Categories
Branch Secretary

£3,000,000 – We are simply the Best, better than all the rest!

 

It’s finally happened! LAS UNISON members have received over £3,000,000 in personal injury compensation since our records began in 1999.

Since UNISON was created we have won a staggering £727.5 million in compensation for our members. That is nearly £30 million every year!

It is not right that our members were made unwell or injured for them to rightly receive these payments and perhaps it is something that should not be celebrated?

But, if our members are made unwell or injured, whether it’s large or small, if you’ve been injured the UNISON legal service, delivered by Thompsons, is here to help you to claim with confidence. No legal fees, just dedicated experts to help you through the process and the promise that you will keep 100% of any compensation.

If you’re a UNISON member and you or a family member have been injured or involved in an accident in the last three years, and are considering whether or not to claim, give UNISON a call on 0800 0857 857

What cover do my family and I receive?

As a UNISON member, you receive free legal advice and assistance for:

• Employment law (accessed via your UNISON branch or regional office)
• Personal injury – at or away from work, on holiday or on the roads
• Serious injury at work – including brain injuries and spinal cord injuries
• Industrial disease or illness
• Basic will writing and reduced rates for more complex wills and conveyancing
• Defending work related criminal allegations
• Free initial legal advice on any non-employment issue from UNISON’s lawyers. This service entitles you to receive up to 30-minutes of telephone advice.

UNISON members’ families are also covered if you or a loved one think you have been injured as the result of clinical negligence, we can support you with free initial advice from UNISON’s lawyers.

Speak to your local representative, your Senior Sector representative or just contact your branch via www.lasunison.com

We are simply the Best, better than all the rest!

Our members always say to us you don’t promote our successes, but this is really difficult as we don’t always like to blow our own trumpet! And sometimes because there are confidential aspects that we have to observe!

But over the last few weeks I have spoken to a few London Ambulance Staff in different areas across the Service and asked them if they are in our Union? And a couple have said they are in a different Union, and then I ask them why? And the say “because they are cheaper” and I agree they sometimes are cheaper, but they never say “they are better!”

I would to hate to be a lead in a Trade Union that only has members because they are cheaper! And without a doubt the old saying comes into play here “You get what you pay for”

We might be a little bit dearer for some roles than others but as a member of LAS UNISON you have access to a wealth of experience.

• We have all but one fully trained Senior Sector Representatives across London.
• We have all but one fully trained Senior Health & Safety Sector Representatives across London.
• We have over 120 Elected Representatives and H&S Representatives across the different workplaces from across London.
• Our yearly elected Branch Committee have fully trained specialists in all aspects of working life which includes, welfare, education, equalities & pensions to name a few!
• Our Branch Committee has a one Female & One Male elected representative seat from each sector from across Service.
• We have double the seats within the LAS consultative machinery which includes the Staff Council, Operational Partnership forum, Corporate H&S Committee and other working Groups.
UNISON’S welfare department (There for You) is second to none! Since 1993, UNISON have given over £10 million in financial assistance. Members experiencing financial and emotional difficulties can contact our welfare charity, There for You, which provides a confidential advice and support service for members and their dependants.
• Employment tribunal fees were scrapped after UNISON won a landmark court victory against the government in 2017. The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees five years ago. anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.
UNISON (ONLY) are currently involved in a legal case which is a working time regulations & holiday pay and non guaranteed overtime and voluntary overtime, further information will follow when concluded.

Happy Birthday

This year is UNISON’S 25th birthday – since then we have gone from strength to strength, in spite of hostile trade union legislation and attempts to decimate and privatise our public services. Three unions – Nupe, Nalgo and Cohse came together on 1 July 1993 to form one union to represent all public service workers – wherever they work.

We have all benefitted from the work of trade unions. For 100 years and more trade unions have fought for and won many things that we take for granted – weekends off, maternity leave, rights for part-time workers, stronger health and safety laws and more.

Update your details

We need all our members to keep their details updated, so please look out for the “update your details” form arriving at your workplaces in November/December where just a few minutes of your time could result in some great prizes just before Christmas!

