Please note that I'm writing this in a personal capacity.
Well, yesterday was my first branch meeting for North Staffs Community Care Unison Branch. The branch is one of the largest in the midlands with over 3000 people on the books. I was very impressed with the turnout with around 25, the split was roughly 50/50 men to women.
First up on the agenda was the vote to see if I should be youth officer or not. I'm pleased to say the vote was passed unanimously in my favour, which seeing as I was the only person under 35 there it is not surprising.
Second- we had James, a representative from Lealta who was trying to sell the branch discount cards. Apparently Unison tried doing something similar for themselves a couple of years ago, but it fell through earlier this year. The card would offer at least a 10% discount on a lot of high street chains and local restaurants as well.
While I can see this as being a good supplementary recruiting tool, especially for student nurses, I'm against the principle of the union outsourcing anything. The cards would cost the branch £6000 a year, and it would be a 2 year contract, so £12000 all together. I'm sure if we pumped that much money into a mass recruiting campaign then we would probably see more recruits as a result. We vote on this next month.
The third item worth of note was a meeting between our branch secretary and a consultant north staffs combined health care have hired. The meeting a was a renegotiation of our recognition agreement. The consultant wanted a no strike clause in the agreement as well as the deliberate union breaking tactic of allowing non-union members to have union representatives in tribunals/ disciplinary action. The meeting ended in a stalemate, and they agreed to meet next month for round two.
It was the secretary's opinion that the consultant was trying to push it as far as he could in order to show other trusts his union breaking credentials when he sought employment with them. She also noted that the consultant was on about as much (pro-rata) as our chief executive.
The last Item was the unison health care conference coming up in april next year. One idea was putting a motion about the recent 'top up drugs' legislation coming in, which would allow people to top up their NHS treatment with private healthcare, effectivly creating a two tier NHS- one for the poor and one for the rich.
Looks like there is plenty for me to get my teeth into.
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