April 2, 2014 Leave a comment
February 5, 2014 Leave a comment
On 1 February, Unite members in the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust took part in a further 24-hour strike as part of their long-running dispute.
Unite members outside the Wakefield depot remained determined in their fight to force the Trust to re-recognise the union and stop the savage cuts which are currently taking place.
Meanwhile, more Unison members, frustrated at the union’s continued inaction in opposing the cuts, the latest being attacks on lunch breaks, are going over to Unite.
Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer, spoke to the Socialist:
“My understanding of Unison’s position is that for the last 12 months they have regionally supported Unite’s campaign for re-recognition.
“I have to say the local branch are not following that mandate and in fact have spoken openly, hostilely about the re-recognition of Unite.
“They don’t support us in the way that they promised at the TUC, the local branch activists are actively against our re-recognition.
“Unison have gone round the stations supporting the management plan, they have balloted their members and I have heard them, speaking about their ballot result. 70% of their members don’t agree with their branch position, rejecting the management proposal.
“As far as I am concerned, this completely vindicates the decision that we made to campaign and fight against these cuts.
“They are dangerous to patients and dangerous to our members, and Unison members feel the same. I’m hoping the Unison branch takes that mandate and joins the fight against these cuts.”
A further four-hour strike is taking place on 3 February to mark a year since the union was de-recognised by the former Trust chief executive.
September 3, 2013 Leave a comment
Around 40 Unite members and supporters protested outside Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) headquarters near Wakefield on 3 September.
The protest, outside an extraordinary board meeting of the trust, demanded the re-recognition of Unite as well as full training of Emergency Care Assistants (ECA) to the level of technicians with the correct rate of pay for that job.
Debbie Wilkinson, YAS Unite branch secretary explained that: “The Trust say they derecognised us because we weren’t constructive during the initial stages of the review”.
In other words Unite didn’t roll over and accept the imposition of staff who have only been through a few weeks’ training to crew ambulances instead of technicians or paramedics with much longer training periods.
ECAs earn less than technicians and paramedics. This attack on patient safety as well as the jobs of ambulance service staff is part of a £46 million package of cuts.
Debbie also pointed to the irony of the Trust derecognising Unite for raising concerns over patient safety at around the same time as the Francis report into Mid Staffs NHS Trust advocated that NHS staff should do just that!
The battle continues in YAS NHS Trust with a further protest organised for 24 September at 8.30am outside Cutler’s Hall, Church Street, Sheffield, S1 1HG. The branch can also be followed on twitter @UniteYASmembers.
October 5, 2012 Leave a comment
Over 500 admin and clerical staff working for Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust are being balloted for strike action.
The strike is against the Trust’s plans to make up to 40 staff redundant and “down band” ie cut the pay of over 200 others. The Trust is trying to save £16 million in a desperate attempt to break even and achieve Foundation Trust status by 2014. Predictably the Trust board has opted to reduce staff numbers and cut the pay of some of its lowest paid and mainly female workers.
The workers being balloted include medical secretaries, waiting list coordinators, cancer admin and reception staff working at Dewsbury, Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals and clinics across the district.
If implemented, the pay cuts would be between £1,700 and £2,500 a year. The 25 redundancies in the Medical Secretarial department would have a direct impact on the service to the patients and have been opposed by consultants in some departments. Despite many requests from the trade unions the Trust has still to release the Clinical Impact Assessment it has carried out during the so-called consultation process.
Overwhelming support for action
If the Trust thought that it would have an easy time attacking the terms and conditions of these low paid women they have been shown to be mistaken. Over 150 attended a lobby of the Trust HQ prior to a negotiating meeting in August and in a Unison consultative ballot they voted by 95% for strike action and by 98% for action ‘short of strike’ action!
The anger of the workers has been strengthened by the revelation that while it was demanding job and pay cuts the Trust has spent over £3 million on private management consultants including £2.5 million to Ernst and Young since December last year.
Ernst and Young has been part of the Admin and Clerical review which recommended the job losses and pay cuts – no doubt in order to justify their inflated fees. Unison has called for the removal of Ernst and Young from the Trust and is demanding no compulsory redundancies and the withdrawal of the down-bandings. We are also calling for the nationalisation of the Mid Yorkshire PFI scheme which costs the Trust £40 million a year.
The ballot ends on 19 October and if the vote is yes the strike action will take place in early November.
Adrian O’Malley, Secretary, and Dave Byrom, Chair, of Unison, Mid Yorkshire Health (personal capacity)
This post as been cross posted from www.socialistparty.org.uk with photo’s taken by Iain Dalton, Socialist Party Regional Organiser.
September 12, 2012 Leave a comment
It is with great sadness we are made aware of the passing of our comrade Peter Vasey, whose obituary is featured in this weeks edition of The Socialist, reproduced here.
Peter Vasey, called Pete by his friends, died on 17 July at the relatively young age of 54. Born in Batley, West Yorkshire in 1957 to a poor family, he instinctively fought any authority figures who tried to rule his life. He had a very keen and lively sense of humour and was generous to a fault. Much banter took place when he was around and you had to be on the ball not to get caught up in one of his jokes.
A member of the Labour Party Young Socialists and a Militant (forerunner of the Socialist Party) supporter in Batley in the 1980s, he used his artistic talent to good effect. He made a plywood effigy of Tory Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher, with a “Job Destroyer” notice around her neck, which had a good impact in the local campaign against unemployment. He will also be remembered for his adventurous approach. For example, he made a seven foot kite of Lenin to raise fighting fund, then tested it out on Bridlington beach in gusty conditions – terrorising those nearby!
After the defeat of the momentous 1984-85 miners’ strike, however, he lapsed into inactivity but always propounded Marxist ideas, especially those of his beloved Engels.The demoralisation of unemployment blighted his life at this time too and he developed a drink problem. But after years on the dreaded dole
he finally got a job and was determined to never return to the sub-life conditions of unemployment. Proud of the working class he belonged to and never corrupted by the greed of the capitalist system, he was an inspiration, especially to his brother.