UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch represents over 4,000 members working for the Leeds Teaching Hospital's that includes St James's, Leeds General Infirmary, Chapel Allerton, Wharfedale Hospitals, Seacroft Hospital and Leeds Dental Institute. We also represent employees working at Trust Satellite Units. We actively campaign for high quality services in the NHS and voluntary sector. We feel that a good working environment is essential to delivering high quality care.

What can UNISON do for you?
Most people join a union because they want protection at work – help with pay and conditions of service perhaps, legal or health and safety advice or representation in case things go wrong at work. Anyone can face problems at work sometimes. If you’re a member of UNISON, you don’t have to face them alone. That’s what we’re here for. We can provide advice or representation on things like pay, rotas, leave and sickness procedures. We’re also there to help make sure your workplace is healthy and safe and to support you in case of disciplinary action, dismissals or redundancy. Join UNISON today.

AGM 2018

AGM 2018

Latest news from the branch

FREE Womens Lives Course: Taking charge of your life (02/11/17)
Two UNISON H&S reps now prominent in LTH Staff Side H&S Group (8/9/17)

Two UNISON Health and Safety reps are now in prominent positions on the Leeds Teaching Staff Side Health and Safety group. Ian Dixon has been elected Chair,  whilst John Ingleson is secretary to the reformed group.

UNISON reps have worked with the employer to reduce the risk of needlestick injuries (whilst disposing of rubbish) at ST James's via newly purchased specialised gloves which protect from wrongly disposed of sharps. We have also ensured a more direct reporting structure is in place. This has come at a cost to the employer so it is with credit to the work of the individual rep and the management team who have taken this risk seriously and taken the appropriate steps.

Doors at the Bexley Wing have also been identified as a risk to portering staff and patients. Due to the matter being raised at the trust's Health and Safety Committee a new working group has been formed to address the issue with a long term maintenance and replacement programme.

If you have any Health and Safety issues then please call the branch on 0113 2064369.


Combining fun and work at Doncaster Races (08/08/17)

Rita Halligah

Rita Halligah (pictured right) attended UNISON's big day out at Doncaster Races on Saturday 5th August. She was there to promote the Black Members Self Organised Group. Rita is also our Union Learning Rep. Hard work but fun too! Well done Rita.


UNISON backs NHS leaders’ call to end pay cap (15/05/17)

In response to NHS Providers calling for an end to pay restraint for staff, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:

“Action is needed now to stop staff leaving the NHS. Hospitals will struggle to keep skilled workers unless they’re rewarded with a decent wage rise and soon.

“It’s patients who will suffer unless there are nurses and midwives with the right training to deliver the best standard of care.

“The ongoing 1% pay cap imposed by this government and its predecessor has to be lifted. Labour has pledged to get rid of it – the Conservatives must do so too and reward staff for their dedication.”


St Georges Crypt food bank (05/05/17)


A few of us visited St Georges crypt along with Janet Dixon the Branch welfare Officer, to drop off tinned food and toiletries donated by our members.

We have adopted these as our charity this year and they are very pleased that we at UNISON have taken the time to collect and deliver.

If anyone is interested in donating anything please contact the branch Office for details of where our nearest drop off point is located.


Help Jon Pickett raise funds for the Brain Tumour Charity (10/04/17)

Jon Pickett



Everyone talks about personal challenges but in March 2016 I experienced someone undertaking the ultimate personal challenge, that person was my Auntie Ann.  She was that person every family has, the one who always seemed to be in control, held everyone together and always told you the truth whether you wanted it or not!   She always reminded us that as a family “we could do it”.

So what was Auntie Ann’s personal challenge?  Well it was one that I wish she hadn’t had to take, but one I’m tremendously proud to have witnessed. 

The challenge was when diagnosed with a Terminal Grade 4 malignant Glioblastoma Brain Tumour what decision did she make (operation or not) and how did she deal with the consequences of that decision?

Faced with that sort of choice I’d expect most people to be bitter, lost, overwhelmed and probably abdicate responsibility to the medical experts.

Well if that’s what most people would do Auntie Ann was obviously not “everyone”.  She was calm, considered the pros and cons before deciding no operation and quality time with her family.  To be honest what she really meant was she wanted time to tell us to make the most of opportunities, remind us  family and friends are important and just generally boss us about.  She also insisted that irrespective of the time the “experts” had given her she was in charge and would, despite their doubts, see her next birthday.

In true Auntie Ann style that’s exactly what she did.  Any attempts to celebrate her birthday early were met with an intimidating stare and the comment she would be around to celebrate the real date.  I don’t know why I doubted her, I’d known her long enough to know that she always did what she said.  So when she was told a minimum of 7 weeks to live but survived16 weeks I should have expected it.

She rallied enough to celebrate her birthday surrounded by family and friends, passing away 2 days after her birthday having delivered on her self imposed challenge.

For us as a family it was a difficult time and we all dealt with her loss in our own way, but we all regularly mentioned hearing Auntie Ann saying “ we can do it”. 

It was this that led us to thinking what as a family we could do to honour her memory.  Despite most of the family not being very energetic/sporting we decided on something active.  Quite where the idea for a 127 mile bike ride came from I have no idea. I also have no idea whether we all said yes or if it just happened because no one said no? However it has happened and we are  signed up to doing the 127 mile challenge, having done half of the route as a “trial run” I can definitely say it will be a challenge.

To help us ensure we do it some big incentives were going to be required.  That’s where the sponsorship idea came from.  What better way to be motivated than to know it’s raising money for research into the illness that took Auntie Ann from us.  If that wasn’t enough of an incentive finding out that Brain Tumour charities are some of the worst funded charities certainly was. 

So in May this year I, along with other members of my family, will be  cycling the Leeds Liverpool canal.  Well anyone who knows me will guess we’ll by cycling back to Leeds rather than away from our home city.

We hope our efforts might in some small part improve the future treatment available to others.  Maybe it might even mean someone else’s family won’t have to suffer  like ours did.

