UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch represents over 4,000 members working for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals 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. Join UNISON today.

Branch Newsletter published


Newsletter 2019

Latest news from the branch

Latest newsletter published (09/09/19)

You can download the latest newsletter here...


Letter to the Minister - Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (14/05/19)



Get back into learning and change your life (08/03/19)


A chance to sample our award winning courses – Return to Learn and Women’s Lives.

These courses are designed for members who want to ease themselves back into learning.
We are offering members the opportunity to attend a one day taster workshop to find out more about the courses, boost your confidence and engage with exciting and fun activities.

Download the details here... pdf

- Return to Learn Taster Workshops -

LEEDS - Return to Learn
Saturday 25 May 2019 (apply by 22 April 2019) at
Swarthmore Education Centre, Leeds, LS3 1AD

SHEFFIELD - Return to Learn
Saturday 15 June 2019 (apply by 10 May 2019) at
The Circle, Sheffield, S1 4FW

Both sessions run from 10am – 3pm with FREE LUNCH

- Women’s Lives Taster Workshops -

HUDDERSFIELD - Women’s Lives
Saturday 18 May 2019 (apply by 15 April 2019) at
St John’s Resource Centre, Huddersfield, HD1 5DX

BARNSLEY Women’s Lives
Saturday 8 June 2019 (apply by 3 May 2019) at
Hope House, Barnsley, S70 1AP

Both sessions run from 10am – 3pm with FREE LUNCH


To apply, download an application form from our website:
http://www.unison‐yorks.org.uk/education.html or call the Education team on
0113 2182330.

Please ensure you complete your application with your chosen workshop.
Any queries and completed application forms should be forwarded to r.bent@unison.co.uk


With Banners Held High Event - Sat 18 March 2019 (01/02/19)

Banners held high event

Gambia project - help needed (09/05/18)

UNISON, Yorkshire and Humberside have worked in Gambia to help build a school. Following on from that project Wendy Nichols (Regional Convenor) and Jim Bell, the project co-ordinator, met with representatives of one of the three public hospitals in the whole of the Gambia, Serrekunda Hospital.

This meeting resulted in a memorandum of understanding between Y&H UNISON and the Hospital. The hospital has a team of 12 Cuban doctors and nurses providing medical support but the hospital deals with the poorest people and is really struggling. They need beds, sheets, blankets, medical supplies and equipment. Jim Bell has had discussions with another charity in the UK who collect and store equipment, clothing etc. and who then ship containers out to the Gambia.

The charity has agreed to store any bedding and equipment we can collect and send container loads across to Gambia provided we meet the transportation costs. The total cost per container is approx. £4,500 with a further £500 for transport from the docks to the hospital.

So for each container we send we would need to raise around £5,000. What do we want you to do? We would like you to speak to your line managers and see if there are usable beds, bedding and/ or medical equipment that they are prepared to donate to our project? Many areas have old equipment etc can your teams donate some of them to our project?

Remember, this is one of the poorest countries in the world with little in the way of health care, everything we do will help save lives and improve the lot of the poorest. Following generous donations from the employer in particular the Theatres and anaesthetics CSU - Leeds Teaching Hospitals UNISON Branch has now sent thousands of pounds worth of “out of date” medical equipment to this hospital.

Thank you.


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 35: From cradle to grave or from Eton to Washington? (05/11/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 35 is here, sparkling and feeling dandy and energised for the election fight of our lives to save #OurNHS. December 13th could be the dawn of a fantastic new fair and equitable country for us all, or it could be then deepest, darkest, longest winter for our public services. Do we rise as a movement and do all we can to kick out this government who have enslaved the 99% to the benefit of the 1% or do we cower in corners and allow our “masters” to steal the NHS? From cradle to grave or from Eton to Washington - That’s your choice.

Leeds will be a key scrap with two hotly contested marginal seats. In Morley and Outwood we have Deanne Ferguson standing for Labour. A Trade Unionist by background she is committed to public services and local people. She wasn’t born with a silver spoon, she wasn’t dropped on this town by somebody in London, she is a local, hardworking Morley lass who has run her blood to water campaigning over the last year. Her opponent, Jenkyns has an appalling voting record. Always on the side of big companies, and rarely on the side of you and I. A fan of Trump, and supporter of a no deal Brexit and the peril that will bring to “ordinary people”. Deanne isn’t funded by big business as opposed to the bosses puppet Jenkyns, so if you want to help her campaign get in touch (she is very lovely) https://www.facebook.com/deannefergusonuk/ . As a resident of Morley myself I am so excited about Deanne winning. She will be brilliant for the town and the NHS will have a defender rather than someone who smells profit over people.

Another Labour candidate in a seat we need to win back is Jane Aitchison who is standing in Pudsey. Jane is the President of Leeds Trades Council in Leeds and as such I have had the pleasure of meeting her. She spoke just after my mumble at the climate rally last month. She was so supportive of little ol nervous me. Wow, she is an orator alright. Powerful, and strong. She will stand as a beacon for working class women all over the constituency. Another proud supporter of the NHS, and another Trade Unionist we can place #OurNHS trust in. If you live in and around Pudsey and want to help https://vote.labour.org.uk/jane-aitchison https://twitter.com/janeaitchison . Jane is you and me. Jane won’t be bought or be beholden to big business.

Standing M.P’s in Leeds such as Richard Burgon in East Leeds (wonderful fella who spoke up strongly against the proposed Wholly Owned Company at LTHT and offered to stand on the picket line with your UNISON Branch). Hilary Benn - Leeds Central, Fabian Hamilton - Leeds North East, Alex Sobel - Leeds North West ( has been brilliant pushing for the green new deal in parliament and standing alongside the student climate change protestors), and Rachel Reeves - Leeds West. All need your support and all will prioritise the NHS - If you want to offer your support to these Labour MP’s locally you can find their details on line or get in touch with us on Ext 64369 and we can point you in the right direction.

As an example of what we are fighting for last week both Trump and the government have made headlines with claims that our NHS is not on the negotiating table. However Channel 4 has revealed British officials have been in secret meetings with US drugs companies and lobbyists. They have been talking about including the NHS in future trade deals with Trump’s America.

If they get their way it could mean our NHS paying more for the medicines that people like us rely on every day. It’s scandalous. It’s petrifying what these people will do for even more profit.

The link to the story is underneath.


The Liberal democrats equally cannot be trusted with #OurNHS. Last week they abstained on a motion which looked to end NHS privatisation. Despite the practice being deeply unpopular with the public, the Lib Dems’ decision to abstain on an anti-privatisation motion clearly shows they still do not oppose the policy of NHS privatisation. Jonathan Ashworth (Labour shadow minister for Health) stated on the night “Tonight, Tory MPs have refused to safeguard the NHS from a Trump deal sell off that locks in privatisation. The actions of Tory MPs and inaction of Lib Dems who abstained, risks further privatisation of our health system and could open the door to US pharma forcing our NHS into buying more expensive medicines. This yet again shows only Labour can be trusted with our NHS.”

Sorry I’ve ranted on, I don’t like doing it but I refuse to let my children and my patients down by allowing profit before people - If you work for the NHS it is now our time to fight for it - Get out there folks.

From Wednesday the 6th November we will be limited to what we can publically say due to election rules. However that doesn’t mean we are not out there fighting for this great hospitals future. Get in touch if you have any questions - Solidarity and good luck people.

… Speak soon XXX


Blog 34: #climatestrike #labourpartypledges #growvember (04/10/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 34 is here, fresh from the invigorating #climatestrike on the 20th September, and bristling like Basils impressive brush with optimism after hearing Labour’s well needed plans for an alternative at conference. Change is a coming, and I’m quite prepared to be the vibrant chameleon on Greta and Corbyn’s radical leafs.

First off - Ten thousand students, parents, trade unionists, and other glittering progressives marched through Leeds city centre on the 20th September to protest the global climate catastrophe and demand change. Greta Thunberg later in the week thundered into the suits in the United Nations “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”. With that critique of eternal economic growth Greta really hits the nail on the head. If this path of a selfish profit orientated world continues then the inhabitable planet won’t survive much past this century. However if we, the global citizens can work collectively then we have a chance of limiting the destruction. Of course this is where socialism and Trade unionism comes in. Big businesses work to please their shareholders and short term gains. Just 100 companies are responsible for the majority of global carbon emissions. To have a collated and sustainable future we need a coordinated plan for the many, not profits and for the rich. Capitalism is dying along with the forests.

The NHS also needs to change. The NHS contributes 5.4% of the UK’s greenhouse gases (equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of 11 coal-fired power stations). The NHS accounts for almost 10bn road journeys each year – around 3.5% of all UK road travel.

Dr Cathy Lawson, a fellow in environmentally sustainable anaesthesia for the Association of Anaesthetists based at Newcastle upon Tyne hospitals, says reducing the use of Desflurane (an anaesthetic gas which has alternatives) can make a real difference. “Since 2016, we have cut emissions from anaesthetic gases by 45%, through education about the environmental impact that our different gases have, supporting our colleagues to make informed choices about their clinical practice and using behavioural nudges to reduce unintentional use of our more harmful agents.” Again the NHS has a whole needs to work collectively on reducing these emission’s; it cannot be left to individual trusts to carry that burden. Leeds Teaching Hospitals has plans which reduce our Carbon footprint. Your Branch will continue to collaborate and press the need for change. I have spoken to our sustainability manager this week who confirms the use of desflurane is going down. We are doing our little bit in Leeds, hats off to those anaesthetists who are changing.

