Final all members briefing for 10th February 2023 Industrial Action

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The next Strike Action for our Branch will take place tomorrow, Friday 10th February from 1100 to 2300.

On this occasion we are calling all LAS UNISON members out on strike!

It is imperative we hold the line now and maximise the number of members taking action. We are showing up the failings of this government and the problems it has created in the NHS. Everyone can see it and everyone knows what must be done but the government still refuse to do anything about it and worse still refuse to even enter into talks with us over pay so we have to keep up the pressure on them. Our Branch has already made a huge effort with thousands of members over the last three Strike Days joining us on the picket lines, sacrificing their pay and taking the only action left for us by withdrawing their labour. Now more than ever our voices are being heard along with huge amounts of other workers not only across the NHS but across many other employers in the public and private sector all taking huge actions. Since the last Strike we have spent time with TUC officers and our Branch Secretary spoke at a rally on the 1st of February in front of tens of thousands of other workers showing their support. Everyone supports what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and that support is only growing. With our Branch having one of the highest profiles across the country we call on all members join the Strike Action on the 10th and continue to demonstrate our strength and solidarity for each other.

Our senior branch representatives have again been busy organising the picket line arrangements and negotiating what emergency cover provisions we can support for our striking members to attend life threatening calls where the LAS are unable to. Ignore the various deflections from government that we are taking dangerous action and that we are not making these agreements, that’s rubbish and everyone knows it. Every day patients are at risk due to the state this government have left our precious NHS in and the damage they have done for over 10 years.

Arrangements for ambulance crew members remain the same as with picket line locations listed below. We are again calling on all members working within EOC North (Newham) to strike from 1100 to 1700 and then our EOC South (Waterloo) members from 1700-2300. At 1100 for Newham and 1700 for Waterloo we are asking all EOC members that work at, or under the umbrella of, that site to withdraw their labour for the allotted 6 hour period joining us on a picket line outside where we hope to persuade any remaining staff to join us and amplify the voice of our Branch.

We are adding a couple of notable picket lines to our action, Barking 111 and Croydon 111. We are calling all members at both locations to take Strike Action and join us on picket lines there from 1100 to 1700.

On Friday 10th February there will be 29 picket lines across the LAS at the following locations, also listed are the other workplaces accommodated at the named picket line. Striking ambulance crew members should attend the name allocated picket lines for their workplace to assist in providing the emergency cover arrangements:

EOC North (Newham) and CESD 1100-1700
Deptford (Inc Oval/Brixton)
Waterloo (Inc Streatham and EOC South from 1700)
St Johns Wood (Inc Westminster)
Greenwich (Inc Barnehurst/Mottingham/Woolwich)
Bromley (Inc St Pauls Cray/Forest Hill)
Edmonton (Inc Bounds Green/Tottenham)
Chase farm (Inc Ponders End)
Romford (Inc Ilford/Becontree/Hornchurch)
Walthamstow (Inc Whipps Cross)
Friern Barnet (Inc Mill Hill/Barnet)
Pinner (Inc Brent)
Islington (Inc Bloomsbury)
West Ham (Inc Newham/Silvertown)
Cody Road (HART)
Homerton (Inc Shoreditch/Poplar)
Clock Tower (HART)
Hillingdon (Inc Hayes/Ruislip/Heathrow/CRU)
Hanwell (Inc Greenford/Brentside CESD)
Isleworth (Inc Feltham)
Fulham (Inc North Ken/Chiswick)
Putney (Inc Battersea/Wimbledon)
New Malden (Inc Richmond/Twickenham/Tolworth)
New Addington (Inc South Croydon/Coulsdon/Croydon)
St Helier (Inc Sutton)
Southern House, Croydon (1100-1700)
Maritime House, Barking (1100-1700)

Each picket line will be organised jointly by a UNISON rep and a manager as a single point of contact. Some may also be supported by a regional UNISON staff member.

We are asking all our ambulance crew members on duty throughout the strike period to withdraw their labour for duration of the strike and, during their rostered hours that cover the relevant time period, attend their allocated picket line with their allocated vehicle and assist in the emergency cover provisions. Providing life and limb cover to patients is essential for us to prevent unnecessary harm.