Any help, support and sponsorship will be very much appreciated.   All donations are in aid of The Brain Tumour charity and can be made on the link below.



Urgent: Important information required! (03/02/17)


We are currently updating our membership systems and have noted some members have out of date details. This could apply to you, if you have:

  • Moved house since joining UNISON
  • Changed job role within the last 2 years
  • Moved workplace within the last five years

We urgently require these details to make the necessary changes to our membership system. Please contact the Branch Office at your earliest convenience on 0113 2064369 or email details to unison.sjuh@nhs.net

New Branch Office address

UNISON Branch Office (as of 15th June 2015)
Level 1
Room 039/040
Beckett Wing
St James's Hospital
Leeds, LS9 7TF

Telephone: 0113 20 64369
Fax: 0113 2066786
Email: unison.sjuh@nhs.net




Blog 14: Do more for less (02/02/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 14 here. This blog is now entering its difficult teenage years. Prepare for foul smelling socks, indignant frowning, petulance, and careless rebellion (in other words a Trade Union Blog)

Richard Burgon the Labour MP who’s constituency includes ST James University Hospital is quoted as saying “I believe the Conservative Government has taken NHS staff for granted and is asking nurses and NHS staff to do more for less, resulting in a recruitment and retention crisis which could affect patient care. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service has confirmed that applications to study nursing fell by 23% this year. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has also found an increase in the number of nurses and midwives leaving the professions, and NHS Providers has said that “seven years of pay restraint is now preventing them from recruiting and retaining the staff they need to provide safe, high-quality patient care.”

When you read a statement like this it tells you everything you need to know about where the NHS winter crisis originated. This is not a criticism of anyone here in Leeds. Trust management have worked, (like you) flat out. However the deliberate policy of the Tory government in running down our NHS is resulting in this tragedy in A&E’s, and with cancelled operations. Did anybody believe taking away Bursary’s to study Nursing was going to increase applications? Did anyone believe cuts to social care wouldn’t end like this?

The NHS crisis has little to do with an increasing population, or any misuse of service - but everything to do with a well-designed policy of underinvestment resulting in a crashing service, concluding with privatisation (and lots of money for those Tory vultures who sit on the boards of private Healthcare companies).

It’s a national disgrace and we should all be appalled, and determined to change this game. Do you remember Ian Botham at Headingley in 1981? seizing victory from the jaws of defeat ? This should be us - a marauding band of disillusioned voters swinging for glory, refusing to bend to the will of the money men. Don’t let them sell off your children’s futures dudes….

On a more local level we have had reports of some managers applying a little too much pressure to staff to cover shifts on overtime or Bank. We fully understand managers who need to cover their services, and we know their desperation is well intended and patient focused. However please also know dear readers that working over your contracted hours is not mandatory. If you can - yay good for you - but if you cannot, or if you are burnt out, then nobody can force you to work above those contracted hours. If you are feeling pressured please call 64369 and we can help. Unfortunately the strain on the NHS in general rests upon your collective shoulders.

Am I allowed to mention the AGM again? Oh please? Well I’m going to anyway- 6th March - Roger Mckenzie an extremely influential official from the national office will be speaking. If you want to influence UNISON on a national level, and on our very humble local level please attend and gorge on the free grub on offer. For more details contact us.

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place on 27 January each year. Not only is it a time for everyone to pause to remember the millions of people who have been murdered, but it is also a time to challenge ourselves and use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today. Genocide does not just take place on its own, it’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented. This is something you, a citizen of Leeds and surrounding districts can do. Hatred and prejudice flourishes when individuals don’t speak out. HMD is a global demonstration of how the past can inform our lives today and ensure that everyone works together to create a safer, better future. To find an event around Leeds please follow the link below.


Another date for your maroon bespoke UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospital diary’s (in faux leather) is...

The London demonstration called by the People's Assembly and Health Campaigns Together on Saturday 3 February 2018: from 12 noon.

“It is time this government stops blaming patients, nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for their shortcomings. It's time the government starts listening to the country which is sick of empty promises from the mouths of cowardly politicians.
On the 70th year of the NHS we created - we demand that #OurNHS is given back! We must end the NHS crisis now.“

The Branch officers cannot make it to London this time - those pesky family and work commitments throwing their rusty spanners into our shining protesting spokes - However if any of our members want to support the demonstration we want to support you in doing so. Contact Branch on #64369 and we can help.

A smaller, but more local gathering is been advertised by Leeds Keep Our NHS Public - Their website states - Saturday Feb 3rd at 12.30 Meet by the mini roundabout outside Jubilee Wing/ A&E at LGI for the nation- wide day of protest “ NHS in Crisis : Fix it Now” called by Health Campaigns Together and The People’s Assembly. Please pass the word on and help max our impact.

…..speak soon xxx

Blog 13: So much to fight for in 2018! (02/01/18)

Hi Dudes

Blog 13 here and it’s the post-Christmas bumper edition. Jam packed full of Christmas versions of all your favourites including ;- “The Reindeers have Grievanced their Carrot Suppliers”, “Mrs Claus and her Attendance Management Woes”, and featuring more Ho Ho Ho’s than a misogynistic rap song.

Ah Yuletide, where normal people take time off work, spend time with loved ones, relax and recharge their batteries - We know that NHS workers did not so much recharge their batteries over the holidays, but were being sent out for more batteries on the way back out to work. You all did a fantastic job keeping the hospital running and your union appreciates what you do for #OurNHS. Time and time again whilst I represent members of staff I am amazed at the levels of dedication I witness. (I’m getting all weepy here).

Whilst those of you were in work, (missing the parties, the gluttony, and the arguments over a Monopoly board), I hope you took time to think of the politicians who have denied UNISON members the real pay rises they deserve - Rest assured Mr Hunt will have been relaxing at home, whilst you were at the coal face (the sluice) ACTUALLY running the NHS. 2018 will see UNISON’s #PayUpNow campaign reach its conclusion as the talks to end the pay cap begin. We as a Branch demand that our members get a fair rise. We will need your solidarity if those talks do not reach a satisfactory solution.