So onto those Labour Party pledges (you can just see them through the smoke and mirrors of the Brexit arguments)

1/ Large employers would be forced to provide flexible hours to women experiencing the menopause.

2/ A cut in the average working week from 37 to 32 hours within a decade, with no loss of pay.

3/ Free personal care for the elderly.

4/ Abolishing private schools - and spreading the savings to all students.

5/ Backing a zero carbon target by 2030 as part of a Green New Deal agenda. This is the most radical of any European political party. In the UK other political parties commit to net-zero by 2050

6/ To fight a trade deal with Trump that sells off our NHS

7/ Prescription charges are a tax on illness. The next Labour government will abolish all prescription charges.

And perhaps very relevantly here in the North of England

8/ A block to back door NHS privatisations (No more wholly Owned companies).

It all seems very exciting doesn’t it? From despair to where? Well hopefully an exciting radical future being an active, fighting Trade Unionist within your NHS hospital.

UNISON are having a big recruitment month in November so it is likely you’ll see an increased UNISON presence around all the hospitals - if you see anyone come say hello - we don’t bite , and those of us who do, well we are all gums….

…. Speak soon XXX


Blog 33: Boring! Let's talk about the NHS and green jobs instead (09/09/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 33 is here staring in wonderment and befuddlement at all the drama in parliament. This Blog could be the most pointless yet as before it gets sent out everything may have changed. The Queen may have swung Tarzan like through the House of Commons bashing Alexander Boris de Pfeffell on the noggin for his fibs. The ghost of Winston Churchill may table a motion on Alexander Boris de Pfeffels treachery to his Grandson, and the only one keeping his cool and principles (Mr Jeremy Corbyn) may be leading the country. Goodness knows we need a leader, and not the petulant schoolboy who is currently in situ.

As this is Blog 33 (and spans the last three years) I’ve done pretty well not mentioning Brexit that much. Frankly it bores me. It’s a red herring (God bless all socialist salt water fishes decked out in their rouge). The European Union (in my opinion) gives the workers some excellent Health and Safety protections, freedom of movement is such a positive thing, and the E.U provides a sensible buffer to the devilment of a Tory government. However it is also a capitalist’s playground, and has been a catalyst for corporate Globalisation (businesses more powerful than states). The European Union is not utopia - it has been slow to react to Climate change, and has sat ideally by, unable to help as our NHS is picked apart by private vultures, and hardly prevented the calamity of the Iraq war and all the murder which came from that.

I respect all views on the issue - However my major issue is the Labour manifesto of 2017 offered so much hope and momentum regarding restoring a country in all our interests, and not one solely interested in exploiting the working class for the benefit of the 1%. I want the country to go back to talking about protecting our NHS, and restoring the welfare state.

I want my kids education to be invested in, and the Green jobs revolution instigated. For all the entertaining theatrics of the recent votes, and the laughter I’ve had at seeing Alexander de Pfeffel squirm I want to get back to campaigning for a trade unionist and socialist programme. Also I felt compelled to watch the House of Commons the other day and it was really distracting as I really wanted to spend my day off watching the Ashes and the racing from Gowran Park.

In local news there has been great progress from the wonderful Estates and Facilities staff at Bradford NHS who were taking industrial action. More than 300 UNISON members stayed solid during July and August resulting in the Trust and UNISON releasing a joint statement saying the strike is off following "constructive talks".

UNISON (your brothers and sisters) will now have the chance to present our case to the trust's board of directors next month and the privatisation of these staff has been postponed until February 2020 pending "further consideration. Industrial Action is always tough and can cause hardship on individuals both financially and psychologically. However the results of this solid action is plain for all to see.

... Speak soon XXX

Blog 32: BoJo No-No, and Bradford Health Workers Strike (08/08/19)

Blog 32 is here for August. Augmenting your holiday reading with this irrelevant and irresponsible blog. Irrepressibly, inspiring the proletariat of Leeds, and fulfilling my contractual obligations.

I hope some of you managed to get to Leeds Pride on Sunday (4/8/19)? Your UNISON Branch was represented and our brand new banner flown. I didn’t manage to get there until late on Sunday afternoon. The train station was packed with tipsy, colourful revellers. It was Absolutely fantastic. The battle for LGBT+ rights and equality is not won, but it is safe to say the generation behind my own is certainly embracing all our differences and wonderful diversity and celebrating them like never before. This is all thanks to all the brave activists in the generation before my own.

This month 0.1% of the population elected our new Prime Minister. It seems that the promises of 2016 and our country “taking back control” are not being met when only 90 thousand members of the Tory party can select our leader on our behalf. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a lovely man. An innocent buffoon. An entertaining throw back to when England ruled the waves and WG Grace could win the ashes with one thwack of his cricket bat. WRONG. The man is an opportunistic scoundrel. A man, who like Trump, will use language in such a dangerous way to incite hatred of others, to strengthen his core supporters. If Alexander Boris de Pfeffel was a Health Care Professional it is highly likely he would have been struck off his professional register when organising for a Journalist to be beaten up in the 90’s. If he was an employee of our great hospital he would likely to have been sacked for his inflammatory racist language.

1. Calling women wearing the burqa “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”
Islamophobic incidents in which Muslim women have been called “letter boxes” have risen since Johnson described women wearing the burqa as “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” in a Telegraph column last year.

2. Palling around with Steve Bannon
Johnson has been in regular contact with far-right nationalist Steve Bannon – Donald Trump’s former chief strategist – who has publicly supported him and believes people should wear the terms “racist” and “xenophobe” as a “medal”.

3. Writing a poem about the Turkish President having sex with a goat
In May 2016, Johnson wrote a poem insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, suggesting he had sex with a goat.

4. Dismissing “part-Kenyan” Barack Obama’s views on Britain
In April 2016, during the Brexit referendum campaign, he dismissed former US president Barack Obama’s views on EU membership because of the “part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire

5. Describing Commonwealth citizens as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”
His 2002 Telegraph column included racist insults against black people, citing “regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies” in the Commonwealth and referring to “the tribal warriors… [who] all break out in watermelon smiles”.

These are turbulent times, and the UK is split terribly. However it is important to know your enemy and not allow others to split us as Trade Unionists. We cannot allow the rhetoric of blaming others in our working class continue, be that economic migrants, or the unemployed, or an under represented race, or any other persecuted group. The truth is we have our second old Etonian (in the last three) Prime Ministers in charge of a right wing capitalist government. This privileged mob defends their interests, and the interests of the 1 % at all times. They do not have your welfare at heart.

You will have seen in the news on Monday (5/9/19) that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has said that he will commit to an extra £1.8bn on NHS infrastructure and equipment. How the nation rejoiced. However Tory ministers have also cut over £4bn from NHS investment budgets. There is a £6bn maintenance backlog in trusts alone, of which over £3bn is ‘high or significant risk’, meaning that it is likely to be causing major disruption to services and impacting significantly on patient care quality and safety……. Those sorts of facts put that “extra” £1.8 billion into context. They think we won’t read past the headlines!!

Bradford NHS Trust Estates and Facilities staff are again on strike in protest over their Trusts move to take them out of their NHS employment. Your Branch donated a fantastic £1000 pounds in a solidarity payment to their strike fund. If you would like to make a further individual contribution the link is here https://www.gofundme.com/unison-bradford-healthstop-the-wosstrike-fund

……Speak soon XXX

Blog 31: Yorkshire's biggest celebration of LGBT+ life (08/07/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 31 is here. Decked out in its summer wardrobe, icy drink in its shaking hand and rainbows dripping from my keyboard. If the prospect of Johnson or Hunt being our Prime Minister this month doesn’t befuddle and inflame you, or the Amazon being chopped down by a football pitch per minute doesn’t stir you, then Sir or Madam you are colder than a penguin’s belly sliding on a frozen glacier. Rise up people - the world is getting madder than a misanthropic mouse, doing a Morris dance, whilst somebody else munches his nuts.

On August 4th Leeds is set to host Yorkshire's Biggest celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans life”. Your Branch will be represented with activists present and a brand-new banner being designed as we speak. Hopefully we will also have some freebies to give out prior to the day too.

This year’s pride celebrations coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots - These were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT+ community against a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan. The raid is widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights. Although the LGBT+ community has come a long way since those beautiful uprisings, it is important to note that the fight for equality is not over. There are 53 countries in the Commonwealth, out of those, 37 have laws that STILL criminalise homosexuality. You will have all seen in the news recently the story of two women being violently attacked on a bus in London due to their sexuality. Yes, let’s party on August 4th and celebrate all of our diversity, but also remember the fight to end discrimination is never over.

UNISON fights discrimination and prejudice in the workplace on behalf of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) members. We do this by building local and national groups of LGBT+ members, negotiating with employers and offering individual support to anyone experiencing discrimination. We also provide access to practical advice and legal information.

