay these increases, so they look to their MSPs and MPs to scrutinise these costs vigorously.


Staff Gassed at IRH

Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on October 5, 2016 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (1)

UNISON is calling on members to be vigilant after a number of members were exposed to harmful carbon monoxide fumes at Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

The exposure occurred because a flue from the boiler system was allowed to fall into a bad state of repair and leaked the deadly fumes into a store room area that staff were working in.

Clyde Divisional Convenor, Raymond O’Donoghue, said, “Staff raised concerns with me that they were feeling unwell at work with symptoms which are consistent with CO2 poisoning. UNISON immediately contacted NHS bosses, which resulted in the boilers being switched off. It was clear to me at the time that the flue was leaking fumes and that staff were at risk.”

A report from management confirmed that staff had been exposed to the harmful fumes and that, despite regular servicing, the fault had not been picked up. The boiler flue system is to be replaced and in doing so it will no longer run through this work area.

But UNISON is still angry, UNISON Health and Safety Officer Tommy McWilliams said, “Setting to one side the issue that the fault should have been picked up during routine maintenance, UNISON is concerned that there seems to have been knowledge of the problem since early 2015 and it took UNISON involvement for it to be reacted to. CO2 is a deadly product of combustion and exposure can have catastrophic side effects that is why there are such tight rules and standards around servicing and installation of gas appliances. We want to know why this was missed and who is to blame.”


Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on February 12, 2015 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

UNISON NHS Glasgow and Clyde Branch Secretary Cathy Miller has today welcomed additional support from the Scottish Government at the Royal Alexandra Hospital after Scottish Gvt officials announced that it was not recovering fast enough after the most recent winter crisis.

However the union leader said that she was sceptical as to whether another tier of managers was the solution.

“Across NHS Glasgow and Clyde there are a number of significant pressure points, everyone knows where they are and we also know what the short and long term solutions are. Another tier managers will only compound the issues locally and won’t be welcomed by hard working NHS professionals.”

Commenting on the solutions Cathy said, “In a bid to save money, NHS Glasgow and Clyde has cut beds and redesigned services throughout, at the same time, the expected improvements in Community Care have not been delivered. As a result more people are having to spend more time in hospitals because they don’t have adequate services at home. In the short term, Boards should open more beds and in the medium term the Scottish Government needs to ensure that there is a significant investment in Community Care Services, which are underpinned by a quality charter and a framework for fair employment.”