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