LGBT+ group priorities

  • recruit LGBT+ workers into the union;
  • encourage LGBT+ members to get involved;
  • build our network of LGBT+ groups;
  • support individual members;
  • identify and challenge discrimination, informing the union’s negotiations with employers;
  • defend and promote LGBT+ public services;
  • campaign for equality.

I am sad to say that within our Branch we do not have an LGBT+ Officer to coordinate a self-organised group. If any of you would like to know what this role entails then please get in touch on Ext 64369.  Your role could …..

  • discuss local terms and conditions;
  • build a support network for members facing problems at work;
  • provide a forum for the debate of issues;
  • assist members in gaining the confidence to get involved in other levels of the union.

Away from Pride, Bradford Teaching Hospitals Branch of UNISON starts a period (w/c 8th July) of industrial action against a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (taking Estates and Facilities staff out of their NHS employment). Your Branch sent the following letter of support. 

5th July 2019

Dear Ami, and UNISON Bradford Hospitals Branch

Re: WOS Strike

We are writing on behalf of UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch Committee and the membership to declare our strong support and solidarity with your strike action over the establishment of a Wholly Owned Subsidiary at Bradford.

As you know we saw the same threat to our essential Estates and Facilities staff last year. We fully understand how strongly those members will feel about remaining within our NHS family. We are proud, and filled with admiration that these majority low paid members are taking such a strong and righteous stand against the slow destruction of our NHS.

History shows that these members’ terms and conditions will be eroded if you do not win this fight. However history also shows that if you remain strong, and united you WILL win this fight. We have so much respect for your action.

Support and Solidarity to All

… Speak soon XXX


Blog 30: NHS for sale? Starving vultures (07/06/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 30 has arrived like a double decker at a lonely bus stop. Promising salvation from the dark streets, only to flash up “not in service“ as it rumbles past with nihilistic relish ( no I haven’t a clue what I’m on about either).

Yaaay, Mr Trump is in town as I write this (4/6/19). Like a circling and starving vulture he has proclaimed that the NHS will be “on the table” with any post Brexit trade deal with the USA.

So there we have it folks. The cat is out of the Walmart bag, the mice are at the cheese, and all their devious plans are laid as bare as Marilyn on her death bed.

I don’t care what you think of Brexit, or the referendum or of Jezza , or Farage, or Labour , or Tory - OUR NHS IS NOT FOR SALE TO ANYONE. Repeat that (I feel like I’m on the stage) IT IS NOT FOR SALE.

Avid readers of my blog (Hi Mum) will be aware that I’m no fan of petitions, but if you are this one seems to be appropriate


If you look at our once nationalised industries like Steel, the Post Office, public transport - sold for a pittance to a few old Etonians and now failing and letting us, the public, down (and we have to pay more for these now shoddy services). It’s a cheap capitalist trick, and we will not let this happen with our most precious treasure, the NHS.

Big businesses sometimes build our hospitals and public buildings, maybe run our local services. However when they collapse, we the tax paying public end up paying the price. Remember Carillion? They hid their dodgy finances - and workers lost their jobs, and pensions and it was the public purse which was left with the mess.

“All the mega corporations on the planet make their obscene profits off the labour and suffering of others, with complete disregard for the effects on the workers, environment, and future generations. As with the banking sector, they play games with the lives of millions, hysterically reject any kind of government intervention when the profits are rolling in, but are quick to pass the bill for the cleanup and the far-reaching consequences of these avoidable tragedies to the public when things go wrong. We have a straightforward proposal: if they want public money, we want public control. It's that simple” - Michael Hureaux-Perez.

Saturday 19th October - See’s a Trade Union Council sponsored conference which will examine the response to Climate Change from a Trade Union perspective. The science behind the apocalyptic future we have condemned ourselves to, and how we, the organised workers can actively help combat these changes and use the awful situation to our advantage and promote what should be a boom in “green” jobs. If you want more information contact the Branch on 64369 and we can share what we know.

Speak Soon XXX

Blog 29: Deeds not words (10/05/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 29 here and today we come out swinging like a growling heavyweight boxer, who has stepped on his sons Lego and has found his next door neighbours slippers under his boyfriend’s bed. This is the angry militant blog that demands action. That screams for change, and is fed up of e petitions and strongly worded letters. It’s also written because today I’m grumpy, there are loads of great quotes on this subject, and I have indeed just stepped on my sons Batman Lego.

So onto those quotes -

“Yet what you need is not marches, demonstrations, rallies or wide associations, all of them are important. What you need is direct action. The sooner people understand that, the sooner we'll begin to change things." - King Arthur Scargill

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand besides us, fight with us.” - Christabel Pankhurst

Cowardice is impotence worse than violence. The coward desires revenge but being afraid to die, he looks to others, maybe to the government of the day, to do the work of defence for him. A coward is less than a man. He does not deserve to be a member of a society of men and women” - Mahatma Gandhi

You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes... We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis...if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then... we should change the system itself” - Greta Thunberg.

What do they all have in common? The need for action from individuals. The need to be the change yourself, and commit to your cause. The need for solidarity against the system. Capitalism and power are never going to change by want of a polite “I say old chap, you wouldn’t mind taking a dip into your shareholders profit and consider not destroying the planet, the NHS, and the welfare state would you mind awfully?”

How did the suffragettes get the vote? How did Trade Unions gain their rights? How did the American civil rights movement change segregation law? Not by asking, but by demanding to be heard and refusing to go away quietly. The passion and commitment of the mass unified voice sends quivers down the panicky spines of the powerful. Extinction Rebellion in London the other week. Those brave souls risked arrest, personal abuse, fines etc - and now suddenly the country is talking climate change. Direct action at work.

So why don’t we do more of it? Are we all too damn selfish? Do we all sit behind our iPhone and nod and agree but leave it to others to make that sacrifice? Is it the rise of the I, and the demise of the WE in society. We are all guilty of it.

Two really great examples. Leeds City Council last month became the biggest council in the country to declare a climate emergency. Wonderful we thought, as we sipped our morning cuppa. What great chaps they are. That was my name on that petition, and on that letter I wrote, I said to myself. I took a self-congratulatory  slurp of the leaves of the camellia sinesis plant, and settled into a morning of self-indulgent power to the people daydreaming….. and in reality what have they done? The council have now set out plans for a new road to Leeds Bradford airport. Yep, expanding airports is a great way to act in a “climate emergency” - I despair, and the tea turned dark and particularly bitter (that was a nice dramatic twist).

Another example - but this time with a positive outcome. The catering staff at Doncaster an Bassetlaw Hospital were TUPED over from their NHS contracts to the pantomime villains of this piece , the private firm Sodexo (boo, hiss). They had been promised pay rises in line with the NHS pay deal. However when the time came, these staff, already on a pittance, were refused that rise.

So what did they do? Did they grumble on their breaks and chunter aimlessly into an echo chamber? Well quite possibly they did, but they also took ACTION. Action that had an impact. With their unions help (UNISON) they voted to strike, and to kick their bosses in their wallets. The result after two days - the promised pay deal was delivered!!! Now if these catering staff, who must have felt very exposed, and very vulnerable giving up their hardly substantial wages can do it , then so can YOU.

Peaceful, direct action is the key. However as I delivered Labour leaflets last week for the council elections, I was the victim of several local direct actions against myself!! I was chased repeatedly through the streets, by several burly men in scenes that can only be described as the closing edits of the Benny Hill show. Comrades blamed the fragmented society post Brexit, I presumed that it was because they just knew me and had finally had enough of my wittering!

So to close, and to once more take to the quotes (great for the copy and paste and word count) - As the suffragettes said we need to see “Deeds not Words”. I’ll see you on the right side of the barricades brothers and sisters.

…..speak soon xxx

Blog 28: Climate change: Averting apocalpse and green jobs (02/4/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 28 coming at you from the watery graveyard / fiery wastelands of the future. Your monthly blog is here and it’s unapologetically apocalyptic. Climate Change should be in more headlines than Brexit, Leeds United, and any of the Queen’s new reptiles. If we don’t get a handle on Climate Change then in fifty years we won’t be campaigning to preserve the NHS, or for a pay rise, we will be scrambling onto the last raft in the spirit of the Titanic (hopefully not being serenaded by Celine Dion), and waving our grandchildren’s future bye-bye.

The Lancet Commission (hardly the Beano) have called climate change "the greatest threat to human health in the 21th century", They have warned that climate change risks reversing the gains made in public health and development over the past fifty years, and have warned that "on the basis of current emission trajectories, temperature rises in the next 85 years may be incompatible with an organised global community". I think this is a very powerful message from the heart of the medical establishment.

At our successful A.G.M in March (great to see you all by the way) we passed a Motion to make sure we were doing our bit. We have lobbied Leeds City Council, who have declared a climate emergency this week, alongside dozens of other local councils.

But what does this climate stuff have to do with the NHS and a Health Branch ? well….

The NHS is the largest employer in the UK and the fifth in the world. The impact that the NHS has on the environment is enormous; from contributing to 7% of road traffic, to procurement, to emissions from our utilities. Around 7% of all NHS estate is located in areas susceptible to flooding !! The NHS is to face one of its largest challenges if climate change is not brought in to check with a dramatic draw on its resources (as there is an increase in health problems associated with climate change). 