Also spare a thought for those merry tax avoiders who are heading off to sunny shores to count their penny’s (Think Scrooge with an ipad), If those billionaires paid their rightful tax you may have more resources with which to do your job, or you may not be working your 4th consecutive Christmas. This inequality cannot continue in 2018 and we want you to join us in challenging this established order.

In 2018, we have so much to fight for. Fights that we can win, because of our union’s greatest strength – the strength of our people. I would love us to have a UNISON representative in every department to nip things in the bud, to work with managers, and give the shop floor an immediate voice. Please think that YOU could be that person.

AGM TIME - If you want to influence, become more active, or have a general nosey then our AGM is on March 6th. We have two meetings - one at the LGI and one at SJUH. Please come and support your Branch - We will feed you, and we have a very exciting guest speaker in Roger Mckenzie (National Assistant General Secretary) whose New Year’s Eve tweet read “A rebellious and winning 2018 to all my friends and comrades. Keep smiling” - He’s my kind of person, and I think he will be your kind of person too.

Lastly, thank you for being part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals UNISON Branch in 2017 - and I hope we all have a collectively great 2018.

Now we have all eaten pie until we’ve popped, and been awash with bonhomie (both accepted socialist traditions). Can I ask if you have anything left over from those well stocked kitchen cupboards, that you give yourself a dose of Dickensian magic and drop off those rogue mushy peas, and unwanted boxes of biscuits? The Trussel Trust food bank and the LTHT employees who benefit will be very grateful. Call us on 0113 2064369 and we can arrange for you to drop off any food, and we will re-direct that to the appropriate food bank.

..Speak Soon xxx


Blog 12: A very busy 2017 - A year in review (01/12/17)

Hi Dudes

We are now up to Blog 12. The dirty dozen. A dozen delicious and disgraceful musings read by a couple of bored delinquents on nights, my Mam, and MI5.

This month (as the old year hobbles to an end like a geriatric Mongoose) I’m going to focus on what your UNISON Trade Union Branch has achieved in 2017. I should by rights do this next month, but the Christmas blog is reserved for a debauched festive celebration (the sort of celebration last seen in the days when Napoleon last spied Josephine creeping up his ramparts carrying a vintage vat of red wine, the collected works of the Marquis de Sade , and an undersized 19th century Maids outfit).

99% of our time is taken up on what we call case work (Attendance Management, Disciplinary, Grievances, Health and Safety inspections, Flexible Work applications etc.) but from time to time we spice things up a bit and work on wider Trade Union and associated campaigns

So what have we achieved, and campaigned for this year?


• PAY UP NOW CAMPAIGN - Inc TUC rally in Leeds
• BLACK HISTORY MONTH - Inc Branch trip to Liverpool
• BACK OFF CAMPAIGN (to stop protesters outside abortion clinics)
• TRUSSELL TRUST COLLABORATION (food bank collection)

Many of your reps also campaigned and leafleted for the Labour Party at the last election (in their own time of course)

I’m pretty proud of that list. These events hopefully make a difference in people’s lives; they also help us make alliances with the wider Trade Union movement. If there are any similar campaigns that you, (our membership) feel energised by please be in touch and we may be able to support you - to support your chosen campaign.

The Budget

So we’ve had the budget (don’t worry this hasn’t turned into one of those blogs), and if you believe those fantastic tales from those lovable Tory’s the economy is all bubble gum and rainbows, furthermore unicorns are merrily gorging on the cash cow that has pumped millions into the NHS - Everything is ok here tra la la la la. .

…..However back in this grey, loveless reality and world of inconvenient facts the government have

Confirmed additional funding could be made available for NHS Pay Review Body for 2018/19

The availability of funding is linked to “modernisation” of the pay scale

The government wishes to seek agreement with NHS trade unions on what that looks like (HOW NOBLE OF THEM)

The UNISON health executive will hold an extraordinary meeting in December to consider whether proposals are substantive enough to warrant entering formal negotiations

UNISON branches and members will be consulted before UNISON agrees any deal

….. So in short - there is hope.

Facts to remember






Enough of this…..get yourselves to the shops you crazy capitalists and treat your loved ones to something very special (a year’s membership to the Socialist Worker, and this year’s Beano album top my list)

…..Speak Soon xxx

Blog 11: Scrap the cap! #PayUpNow campaign (02/11/17)

Hi Dudes,

Blog eleven has arrived - Bursting upon your electronic screens with all the chaotic brilliance of a firework launched from between Jeremy Hunts austerity clenched buttocks (take care on bonfire night kids). I hope in four hundred years’ time effigies of me will be burnt to symbolise my noble efforts in destroying this Tory government. Alas I suspect the only thing left of me in four hundred years will be dust, and this evident self-importance.

At the start of October a merry band of Branch officers joined thousands of other T.U.C activists from the various public services (thousands is a loose verb) outside Leeds Art Gallery to protest the 1% pay cap. The newly elected labour MP Alex Sobel made the point we shouldn’t describe it as a 1% pay rise , but should describe it as a 13% pay CUT, as that is what our below inflation “increases” have become. Another speaker was UNISON’s very own, and the mighty Roger Mckenzie. Roger took an enjoyable and worthy rally into the heady realm of passionate revelry with his emotive speech. UNISON are not backing down from this fight, and Jeremy Hunt knows that a proper pay rise is needed this year, or else there will be a real breakdown in the relationship between the Department of Health and the N.H.S workers who keep the ship floating. Nobody wants industrial action, but there again nobody can tolerate these yearly pay cuts either #PayUpNow Jeremy.

After the rally Denise (Branch Secretary), and Pat (Branch Administrator/Legend) collared Roger (some reports state a head lock was employed, I witnessed more a combo of a bear hug and Chinese burn) and the upshot of this is Roger is coming to Leeds in March to speak at YOU’R A.G.M. This is cracking news for the Branch and ensures LTHT UNISON members views can get directly up from the shop floor to the top of the organisation without going through the usual layers and filters. I know March is in the distant future, but please make a pledge to attend and hear Roger speak and take part in the democratic process of your Branch. No more bellyaching - more constructive action please.

