Legacy Paramedic Dispute - While it is now clear that a majority of the membership do not feel strongly enough to continue the fight to get justice for paramedics regarding their job evaluation. It is not something that this branch is willing to just forget and walk away from.
We will continue to campaign and lobby for an independent investigation into the process at every opportunity we get, it is clear to the GMB that the involvement of senior figures within NWAS and NHS employers influenced the outcome. We base this statement on the information gained following a freedom of information request to the trust which highlighted that discussions and meeting had taken place following the outcome of the JE in June 2017 but prior to any consistency checking.
It was clear that NWAS did not want the outcome of the JE panel held on 8th June 2017 to go to consistency checking and they pushed for it to be re-run.
This they achieved due to new terms of reference being agreed with the other two unions and the rest is history.
It had taken almost 14 years to get to this position and those members who are most affected, will not forget this injustice for a very long time to come.
It is clear now that our options are limited and we hope that the change of leadership due in April may want to move this service on and finally lance the boil that is JE within this Trust.
Hours Owed - Recently some staff within C&M have been asked to repay hours that they have allegedly underworked.
This has come about as a result of GRS running a report that showed group members of the team may not have been given the correct hours. However, some of the data used is not correct and we have now agreed that no one will be asked to repay more than 26 hours in this financial year.
We have also agreed that staff side should review the data and investigate how this issue has arisen to ensure it is correct. Steve Rice has been nominated by both Unison and Unite to carry out this piece of work jointly with C&M management.
We will of course update you once this has happened.
HCPC Fees - GMB submitted evidence into the HCPC consultation on increasing their registration fees. Copies of which have been circulated prior to this publication. We await the outcome.
However, it has been widely reported on social media that following a FOI request the HCPC admit to spending £17,052.15 on their Christmas gathering in 2015.
Although they now say that they have now reduced future amounts to just £25 per member of staff it seems that their argument that the fee increase is required due to increasing costs is something they should look at again.
Seems ludicrous when they are again asking to increase fees.
NHS Pensions - There is a surplus of 3.2% within the pension scheme to spend which under their rules should be used to benefit members of the scheme.
The Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) had made a number of proposals on how this should be spent to the Treasury, including a reduction of 1% across all bands.
The consultation was due to close soon and an update will be provided as soon as we know the outcome and have a response to their request.
However, HM Treasury issued the attached Written Ministerial Statement on public sector pensions.
The Treasury has decided to halt the current valuations process, until such time they have a response on their appeal to the Supreme Court in relation to the Court of Appeal judgement on the firefighters’ pension scheme. Their argument is that if this judgement stands, there will be precedent that applies to all the unfunded schemes and, as such, the current valuations are based on potentially incorrect figures.
Following consultation with union pensions officers yesterday (including those on the NHS SAB), we asked the Treasury not to suspend the valuations process and to proceed as planned, including addressing the rectification measures proposed by the relevant Scheme Advisory Boards.
Unfortunately the Treasury has not followed our advice. See the Written Ministerial Statement for full details.
The TUC has put out the following media message:
“Public sector workers have had years of real-terms pay cuts and job losses. They now face the danger of the government breaking its promises on pension benefits.
“Public sector pension schemes have been cheaper than expected. Under the agreed rules, which the government committed to for 25 years, this should mean lower contributions or improved pensions for members.
“But halting the valuations process leaves this in jeopardy. The government needs to stick to its own rules and deliver what it pledged.”
How does this ruling affect the ambulance service?
Much discussion has taken place about the possible impact of the recent FBU pension’s judgment.
It will be a complicated process if the Government lose the appeal in the Supreme Court and may result in protection being lost by those who were protected from detrimental changes close to retirement. However, the case will have an effect on all public sector pension schemes that may be viewed as discriminating on the basis of age.
The 2015 NHS scheme offered protection on the basis of being within ten years of retirement i.e. 50 years of age and did not offer the same to anyone under that age, seems the same as the FBU case to us.
The GMB congress last year a motion was passed that proposed that the retirement age for ambulance staff is reduced to the age of 60 to bring us in line with other physically demanding front line jobs such as police and fire.
The GMB national ambulance committee last week agreed to kick-start this campaign with a full survey of members to ensure your views are known.
Once this has been drafted it will be sent to all members so please keep this in mind when checking you mail.
We will obviously be keeping a very close eye on the case and update you of any developments.
Ambulance Fleet Consultation - The publication of the Carter report recommended a standard ambulance vehicle design across the UK. To deliver this a group was established to look at the issue and they have now put a report out for consultation.
This group are recommending that the new vehicle specification should be based on a van conversion purely based on cost. We believed this is a backward step for a number of reasons not least patient and staff safety.
We have responded to this consultation and have attached that response for you information.