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Support Your Union

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Information on all issues can be found elsewhere on our website.

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If you are reading this, work for the London Ambulance Service or are eligible to join, and are not yet a member of UNISON Join Today!

We are stronger together. We are all Frontline.

 

Eddie Brand – Branch Secretary

 

http://imagesource.unison.co.uk/25286_25_years_email_signature.png

Categories
Communications

LASUNISON.COM – 15 Years Online

Screenshot of LASUNISON.COM in 2003

This year marks lots of anniversaries. The NHS is celebrating 70 years, UNISON is 25 years old, the service scheduling department is 20 years and the LAS UNISON Branch website is celebrating 15 years!

In July 2003 the London Ambulance Service branch of UNISON launched online. We were the first union to launch a website exclusively for London Ambulance staff and one of the first UNISON branches in the country to launch a website.

Back in 2003 the Labour Party was in government with Tony Blair as prime minister. George Bush was the US President and Vladimir Putin was president of Russia. (some things don’t change) 2003 was also the year the Blu-ray disc was launched and the social network ‘MySpace’ was launched. They were both tipped to be huge but Facebook and online streaming soared ahead and left them standing.

UNISON itself was just 10 years old having formed in 1993 when three public sector trade unions, the National and Local Government Officers Association, the National Union of Public Employees and the Confederation of Health Service Employees merged.

Meanwhile, we were heavily involved in the Agenda 4 Change (A4C) negotiations that were to replace the Whitley council pay board and resulted in substantial wage increases. There was so much A4C information at that time that having a website was essential in getting the necessary information out to members quickly and efficiently. You can see on the screenshot a big button regarding the upcoming vote.

Some of the stories at the time were about previous NHS underfunding by the conservatives when they were in power. Ambulance staff at NEAS in dispute about not being paid for meal breaks and violence against ambulance staff.

Over the years we have revamped the website several times adopting new technology as it became available, while keeping costs to a minimum. When we first launched online, most members would access the site from a service computer. It seems hard to imagine now but there were no smartphones and not everyone was connected at home. There were lots of restrictions placed on the service computers so we were unable to add some technologies, but as soon as we could, we added them.

In 2007 the iPhone was launched by Apple and this was probably the biggest game changer since we had launched. Slowly smartphones became the norm and the speeds increased. Now members could access the website on their phone. But our site wasn’t mobile friendly. So we launched an app. This was available on all platforms and was a success for several years until we converted the entire site into a new format that would adjust to whatever device you are using. Mobile, Tablet, Notebook, Laptop or Desktop. No matter how small or large your screen is our site will adjust.

In 2009 we launched on Twitter and a year later we launched our Facebook page. These social networking sites have enabled us to gain a better reach and allows us to quickly highlight issues to members and direct them to the full story on the website. More recently we have launched local Facebook groups. Unlike our main Facebook page which is open to everyone, (even if not logged into Facebook) these groups are restricted to members only. This makes it a safe place to discuss issues and interact with your local reps.

Currently we have the following Facebook groups:

We are constantly looking for new ways to communicate with members and welcome any suggestions you may have. It is so important that we are able to get information to members quickly especially in this era of ‘fake news’ so we can debunk the myths and ensure our members know the facts.

We also occasionally need to contact you via post so please get in touch with us via the ‘update form‘ and make sure we have all your up to date contact details including:

  • Postal Address
  • E-Mail Address
  • Mobile Phone Number

Then if you are on Twitter make sure you ‘follow us‘ at @lasunison and if you are on Facebook ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/lasunison

We can then keep you updated on what is happening within UNISON and your branch and if you do have any suggestions on other ways we could stay in touch then use the ‘contact us‘ form to tell us.

So, as UNISON turns 25 and our website turns 15, I am excited to see how we can develop over the next 15/25 years…………………..

 

 

Here are some screenshots from the last few years:

Categories
Branch Chair

Winter Pressures

Dear LAS UNISON Member,

Hope you had a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.

