Tuesday, January 27, 2015
NHS strike suspended - what are the lessons from local government about consultation?
Ahead of Thursday's planned strike action, the NHS trade unions (led by UNISON) have suspended that and any further action whilst members are consulted on an offer which our Head of Health describes thus;
"This isn't a great offer".
At least it is an offer (and not just a set of proposals...)
I'll wait to hear from colleagues in health before commenting further on the detail of the offer itself, but I will express the hope that, in consulting members on the offer we learn some of the lessons from the recent local government pay dispute (which has prompted a Special Service Group Conference).
First, it's weak to consult members without a clear recommendation, whether to accept or reject, from the lay Committee to whom the negotiators are accountable.
Secondly, branches - and Regions - must be permitted to make, and campaign for their own recommendations. This is a requirement of our Rules, endorsed by our National Delegate Conference.
Thirdly, if the negotiators have, and wish to express, an opinion about the scale of action likely to be required to secure an improved offer this should have a transparent basis in evidence.
I hope that, whatever the views of the Health Service Group Executive, and of the membership in health, UNISON can avoid some of the least attractive features of our recent local government fiasco.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.