Dear UNISON Member,
Let me introduce myself, my name is Eddie Brand and I am the new Branch Secretary for our great Branch, the London Ambulance Service UNISON Branch.
One of the largest Ambulance Branches in the UK and one of the biggest Health Branches in London.
I am very proud to be holding this position as it is something I always have wanted to do, but in the future – it shouldn’t have been time yet.
As you all know, Eric Roberts our previous Branch Secretary, was cruelly taken away from us, from his family, his friends, his work colleagues and our great Union at the end of last year.
Eric was the only Branch Secretary our Branch has ever had in place, since the conception of our Branch in 1995. Before that, Eric was the Branch Secretary for the North-West NUPE Branch.
Personally, not only was Eric a great friend but he was also like a father figure (He would hate me saying that) to us all.
As I recently said at Eric’s memorial which was held at the Trade Union Congress in London – Eric was our Branch, he was a calming influence with a wise head that held it all together.
As you are probably aware, Eric is UNISON’s President (The first Ambulance Worker to hold this position) and I know I am slightly biased but he would have been our best President, he was known to his good friends as “El Presidente”
But I know Eric would have wanted our Branch to grow stronger and stronger and do the best for our members, our service and the Trade Union movement, so that’s what we will try to do.
I am lucky we have a great team in our Branch, the officers, the Branch Committee, the Senior Sector representatives and the workplace representatives and finally our members from all areas of our Service.
Also, the great help and advice that we receive from our Regional Officer and the London region of UNISON.
We made the decision at our January Branch Committee to carry on with the UNISON London Ambulance Service blog that Eric had started “Eric’s Blog” but we all know that none of us have the great humour and creative skill that Eric had, so please excuse me and try and stay awake!
At a recent Staff Council, UNISON added to the agenda “The London Package” this is what Eric first wrote in 2014 to then Chief Executive Ann Radmore then again in 2015 to the next Chief Executive Fionna Moore.
UNISON calls for:
- All Paramedics at Band 6.
- A re-think of the Senior Paramedic role.
- Technicians’ future to be secured.
- Make it easier, and affordable, for our own staff to study to become Paramedics.
- Make it financially attractive for all staff to stay with LAS.
- Create a unique London Package for all our staff that recognises the stresses and strains of working in London.
- Outside of this we should review all Bandings as a result of ‘Market forces’. London is different. London is unique.
So, some of these issues are still outstanding and we will continue pressing ahead for changes so we can see these matters come to fruition.
It’s a shame that our Senior Management didn’t start earlier with these issues as we may not have had to go the other side of the world just to Staff our Ambulances, although it has been great getting to know them, they have fitted in with us quite well and we welcome them as members of our union.
Also on the Staff Council was the issue of Rest Breaks and Annual Leave that Management would like to see changes.
But if we took the same attitude as the Senior Management team did in 2014 and 2015 with Eric’s London Package letter, we may see changes in 2019 if it takes 2 years like the band 6 issue!
But we will talk and meet with them regarding these issues and I can promise we will consult with our membership on both these matters.
We won’t accept changes just for change sake, these must be acceptable to our members.
In addition at the Staff Council and in a recent RIB edition we were informed that The Service was also going to look at the previous Management restructure which will include Clinical Team Leaders.
I wrote to the Director of Operations the next day to confirm that UNISON will be involved in all areas including Job descriptions if necessary.
I was given assurances the same day via email.
I hope to see you at our AGM 17th March 17:00 Start at Unison Centre, 130 Euston Road NW1 2AY.
I will now sign off as the great Eric Roberts did!
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We are stronger together. We are all Frontline.
Eddie Brand – Branch Secretary