April 2018 members' news

UNISON plans to run the following fully funded courses:

23 April, 9.30 am - 3.30 pm

Mental Health Awareness


24 April, 9.30 am - 3.30 pm

Mental Health Awareness


3 May, 9.00 am - 4.40 pm

Emergency First Aid at Work


29 May, 9.00 am - 1.00 pm

SSSC/SVQ  Workshop


30 May, 9.30 am - 3.30 pm

Get that job


5 June, 9.00 am - 1.00 pm

SSSC/SVQ Workshop


7 June, 9.30 am - 3.30 pm

Suicide First Aid


If you are interested in attending any of the above, or would like further details, please contact Marta Chaba, Regional Learning and Development Organiser, UNISON , 53 Shore Street, Inverness, IV1 1NF (email m.chaba@unison.co.uk, telephone 01463 723968 or 07950 889765).

National minimum wage levels vary, depending on your age and whether you are an apprentice. It is reviewed every year, with changes introduced every April.
From 1 April 2018, the hourly national minimum wage rates are:
£7.83 for workers aged 25 and above (the so-called national living wage);
£7.38 for workers aged 21-24;
£5.90 for workers aged 18-20;
£4.20 for workers aged 16-17;
£3.70 for apprentices under 19, or in the first year of their apprenticeship.
Sorry in advance if you already know about this!  Bluntly, NHS Highland is about £15m overspent at the end of the year, and will require 'brokerage' from the Scottish Government to break even.  This is a loan which is required to be paid back. 
The financial picture going forward is not much better.  There is negotiation taking place to agree a 3-year plan to come back into financial balance.  Within the projected level of funding from the Scottish Government, this will mean a 16% reduction in workforce costs (compared to at present) during that period.  There is no plan or proposal for redundancies or anything like that, but this will mean that there will be fewer staff at the end of the 3 years than there are now.  Bear in mind also that the turnover (number of people leaving) in the organisation is about 10% a year.  The other thing that we are entirely clear about is that this cannot be about people just doing more to fill in any staffing gaps - and we have had reassurance at a public Board meeting from the Chief Executive on this.  It does mean, though, that redesign of services will need to accelerate - and is likely to be coming to you (if it hasn't already).  We know also that there will be more older people requiring care and support, and a smaller workforce available to provide this.  Of course communities and non-NHS service providers are also part of the picture - this is not just an NHS issue.
UNISON have stressed that it is vital to involve you in the changes required, and our view is that change of this scale cannot happen without staff being involved, in understanding the need for change, and therefore being willing to go along with the organisation on this.
We are actively looking at a more innovative approach to managing any redeployment/ retraining etc which will be required - for which watch this space!
This is only a brief summary, and is no doubt something we will come back to further in future communications.
We sent you an update on 27 March, so not much to add at this point.  A deal is close to agreement for England, which will provide significant pay rises for some, and a small pay increase for all.  Potentially a different deal is being considered for Scotland, and UNISON is at the forefront of negotiations taking place with the Scottish Government.  Once UNISON believes the best-possible deal has been negotiated, you will be consulted on this.  Keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates.  We will also communicate with you directly.  Please tell your colleagues to sign up to receive UNISON emails - this the cheapest and quickest way for us to let you know what's going on and to ensure you have the correct info.
This is close to completion for Raigmore - a major achievement.  There seem to be some pockets in other places where members feel they have not received what is due, and we are following these up.  Please get in touch if you feel that you are in this category.
There is significant work happening here, which could result in changes going forward.  UNISON has already been active in Argyll and Bute in opposing one course of action which could have involved significant redundancies for Council colleagues, and transfer of services to the private/independent sector.  The Health Board is also considering its strategic position with respect to these services, which include services provided (and commissioned) in care homes, care at home, other voluntary sector provision, and other related NHS services.  These are big and important issues - and once again, we are stressing that it will be vital to involve staff who are potentially affected by these changes going forward.  There is due to be a further report on this going to the Board at its May meeting and we will share relevant information as soon as we have it.  UNISON will be looking out for your interests.  It would be a good time to come forward as a UNISON rep if you are interested, though!
The redesign process in Wick is largely complete.  Unfortunately this did result in a reduction in staffing - but displaced staff are now being redeployed into other suitable roles, and their employment with NHS Highland is protected.  Other areas being looked at actively include Invergordon, Fort William and Islay, as well as LDU services across North Highland.  UNISON is involved in all these projects, and relevant members will be kept up to date of progress.
Briefly, a successful and well-attended series of AGMs across the whole patch (from Rothesay to Wick) was held, and over 60 members attended to hear from Branch Officers, and (in Inverness) from the Chair of the Scottish Health Committee, Tam Waterson.  Onward and upward!


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