Wednesday, October 04, 2006

UNISON NEC debates Health service

Today's meeting of the UNISON NEC discussed a number of issues of particular relevance to our members in the Health Service.

NHS PENSION SCHEME

The meeting received a brief report of the forthcoming ballot of members on the recommendation from the Health SGE to support proposed changes to the NHS Pension Scheme. UNISON is the only Union balloting our members on this. Ballot papers go out on 23 October with a closing date of 10 November.

NHS LOGISTICS

The NEC received a report on the two days of strike action at NHS Logistics, described by the Head of Health as a “heroic attempt to bring to the attention of the public” the problems posed by privatisation in the health service. The strike had been well supported by members (although in later debate we were told that the support had not been universal across all five branches).

Dave Prentis explained that the members had always understood that the strike action would be unlikely to prevent the privatisation of the service to DHL and responded angrily to suggestions from local government NEC member Glenn Kelly that the Union had let the members down by not commencing industrial action sooner.

KEEP THE NHS WORKING

Dave Prentis gave a verbal report on the successful launch of NHS Together and of the forthcoming lobby of Parliament on 1 November. He made clear that the Union does want all our members to turn up on the day and support the lobby – albeit the priority is that health workers should get to meet their MPs so other members should not squeeze them out in terms of actual lobbying.

The Greater London Regional Committee will have to take into account the views of our General Secretary about this when considering whether or not to reschedule or otherwise amend arrangements for our Regional Council on 1 November. Anyone in UNISON who has been suggesting that the lobby is for health workers only has obviously been “off message” and needs to take note!

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