This edition of your branch e-news contains - hopefully! - something of interest to all members. We have some updated news, from our GMB National Public Services Secretary, on our pay campaign; we have a local-based petition from a Newport GP, in defence of the NHS (which I hope many of you will sign please!!); but first, we need to clarify some news from a sister organisation.
As GMB Cardiff members know, this union will only feed you confirmed information. We have far too much respect for you all to pass on rumours, good intentions or gossip. In short, there is enough guff and half-truths in the world without us adding to it; and there is more than enough political spin (think Parliament & the "Brexit" process, think "The Donald" in America, and so on!) already.
Members in Social Care will be all too aware of the recent "Agile Mobile Working" changes, which seek to equip our colleagues - in the process of their essential and immensely valuable work with our most vulnerable citizens - with a more effective method of working. This, coupled with the closure of Global Link and the move of many teams to County Hall, has been a challenging exercise.
This union, along with our sister organisations, have been at the forefront of ensuring that our members are appropriately equipped, well supported and allowed the flexibility they need to do the job. Senior GMB Representative, Angie Shiels, has been the most vocal in fighting for social care staff to be able to work from wherever best suited - included from home if necessary - and for management to trust their staff to do the job.
This is doubly important, because of the already immense strain upon car parking at County Hall, and the influx of a large number of Social Care staff - if not allowed to be effectively flexible and agile/ mobile - is a recipe for chaos.
It is, therefore, both sad and disappointing for a sister trade union to put out a printed news sheet that implies that they are in the process of securing reserved parking bays for these staff. There is no such agreement, and there has not even been any pan-Trade Union consultations on such. ... and it won't happen without that process.
This union, as it always does, will consult with all our members before ever agreeing to something like that. We certainly won't seek to add to the chaos that currently exists most mornings. A bit of honesty and sense would be welcomed from our colleagues.
National Pay negotiations - an update.
Please find below a message from our GMB National Secretary for Public Services, Rehana Azam. This updates members on progress on the review of the national pay structure.
1 February 2017
As part of the 2016-18 pay deal, the NJC agreed to review the NJC pay spine and established a working group to conduct the review. GMB’s NJC Executive members represent GMB on the working group.
At its first meeting on 11 January, the working group agreed (on a without prejudice basis) to proceed according to the three principles below:
• That a revised pay spine should look similar to the existing one: i.e. individual pay points linked to a specific salary figure
• That the differentials between each of the pay points should be consistent.
• That a revised pay spine should be extended beyond the existing maximum pay point 49.
We anticipate negotiations on a revised pay spine will begin in March, after the pay data to be used to model alternatives has been finalised and jointly agreed with the Local Government Association. Please note talks are carried out on a non – prejudice basis. Should the review lead to a new pay spine then this will be subject to the usual consultation arrangements.
National Secretary | Public Services Section
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Lastly, we have been made aware of a petition, created by a Newport GP, that seeks to protect our NHS from the predatory jaws of global business. Rather than me interpret, please find below - cut & paste without edit - the details, and - most importantly - the link to signing. We hope you consider doing so ...
Dear Sir/ Madam,
I am a GP working in Newport. I am writing to you in personal capacity.
I would like to ask you a question:
Is the NHS worth saving?
The NHS was proposed by one of the most famous and respected Welsh politicians Aneurin Bevan. It was meant to look after the common man. It is a system envied all over the world. Michael Moore made a film about it, visiting Americans , including doctors who have had to use the system when visiting the UK have written to Newspapers praising the NHS.
I ask you the question again: In its current state/ condition, is the NHS worth saving?
I ask this question because I am concerned there is a very strong possibility the NHS or parts of it may be used as a bargaining tool to curry favour with a recently elected President of a world superpower. Our British Prime Ministers recent behaviour has, in my measured opinion, been a cause for concern. She appears very eager to please world superpowers. Certain countries have been, for decades, very eager to get their hands on UK's health budget. In order to gain favour with a certain country is it possible she may trade parts of the NHS/ open the doors to overseas private companies?
Whatever the fate of the NHS, I don't want parts of it/ any part of it handed over to overseas Healthcare companies. I want British people to come with their own solutions to the problems of the NHS. I don't want our British healthcare funds to be handed over, our patient details and trusts to be handed over to overseas companies so they can 'grab' hold of our resources.
I firmly believe that our country has the resources in terms of ideas, labour etc to improve our healthcare services.
The concerns above are not just shared by me but by a lot of others. That is why a petition has been started. Unfortunately it has not gained the same attention as other petitions started recently ( eg one asking for a certain world superpower leader to be banned has crossed one million in just a few days). I have written to local newspapers in Wales. I am contacting friends, colleagues, anyone I can think of.
The petition is below:
"Ringfence the NHS from trade deals
As the UK leaves the EU, the NHS should not be used as a bargaining tool in trade negotiations and deals with other countries."
The link for said petition:
Today at last count the total number of people who have signed it is only 40,000 +. The numbers of people who have signed the petition are very low in different areas in Wales and more per area in England .
If you find this petition to be something that you care about , can you lend your support to help boost the numbers please? I think the NHS is very important. It is our NHS.
I would be most grateful if you could lend your support to this petition, get as many of your colleagues or supporters to sign this petition.
DR SANJAY AHLAWAT
As always, thank you for reading this. As you know, we value our members in the GMB & that is why we keep you up-to-date with these newsletters. We do this EVERY month (sometimes more often!), not once in a while or when the mood suits. You have a right to be informed, so we will keep you informed with facts- not rumours.
GMB Cardiff1 Branch