I’m sure our Branch’s ears have been burning recently with the changes made to the old Special Leave policy. To say the revised policy has gone down badly is like saying Britney’s bald-headed breakdown in 2008 was only a little chaotic. On reflection we feel the new “unplanned absence and authorised leave procedure” is not something that serves our members needs like we would want it to do. At a recent meeting with Julian Hartley and Dean Royles they agreed they would let Staff Side and Human Resources revisit specific parts of the new guidelines with the aim of producing a more comfortable document. They didn’t have to agree to that so it is with thanks that they did. Other topics that were discussed were bullying, and the trusts involvement with other West Yorkshire Hospitals.

…..And one more time folks (said in the voice of a rotund circus ringmaster) - the UNISON #PayUpNow campaign continues and we really need you, our members, to make a noise and get those Conservative MP’s in Leeds jumping around like crazed hot footed frogs over this issue. The 1% pay rises/pay cuts we have been receiving are driving good people out of Public services, and making recruitment impossible. Conservative MP’s need Public service votes at the next election - make sure you apply the pressure. Visit their open surgery’s, write, or call them. Any way you can make them uncomfortable over their own austerity and their precious vote share. DO IT.

To leave you on this,

Austerity is the billionaires in business, telling the millionaires in politics, that the rest of us are greedy.

........speak soon xxx

Blog 10: Pay Up Now! How to get involved with our campaign (29/09/17)

Hi Dudes,

This ridiculous Blog is now into double figures. Hurrah. Hopefully you are more informed, and energised by reading it. Hopefully I’ve conveyed to you all that we want YOUR input and involvement in YOUR union. You are our eyes, and ears, and ultimately our power in workplace negotiation and bargaining. Without your backing we are just self-righteous grumpy heads in an industrial pantomime. We would love a rep or workplace contact in every department in every wing of every Hospital at Leeds. We presently have an urgent need for a rep to cover Estates and Facilities at the LGI. Could it be you? Full training is provided, and any volunteers will also be rewarded with a two week, 5 Star, All Inclusive trip to the Maldives.*

*Note this offer is an outright lie

It will be lovely to see some of you on October 21st for our Branch day out to the slavery museum in Liverpool (free coach trip if you fancy - to book #64369 - families welcome). Also if you see any stewards strutting, and prancing around the hospital in our distinguishing purple coats please say ‘ey up. It’s always a pleasure to meet our members and get your views, and stories from the frontline (especially when it’s not in a formal setting). We don’t growl or bite ….or shuffle on our bums when we have worms for that matter.

David Prentis - UNISON National Secretary writes a blog (not half as entertaining, or as cutting edge as this one mind) in which he has been discussing the disgrace of our recent below inflation pay rises. He says “The time has come for public service workers to get the pay rises they deserve. Now it’s time for politicians to wake up, stop hesitating, and put pay up. For years public service workers have seen their pay held back by government in the name of austerity. First a freeze then a cap saw public sector pay rise by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22%.”

The great and the grubby have noted that Public sector workers could decide who wins the marginal seats at the next election. So we need public sector workers to tell Tory MP’s that we will no longer vote for a party who pat us on the head with praise one minute whilst pickpocketing our wages at the exact same time. We need to up the pressure on these MP’s.

…. So here’s the plan - If you are a constituent of the following Tory M.P’s in Leeds then phone, or write to them https://www.writetothem.com/  saying that NHS workers demand a proper pay rise, and if we don’t get one then come the next election our elephant like memories will boot them out and replace them with a more progressive type. To me there are single cell organisms living in the depths of a Tesco lasagne with more progressive views than my own pet Tory MP, but the threat of losing their converted seats may do the trick where basic decency and fairness has seemingly failed

Elmet and Rothwell - Alec Shelbrooke - 01937 589 002

Morley and Outwood - Andrea Jenkyns - 0113 345 0380

Pudsey - Stuart Andrew - 0113 258 5615

The UNISON campaign is called #PAYUPNOW it’s got a hash tag and everything.

Lastly for now we have a petition for you to sign. Just copy and paste this link into your search engine of choice. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200032

CALLING ALL Estates and Facilities - Domestics - Ward Housekeepers... Traditionally ward housekeepers and other domestics are offered 30 hour contracts. The vast majority of these roles are occupied by women (most other positions in the trust are established as a standard 37.5 hour working week). These workers often get offered overtime (at a flat rate) taking them closer to 37.5 hours. However their annual leave entitlement is still based on having a 30 hour contract. In branch we feel this is a potentially unfair situation which primarily affects women. If you are one of these workers who regularly work 37.5 hours a week, but are on a 30 hour contract we would love you to contact us so we can rectify the situation for yourself, and potentially others.

….. oh and the T.U.C have just called a rally at 12:30 - 13:30 outside the art gallery in Leeds ( it’s like a rolling 24/7 news this blog) on October 3rd…. will be great to see you alongside us. This is a further attempt to put pressure on the governments public sector pay cap.

….. Speak soon xxx


Blog 9: NHS winter and nuclear winter? (05/09/17)

Hi Dudes

I am afraid this month’s blog isn't the usual candy floss and bubble-gum. This is written from the seedy shadow of Uncle Donald's nuclear cloud, and takes a far gloomier tone than normal. This blog asks the question what the clucking bell is going on with North Korea? It also looks at the NHS this winter, Risk assessments, and helps promote a few union events going on in our associated realm.  