The World Health Organization’ have projected a conservative 250,000 deaths per year between 2030-2050 for a narrow subset of well-understood effects of climate change (heat exposure of the elderly, diarrhoea, malaria and childhood malnutrition)!!!

Still thinking it’s not a Health’s Branch’s place to be concerned about all this?

Your UNISON Branch managed to fly our flag on March 15th when the City’s youth took to the streets protesting this very subject. Why educate us when we don’t have a future was their message. It was great to see such energy on the streets.

Climate Change is also a huge Trade Union subject. To redesign the fossil fuel design of the modern world is going to drastically change how we work.

Is this a threat to jobs then?  As a conscientious Trade Unionist I’m not going to fully support anything that will cut jobs?

NO - this is a terrific opportunity for new Green jobs. Unlike Thatcher who destroyed the coal industry, and left a gaping hole within those communities, this “just” green transformation could actually stimulate the economy and provide sustainable energy and jobs !!

UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals have been involved in a new lobby called @NhsClimate #NHSClimateEmergency - give it a follow !! Get informed, Get active….

….Speak Soon xxx


Blog 27: Be an AGM winner (01/03/19)

Hi Dudes,

As you see Blog 27 has pounced upon your electronic viewing device like a leopard in the Serengeti. All teeth, and claws, and beautifully camouflaged against a back drop of equatorial danger and wilderness.

The winners of the Oscars are out, and although I didn’t win an award for best screenplay this year I am thinking of submitting this beauty for next year’s glitz fest…..

Overheard in the staff canteen, amongst the piles of freshly cooked chips, and besides the healthy option of neglected veg ……
“Hey fictional employee”
“Hey fictional colleague, how are you?
“I’m good thanks. I’m living the Leeds way every day.  I don’t suppose you’re going to the UNISON AGM are you?”
“Oh yes I’d like to, I heard that’s where all the cool cats play. When is it again?”
“March the 5th - 7am at the Clarendon LGI canteen”
“Oh shucks, I have child care responsibilities on that morning which I am able to attend to due to successful trade union lobbying and a receptive local management team. I am devastated; I really wanted to partake in the UNISON democratic process”
“Worry not my socially conscious friend they are holding a second one, again on the 5th march In Beckett Wing commencing at 4pm”
“Wowzers, those guys think of it all, I don’t suppose they provide nutritional subsidence at both these meets?”
“They sure do, breakfast butties in the morning, and a light buffet tea”
“They truly are the king of kings those activists”
“They are, but remember they also believe in a constitutional republican democracy, and may not take kindly to being compared to a monarchical overlord”
“Won't they just blag on and on about Brexit though? I know what these political sorts are like”
“No, anyone who mentions Brexit is going to be ejected, preferably via a slap with a wet haddock to the lug”*

…… and thus it goes on with lots of lasers, musical interludes, and a guest appearance featuring the ghost of Sid James …. Sounds pretty crude, but still better than any Batman movie I’ve ever watched.

Please, please come to the meeting(s) and have your say. We do really appreciate any feedback, good, or constructive. We do have a raffle, and we do have a speaker in Bill Adams who will talk about the Trades Union Council in Yorkshire and make you feel like you are part of a wider social movement. It’s not just about paying your subs; it’s about being one active cog in a massive wheel.

…..Speak soon xxx

  • Note UNISON LTHT does not condone any form of violence, especially the use of force with dead aquatics.
Blog 26: Looking forward to 2019 whilst sliding head first (01/02/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 26 here and it’s the pre- General Election bonanza. That’s right my beloved readers our political fairground ride is riotously throwing us ecstatically from the Brexit waltzers, (candy floss in our hair), and straight onto the big wheel of party political broadcasts, door knocking, leaflet dropping, and marking your preferred candidate with a big pre literate X. Oh the joys. My polling booth is at a junior school and every time I cast my vote I get a volley of abuse from the tellers for careering head first (superman-esque) down the kiddies slides. My excuse is that my frolicking head first slippery descent is a satire on the capitalist political void - but it is rudely met by a thick ear from my wife, and a giggle from my daughter. Anyway…..

In the last blog (such heady days) I looked back at 2018. Now I want to look forward to 2019. Much of our 2019 plans will be decided at our AGM on March 5th. So what are we campaigning on in 2019 ? Well that’s up to you!! Our members !!!

Come along, have your say, and shape your union for 2019. What issues do you find frustrating? Health and Safety issues ? shift patterns ? pay ? equalities ? staffing levels? Come and talk with us and let’s make plans together. We have two AGM’s. The first at Clarendon Wing Canteen @07;15, the second at Beckett Wing @16;00. Grub is provided; we have rousing speakers - so no excuses. We can’t wait to see you. Any questions #64369

The next 2019 date for your diary is Saturday 18th May in Shakey Wakey.


It’s a Trade Union event which promises a show of “collective unity” music, poetry, speeches, a rally, and lashings of fried goods and real ale. Reports from last year say is it was a grand family day and left everyone on the verge of a bloodless workers revolution (the last bit is not entirely true, but you get the gist)

The theme of the day will be ‘A Land Fit For Heroes?’ considering the aftermath of World War One from the perspective of the working class, trade unions and Labour Movement as a whole and by harnessing contemporary social and political injustices as comparison, With Banners Held High will explore how the fundamental issues which were present within the inter-war period, are still visible today

(That’s a mouth full isn’t it?)  - Anyway, music, hot dogs, FUN. We may even let you fly the branch flag on our behalf (especially if it’s windy, when the flag becomes a mast and makes the pole holder do 0-75mph quicker than any sports car).

Leeds Keep Our NHS Public’ invites the people of Yorkshire to join a demonstration demanding proper NHS funding at 11.30 on 30th March  2019, outside the art gallery in Leeds. This should be a good opportunity for us all to demonstrate our pride in our NHS, and how we demand that it maintains its public service status. It will also be another opportunity for a bit of knees up and a chance to socialise with like minded folk.

At the AGM we will also present the motions that the Branch will be supporting at the UNISON Health Conference in April. You will have a chance to discuss / debate these motions at our AGM. What is a motion ? basically a motion is  a plan, sent in from branches to be discussed and debated at the Bournemouth National Health Conference. So if branches want to see a certain idea acted on, and become national policy this is the way to do it. One year a Branch submitted a motion calling all Branch Blogs to be unread masterpieces of comic literature which moved and inspired the populace into urgent democratic action. You can see from reading this nonsense that the motion was successful.

See you on March 5th !!!!!!!! - A.G.M (we will fix the raffle so you win something).

Ps - UNISON National have just released this press statement, If you’ve got 5 minutes it makes for an interesting read (maybe some of you contributed to the survey)


……Speak soon xxx

Banner held high


Blog 25: Christmas Special - including a year in review! (December 2018)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 25 here and it is our Christmas special. Hang onto your baubles folks it’s gonna be quite the sleigh ride. As the seasonal snow dampens my keyboard I’m hoping to take you on a journey through the lens of UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals 2018, and a muse upon the upcoming twelve months. There will be no mention of the “B” words - Brexit, Back stops, or Borders - I promise.

The first half of the year was dominated by three main events. Our Branch AGM where Denise was (for the 3rd year) appointed Branch Secretary. She is also now on the Service Group Executive which means not very much to those of you not in the purple UNISON bubble, but does ensure that your Branch is represented at the highest level on the health side of your union. It is a reward for years of hard work by Denise on your behalf, and also means we as a branch are more likely to directly influence wider events, and your voice is far more likely to get through quicker to the national negotiating teams. (Hopefully).

Spring and Summer was also spent challenging the Trusts plans to move two thousand staff into a separate Wholly Owned Company. It was an emotional and busy time for the Branch. A time where our members could not have made it clearer how proud they were of being NHS workers. Also as a Branch we learnt loads regarding Industrial Relations, and made valuable contacts with the region’s M.P’s , Labour councillor’s, and with the regional T.U.C. Personally I was extremely energised. I will never, ever stop fighting for a properly funded, fully public NHS. We loved and were inspired by our “proud to be 100% NHS” slogan and it is one we will continue into 2019.

The third main event was the controversial “payrise”. Many members were hoping for more, whilst the negotiating team will point to the fact that the 1% pay cap was lifted and the band one rate abolished.

The reorganisation of band one into band two is sure to be one which keeps us in work in 2019 and beyond.

The second half of the year has seen the Branch trying to promote two campaigns. Grovember, where we have been trying to recruit new members to help strengthen our voice locally and nationally. This has been a great success. Over a hundred new members in the last month within your Branch.

The second campaign has been our commitment to support White Ribbon UK. Lots of you have now taken the pledge

“Never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women”
To learn more please follow the link below. https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/pledge/

On a Branch level we have been busy throughout 2018 on individual cases: - Attendance Management, Conduct, Organisational Change, policy work, Flexible working, etc. At times it feels never ending, but I am very proud of how our reps have managed to cover your cases and provide expert support and a listening ear in times of need. The Branch’s professional relationship with managers and HR also continues to grow. The ability to have informal conversations to prevent more formal action on both sides of the table is necessary and only possible with good relations and mutual trust.