For our EOC members the management have asked us that, should the hourly average (mean) call answer delay reach 3 minutes then we would request a minimal amount of striking call takers to return to work (paid) until the call answer delay returns below 3 mins. If this were to be a prolonged period, we would look to rotate this between other striking call takers. Given the evidence of averages over the last 6 months we believe this is unlikely to be required but an appropriate measure for patient safety. This has happen during previous Strike Days however very infrequently and only for a short period. We have also agreed to support the striking centre to retain a minimum of 4 clinical CHUB staff and 1 Navigator for the 6 hour period should they be unable to fulfil this with staff working normally. Both of these would be on a voluntary basis for striking members if we were asked at the picket line, rotated with other striking staff if over a prolonged period and paid for the time staff were to leave the picket line to undertake the role up to the time they returned to the picket line in the same way striking ambulance staff are when undertaking life and limb cover calls.

At 1100 (1700 for Waterloo EOC members) any members taking strike action and engaged in patient care at the time will complete this as normal. At this point members at EOC and 111 centres taking strike action should notify their watch manager or general manager in the room and make their way to the picketing arrangements provided outside the building. There will be UNISON representatives on hand in to support them. Ambulance crews taking strike action will then notify PD33 they are now taking strike action. We then ask crews to make their way to their local picket line and assist with emergency cover. Once a crew then arrives at a picket line for this purpose they will at that point cease to be paid. We will ensure arrangements are made to return crews to their base station by the end of their normal shift time. Ambulance crew members starting shifts at or after 1100, wishing to take part in our emergency cover provisions, will begin their shift as they would normally preparing themselves and a vehicle to respond and then attending their closest picket line as soon as practically possible informing PD33 immediately at the start of their shift of their intentions so that they are removed from normal working. We ask EOC and 111 members starting shifts during their site’s strike times to inform the reps at the picket line on their arrival and are not required to inform management any further until they cease their strike action. All other LAS UNISON members are asked to withdraw their labour from their workplace at 1100 for the duration of the full 12 hour period. Where we have agreed derogations to exempt the few members in certain areas to support emergency cover arrangements, they will be notified individually however the exemptions from taking action will be voluntary only.

Emergency cover by striking ambulance crews will only be provided for at the named picket line sites. We have agreed with management that all calls during this period will be rigorously clinically reassessed to ensure only the most serious life threatening calls, where non-attendance could endanger life or serious illness and injury, will be dispatched to. Any calls requiring attendance will be covered by any remaining provision the service has in the first instance including some other mutual aid. Only calls that the service deems to fall in to the above parameters will then be passed to the single point of contact (SPOC) at the local picket line and a request made for emergency cover. The next crew available and willing to attend the call will then be promptly dispatched. After completing the job, the attending crew will then inform PD33 and return to the picket line. Striking UNISON members will not be paid during strike action with the exception of the time they are responding to an emergency cover call. From the point of dispatch to the point a crew returns to the picket line they will be paid the normal rate for the shift. This will be logged manually at the picket line by the rep/management SPOC.

Any ambulance crew members taking strike action that can’t form a fully crewed ambulance at or after 1100 will need make their own arrangements should they wish to attend a picket line and assist in providing emergency cover. At worst, any member taking strike action will be returned to their starting base station where any other mutually agreeable arrangements can’t be made. Any issues or requests for assistance please contact your Senior Sector Rep (phone numbers below) for your area for advice.

Picketers are allowed to peacefully encourage other UNISON members and non-UNISON staff to join so they can legally be involved in the action. Conduct at picket line will be respectful and courteous. Bearing in mind some members have been given an exemption from strike action on this occasion and other LAS staff that are only members of the gmb Union are not able to take part in this strike action. Any media requests on the day should be directed to the nominated reps organising the picket lines.

All members who take lawful Industrial Action will be eligible to receive strike pay from UNISON. This will be up to £50 and applicable after the pay is lost, unless your normal take home pay is reduced by less than this. Details on how to claim this will be made available in due course. We know it’s a tough time for people to take strike action and lose pay. We don’t want our members in hardship so please speak to your local branch rep if striking would put you in considerable financial difficulty. In certain circumstances you could be exempted from taking action or receive a further hardship Ambulance Industrial Action payment from your branch. These hardship claims will be dealt with confidentially and you should speak to your UNISON branch rep for further information.

For those not scheduled to work on the Strike Day there are many ways that you can support the action and campaign. On a strike day you could visit a picket line, maybe take your colleagues some refreshments, your striking colleagues would really appreciate your support. You can also contact your local UNISON branch rep to see if there are other ways you can help. Please visit the following link for more details on how to support Striking UNISON members across the country:

Finally, the LAS UNISON branch committee wish to extend a message of unity and solidarity to all UNSION members fighting for the NHS and our pay both here in London across the country. Many other branches, individuals and other organisations have also sent us messages of solidarity in to LAS UNISON and want us to know we have their support.
Should you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact your workplace UNISON rep or one of the senior reps listed above for your area.

Solidarity to all our members and see you on the picket lines!


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