What you really need to know - The situation

Transparent EEAST crest

We have addressed the facts and the Trust feels it now needs to look toward the future.

We want UNISON to be part of that future so we can all collectively work together for the benefit of staff and patients and we are committed to working with ACAS and with UNISON to resolve the current issues.

We asked the local UNISON branch to work with us to persuade commissioners and regulators to support greater investment in EEAST but unfortunately, representatives chose not to.

There are a few pieces of information we want to make sure you have the facts about:

  • We do not want to derecognise UNISON as a trade union and we want to improve our partnership working arrangements.
  • We spend in the region of £140,000 a year on full-time UNISON officials and about £85,000 for the paid facilities time provided for other UNISON officials.
  • We are happy to manage FOI-type requests from UNISON through internal mechanisms, like the staff partnership forum, but we have refused to respond to a number of FOIs from EEAST UNISON. This is because of the huge amount of time pressure these requests are putting on the FOI team’s workload month on month.

What is the partnership review?

Current working arrangements with UNISON have proved ineffective and we agreed with the local branch that we will both participate in a partnership review, facilitated by ACAS. The aim is to put in place a better partnership agreement between UNISON and the Trust.

Six months’ notice was served to UNISON in April on the existing trade union recognition agreement – a step required under our current agreement.

In the interests of openness and transparency we have published the letters we have shared with UNISON about the existing partnership arrangement and they can be found here: http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/about-us/transparency.htm

Will the Trust continue to recognise UNISON?

To be absolutely clear, we wish to continue to voluntarily recognise UNISON. Our view is that UNISON is a valued, trusted and respected trade union in the health sector.

We therefore agreed to extend the existing recognition agreement until 31st December 2017 to allow time to finalise agreement on a new voluntary trade union agreement.

In return, UNISON had committed to desist from negative campaigning against the Trust, particularly directed towards individuals.

We will continue to work with ACAS to resolve these issues and we will continue to encourage EEAS UNISON branch to work with us in a genuine spirit of partnership working.

The Trust hopes that UNISON will agree to develop a new voluntary recognition agreement so we can get partnership working arrangements working effectively for the good of staff.

How will I get my voice heard?

An employee engagement forum will be set up as part of our employee engagement strategy. We had held back on doing this at the request of UNISON but feel this offers a real opportunity for staff to be kept informed of what is going on in the Trust and to offer us feedback and suggestions for improvement.

The first meeting of the employee engagement forum will be held at the start of 2018 to agree how it might work in future. You can still contact your line manager, HR or our Freedom to Speak Up Guardians if there are any issues you feel you need to raise.

We’re proud of our progress to date and know we’ve got further to go. But with every step we take, we’ll remain focused on our patients, the care we provide for them and continuing to better support staff.

Thank you for the contribution you are making to this aim. As always we’ll continue to keep you informed of developments as and when we can. If there is something you want to know that hasn’t been covered or your manager can’t answer, please email feedback@eastamb.nhs.uk

Thank you,

The EEAST leadership

Published 23rd November, 2017

Leave a Comment
Name (required)
Email Address (required, never displayed)
Enter a message

(all comments are moderated - your submission will be posted on approval.)