Its been a busy year and 2019 won’t be any less busy. As I’ve said the band one negotiations, the fallout from whatever way the “B” word goes with Europe, the prospect of another General Election, ole Donny Trump’s upcoming impeachment, and the continuing fight to protect our NHS…. Oh and your Branches’ UNISON AGM - 5th March - 07:00am @ LGI , and 16:00pm @ SJUH. Give us a shout on extention 64369 for more information, but this is your opportunity to become more involved in your union.

UNISON General Secretary David Prentis (or at least his ghost writer) is quoted as saying about UNISON members (public servants)
“……so whether you’re spending this festive period with family, or gritting our streets, travelling long distances to see loved ones or driving around your community caring for those who can’t care for themselves, I want to say thank you. Thank you for everything you do for all of us, now and every single day of the year. I can never say that enough – no-one ever says that to you often enough. You are the glue that holds our fractured communities together, especially at a time when cuts and austerity have caused such havoc and harm.”

I think that sums it up quite nicely especially when due to the effects of austerity, the historical pay cap, the ending of nursing bursary’s, and the fog over the B word there are almost 41,000 vacant nursing posts in the NHS – and it is estimated that the number will grow to almost 48,000 by 2023. We know that nurses are not the only workers within our mighty hospitals, but I think those figures show what we all feel. You do an incredible job with diminishing money and resources. Happy Christmas everyone, stay safe.

….Speak soon xxx


Blog 24: Grovember and White Ribbon Campaign (21/11/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 24 arriving like an Yorkshire Terrier greeting a postman. Plenty of comedy nips, hideous yaps, and the occasional opportunity for a belly rub.

It’s been a busy month for your Branch. We’ve been up to all sorts. Member meetings, recruitment stalls, campaigning, and the bread and butter work of representing you, our members.

Your Branch is now an accredited partner of the White Ribbon campaign. https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/.

To achieve this, the Branch had to show we were committed to the campaign, with plans for promotion and education. Our branch now has two White Ribbon Ambassadors, and two White Ribbon champions. We are having stalls at St James’s(Bexley Wing morning), and the LGI jubilee Wing afternoon) on Friday 23rd November. Come along, say hello and take the pledge “Never commit, excuse, or remain silent about male violence against women”. We will also have white Ribbons for sale on the day. We are holding the stalls after talks with the Trust Safeguarding team who have been very supportive. Some people challenge White Ribbon for solely focusing on male violence against women. This is their retort.

“The important thing to recognise here is that there are already campaigns and charities that focus on the other victims, and are very helpful in those circles:
However, the largest number of violent incidents involves men against women. We are here to stop that by encouraging men to be part of a conversation that is still largely considered a women's issue"

Two women a week in the U.K are murdered by their partner or ex-partner!!! Every time I read that statistic I’m very proud that our branch are , in our own way, trying to address this issue. It is a real trade union issue. Women suffering from domestic violence are more likely to have problems in the workplace. Time keeping, absence, poor performance. These potential warning signs may be first seen at work. It is important that colleagues, line managers, and workplace union reps are sensitive to this possibility. The trust has recently published their new domestic violence policy which aims to advice managers, HR, and employees deal with any such incidents. It’s great that this issue is acknowledged but like our support for food banks is tragic that its needed in the first place.

Another issue we have been campaigning on is overrunning elective lists in paediatric theatres. Staff, although understanding that it is sometimes the nature of the beast working in theatres, are getting worn down by the amount of late finishes that they endure. We held a UNISON meeting before work, where all members were encouraged to participate to air their frustration’s but also seek constructive ways forward. I then met with theatre managers to discuss these outcomes. Plans are now being made to redress the balance of late finishes; a new scheduling protocol is being discussed. This is another example of when UNISON members professionally speak out, we can effect positive change. The campaign continues, but I am hopeful that we will see improvements for everyone involved.

Have you seen our recruitment stalls this month ? UNISON is holding what is called “Grovember”. The aim of this strangely titled activity is to increase our UNISON membership locally and nationally. It may be a little confrontational to write, but the truth remains to say that the bigger our union the greater our influence. Departments with a stronger (what we call membership density) can influence the direction of change to a greater extent than a weaker membership. This is amplified into the entire workforce in a company or business, and again at a national level where UNISON will lobby to influence national policies. To strengthen our membership, and increase your influence we are giving away £5 high street vouchers to new members in November (sorry Grovember) and for existing members if you update your existing details e.g. email address, phone number etc you’ll be entered into a monthly draw where you can win a £20 voucher. What’s not to Like !!!. On a similar note the news from head office is that UNISON is now the country’s biggest Trade Union.

Anyway, I better dash. Time to think about Christmas trees. I must go seek out some glittery baubles.

….speak soon xxx




Blog 23: The blog that makes you all activists (9/11/18)
Hi Dudes,

Welcome to blog 20 odd. Very odd. As odd as a sock you find in your rucksack after a weekend of camping in Cleethorpes.

This is the blog which makes you all activists. Legend has it that everybody present at the 1976 Sex pistols gig at Manchester Free Trade Hall formed a band and became famous. The Buzzcocks, Morrissey, Joy Division, and Miley Cyrus - according to myth they were all there. This blog is going to have that same revolutionary impact... I hope. With a few tips you are soon to be transformed from a bellyacher to a belly dancer … sorry, bellyacher, to a social activist.

So are you ready? Have you got your Che Guevara T-shirt on ? Are your Doc Martins polished ? Your copy of the Morning star shoved suggestively down your jeans? Good then we are ready to begin.

Gandhi said something like “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Well I think it was Gandhi. It could have been some geography teacher in Grimsby for all I know, but the internet has attached it to the great man and it’s a good quote so we can go from there. We all get frustrated in the workplace, or watching the news, or walking down the street in Leeds (how many homeless people are they now !!) but how many of us try and change the status quo ? (they weren’t at the Sex Pistols gig by the way).

How many of us see something frustrating and easy to fix in the workplace, but we just meander on and turn a blind eye? STOP meandering, you are not a river! Report the problem, DATIX where necessary and be a nuisance if the problem is not fixed. I was at the Health and Safety committee t’other day where the managers were getting frustrated as problems were NOT getting reported.

You’re not being a trouble maker, or wasting your time - you will (should) be applauded for raising concerns. Use DATIX (if you haven’t got access to DATIX ask a colleague / manager / rep to help you) Use the freedom to speak up policy if you have concerns, and USE us for help , and or advice (ext 64369). The hospital needs to know about problems if we are going to improve. Please do not be intimidated - minor or major problems can be fixed if the right people are aware of them.


Good workplace reps grow from small issues which they have helped resolve. Today it may be picking up the phone to us and telling us of a concern you have, tomorrow you could be attending conferences with UNISON and taking decisions which effect public service workers up and down the country. Little acorns dudes.

Outside of work there are so many organisations which are trying to make the world slightly less irksome. Give some of the links a peruse. Most organisations are relatively cheap to join, and once joined you will feel more engaged and committed.

The Labour Party - For proper public service funding. Local Branch meetings if you want to be active in your local community.

Hope Not Hate - Anti- Racism campaign group. “We have more in common with each other than that which divides us”.

Labour Start - International Trade Union news - and pressure group. *Free

Greenpeace - Greeny stuff. For those of you who want to put the environment before those ‘orrible big global corporations. Save the Orangutan. Stop fracking.

Amnesty - Giving an international voice to the political repressed. Really inspirational stuff and extremely thought provoking.

These are just a few of the many , many organisations that are out there which are trying to make a difference. Your local UNISON Branch is affiliated to most of them. We can help you with links, or confidence building, or with access to events if you want to become a more socially conscious being. Trade Unions have long been at the forefront of social change. We are not asking you to be an activist or campaigner overnight, but if you can be our eyes and ears, and report your concerns and help us with your local knowledge we should be able to make your little pocket of our great hospital(s) a better place.

...right after all that positivity I’m going to play some Nirvana records, shiver under a naked light bulb, and wallow in a pit of despond for an hour or two. It is frightful and unseemly to be that positive for an entire blog.

…Speak Soon xxx

Blog 22: The importance of Health & Safety - no come back! (05/10/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 22 is here, poking its grubby face in where it’s not wanted and blowing raspberries at all the piggy’s with their adorable noses in the trough. Hold onto your riding britches, and prepare for a feast of socialist intrigue.

Where shall we start? Palestine? Trump? the T.U.C conference? Brexit? the delights of the attendance management process? …. Nah something far juicier…..

…. Health and Safety!!!!. I bet you’re all weak at the knees now?

Do we take Health and Safety seriously enough in the Hospital? Does it apply to us? Is it all red tape and nanny state? After all we don’t work in heavy industry! Because we all have a bit of medical insight does it breed complacency? I certainly see from my travels around the hospital (I’m very Michael Palin) a lot of workers doing long hours, funny shifts, coupled with the eternal stretched resources.

Breaks & Hours

  • You have the right to a minimal 20 minute rest break during your working day (if you work more than 6 hours a day) This break should be roughly in the middle of your shift. If you are not getting a break then you MUST speak up. We know you are busy, we know that you are patient focused, but missing breaks and working tired, or non- replenished will lead to mistakes, or harm to your long term health. You must inform your line manager if they are unaware of these missed mandatory breaks. If that falls on stressed unresponsive ears then inform ourselves and we will help you.
  • Your break should be away from your workplace (desk) and be uninterrupted.
  • You cannot work more than 48 hours per week unless you have “opted out".
  • You need 11 consecutive hours' rest in any 24-hour period e.g. if you finish a shift at midnight then you shouldn’t be back on shift until 11a.m the next day.
  • By law you need one day off each week or two consecutive days off in a fortnight.


