The NHS (AFC) pay award funding for Livewell (LSW has been at the forefront of a sustained campaign by UNISON , fellow trade unions and management over the last 6 months or so . I first became aware of the issue with LSW potentially not getting any funding for the AFC nationally agreed pay deal just before UNISONs Health Conference in April 2018 . I was attending after being asked to represent the local UNISON branch at the annual health conference in Brighton . There was a healthy debate on the conference floor , with views articulated both for and against the proposed deal. This debate was obviously worthwhile but to me the local issue of funding was of paramount importance as “no funding for LSW , no deal for local staff ” would have meant the national debate was irrelevant .
I approached Sara Gorton (UNISON National Head of Health ) at the conference and had a brief conversation regarding the issue of national funding at LSW , she assured me that she would be raising this at the Department of Health . In the meantime I gained support from UNISONS regionally at south west regional forums . We also formally raised this issue with management at LSW at our monthly management / staff side meetings and the joint trade union forums to get collective support and action on this matter.
Unison led a joint trade union campaign asking staff to sign pre-prepared letters and then sent them to local MPs to try to raise awareness of the inconsistencies of not funding LSW the pay deal the same way as NHS organisations.
UNISON and other trade union reps undertook walk rounds in several workplaces and sent the templates to work placed contacts to get as many staff to sign as possible in short space of time. With the combined efforts of the unions we managed to send over 300 to 7 constituent MPs within a couple of days .
I emailed my local MP Gary Streeter and helped set up a meeting with Luke Pollard MP to raise political awareness and gain wider support. Luke met with us and shortly afterwards raised a question in the house of commons chamber that put the problem in the public eye.
We kept the issue at the forefront of the agenda getting support from regional forums such as the Devon Sustainability Transformation Partnership forum gaining support from HR directors from our neighbouring trusts and wider trade union backing .
At the same time we were working with management, signing and sending the relevant paperwork to say that we both agreed that LSW was a “dynamic applier of AFC terms and conditions .
This was a sustained campaign by both management and the Trade Unions that took up a considerable amount of time and resources . The outcome at the end of this campaign has resulted with LSW staff being assured that will be paid a similar rate as their colleagues within the NHS . This shows the value of Trade Unions within the workplace.
In the background the local trade union reps are doing a lot of unseen work ,which includes member representation , campaigning ,, health and safety , job evaluations , working on local policy groups and partnership working with management over local terms and conditions and other issues that relate to the workforce etc. . We also sit on local , regional and national forums that help shape policies and reforms for the benefit of both staff and patients locally and nationally .
If you want to get involved with any of the work we do fully accredited training is provided by the unions . Paid release time is also available and is described within the LSW Trade Union recognition agreement policy which can be accessed through the LSW policy page on the intranet .
We need more volunteers to step up and support the work we do for our members, please contact your union for further information . In UNISONs case please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org