Have you had your summer hols? looking tanned and beautiful? mozzie bites adorning your arms like angry red baubles on a Christmas tree? - The answer is yes, and the dark winter nights are now drawing in. This means our NHS is going to come under its annual yuletide pressures - Here’s a few facts and figures which will make you despair into your short staffed cuppa

  • The number of vacancies in the NHS has soared by 15.8% over the last year
  • The number applying to be student nurses has dropped from 65,620 to 53,010 - a fall of 12,610 on last year. The figure by the university applications service UCAS showed applications in England for student nursing places were down 23% in England.
  • More midwives and nurses are leaving the profession in the UK than joining for the first time on record, with the number departing having risen by 51% in just four years. 20% more people left the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register than joined it in 2016/17. The overall number of leavers was 34,941, compared with 23,087 in 2012/13.
  • Workers will have had their pay cut by 12% by the end of the decade because of a government-imposed wage restraint that is now exacerbating chronic understaffing. As a result of years of below-inflation 0% and 1% pay rises eroding their spending power. This is according to a report by the Health Foundation think-tank

What a vulgar set of statistics they are to read. This Conservative underinvestment in the NHS, in morale, in wages, and training means that you Mr or Mrs NHS worker will be struggling to cope this winter. You will be asked to do more, for less, not cut corners, work to policy, be patient centred, and do this whilst keeping yourself both physically and mentally healthy. We understand these pressures are real. Please contact branch on #64369 if we can help in any work related way. We know Leeds Teaching Hospitals is a great organisation, which does amazing work for our patients, but we also know the strains on the NHS as a whole, are also faced here. We know those pressures end up on YOUR shoulders. Please speak up, and together we can make these tough times slightly easier and hopefully less lonely. Baring in mind these figures though isn’t it amazing that the NHS still keeps rolling and performing to such an astonishing standard. It is a fabulous beast, and the staff outstanding in their commitment. Why this deliberate underinvestment though? It’s like the conservatives want the NHS to fail so they can sell it off to private investors…..

On a lighter subject, let’s talk North Korea, the USA, and Armageddon….

It's always a tricky issue when two immature 13 year old boys start waggling their weapons at each other, and this it seems is what is happening in the merry world of Trump and Kim Jong-un. It reminds me of the African proverb "When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers". We are the grass - It's terrifying isn't it? Jeremy Corbyn is urging world leaders to back down from this silliness ( “she's not worth it Sandra” ) whilst recently Mrs May was asked four times by journalists if she would rule out joining military action against the Kim regime. Each time, she refused to address the question directly..... Arrrgghhhh

“War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it” - Little Georgie Orwell

Check out the stop the war campaign, Leeds CND, and write to your MP suggesting you don't wish to partake in the nuclear annihilation of the entire planet. Even if you’re unlucky enough to have a Tory MP you may as well write. Whilst writing your earnest letter to your representative it may be prudent not to point out that Theresa May is the dead spit of an ageing Cruella De vil though. (she really does doesn’t she) I once pointed that out to my gruesome Tory, and it went down as well as a cartoon anvil.

Dates for your bespoke UNISON diary’s (2018’s coming soon folks)

Leeds TUC - Please support Northern rail guards (RMT), striking on the 1st September and 4th September - The picket lines will be at 06:30 - 14:00 both days at Leeds train station.

Leeds TUC - 4th September - 16;30 - McDonalds solidarity. The TUC are meeting at the Boar lane / Briggate Maccy D’s to raise awareness of the London strike which aims to abolish McDonalds zero hours contracts, low wages, and a lack of union recognition.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals UNISON Branch is going to the Slavery Museum in Liverpool as part of Black History Month. To book your place on the coach call #64369. Travel is free for members and we sail on Saturday 21st October.

….And remember we are still collecting food, for the Trussell Trust food bank. Several low paid staff at LTHT rely on food banks, and this is the branch’s way of trying to put a little back. We can collect donations at both LGI and SJUH and we are always extremely grateful for anything you can spare.

Risk Assessments - They are hardly fine literature, but they do help to inform, and protect you. If you feel that any work you are tasked with has the potential to harm you then ask to see the risk assessment for that specific task. The assessment may show that the risks have been addressed and you are not using the equipment correctly, or you aren’t doing the task correctly hence the problem. It may be that your task has slipped through the net and has not being assessed. Get it assessed and reduce your risk!!. Any problems give us a bell, and we can help your management team and yourself find a solution. Work should not make you ill, injured, or intimidated.

Sorry this month’s blog has been a trifle gloomier than a glum afternoon in Grimsby, but to finish in an upbeat manner, here’s a quote from Gandhi

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”

…Speak soon xxx


Blog 8: Why are food banks needed in 5th largest economy? (04/08/17)

Hi Dudes

Blog Eight here, dazzling with rare flamboyance; - like Julie Goodyear dipped in French garlic, and rolled in Blackpool glitter.

“Bail out the banks” we yell” - not those banks silly - but food banks. Fill ‘em up, and help us help some of the 13 million people in the UK who live below that jagged poverty line.

When I first started working with UNISON in 2009 I’d never heard of a food bank. We had a welfare officer who helped out members in acute financial strife, but this was thankfully rare. However in the last year or two the amount of plea’s to our welfare officer (Sister Janet) have multiplied from a murmur to a gigantic howl. With this in mind we have been collecting food and toiletries (initially for ST Georges Crypt) but now for the Trussell Trust.

The Trussel Trust are an amazing organisation which last year gave out 1,182,954 three day food donations to people who have nothing. We have found more and more members have been driven into this level of poverty.

Our association with The Trussel trust means we can identify people in crisis, and then refer them directly to help. The UNISON member will then be offered a food bank voucher. This entitles them to receive a food bank parcel of three days’ nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food. Please be guaranteed of our confidentiality, and tact. We understand that approaching us with this request can be difficult. We assure you we will be discreet, and sympathetic in any requests you make.

So that is what Janet has achieved - how fantastic - caps are doffed and drinks raised to her work. On behalf of the branch I want to say a huge Thankyou …….
……. but how shameful that the country with the 5th biggest economy in the world can allow public servants (or anyone) to be in such a position.