The following are minimal standards;-

  • Toilets and somewhere to wash your hands
  • Drinking water should be easily accessible
  • A place to store clothing, and somewhere to get changed if you are required to wear a uniform
  • Somewhere away from the immediate workplace to rest and eat meals

General Health Issues

The following are minimal standards;-

  • Good ventilation – a supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system
  • A reasonable working temperature (usually at least 16°C)
  • Suitable lighting
  • Enough room space (there is a formula) and suitable workstations and seating
  • A clean well maintained workplace

All these rules are enforced by law and are there to protect you. We need you all working until you 83, not burnt out like Jimi Hendrix’s corpse at 27. We are not here to obstruct, or be difficult; we just want to help protect the workforce so you can maintain your wonderful standards for the patients in the hospital.

It is also a rule (enshrined in Health and Safety Law no less) that night shift nutrition should be fully sponsored by Cadburys and takeaways. Days shifts are for smoothies and salad, night shifts are for sugar and spice.

"The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” – John F. Kennedy

(I’m sure he meant women as well, after all JFK loved women, ask my mate Marilyn)

…..Speak soon xxx

Blog 21: Changes to working patterns and dates for your diary (05/09/18)

Hi Dudes

Blog 21 is here, plonked in a raincoat, and contemplating the approaching dark gothic nights. Summer has wilted like a (note - the editor has erased this unnecessary analogy on the basis of decency) and your Branch is preparing for autumn in much the same way as the common squirrel by nibbling on any remaining summer nuts. (Note - the editor despairs).

So what’s been going on in Branch? Well we’ve all been on holiday. We all naturally took to Cuba (on Branch expenses), where we lived in a commune and spent many a wistful candle lit night plotting the end of capitalism, sticking pins in a porcelain Jacob Rees Mogg, and discussing the vagaries of the working time directive . We have also been responding to an increasing amount of members who have had their off duty changed at the last minute, or have had an established working pattern changed without consultation.

Once your off duty is published (policy says 4 weeks in advance at all times) then it needs YOU to agree to any changes. If you can’t personally accommodate any change to your rota then the original published off duty should stand.

“Employers may need to change your conditions or patterns of work because of business or economic factors. However, your contract of employment can only be changed if both you and your employer agree to this. It's a breach of contract to change your working conditions without your agreement. “

The Trusts own Organisational Change policy talks about significant changes, such as changing working patterns

4.2.2   Formal Consultation
Formal consultation is required if any of the following apply:

 •changes to working patterns

So please, if your line manager is changing your established pattern of work without listening to any issues that, that change may bring, be in touch and we can help. We are very conscious of how hard it is juggling health, child care, personal responsibilities etc. and a working life. Call 64369 if you have any queries. We also need to stress if you can swap and change without detriment to yourself, but for the good of the hospital, please do. Our NHS is built on the wonderful contribution of UNISON members and we don’t want to be a barrier to that with petty, unneeded challenges.

Talking of our wonderful NHS. My son had his tonsils taken out at the LGI this month. I had the uncomfortable opportunity to be on the “other side”. Freddie’s (and my) horrible day was made so much better by the compassion , professionalism, and fun provided in Paediatric Theatres, and on ward 49. I’m not just saying this as a thank you (but it is a Thank you) but I also want to point out what a fabulous hospital you contribute to.

It can at times feel a grind. It can be fatiguing and frustrating and financially unrewarding.  However trust me; YOUR NHS hospital is marvellous. Run for the good of the patients, and not for the good of shareholders. Keeping fighting for its survival dudes.

Dates for your Diaries

26th October - Branch Development Day. A range of rep training for activists only (including Hope Not Hate).

6th November - Increasing Your Confidence One Day Workshop - Call 64369 for more details. Open to all members for free. Perfect for improving your C.V. Course is based in Leeds.

17th November - Labour shadow ministers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell have backed a call for a national demonstration against fascism and racism in London. Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) has called the demonstration. It is a major opportunity to unite and get on the front foot against the fascists and racists.

23rd November - White Ribbon Awareness Day. We will be hoping to promote White Ribbon, and asking men around the hospital to take the following pledge. 
5th March 2019 - Branch AGM. Held at both main sites. The most important day in your Branches calendar. The opportunity for all members to volunteer / be elected into positions within your Branch.

Lastly (I'm in need a cuppa now) I have witnessed a newly re energised socialist movement in my home town of Morley. Deanne Ferguson will be Labours candidate at the next election (for Morley and Outwood). Her selection as candidate has brought with it a fresh band of officers at the CLP (Constituency Labour Party) lots of new positive ideas, and a fighting community spirit.

As well (crucially) as being massively in tune with the national message of “oh Jeremy Corbyn" (did you sing it). If you are from Morley and Outwood get in touch with the Branch (64369) and we will direct you to a friendly face in the CLP to enable you to be more active. Likewise in all areas of Leeds , if you want to be more involved with the wider political movement for Labour we can point you in the right direction and help you with introductions and any of the jargon which can be confusing etc. Deanne is clear that one of her main priorities will be securing a properly funded, and secure public NHS (she was fully behind our opposition to the LTHT Wholly Owned Company). If you want to retain YOUR NHS think about joining your local Labour Party, because as sure as eggs are omelettes, the dinosaurs in the Tory party  will continue to be like egg munching Oviraptors - devouring and spitting out OUR NHS into the nest of their big business friends.

“Every generation must fight the same battles again and again. There’s no final victory and there’s no final defeat” – Tony Benn

…..Speak Soon xxx


Blog 20: Massive relief, the power of solidarity! (01/08/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 20 here, bloated on a diet of sunshine and BBQ’s, and frolicking in this marvellous summer. My shorts are in permanent residence, and my milk bottle legs are verging on the magnificent precipice of colour.

Anyway enough of this sartorial small talk, there is far more to discuss than the chosen garments which cover my “Kate Moss” legs.

You may or may not have heard that the Leeds Trust Board has shelved the plans to create its own Wholly Owned Company in this financial year - The following statement was put out by the branch following the decision of the Trust.

Yesterday the following was announced by the board at LTHT

"Following the feedback you gave us at the staff briefing events about looking at alternative models and because we still do not have clarity on the process for getting approval, we will not be transferring any staff into a wholly owned subsidiary during the financial year to March 2019."

This is clearly a massive relief for all members under threat of being TUPE'd this year. The Branch would like to thank the Board for listening to our concerns, and pausing.

We know there will be many more challenges in the future and we will not be taking our eyes of the ball, but for now the branch is breathing a sigh of relief and sending out a huge thankyou to all members involved in raising these concerns , and also the good people at Keep Our NHS Public and The Leeds TUC who helped raise the public profile of our campaign.

Solidarity to all from UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospital Branch.

And on and on the news roles in ….

Your UNISON Branch attended a local protest in Leeds on the 13th July against Trump - (Friday evening). We also attended the anti-fascist rally opposing Tommy Robinson supporters in Leeds on the Saturday England hammered Sweden in the World Cup.

Why protest Mr Tramp I hear you call? (I don’t really hear you call, hearing a keyboard holler would be madness) …. Well I personally feel President Tramps immature crassness does need a challenge. His misogyny, his racism , his bombastic war mongering , his small hands !!! They all need a response before his childlike tantrums and narrow mindfulness becomes normalised. However there is a closer to home personal reason for attending protests involving Trampy- Boy . Ol’ Donald is a threat to YOUR NHS> (….its here I start talking Brexit - please feel free to throw a shoe at me)

Mr Tramp’s newest crusade is to force patients in “socialised” health systems in Europe (us) to pay more for their prescription drugs so Americans can start paying less. He reasons that the Europeans have long been “free-riding” by underpaying for drugs, thanks to price-setting by their governments. He’ll use new trade deals to try to stop it happening, like the one Britain must soon start negotiating. It’s not just Europe’s diplomacy he’s messing with. Now it’s, its healthcare too. American insurance companies are lobbying Tramp, and in turn Mrs May.

Brexit could be their way into the lucrative pot of gold which is Your NHS. Don’t let them do it dudes

…..Speak Soon xxx

*Note - The Motion passed by YOUR UNISON Branch to oppose the far right in Leeds on the 3rd July 2018.

Title: Opposition to the rise of the far right nationally and in Leeds.

Proposed : John Ingleson. Seconded by: Elinor Hewitt

This Union notes: There were 10,000-30,000 racists demonstrating in London on Sunday, 9th June. At that event there were speeches from a UKIP MEP, a Breitbart representative, the leader of the new Party ’For Britain’ and a fairly clear incitement of them to launch physical attacks by Geert Wilders that were followed by street battles around Whitehall with the police.

* At its highest point during the rise of the far right in the late 1970’s, the NF was never able to mobilise more than a thousand.

The rise of Trump in The USA is normalising these repugnant views.
Leeds has become a focal point for the far right following the arrest of Tommy Robinson in Leeds.

