August 2016

Paid As If At Work
As you may be aware, we have been working away to try and make progress with this, and I think we are now getting somewhere...
By way of a brief recent history:
·        June 2015, at our prompting, an instruction was issued to managers to make sure that, even if the back payments (to October 2008) still needed to be sorted (in some areas), everyone needed to ensure that proper arrangements for 'Paid As If At Work' during periods of annual leave (ie unsocial/weekend hours payments) were put in place.
·        There was further debate, so in December 2015, the Terms and Conditions subgroup of the Highland Partnership Forum agreed the following principles (in particular relating to Raigmore but applicable elsewhere):
1.     A virtual roster needed to be put in place (which may need to reflect specific circumstances of individual wards etc).
2.     This would then run behind the 'real' roster, and staff would be paid when on leave/sick in accordance with the week in the virtual roster that this leave happened to fall on (obviously for absences of only a few days, they  would  get paid what they  were already rostered to work on those days).
3.     We agreed that, in order to make progress with back pay, the virtual roster would also be extended retrospectively, and backpay calculated on that  basis.
4.     It may be appropriate for this to be varied for individuals, when there is clear knowledge that their work pattern is very different from that of the virtual roster (eg someone who works days only).
5.     3 above can be subject to individual challenge, if people can/wish to come forward with information that they have been unfairly treated as a result of  the virtual roster
6.     Similar arrangements need to be put in place for Belford (and indeed could be applied anywhere else).
·        Some progress being made with Belford and Caithness.
·        Progress within Argyll & Bute, although some grievances also submitted on concerns of under-payment.
·        The Board's Audit Committee agreed (at our instigation) that an external audit into the application of 'Paid As If At Work' within NHS Highland would take place (work on this starts next month).  This will result in a formal report to the Audit Committee including identification of any management actions required to address the situation.
·        As far as we know, in general, progress is being made in terms of calculations of backpay due.  Once these are complete, we expect that details should be shared with members of staff individually.
If, following the outcome of your calculation,  you feel you have been disadvantaged, please get in touch and we will offer the appropriate support.  If you feel  you are not currently being  ¿Paid As If At Work¿ when on leave, please get in touch, because if this is not happening we need to know, so we can raise it with management.   Hopefully we will have a resolution to this issue, through the actions identified above, over the next two or three months at most!
Band 1 Review
We expect that, if this affects you, you will by now have received a number of management newsletters around this.  We want to support all our Band 1 members to move into Band 2 roles.  This is as a result of UNISON action nationally, and (unlike the campaigns of some other unions) will actually result in some significant gains for this group of staff (if you are full time, it will result, in time, in a pay rise of about £2500 a year).  So we would like to encourage members to say 'yes' to the offer of a Band 2 job, which we expect will be winging your way over the next couple of months.
Care at Home/Enablement Redesigns
These are in full swing, and members are starting to move over to new jobs and Agenda For Change terms and conditions.  This has not benefitted everyone - but pay protection will apply so no-one will lose out financially as a result.  We are involved in redesigns in both South & Mid and North & West and are (as ever, it seems) pressing for increased management communication to staff in terms of what is going on, when, etc.  This seems a bit of an imperfect process, but our overwhelming concern is to protect jobs and terms and conditions, as well as support service change where we feel this is going to be beneficial to both staff and clients/patients.
Again, if you have any concerns, please get in touch.  We will also issue further UNISON communications to affected groups of staff as and when.
NHS Highland Finances
Very challenging times this year (a £16m gap between projected expenditure for the year and income as at the end of June), and some very significant pressures on services as a result.  NHS Highland is keen to involve staff and get as many good ideas/suggestions as possible of where savings could be made.  We are very anxious to ensure that quality of patient care is maintained (for example safe staffing levels), and also staff continue to be treated in line with terms and conditions and HR policies (which cannot be unilaterally changed by local managers, as sometimes seems to be the case!).
There's a theme here - we want to hear from you if you've got a problem, or an idea, or a suggestion for something you might be interested in getting involved with.  We are only as strong as the information/activity  of our members.
However, one thing which we definitely won't be supporting is:
Laundering of Staff Uniforms
There are moves to stop providing this service within NHS Highland (and yes, we are aware that it doesn't happen everywhere, unfortunately..) and for staff to launder their own uniforms (to specified standards - including temperature of wash, separation from other items etc).  We object to the idea of the  NHS passing on these costs to staff, and will be seeking all ways to avoid this happening here.  If you have any ideas/thoughts about this we would be keen to hear them.
Last but not least:
Raigmore Coffee Lounge Temporary Relocation
We have raised strong objections/concerns to this, as the coffee lounge came at significant expense, and is an important area for staff to relax away from the 'hurly burly' of their workplace.  Management have listened to our concerns, and we expect to receive written assurance that:
·        The Coffee Lounge is highly valued and there is no threat to this on an ongoing basis
·        The closure will be for 6 weeks only (to enable portacabins for maternity admin staff to be relocated)
·        Alternative areas will be provided for staff to take breaks/use computers for the 6 weeks of the relocation (at the time of writing we don't know where - but this will be advised shortly)
·        The coffee lounge will be fully reinstated in (at least) as good a state after the 6 weeks
We have been asked to consider this because the cost of the Raigmore Redesign Project would be approximately an additional £70k if the portacabins were reprovided, rather than staff being temporarily moved to the coffee lounge area.   See also the item above about the financial situation.    At the time of writing there remain some concerns, in particular with regard to the timescales, and the written assurance is yet to be received.   Further information will be provided to those affected as the matter progresses.
New Branch Facebook Page
For all of you FB users, a new Branch page has just been created.  Please check this out/like etc.  You will find the page if you search for 'Unison Highland Healthcare' (https://www.facebook.com/unisonhighlandhealthcare/).  Hopefully the page will be a good source of quick updates on whatever's going on locally, plus links to relevant UNISON stories nationally.  Early days but please help this get off the ground.

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