It’s been another great year at Livewell for Plymouth in Unison; yet again we have increased our membership numbers and are now among the biggest employers in a branch of nearly 4800 members. The numbers have been consistently growing for a number of years in line with growth for UNISON nationally in the Health service group, but last year was particularly good following successful campaigns and being more visible around the workplace. We have also more UNISON reps in more Livewell workplaces so despite an ever increasing workload we are in a good position to be able to support our members who need advice and/ or representation when they need it most . New reps are being trained and gaining accreditation with local training planned for the new year
We have supported in excess of 150 individual members at Livewell this year that needed advice, support and representation and were there when often they felt vulnerable, upset and / or unwell. Thanks to all those Reps who have played their part in this
There have been a number of notable successes for UNISON at Livewell including the Stop the HCPC registration fee rise rally held at Mt Gould Hospital in the summer which fed into UNISONs national campaign. This event was organised by UNISON rep Jaime Bannerman and was also attended by Luke Pollard MP who continues to support us in Parliament raising Livewell specific issues when needed.
UNISON were co signatories with Livewell to the Dying to work charter and we invited National and regional officers to this event earlier in the year.
Our UNISON branch women’s officer and Livewell rep Rachel Stewart helped support the implementation of the Menopause policy and facilitated workshops /cafes to advertise this important issue with members and managers .
We tabled the Helpforce charter which Livewell signed up to. This will help protect both volunteers and our own workforce in the workplace.
There was a successful roll-out and implementation of both the Adult social care harmonisation of terms and conditions and the removal of Band 1 from Agenda for Change and for many members this has resulted in improvements to pay and conditions. We are currently chasing an issue regarding some of those members not receiving increments and are currently waiting legal guidance to pursue further.
At the separate Livewell Group we have drafted a new Trade Union recognition agreement which we hope will be signed in the New Year and we were successful in persuading them to sign up to the National Living wage foundation meaning the poorest paid staff received a pay rise.
But We Don’t Rest on our Laurels
We are currently working on a number of issues including our Holiday pay campaign which if successful will result in staff who have more than 10 years’ service and work unsocial hours receive back pay because of incorrect percentage calculations being paid historically . We are waiting on legal direction to take this campaign to the next stage. Thank you to all members for responding to the initial survey as it was a phenomenal response and thanks goes to our own Sharroll Rickard unison rep , regional staff who have offered support and of course Livewells internal postman for delivering the many hundreds of letters to and from the union room that this campaign has generated.
Work related stress continues to be an ongoing theme with many members and reps reporting that this is a problem. We continue to raise this issue with management and are developing a campaign to be rolled out in the New Year to help support our members going forward. We also continue to raise issues which were highlighted in last year’s staff survey which included staff reporting having too much work to do and being under resourced. The staff survey is a wonderful tool to highlight any issues and we would encourage staff to complete next years when it becomes live in the new year.
We are in ongoing talks with Livewell to implement an improved sickness policy.
In the New Year we will be holding two great events; The Just and learning culture seminar in conjunction in with Livewell with guest speaker Richard Saudry (who is an expert in the field) attending to talk about a change of culture he helped implement at NHS Merseyside which resulted in a better workplace for all .This event takes place on the 24th Jan 1.30pm at Beauchamp Centre Mt Gould Hospital .
In February we are planning to screen the Plymouth Premier of the film “Under the Knife” which explores the current direction the NHS is heading in and how it got to where we are currently. This film showing will be held at the Plymouth Arts Cinema and is sponsored by our local UNISON branch (more details to follow).
Also don’t forget our AGM in March. Your chance to help guide us into the future. Members are at the heart of the union and through the weight of our members at livewell we have a very loud voice which has a real influence on the company.
Finally in April our national officers will start discussions for an improved pay deal for 2021 with government. Let’s hope they are as committed to getting Fair Pay Done!
Thanks to all Livewell reps for their continued commitment to supporting our members (and me!).
The union is the members
Dave Dodd Livewell Lead Rep.