This Branch believes:
1. The Labour movement should take Cable Street in 1936 as our model. When violent racists and fascists gather together they should be physically blocked by massive outnumbering.
2. That reps and officers can help counter their propaganda on social networks by providing sourced educational information to members.
This Union resolves:
1/ To support anti right wing campaigns and activities in Leeds and nationally
* 7th July rally in Leeds (anti EDL)
* 13th July rally in Leeds (anti Trump)
2/ To hold a Hope not Hate campaign day in conjunction with region in the autumn

Blog 19: The NHS belongs to the people, white ribbon UK (28/6/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 19 is here, as always with a smattering of snapshots (written Polaroid’s if you will) of all the hot topics;- with world Cup references aplenty, and fevered news from the frontline of Leeds’s lurch into that workers fairground of which we all dream.
You may have read before on this Blog that your Branch works with The White ribbon campaign. The White Ribbon campaign aims “to end male violence against women, once and for all by engaging men in calling out violent, bullying behaviour amongst their peers, and spreading a message of equality and respect”

I’m no self - righteous killjoy. I’ll be sat with few cans of cold fizzy stuff and a bag of nuts during England’s dramatic race to the final (this may require editing before publication to read “England’s slow depressing capitulation”). I’m no nun, I am very sure what comes out of my mouth during the games would make me red faced if I was overheard by my mother ….. However domestic violence against women is not cool. It’s not laddie, its cowardly - it’s not what the Fonz would do.

What you need to know:
The most detailed research into the links between the football World Cup and domestic abuse rates has revealed, violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won. The research, by Lancaster University criminologist Dr Stuart Kirby, a former police officer, monitored police reports of domestic violence during the last three World Cups in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Source: The Guardian June 14, 2014.

As a charity that mobilises men, White Ribbon UK asks men to be active in stopping this from happening. Domestic abuse is not only tragic, it is illegal. Part of swearing the White Ribbon pledge means not excusing, or remaining silent about male violence against women.  That means being vigilant, particularly around the World Cup period; and looking out for the warning signs of violence.

If you are a fella, and wish to take a pledge, the below link will take you there. Two women a week in the UK are murdered by their ex or current partner!! That is a horrifying statistic. Be the man who stands up and confronts these cowards (and please let’s get to the quarter finals at least) https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/pledge/

The NHS belongs to the people - Wholly Owned Companies and Public accountability.
I’ve been musing on this question for a while. It concerns the proposal of LTHT to move estates, facilities, procurement and medical engineering staff into a Wholly Owned Company.

The NHS belongs to us (you). The NHS spends public money (your money) The NHS constitution says; - The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England.

It sets out rights to which patients, public and staff is entitled. The system of responsibility and accountability for taking decisions in the NHS should be transparent and clear to the public, patients and staff.”

Principle 7. “The NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves”

The public (you) elect MPs and Councillors to represent your views across the city. The elected leader of Leeds City Council opposes NHS staff leaving the NHS, as does the Council Chair of the Health and Wellbeing group.

Five Labour M.P’s that represent the majority of the City opposes the prospect of staff being transferred out of the NHS. UNISON and other interested groups (such as Keep Our NHS Public) in the city handed in petitions to LTHT board with thousands of the public’s names on, opposing this fragmentation of the NHS.

Given these statements can LTHT be confident it is abiding by Principle 7 and its accountability to the public? Does LTHT need to demonstrate its commitment to public accountability and involve the wider city views into its plans?

These are big questions. Are your families and friends aware of the plans the trust have? - do they have a view? I’m pretty sure most people will support the trust looking to save money, but will they support staff leaving the NHS and public money being used to establish a private company? For instance should public money set aside for health care be used to provide security cover in non NHS institutions?

Lionel Messi and Argentina refused to play a warm up game for the World Cup in Israel in protest at the massacres perpetrated by the Israeli Government against unarmed protesters in Gaza.

The United Nations are investigating these events as a war crime. Messi is quoted as saying "As a UNICEF ambassador, I cannot play against people who kill innocent Palestinian children. We had to cancel the game because we are humans before we are footballers." Footballers in having morals SHOCK - Diego and the hand of god is forgiven - C’mon Argentina your now my second team in this World Cup. ….

Speak Soon xxx

Blog 18: Industrial action ballot - your time to be actively involved (5/6/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 18 here. Surfing the waves of industrial debate with all the guile and balance of an overly laden waiter confronted with Mr Tickle, and a slippery floor, and then realising he has his best bone china (perched parrot like) upon his soup stained arm. 

As I write this the ballot of estates and facilities staff, procurement, and medical engineering staff has gone “live” for UNISON members. This is a trade dispute that largely involves our fears over changes to terms and conditions, and our opposition to staff losing their status as NHS employees with the proposed creation of a Leeds Teaching Hospitals Wholly Owned Company. If you work in these teams, and are a UNISON member and haven’t received your ballot paper then please, please, please get in touch with your branch so we can update your details and issue your ballot paper. When you receive your ballot paper please, please, please return it correctly and take part in this democratic process. We have heard so much opposition to these plans at meetings, and on corridors and we have been driven by your passion. This is your time to be actively involved. We cannot do this without you. We need YOU to show unity and strength and ensure that employees at Leeds Teaching Hospitals remain 100% NHS.

UNISON, Yorkshire and Humberside have worked in Gambia to help build a school. Following on from that project Wendy Nichols (Regional Convenor)   and Jim Bell, the project co-ordinator, met with representatives of one of the three public hospitals in the whole of the Gambia, Serrekunda Hospital.

This meeting resulted in a memorandum of understanding between Y&H UNISON and the Hospital. The hospital has a team of 12 Cuban doctors and nurses providing medical support but the hospital deals with the poorest people and is really struggling. They need beds, sheets, blankets, medical supplies and equipment. Jim Bell has had discussions with another charity in the UK who collect and store

equipment, clothing etc. and who then ship containers out to the Gambia. The charity has agreed to store any bedding and equipment we can collect and send container loads across to Gambia provided we meet the transportation costs. The total cost per container is approx. £4,500 with a further £500 for transport from the docks to the hospital. So for each container we send we would need to raise around £5,000. What do we want you to do? We would like you to speak to your line managers and see if there are usable beds, bedding and/ or medical equipment that they are prepared to donate to our project? Many areas have old equipment etc can your teams donate some of them to our project? Remember, this is one of the poorest countries in the world with little in the way of health care, everything we do will help save lives and improve the lot of the poorest. Following generous donations from the employer in particular the Theatres and Anaesthetics CSU - Leeds Teaching Hospitals UNISON Branch has now sent thousands of pounds worth of “out of date” medical equipment to this hospital. Thank you. If you have got some equipment and have ok’d it with the right managers  (we don’t want any Del Boy equipment falling off the back of a sluice) then call 64369 and we will have someone over to you quicker than a middle manager on hearing the word “cost saving exercise”.

The May Day march on Saturday the 5th around Leeds was brilliant, not just because of the blue skies and pop up bars on Millennium Square but the speeches were excellent too. Including one from our brother in arms, Wilson Tweed of UNITE Leeds Teaching Hospitals, who not only spoke of his own branches work to keep all NHS staff within the NHS, but also kindly gave thanks to the work of our branch.

The whole of staffside believe NHS staff should be retained to work directly for the NHS. The staff who are under threat hopefully take comfort that colleagues around the trust, and who rely on their support services, are 100% behind them.   

…. Speak soon xxx


Blog 17: W.O.C, happy birthday to us, marching on 5th May (02/05/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 17 here. Shining like your most treasured candelabra, and dangling like a donkey’s carrot onto the many threads of resistance against this most loathsome of governments.

If you reading this, well done, the escalating battle of Middle Eastern non-diplomacy from Mr Tramp “we are coming to get you Russia, Russia is bad. Sad.” has not resulted in death and destruction from Batley to Burmantofts. Briggate is presumably still standing as a monument to capitalism, and the kids are still shuffling around the Bus station with suspicious looking cigarettes. Yaaay to Nuclear destruction survival. If however Leeds is a bombed out wasteland by the time you read this, and you are using this Blog as your only shelter from the poisoned rain …. Well at least it’s come in for something useful at last.

…. Should I get on to relevant topics? Yes I think I probably should…

Do we need to talk anymore about Wholly Owned Companies (W.O.C)? How Estates and Facilities staff and others are calling the branch day after day, member after member with the same message that they need to retain their NHS status, and how desperately dispirited they are hearing the trust proposals (now paused)?
Probably not. However more members meetings are going to be happening. We are very conscious of not losing momentum in our campaign against any NHS staff being syphoned (like stolen diesel) into a W.O.C.

BREAKING NEWS - Monday (16/4/18) UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch wrote to the LTHT Chief Executive regarding our opposition to a proposed Wholly Owned Company in Leeds, which would endanger the NHS status of Estates and Facilities, Clinical Engineering, Supplies and Procurement staff. The Branch has now formally registered a trade dispute with the board. Although we are more than willing to discuss alternate options for our members, our intention is to now move towards an Industrial Action Ballot.
Given this news it is imperative that ALL members who may be affected update their contact details with the Branch immediately. 0113 2064369 or unison.sjuh@nhs.net.

