The next Strike Action for our Branch will take place on Monday the 23rd of January from 1100 to 2300. We will be repeating the arrangements and groups of members included on the last day with the addition of our Clinical Education and Standards department members. Welcome aboard comrades and we welcome you to the picket lines! If you are a UNISON member in a department we haven’t yet called on to join us in taking action, please contact your area rep below and we will look at how we can include you to the future dates for Strike Action in February.
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. From the last Strike Day the management undertook a clinical audit in to the 86 activations from picket lines during the 12 hour period. This has identified 10 activations that were not appropriate to have been dispatched to the picket lines and as a result have made various changes to improve the assessment and dispatch process. Please contact your area rep below for more detailed info.
Arrangements for ambulance crew members remain the same as last time with the exception of Newham picket line which will be relocated to join the Newham Dockside EOC picket and run their emergency cover arrangements from there until 1700 when they will then join the West Ham picket line. We are again calling on all members working within the Newham EOC to strike from 1100 to 1700 and then our Waterloo EOC 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.
Any LAS staff not a member of UNISON can join and take part in the action on the 23rd. Members of any other Trade Union that does not have a mandate to take action cannot legally take part in this action unless they were to join UNISON.
On Monday the 23rd of January there will be 25 picket lines across the LAS at the following locations:
|Newham EOC (1100-1700)
St Johns Wood
Cody Road (HART)
Clock Tower (HART)
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 local 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 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 did happen at dockside during the last strike day and 2 striking call takers returned to work for 20-30 mins who we are massively grateful to for helping keep it safe for us all. 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 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 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.
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.
- Brian Robinson (East Central) – 07917906324 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marcus (Central and South East) – 07820160293 email@example.com
- Steve Johnson (South West and media/comms point of contact) – 07958912090 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Paul Chiddington (West) – 07968965773 email@example.com
- Pete Hannell (North West) – 07585117178 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Julie Cunnane (North East) – 07961832766 email@example.com
- Sam Billoo (EOC) – 07958395801 firstname.lastname@example.org
Picketers are allowed to peacefully encourage 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 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 on 23rd of January 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 23rd January 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.
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!