2020 – This heart-breaking year

Like everyone else, I won’t be sad to see the end of this year.

Our members continue to make sacrifices over and above the call of duty. Many have become really unwell due to this dreadful virus and sadly, some, have paid with their lives. Lots of us, have lost wonderful colleagues and great friends.

We are not contracted or expected to be made seriously unwell just carrying out our duties, our duties that are trying to make people better and to save lives.

We follow the rules, we stay at home, and we get ready for work, trying to make lives easier for all and keeping our treasured NHS and welfare state functioning.

Thank you to all the general public that at 8’o’clock every Thursday, showed their appreciation during the summer by clapping all public sector workers, I know it meant so much and brought our members to tears.

We have now entered “Tier 4” and our members are having to deal with a new coronavirus variant that is “out of control” Our Hospitals cannot cope and are full to the rafters, patients are being kept on Ambulances when arriving at the A&E because there are no beds available. This isn’t just a London thing, but is happening all across our Country.

But still, Public Service Staff continue to be ignored when it comes to rewarding their efforts they have made over this last year.

Now this government have turned round and said that only NHS may get a pay rise in 2021? They are playing us off each other and it’s not fair!

Public Service workers across this country deserve to be rewarded, Public Service workers that have continued to work throughout this pandemic, Public Service Workers that spend their money on our high streets, in our shops, to our tradespeople, to all our services. The money they receive goes back into the pot for all!

Some people turn round and say “the Country is skint” but, we continue to see stories of a US jewellery company with no previous experience receiving large sums to supply PPE with little transparency, and of Political Advisors receiving a 40k pay increase before being released, probably paying for his petrol bill! So there is money for some!

We really should be proud of UNISON’S Welfare Department (There for you) and the Covid-19 response fund, helping all UNISON members through the pandemic. Branches across our Union have responded by sending in donations to make sure our Members are looked after in their real time of need, true solidarity.

I will be glad (one day) to get away from Teams/Zoom meetings, I find it slightly dispiriting! I prefer the human element to meetings and I am sick of hearing “You are on mute” Please let us get back to normal!

Our Branch Committee continue to meet monthly this way, and I am so proud of the work that all our activists continue to do for our Union and on behalf of our members, but I am especially proud of our Branch Committee, well done team!

Our recruitment is second to none and our membership numbers has never been this high, so thank you for joining the best Ambulance Branch in the country, even if I say so myself!

Being a member of a Trade Union has never been more important

Please try to stay safe, and have a Christmas that you and your families will hopefully enjoy. This heart-breaking year will be over soon and we can only hope that in 2021 this Country recovers, and we can all meet up with our loved ones x

Yours fraternally

Eddie Brand

LAS UNISON Branch Secretary

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We are stronger together. We are all frontline.

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