Unison staff were “threatened with disciplinary action if they opposed the NHS pay deal”

An astounding 84% of Unison members voted to accept the pay deal which the union sold as a 6.5% increase over three years.

Ian Snug
31 October 2018
unison

Unison staff were warned about speaking out about the deal.

A leaked email received exclusively by NursingNotes alleges that Unison staff were threatened and even suspended for speaking out against the controversial NHS pay deal.

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In August, an astounding 84% of Unison members voted to accept the pay deal which the union sold as a 6.5% increase over three years for over a million NHS staff.

Unison activist Karen Reissmann proactively spoke out about the NHS pay deal releasing a series of videos in which she called for staff to reject the proposed deal.

Threatened with disciplinary action.

The internal email in which staff raise concerns about the unions’ stance reads; “We note that Karen Reissmann is currently suspended from office in Unison. She is a member of Unison’s National Executive, and National Health Service Group Executive. She has been outspoken about the NHS pay deal, stating she believes NHS workers could have done better from this weak government and that Unison materials were misleading to members. We are concerned these views and her suspension are linked.

“We are aware branches were threatened with disciplinary action if they opposed the NHS pay deal.

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“We are opposed to disciplinary action being threatened or instigated against individuals or branches for simply expressing a different view from the national leadership on issues that affect members or for campaigning amongst membership to alter UNISON policy on any issues. Unison need healthy debate, not the silencing opposing views.

“Whatever our own personal view of the NHS pay deal, or if we have no view at all, we believe that any investigation of branches or individuals are withdrawn and Karen’s suspension should be immediately lifted.”

Staff failed to get the rise they were expecting.

In September, Unison denied any wrongdoing after NHS staff failed to receive the rise they were expecting.

But, an independent external review completed by Electoral Reform Services (ERS) on behalf of the Royal College of Nursing criticised the use of the pay calculator that Unison encourages its members to use in order to make a decision about the pay deal. ERS said the pay calculator “was not able to relay the nuances of the deal” and therefore “was not able to provide sufficient detail to members on how the deal would be implemented and affect pay packets in the short term”.

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GMB was the only healthcare union that recommended its members reject the pay deal.

Unison have not responded to a request for comment.

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