Nelson Mandela said

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

So you see as wonderful as the Trussel Trust work is - the greatest tribute to them is to make them obsolete. The poverty we are seeing is imposed on us by the Tory government’s austerity programme. Bills are rising, wages are dropping, the rich are richer, and the poor are poorer than in any time in the last sixty years. This isn’t right, or fair. We shouldn’t ever tolerate this.

The Labour Party are offering an alternative to this Tory made poverty. Cutting the pay cap of 1% will see you and your colleagues better off. It will stimulate the economy, and they will restore the safety nets of the welfare state.

What can you do ? If you have any old tins of mackerel at the back of your cupboard, some toiletries smuggled out of hotel rooms, or the odd pair of non used boxer shorts bought for you twelve Christmases ago by an half blind Aunt - please be in touch on #64369 and we will tell you how to drop off your mackerel (what a lovely sentence that was to write). Oh and the last thing if you really want to help, like really, really want to desperately help like really really - then quote dear Mr Mandela again 

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life “

To paraphrase him - Vote with a social conscience. Join a trade union, and decorate pictures of Theresa May with immature moustaches, Mickey Mouse ears, and googly eyes.

…..speak soon xxx


Employment tribunal fees will be scrapped after UNISON won a landmark court victory against the government this morning. The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago. From Wednesday, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge. The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals  since July 2013, when fees were introduced by then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling.

Reacting to this decision, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government is not above the law. But when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work”. “These unfair fees have let law-breaking bosses off the hook these past four years, and left badly treated staff with no choice but to put up or shut up”.

“Trade Unions - They do nothing” ….. oh really ;-) 


Blog 7: Growing inequality between rich and poor (30/06/17)

Blog seven is here, dancing upon your computer screens, and peeping its irrelevant head up like a Meerkat dressed in a Sgt Pepper suit.

You lucky readers don’t know how lucky you are. This blog was nearly scrapped. It was to be thrown on scrap heap along with coal pits, shell suits, and the Tories failed manifesto.

Blog six (now being described as the “lost masterpiece” by some critics) was censored. I now sit alongside The Sex Pistols, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and Chuck Berry (My Ding-a-Ling) in the pantheon of dashing rebels silenced by the establishment…..

Anyone who has been watching Glastonbury will have witnessed the changing mood of the country’s yoof. The chant “Ohhh Jeremy Corbyn” has been the festival ear worm. Corbyn positively pranced around the Pyramid stage (how I wish he’d marinated himself in glitter, and feather boa’s like Marc Bolan’s long lost dad).

He received a huge cheer when he criticised growing inequality between rich and poor, highlighted by the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington, London.
He said: “Is it right that so many people in our country have no home to live in and only a street to sleep on?”
“Is it right so many people are frightened of where they live at the moment having seen the horrors of Grenfell Tower?”
"Is it right that so many people live in such poverty in a society which has such riches? No it obviously isn’t.”

As Trade Unionists you are part of this movement. It is not new (type into Google The Chartists) but it is certainly re-energised. If you feel you want to be more involved locally then please get in touch with the branch (#64369). We have a very active young members group if you are one of the lucky ones to be in your early twenties, but if you are any age and have been inspired recently by the election or enraged by the public service cuts then we are a friendly team, with a boiling kettle, sometimes biscuits, and we welcome all.

Locally our Time To Care campaign is still active - We are working with Theatre management to introduce a protocol which recognises that staff deal with traumatic clinical incidents differently, and looks at ways to introduce hot and cold de-briefs which improve patient safety (lessons learnt), but also will support staff and give them the time to deal with their own reaction to the events with peer support. It is a great initiative which should make staff feel less vulnerable.

I have been involved in my first “Freedom To Speak Up” case. This is the process of “whistleblowing” where a member of staff reports a concern regarding a wrongdoing, risk, or malpractice. My role was to act as an initial link between the member of staff and the Freedom to Speak out Guardian appointed by the trust. I was very impressed by the process, and I know the member of staff also feels confident that his/her concerns have been listened to and acted upon. Discussing the process the Guardian was hopeful that the culture of raising a concern would become common place and questioning authority (in a positive way) would be adopted. This is obviously a really positive step for patients, and staff and one that UNISON endorse. If you have any questions about whistleblowing please contact branch (#64369) or read the policy found on the trust intranet page under Human Resources and “Freedom to Speak Up”

…..speak soon xxx

(The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch)


Blog 5: #OurNHS is not for sale (02/05/17)

Blog five here. Now I’m up to blog five I think we can class this as a national institution - maybe not up there with Morecambe and Wise at Christmas, or Nora Batty’s stockings, but certainly on a par with long queues at bus stops, pot holes, phallic graffiti, and other defining, but annoying characteristics of our collective conscience.

The Leeds NHS March on the 1st April was a whopper - homemade placards, branch banners, whistles, and defiant speeches made for a celebratory and passionate demonstration. Hopefully the message will have got to those vultures within the Tory party that #OurNHS is not for sale ( there’s precious little left to sell anyway - I was even put up to tender last week, but was left in the auctioneers warehouse unsold - oh how I wept, surely somebody would have bid the required two groats for me).

So, onto a personal tale. Upon the march I was accompanied by my brothers and sisters from our Branch, the odd regional official (and they are odd) and also my little lad Freddie. Aged two and half and attending his first rally. Freddie started down Park Row with the determination of a degenerate on his way to Wetherspoons, he then scooted around Boar Lane merrily whistling, chanting and earnestly discussing the merits of nationalising the rail industry when suddenly his little legs began to wobble, Daddy proudly picked him up and we continued passed the markets merrily enjoying the day when….. He fell asleep on me !! What does a protester do with a recumbent toddler? What’s the protocol? What would Michael Foot have done? I found a bench and Freddie continued to throw out the zzz’s with the odd belch, and grunt. The initial wave of grumpiness that I was missing the march soon passed, I realised this was an opportunity. It gave me the chance to do something I’ve never done before - I watched a march without being in its throng. I saw them all. The old and the young, the unions, the campaigners, and the individuals. I saw the drummers, the ghouls dressed to represent the dying NHS, and the occasional buffoon who mistakenly thought we were on our way to Elland Road.

