Welcome to our website. We are a Health Care Sector UNISON branch with around 2500 members most of whom are employed by Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust. Our other members are employed by a wide range of mental health care employers across Greater Manchester including Independent Hospitals, Nursing Homes and GP Practices, or are Retired Members or Unemployed Members from the branches which merged to form this Greater Manchester Mental Health Branch.
We hope that you find this web site both helpful and of interest. We wish to provide information about the branch and how to access help when you need to, as well as having links to UNISON’s National and Regional Websites, and to organisations campaigning about the NHS and other issues.
In addition we hope to keep you up to date with activities and priorities of the branch. We see this branch as an active, campaigning UNISON branch and hope to provide you with details of upcoming events we will be attending as well as reports, links and photographs as we develop this website.
There is a contact form available for you to contact the website administrators. There are further contact details of branch officers and stewards under the ‘Branch Activists’ tab.
We need to save our NHS, and the March outside the Tory Party Conference on the 29th September is a vital demonstration to show that this country is against the privatised, dismantled, profit making NHS that is being built by the current goverment.
BUT HOW DO UNISON SEE THE FUTURE OF THE NHS? …
60,000 strong demonstration in Manchester tells the Tories they are not welcome in our city!
As workers within the NHS we are aware that privatisation and cuts in the NHS are driving down quality and services. After today’s demonstration in Manchester the Tories will have got the message just how much ordinary people care about the NHS and the Welfare State. Despite the problems that we face, support for the NHS is still very high and the public are aware of the importance of the care and services provided and that the privatisation of the NHS will ultimately lead to the end of free at the point of service health care.
Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “Austerity is having a devastating effect on our communities and services, with 21,000 NHS jobs lost over the last three months alone.
Prentis tells crowd government is privatising the NHS
“Let’s call a spade a spade: this is privatisation, pure and simple”. That was how Dave Prentis described what the government is doing to the National Health Service when he spoke at the rally to save the NHS in Manchester today.
With the Conservative Party starting its annual conference near by, UNISON’s general secretary said that it had come to power, “promising ‘no more top-down reorganisations’, with Prime Minister David Cameron personally assuring the electorate: ‘I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS’.
“What did we get?” he asked, and cited the losses to frontline staff that the health service is now facing, with over 5,000 nurses’ posts alone having gone.
“It’s a race to the bottom. Companies offering up savings they can only meet by slashing the workforce and driving down quality.
No to Austerity!
The demonstration, nearly 1 mile long, included trade unionists, NHS Campaign Groups, individuals and supporters of other campaigns. The emphasis of the demonstration was the government cuts to the NHS but all other austerity. This government is continuing to force the people of this country to pay the price for reckless gambling by bankers.
It was great to see members of the branch out on the streets marching for our NHS but the fight needs to continue back at work where the real cost of NHS cuts is staff reporting high levels of stress, unmanageable case loads, short staffing, changes to their working hours and an over-reliance on agency staff.
Our jobs are becoming more difficult, and more unsafe and at the same time our standard of living is going down.
Today we marched together but this is not the end of our fight for the NHS or for decent wages and the right to be able to deliver high standards of care.
We must continue to fight until we get rid of this conservative government and we must back workers struggles but most of all the Unions need to come together and strike together to reverse the cuts and to ensure our NHS and Welfare State is not lost for ever.
There was a much different feel to Health Conference this year than there has been in recent years. We are now in our 6th year of the financial crisis caused by the system of Capitalism and the culture of casino banking resulting in the huge bailouts, financial deficit and the determination of our governments that working class people and vital public services would be attacked in order to repay these debts.
Recent UNISON Health conferences had seen little debate with unopposed motions being agreed and the conference timetable being raced through.
This was certainly not the case this year with many contested motions leading to a busy conference for branch delegates who intervened in around a dozen debates.
Ben Jackson & Caroline Ridgway, Co-Branch Secretaries
Leah Gilman, Equalities Officer
There was much discussion about the best ways of moving forward and the direction the is needed for the biggest Public Service Union in 2013 fighting the worst attacks the NHS has ever seen, in fact any health Service has ever seen worldwide.
Themes and Discussions
- Organising & Recruitment
- Negotiating & Bargaining
- Campaigning & Promoting Unison
Recruiting as always, is a high priority for UNISON and you should expect to see a presence of branch members in June during a “recruitment fortnight”.
It can be difficult to maintain high union density when financial pressures, redundancies and austerity are affecting the levels of public sector employment with jobs being lost. However, there is also a recognition that this is a time when Union’s need to remain strong to defend the public sector and of course it’s members.
Our branch believes:
- That a visible, campaigning union, fighting the attacks on our NHS and it’s members is the best way to maintain density and to recruit.
- We noted that the highest recruitment levels were achieved when the Union is fighting, and that the lead up to the Pension Strike in Nov 2011saw by far the largest increase in Unison membership for many years.
- We supported a motion that we should no further support the NHS Body which has agreed this years 1% NHS “uplift” which in
- Worryingly the “PRB” are also recommending “a 1% rise for 2014 and 2015”. Which are bound to cause a further deficit to our salary
Negotiating & Bargaining
These sessions were no doubt the most hotly contended and debated of this year’s health conference with pay and Terms & Conditions without doubt being amongst our members highest concerns as they continue to suffer at the hands of an uncaring Government determined that Healthworkers should pay for this crisis of capitalism.
The recent ‘compromise’ deal on Agenda for Change, which our branch consulted on in January, resulting in us submitting for rejection after holding stalls on several hospital sites, caused fierce argument with high levels of anger. We called for “censure” of the Health Service Group, due to what we believe was a flawed and unfair consultation process with questions that were heavily weighed to encourage members to accept these cuts to their terms and conditions giving no encouragement to taking action to defend their sick pay, yearly increments and
Pay and our recent 1% uplift, which in reality is a 2% cut also caused an argument with some stating that this is a positive in the current financial crisis and that members are more concerned about keeping their jobs with constant reorganisations and threat of redundancies.
Our Branch Position
Our members cannot continue to keep taking hits to their pay which is causing financial hardship to hard working, efficient and experienced Health Sector Workers. A real terms pay decrease of 15-20% is the reality since the burst of the financial “bubble”.
Upto 40% of people working in the public sector rely on benefit top-ups including tax credits and housing benefit. This is degrading. Working people should be able to rely on a fair salary which is at least a ‘living wage’ without having apply from “benefit top ups”.
We should negotiate pay increases across the 4 devolved nations rather than submit to the NHS Pay Review Body, which increasingly seems to deliver according to Government wishes.