But it seems to me 2018 is here and nothing has changed, our call rate is still increasing beyond being funny and if we are truthful we are finding it difficult to cope.

Hospitals across London and all across the UK are also finding it difficult to manage.

Every day and every hour Ambulances are being queued, just waiting to unload the patient that they have conveyed to a local A&E – it is becoming the norm.

It is called “winter pressures” but it seems to me that our pressures seem to last all year; winter, summer and relatively mild pressures!

Only last week our Prime Minister said “The NHS is better prepared for this winter than ever before

Then the same week we get told that the NHS have cancelled all non-emergency operations, which Officials have estimated, that this could lead to up to 55,000 deferred operations – such as cataract surgery and hip replacements.

Then we find out that across the country, Nearly 5,000 ambulances spent more than an hour queueing outside A&E during the festive week – the highest levels this winter.

A total of 16,900 people were forced to wait for more than 30 minutes to be seen by staff at emergency departments over the Christmas week, up from 11,900 the previous week.

Our Service are still having to fly to the other side of the world to get trained Paramedics to come and work in London, when our own Staff are willing and waiting to be trained.

Our Service is still using a private ambulance company to cover shortfalls.

This is not an NHS that is well prepared, this is not the health service that the people of London and the rest of the country deserve; last year was one of the most difficult we have had to deal with and everybody at LAS UNISON are proud of the way our members went about their work helping people in some of the most difficult of circumstances.

This week the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremey Hunt made an informal visit to the Headquarters of the London Ambulance Service and stated; “I was particularly impressed to hear about the efforts of their dedicated staff to plan for winter; they have clearly been effective in helping ensure good care for their patients.”

Which is always very nice for LAS Staff to be praised, but it’s not just praise that our members need, giving public service workers a pat on the back isn’t going to put food on their table, petrol in their cars or pay their bills.

This is why UNISON has led the “Pay up Now! – Scrap the pay cap” campaign – this is still top of UNISON’s agenda and more information will follow.

Here is to hoping we have a successful 2018, and I hope to see you at our AGM in March.

If you are reading this, work for the London Ambulance Service or are eligible to join, and are not yet a member of UNISON Join Today!

We are stronger together. We are all frontline.

Eddie Brand (Branch Secretary)

Categories
Branch Secretary

Eric Roberts

My great friend and our Branch Secretary passed away a year ago today; Eric is still massively missed, not only by his family but by everyone that was lucky enough to know him.

The great work that Eric did for all health workers will never be forgotten and today I would hope that everyone will raise a glass to Eric and celebrate his life.

Rodney Bickerstaffe

In October we lost another great Trade Unionist, Rodney Bickerstaffe former General Secretary of our former Union NUPE and then UNISON. Rodney was a great friend of us all at LAS UNISON and he is another that will be missed and our thoughts go to his wife Pat and their family.

We are so lucky to be surrounded by passionate UNISON representatives that continue to work hard on our behalf week in week out, not only representing all our members’ needs but making sure our branch moves ever stronger.

Lobby of Parliament

Recently one of our members Laura Barrett, Paramedic at West Ham Station became a UNISON TV Star! Helping UNISON Ambulance operational group at a lobby of parliament to support the private members bill to aggravate violent offences when perpetrated against emergency service workers and those that support them.

The next day Laura appeared on the BBC2 Victoria Derbyshire show explaining about the hideous violent situations that Laura has had to face just trying to carry out her duties looking after the people of London. This is why this bill must be made law – Emergency service workers, including staff working in the NHS providing healthcare must benefit from additional legal protection against assault and violent attacks.

Thank you and well done Laura.

I can promise you that whatever you read from other unions – LAS UNISON is the largest union in our Service and UNISON nationally are the largest Union in the country. Also our Ambulance operations group which represents all the UK’s Ambulance services is the largest in the country.

Presently, it seems that on a weekly basis, one of our Senior Sector representatives get at least one call from a member of another trade union asking for advice or representation – I am sorry but we don’t do that – if you want representation from the largest trade Union in the LAS you will have to join us!