It was brilliant. To see five thousand people giving up their spare time to celebrate the NHS gave me such hope. The Torys with all their bluster and pocket filling greediness will never get that kind of support for anything. “What’s in it for me?” would be their measly mantra. “Let some other dude do it” would be their pitiful philosophy. So sat on that rusty bench, mopping my brow from the rain and Freddie’s sleepy sneezes, I had an epiphany, a re awakening if you will. I was proud to belong to these people, I was glad to be a part of this movement, and I am determined that along with you all, we will stick together and never allow those Torys to dismantle any more of the “greatest institution ever set up in the civilised world”. A living, sometimes chaotic, and lifesaving monument to what socialism can achieve.

The culture of “pop in for a little chat about your attendance” remains. UNISON members please remember that it is your absolute right to be invited to formal attendance management meeting via letter, and with five days’ notice. If your manager try’s to be (ahem) efficient with their time then politely decline and ask for your official letter.  If you pay your membership fees then please use us. It is much easier to be in a process with you from the start than been parachuted in when your attendance warrants a hearing and we have to unpick your sticky story. Plus you may get to meet me …. And give me a well-deserved clout for these spammy blogs. We always want to work alongside, and in partnership with trust management, but if they do try and fast track you with “friendly” five minute chats then make like a young Amy Winehouse and say no, no, no ( you sang that didn’t you).

…..speak soon xxx

(The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch)


Blog 4: Mixture of experienced (frazzled) and fresh faced activists (23/03/17)

Blog four here. We survived AGM season, and the London NHS demonstration !!! The fact that most of our demonstrators came away with a mere police caution, and only three of us were arrested for breaching decency laws is a record for your unruly branch (apparently it is now an offence to be found frolicking naked in parliament square with only a Jeremy Corbyn pamphlet between the outside world and your particulars). As a consequence I am writing this from Pentonville, whilst a non-descript felon threatens to hit me if I don’t get on with this blog, and continue to pursue this ridiculous fantasy about imaginary criminal scenarios.

Anyway where was I (don’t start about Pentonville again you scream) The AGM’s were a success, and your branch now enters a new year with a nice mix of the old experienced (frazzled) officers, and a batch of fresh faced keen stewards. What are the branch objectives for the new year I hear you cry?

  1. Time To Care Campaign - Ensuring staff have the time to do their job properly and look after themselves in the process
  2. Invisible Worker Campaign - Recognising and campaigning for the invaluable but invisible workers
  3. Jeremy Hunt Put in stocks - and slapped with a rotting Haddock

 One of my roles within the branch is as the International Officer. This involves promoting international union activities, and supporting union members throughout the world (some countries have even more deranged leaders than our own beloved Tories) One campaign that we want to highlight is regarding the hideous treatment of migrant workers building the World Cup football stadiums in Qatar. For full information visit http://www.playfairqatar.org.uk. Workers (slaves) are paid pittance wages that still often go unpaid - The bosses  confiscate passports of migrant workers thus keeping workers trapped in inhumane living and deadly working conditions. Qatar has been called a modern-day slave state. In fact, it is shocking but more workers will die preparing for the Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup than players will take the field. I am personally planning on boycotting all recognised sponsors of the world cup, and also boycotting the entirety of all England’s tedious performances (the latter more out of self-preservation than ethics). FIFA must implement, in full, the recommendations of the FIFA and Human Rights report “For the Game. For the World”, including reserving the option of terminating the Qatar World Cup if the country does not take serious steps towards respecting all internationally recognized human rights….. (phew im exhausted now with all that earnest sentiment). Sign the petition , boycott the goods, contact your MP, and stand in solidarity with these poor workers who are in such a vulnerable position in such a rich Gulf state. Its 2017 !!! how can this be still happening ??

Closer to home we are still fighting for band ones to be paid a living wage, and still collecting food for local food banks. We are representing you with Attendance Management cases, Grievance cases, Flexible Working applications, and issues surrounding Dignity at Work.

The latest NHS demonstration is here in Leeds on the 1st APRIL. Please come along and march under the branch banner - don’t be shy, if you have never been to a demonstration like this I guarantee you will enjoy yourself and find the experience fun. Don’t be worried about the rally turning nasty, it is a family affair and if old Glynnis (with her plastic hip) starts getting too rowdy we will just slip her some medicinal sherry before she bashes another copper with her C&A handbag. It is your NHS so please campaign today, before it is lost forever. Please come and say hello and introduce yourselves so we march in UNISON (see what I did there).

(The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch)


Blog 3: AGM time and not one but two demos (03/03/17)

Blog three here. I’ve been getting some really good feedback from this so I’m going to continue annoying you for a bit longer ( feedback including “hey mate , stop babbling on and get on with ya job”)

It’s all go in the branch as spring see’s three main events.

1/ It’s the branch AGM - 7th March.

07:15 In the Clarendon Canteen for all you early risers and night shift workers. Bacon buttys will be plentiful and the tone will be light and we will allow for occasional snoring at the back of class. The main advantage to this time is no managers will be in snooping, so we can plan our socialist revolution in peace (we all know they don’t arrive until 10am do they).

The afternoon AGM starts at 16:00 at the UNISON offices at SJUH. This will be a far more bawdy affair. Hoards of naked male and female Swedish mud wrestlers from the Nordic TUC turned up last year if that gives you a pointer to the festivities. Again you will be fed and watered (if you don’t mind washing off the aforementioned muddy splats)

What goes on at the AGM? What do you have to do? Well you will hear me twittering on about rules and regs for a bit - but we soon move on to more thrilling subjects like the election of officers and the raffle etc. We have guest speakers and you will leave feeling empowered, motivated, and full to the eyeballs on sandwiches and cakes. Come along and enjoy ITS YOUR BRANCH p.s please sack me , dispose of me callously, and let me go back to the non-grey haired life.  