Do we need to talk anymore about the proposed Pay Rise? Again specific members meetings are going to be chaired by one of our Regional Officials. This deal is the best deal the negotiators have been able to get. My opinion is they have done a good job getting this offer from our nemeses in the nasty party. Is the offer strong enough? Does it make up for the wasted years of the pay cap? Its not for me to say, but it is up to you to say!! UNISON will be contacting you soon advising you how you can vote to accept or reject the offer. https://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/pay-up-now-for-the-nhs/ . Please get involved. As much as I love the holistic side of working with patients, and working within the NHS our goodwill doesn’t pay the bills. Get active dudes.

Members meetings re pay discussions. All meetings to finish at 12;00 midday

WEDNESDAY 2nd May 10:30 Branch Office St James’s



UNISON as an organisation is 25 years old. UNISON’s General Secretary David Prentis told UNISON’s national executive.

“The Trade Union Act was designed to break us, but we haven’t allowed that to happen. We fought that off, and now we have put the work in to make sure our union is strong and viable for the future. Conference motions calling for a review to reshape the union to fit the next 25 years are a sign of our strength. If we can get this right and keep a positive focus on the future, our union can thrive.”

On Saturday 14th April (Grand National Day) many of you would have either attended or witnessed the NHS March around Leeds. This March was really well supported, and our own Branch Secretary Denise gave a rousing speech which had the masses celebrating and the Tory’s quivering. There is a real strength of feeling building nationally and locally in West Yorkshire, and crucially here in Leeds that enough is enough and we want all our public services protecting.

The branch will also be supporting the T.U.C march, again in Leeds on Saturday 5th May 11;30 Art Gallery. This is the annual Trade Union May Day rally. Please come and enjoy the festivities, and speakers. It is always an upbeat and defiant rally. ... And finally the last date for your diary ( I know, I know your diary is now bursting like Samuel Pepys threadbare pantaloons). On Saturday 30 June 2018 - We will be partying and protesting for #OurNHS in London. If you would like to travel to London with us on our party bus please get in touch with Branch on 64369, and we will publish details closer to the time.

So, anyway back to the nuclear fallout shelter I must run. I bid you good day with this from Mr Wilde

“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.”

……Speak soon xxx

Blog 16: Wholly Owned Company News - Don't look here (26/03/18)

Hi Dudes

Blog 16 arriving on your doorsteps, recently chewed up by the family dog and bursting with Trade Union intrigue. (Subsequent editions come with a free collectable Union hero. Next month your very own two inch ceramic Bob Crow)

Thankyou all who turned up to our AGM’s. We had our best turn out in turn of numbers in the Branch’s recent history. Officer positions were filled, speeches were delivered, and nobody fell asleep, so bravo to all. A busy year is certainly ahead of us, but to know we have our members support from AGM day really does boost our tired little brains. Due to recent events in the trust the meetings were certainly livelier than normal. I am glad we had our National Assistant General Secretary present to show the full time UNISON officials the strength of shop floor opinion on wholly owned companies, and the dreaded pay cap.

Now, onto those current events. The Trusts proposal to move its Estates, Facilities, Medical Engineering and Supply Staff into what’s called a Wholly Owned Company has prompted quite an impassioned reaction by staff directly involved and also by worried clinical staff who believe it is catastrophic for the NHS and “will be me next”. This silly scribbled blog is not the place to state why I think it’s a bad idea, and it’s not the place to express how our Branch and Regional officials will oppose the plans. If you want the details of our plans then please come to our many member meetings (I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of you at the meetings we have already have and what an enlightened and merrily vocal lot you are). The reasons I don’t want to go into too much detail now is I want to keep this Blog light, and these proposals are anything but light. Secondly I don’t want to get myself or my Union in bother. Dastardly lawyers can twist the written word and the Tory’s Trade Union Bill is designed to suffocate industrial conflict.... so I’ll keep a lid on my concerns on here, but PLEASE come to our members meetings so you can be fully informed.

What I do want to talk about though is the message we’ve received universally from all members. You LOVE being NHS workers. We attended member meetings ready for questions on TUPE, and on terms and conditions, and pensions, and shift pattern changes but what we got was NHS, NHS, NHS. Your status as an NHS worker means so much to you. To potentially lose that status is what is worrying you. We hear your feedback guys. One fella I was talking to said “I’d never even thought about being proud to work in the NHS until it dawned on me I might not be - now I am proud, and I don’t want that to change” . Maybe it’s something people with a non-public service background will never understand?

NHS Facts

The NHS was founded in 1948 by Labour Health Minister Nye Bevan who said
“The collective principle asserts that…no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”

The NHS is the UKs biggest employer (for now), and the 5th biggest in the world behind the Chinese army, McDonald’s, and Greggs.

The NHS is responsible for “discovering” DNA, establishing the link between smoking and cancer, polio vaccinations, the world’s first “test tube” baby, laparoscopic surgery, The UKs first organ transplants... I’ve been reading about these accomplishments and the list is endless and astonishing. No wonder you all want to retain your status as NHS employees.

The second big “water cooler” (or in the north natter over a cuppa) discussion point is obviously the reaction to the pay cut errr I mean pay rise which has just been announced.

Your Branch will soon collect your opinions on this bigger than expected (but not big enough) proposal. Your views will then be fed back to the big cheeses - The negotiators have done their bit, it is now time to see if you want to accept this proposal. Your union, your choice.

With what is going on I am sure you will see an increased UNISON presence around the Trust. Please stop and say hello and ask us those burning questions (cranberry juice).
……Speak soon xxx

Blog 15: AGM madness (27/02/18)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 15 is here and it’s doused in neon Annual General Meeting (AGM) madness - Yes folks this is the A.G.M special. The anticipatory buzz is so rampant around the hospital I’m sure I saw two of our Branch officers actually smile last week (maybe their planning a coup against the chair!!).

So the aim of this Blog is to prepare you all for our greatest ever AGM turn out. We want 6th March 2018 to be the date you all say you stood up and pledged that this is your year of action. Whatever your personal gripe, be it pay, or staffing levels, bullying, Health and Safety - whatever. If you perceive an injustice in the workplace let this be your time. It’s up to nobody but yourself to put your hand up and make a difference (alternatively just pig out on all the free grub, and vote for me whenever you can).

So who are we all on that top table on the 6th March.

I’m John - chubby, very hairy, talks a lot, sits in the Chair and attempts to keep order. When you volunteer for a role in the Branch I’m the one who snaps your hand off gratefully. Also when you ask an awkward question at the AGM, I’m the one who mumbles about getting back to you later and moves on swiftly.

Then there is Denise (Branch Secretary aka THE BOSS) Denise has been a rep since the Jurassic period and presides over the Branch like a protective aunt and an enraged lioness cross. She’s our lead rep for policy work, and the heavier casework. Ask her about becoming a rep, and the big branch business like our lack of a pay rise, (and why the sausage sandwiches are burnt).

And then there’s Pat. Our branch employee and office manager. Pat is everyone’s best friend and somehow manages to coordinate the rag tag dwindling army of reps. Come say hello to Pat at the AGM, but beware you will be still talking five hours later and she will have signed you up for various courses, meetings, and officer positions. Ask Pat about the logistics of training in the region, and contacts around the hospital.

Also at the AGM you will be able to meet the other reps, and Health and Safety stewards, the treasurer, the ULR, the welfare officer, communication officer, and our chair of vice Nick (makes Gandalf look short of beard)... and many more. YOU also get to hear from the wonderful Roger Mckenzie who has travelled all the way from the grime and villainy of UNISON’s national offices in old London Town (I’ve really got to stop watching Oliver so regularly). In union terms this is “A list” celeb material. It’s going to be a firecracker.

In other local news this month I have attended the conference, and become an ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign which encourages men to pledge never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence. The message to men is to practice tolerance, respect and kindness, and to stand up against male violence, bullying and sexism in all forms. It is a fantastic campaign which I will be publicising more in the coming months, but for now here is a link to the campaigns website www.whiteribbon.org.uk

In a related topic myself, and Pat contacted local MP Fabian Hamilton regarding our personal views on protesters surrounding abortion clinics (Marie Stopes clinic near ST James’s). Fabian took our views on board and produced the following article in the Yorkshire Evening Post www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/leeds-mp-fabian-hamilton-stop-harassment-of-vulnerable-women-1-9013584 .

I mention this non branch business to highlight the fact that from small ideas or concerns you can start to make a difference quickly (if you direct your ire correctly). Remember this is the year the righteous, and the unwashed (me and you) take over and make this workplace, this city, and country slightly fairer, and crucially more safe, and equal.

See you all on the 6th of March, and if any of you get to my butty first I will squirm and whimper, and throw a glorious toddler tantrum.

..speak soon xxx

“Your AGM will be taking place over two meetings on Tuesday 6th March 2018.
Various breakfast butties, tea and coffee will be available at the early morning meeting at the LGI, and a light buffet will be available at the afternoon meeting at St James’s Hospital”

All UNISON members welcome

AGM 1: LGI 7:15am Food Court, C Floor, Clarendon Wing
AGM 2: St James’s 4:00pm UNISON Branch Office, 1st Floor, Beckett Wing.
And don’t forget to bring a tin or two for our Food Bank Campaign!


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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