Being the largest is why in July 2017 UNISON was able to defeat this government in our landmark victory over Tribunal fees, UNISON defeated this government in the highest UK court – The Supreme Court, and UNISON took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. Unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand. Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200 but these fees will now be refunded.

Pay Up Now Campaign

This is also why UNISON are leading on pay and the “Scrap the Cap – Pay up Now” campaign every single person who works in public services needs and deserve a pay rise. It’s time for the pay cap to be scrapped, for the government to provide additional funding for public sector pay and for employers to pay up now.

Our Branch attended the “Scrap the Cap – Pay up now” (Britain deserves a pay rise) rally in London on 17th October 2017 and I would also like to thank our members that took time out of their busy schedules to support our Branch and our region.

LAS UNISON will continue to do our best for our membership and will continue to grow because our representatives understand what it is like to work in a busy publically funded Ambulance Service and we want many things but the main one is that ALL staff that work in our service are properly rewarded for the great work they do day in day out “Scrap the Cap – Pay up Now”

Eric’s Blog Picture

As Eric used to sign off on his blog –

If you are reading this, work for the London Ambulance Service or are eligible to join, and are not yet a member of UNISON Join Today!

We are stronger together. We are all Frontline.

 

Eddie Brand (Branch Secretary)

Categories
Branch Secretary

El Presidente

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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Support Your Union

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 Information on all issues can be found elsewhere on our website.

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If you are reading this, work for the London Ambulance Service or are eligible to join, and are not yet a member of UNISON Join Today!

 

We are stronger together. We are all Frontline.

 

Eddie Brand – Branch Secretary

 

Categories
Communications

New Branch Blog

Welcome to the New LAS UNISON Branch Blog.

Eric Roberts started his blog back in 2010 as a new and unique way to communicate with our members. It was passionate, funny, informative and gave a personal view from our Branch Secretary and UNISON president on what he wanted for our members.

Yes, we have a website, facebook page and a twitter account, but sometimes it is difficult to get across on these platforms what you want to say.

For example: The website – This is a factual news and information site. Twitter is limited to 140 characters and not everyone is on facebook. (even though it seems like it) A blog is the perfect platform for getting across things we want to say in a slightly less formal way.

I know you enjoyed reading Eric’s blogs. (I got to see the user stats) We looked at lots of different options for replacing his blog including not having one at all. However, I believe his legacy should be a continuation of the blog format. I would also like to remind you that Eric’s Blog will remain online at http://ericsblog.lasunison.com/ have a read through some of his posts when you get a chance.

At the January Branch Committee meeting, I proposed and it was agreed that the blog would become a multi user blog updated by all the senior sector reps and the occasional branch officer who does not have their own web page such as myself. I know, always seemed odd that the guy who built the website didn’t actually have his own page!

I hope that this new format will allow for more local news to filter through to the website. I know there is lots of good work being done by UNISON stewards and H&S reps right across the service that we never hear about. Be sure to tell your sector reps what you are doing and they can add it to the blog.


 

On Wednesday 8 February I attended a special UNISON celebration remembering Eric and his life. The whole branch was there along with Eric’s family, LAS Colleagues and UNISON activists and ambulance staff from right across Britain.

Lots of people got up and spoke about how much Eric meant to them and what he had done for them. Many of these people I had never met before and it was really lovely to see what an impact our branch secretary had on the union and people across the country.


We are going through a time of immense change. The UK has voted to leave Europe, we have a Tory government and a billionaire businessman has been elected president of the USA. On a positive note, Paramedics are going to finally be put into Band 6. I find myself wondering just what is going to happen next but I am confident that when we stick together in UNISON we can deal with whatever is thrown at us.

We don’t always get it right and it’s okay to make mistakes, but remember that everyone in UNISON is there to help and support our members. We want to get the best terms and conditions for our members and ultimately make the London Ambulance Service the best ambulance service in the country and maybe even the world. If the LAS succeeds then so do we, but we have to work together in partnership for that to happen.

 

Rob Sydney – Communications Officer