…… On a more serious note (oh here we go) Many UNISON members are struggling financially due to the demands of the present economic situation. More and more low paid members have been driven closer to the financial brink in recent years and your UNISON branch has directed some lower banded members to food banks. In light of this we have decided to try support these organisations and collect food items and toiletries (and clothing). If any of you are considering coming to the AGM’s we are asking you to bring something if you can (not mandatory). Thankyou for all your generous contributions in advance.

2/ The two demonstration’s to save #OurNHS ( 4th March London, 1st April Leeds).

Our Charabanc leaves Leeds at 06:30 , the demonstration starts in London around 13:00 and we are expecting Jeremy Hunt’s resignation around tea time (after his brandy and cigar). This should be terrific fun - if you have never been on a demonstration it is fantastic to protest with like minded people (such as Arthur Guinness and Johnnie Walker) - and although in reality these demonstrations don’t directly achieve a great deal, the drip, drip, drip of pressure they apply does sway public and MP opinion.

The Leeds March is obviously more accessible for most of you. We will be holding our Branch banner high and stopping Leeds city Centre for the afternoon. If your fed up of working under constant pressure due to the cuts brought on by the Tory’s , you have  bellyached about it, but feel you want to do something more practical PLEASE PLEASE come along. Bring a colleague, bring your voice, and bring me a sausage roll if you like.

3/ My annual Horse racing trip to Cheltenham where I bash up the bookies - Not in any way relevant but since when has this blog being relevant to anything. PS Cue Card wins the Gold Cup - you heard it here first.

…..speak soon xxx

(The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch)


Blog 2: A time to care (07/02/17)

Welcome to UNISON LTHT’s second chairman’s blog. We are becoming regular (I said that in Hattie Jacques voice).

For those of you who missed our first blog (how dare you) my name is John and I work in theatres by day, and work for UNISON by night (or something like that).

“2017 - A time to care” - This is a campaign we are working on within branch. We hear so many consistent tales from you of working flat out, missing breaks, finishing late, and generally being that fly with the blue derriere. You do it because you have that same shared commitment that all NHS workers have, and I tip my trilby to you all.

This year we are hoping to work with the trust to find ways to both maximise your time with patients, but also find time to look after yourselves. We don’t want any of you finishing later than scheduled, or missing your breaks. You’re not paid during your lunch for a start, and it is dangerous to work without nourishment (a kitkat is minimum). Policy, Health and Safety Law, and other thrilling dusty tomes say TAKE YOUR BREAKS !!! If you find it impossible to take your breaks then inform your line manager, give us a call, or fill in a datix form. Let 2017 be the year you embrace the gastro splendour of the glorious staff canteens.

Do you know the Tories have stopped bursaries and tuition fees for nursing and other health professional students? Do you think that’s fair? I (we) think it is a ridiculous decision, and one that will lead to a shortage of students in the future. Numbers are down for this year already.  Student nurses are effectively paying to work on our wards (and as much as I love my job I don’t fancy that).

If you are a constituent of the following conservative MP’s  and want to express your “delight” at this enlightened Tory policy can I suggest you give the following angels a candid piece of advice direct from the shop floor….

Elmet and Rothwell - Alec Shelbrooke - 01937 589 002

Morley and Outwood - Andrea Jenkyns - 0113 345 0380

Pudsey - Stuart Andrew - 0113 258 5615

Keep it clean and professional but leave them in no doubt that you will not tolerate this foolishness, and vow to make them suffer by giving them a future kick directly to the voting booth (ouch) if they continue this betrayal of the NHS.

ON the 4th march the branch will be demonstrating in London to help save #OurNHS. If you fancy joining us for these high jinks then give the branch a buzz.

After all that heavy lobbying I will leave you with some highly relevant literature from 1819 written by some lass called Shelley apparently…

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'

…..speak soon xxx

(The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch)


Blog 1: My name is John, and I am Branch Chair (03/01/17)

My name is John , and I am Branch Chair.

I thought it may be of interest to describe to UNISON members and non-members alike what my role entails. Hopefully one of you out there will read this and decide to become active within the union movement, and help us oversee the destruction of the capitalist state (I just put that last bit in for dramatic purposes …. Honest )

My proper job (substantive is a terrible word) is in theatres, I work as an O.D. P in paediatrics and have done since the dawning of civilisation (or more accurately about ten years)

Anyway enough waffle (waffle is a beautiful word) what do I do? What could you do? How can we help ?

My role is to support UNISON members within meetings - be these meetings to discuss conduct, attendance, dignity at work or a mixture of all the previous. I also help support members with grievances (complaints) which occur in the workplace. The branch supports the wider trade union movement in this, and other countries, and generally swoons at the great historical battles fought in the name of industrial relations throughout the years - think Tolpuddle Martyrs, think the creation of the Health Service, and think Ed Milliband and his bacon butty.

We also run campaigns - One campaign in 2017 is going to be called “2017 a time to care” where we are hoping to work with the trust to ensure all you wonderful NHS workers have the proper time to do your job properly e.g. time to care for your patients (nurses), time to clean that ward correctly (housekeepers), time to act in an unruly, autocratic, and irrational manner (all managers ….eeek)

I became active (I’m sure colleagues would describe me as sedentary) when I witnessed a much loved colleague falsely accused of bullying. Supporting her during that time ignited a want to help people and show solidarity with colleagues at tough times - I’m basically like Erin Brockovich just hairier.

What could you do ? If you want to support your colleagues and help make the workplace safer, fairer, and listen to HR twist you in knots with policy changes  etc then you could receive TUC training (paid time off) and become a workplace rep, or you could simply be a workplace contact and help us spread the word about UNISON activities within LTHT.

If you are needing advice ( please no agony aunt stuff, I’m useless when it comes to puberty) , or support within your department give us a buzz,  and we will try to help (looking at my diary I am next free in about November 2018 )

Time for some pantomime……

UNION buzz words to cheer

UNION buzz words to boo

#Double booked


(The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch)



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