Update on EEAST’s “Building Better Rotas” Project.
The biggest workplace issue facing our members working in emergency response last year was the rota review project the Trust called “Building Better Rotas”. The vast majority of our members who had no relief in the existing rota were extremely unhappy about the prospect of having to accept relief working in their rota. From the beginning UNISON has had a very clear position – no one should have their rota changed so they work relief unless they voluntarily choose for it to happen.
While we understand the new contract with the local Clinical Commissioning Groups would require some rota changes, it is blatantly obvious that staff are this Trust’s biggest asset and the proposals would cause even more colleagues to walk away and find alternative employment. UNISON has had numerous meetings with the Trust and we have reiterated that relief cannot be imposed, any rota changes can’t happen until staff have been consulted, options have been looked at and the rotas proposed are safe to run for both patients safety and staff welfare. This remains the case.
In the October 2018 Staff Partnership Forum we told the Trust that they must have a re-think and thankfully management listened. As you know the “Building Better Rotas” was then paused. We looked at how South Central Ambulance Service dealt with the issue and concluded that their way forward would not be acceptable to our members either.
You will have seen that now the Trust has now announced new options for staff to enable changes required under the service delivery review to take place later this year (subject to safe staffing levels and consultation).
We have represented our members’ views repeatedly and regularly with the Trust. The key concern for many staff related to having any relief in their rota. Under the options now available there is an option for staff that will have no relief in core rotas.
Staff will have the choice of:
1)No relief in core rotas (rolling gap rota pattern)
2) Fixed rolling rest day rota pattern
3) Seven-day day fully flexible relief (as per the original approach).
We have also been working hard to secure improvements for the hundreds of UNISON members currently working relief either as part of their rota or fully working relief. We have negotiated a new relief policy which will make a big improvement in the working lives of these members when it comes into force in April 2019. We are pleased that staff will also have an option to work as part of a fixed rolling rest day pattern or the option of seven day fully flexible relief working have now been made options.
Under the options now being considered in the “New way forward” UNISON reps and Working Party reps will be involvement in the working party groups planned for later in 2019.
UNISON reps will be discussing the release at the February monthly UNISON activist to ensure as many as possible of the working groups have UNISON representation in attendance. If you have any comments please pass them on to your local UNISON workplace or rep or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The elected UNISON reps who have been representing your views on rota issues have been Glenn Carrington, John Hammond, Graham Hilman, Jess Micallef, and Michael Whitcombe.