The email below was sent out to all Unison members at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust today, giving an update on the Trust’s plans to dismiss & re-hire all staff if they refuse to sign a variation to their contracts to remove unsocial-hours enhancements from sick pay – a ‘gateway’ change that will expose them to all kinds of other unilateral measures.
Please read the message and then if, like me, you believe it’s a wrong-headed and bullying move by the Trust, email them – no matter where you live – to express your opposition to this coercive and extortionate move. The Trust’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org – and if you can add a comment to this blog to let me know you’ve done it, that would be great.
Date: 31 October 2012
What is happening in the Trust?
The Trust has issued notice to ‘dismiss’ 5,472 staff and re-engage them on a new, detrimental contract with 90 days’ notice. Under the terms of the new contract, staff who are off work sick will not be entitled to claim the enhancements they are paid for shift and weekend working. Staff whose salary does not include enhancements (including managers and directors) will continue to receive the same salary when they are off sick.
What does this mean for staff?
Staff who work weekends and shifts will receive only their basic pay when on the sick; their salary will be effectively cut. This will impact heavily on staff who have a serious or long term illness; a disability; and pregnant women, who are likely to suffer pregnancy-related illness and will need to alter their working patterns as their pregnancy progresses. Staff who receive these enhancements will see their maternity pay and pensions affected by this.
I don’t get enhancements, so I’m not affected..
WRONG! This has implications for all staff throughout the Trust, and in fact for all public sector workers in the country; not just NHS employees.
Trust staff are currently employed on nationally-negotiated terms and conditions under ‘Agenda for Change’. This means that NHS staff in different Trusts get paid the same rate for the same job role, and get the same terms and conditions. Once you accept a new contract, your terms and conditions are decided locally by the Trust. Your terms and conditions could be further changed, for example:
* Reduced holiday entitlement (the legal minimum is just 20 days per year)
* Reduced rates of pay
* Longer working week
What can we do about this?
OPPOSE IT! UNISON and all other trade unions and professional bodies are fighting this issue
Do not sign any new contract or variation to contract
Do not go to any 1-1 meeting without taking a union rep with you
Do update your membership details if you have changed job, workplace or address; emailN.Membership@unison.co.uk
or update online at www.unison.org.uk/help
Do provide an email address so that we can keep you updated on this
Do sign the online e-petition from a home or public computer, at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/36063 – once we reach 100,000 signatures it must be debated in Parliament. Although set up by the North West it is for the same issue – 20 Trusts in that area are looking at breaking away from A4C, but none have taken the action that NTH has; they are awaiting the outcome of national negotiations.
Do speak to your colleagues and tell them what is going on, even if they are not a UNISON member – they can join online www.unison.org.uk/join
Some FAQs ‘mythbusted’
“If I don’t sign the new contract I will be dismissed”
FALSE. If you don’t sign the new contract then your current one will end at the end of the 90 day period, and you will automatically be put onto the new one on the next working day. You will not be finished, and will keep your
continuous service. Dismissal is a technical term for the contract change.
“Surely this will happen anyway-the Trust can force this on us..”
We have 90 days to fight against this, and we are seeking legal opinion. The Trust has acted aggressively by forcing this on you without waiting for the outcome of national negotiations, and this is not an effective consultation with staff. We must show the Trust that this bullying tactic is unacceptable.
For more information, contact the Branch Office:
Tel: 01642 383804 or Email: Unison@nth.nhs.uk