What you need to know…

ATSL Contract UNISON members in Greater Manchester are being urged to vote for Strike Action in a bid to get rid of the inequality that exists in PTS Greater Manchester compared to the rest of the PTS Staff in the Trust. For over 18 months now, NWAS UNISON has been consulting with the Trust, highlighting concerns about the two-tier service that exists in Manchester and we have asked them to harmonise the terms and conditions of the affected staff and put them onto Agenda for Change. Although we have been successful in getting overtime rates, unsocial hour payments and a guaranteed annual pay uplift that mirrors the national agreement for our ATSL members, we have now reached a point where we consider that too much time has passed, and not enough progress has been made. A large majority of ATSL members voted for Industrial Action when we conducted our Indicative Survey and we informed NWAS of the result. This did not change any-thing, so we have now been left with no option but to formally register a dispute with NWAS and ballot our members for Strike Action.
You will receive your ballot paper around the 8th February 2018 and your vote must reach us be-fore the ballot closing date of 28th February 2018.
If members vote ‘YES’ to Strike Action, it is likely to result in  a days strike in late March 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions? (FAQ’s)I am not a UNISON member. Can I join and take part in the ballot?
Provided an individual is registered as a UNISON member before 29th January 2018 they should call 01228 814684 and request a ballot paper. Individuals can become a member instantly by calling 0800 171 2193 or join online

I am a UNISON member and I have not received a ballot paper
Contact UNISON on 01228 814684 and request a ballot paper.

What about the impact on patients?
UNISON understands that members do not like taking action that affects communities. However, planned Industrial Action also raises public awareness of the issue and how it may affect their local services.

Do I have to go on strike?
UNISON recognises that taking strike action is very challenging. However, all other options of negotiations with the employer have been exhausted. UNISON members are being balloted on whether they are prepared to take strike action in order to harmonise the terms and conditions onto Agenda for Change. Sometimes, a ‘YES’ vote is enough to encourage the employer to re-consider their position and to recommence negotiations. If Industrial Action is initiated, then NWAS UNISON asks that every balloted member observes the strike and to show solidarity with colleagues. Balloted members who do not observe the strike undermine our bargaining power, and makes it harder for us to protect our members in the future. If the outcome of the ballot leads to strike action, then we ask that you do not work but instead contact your local rep and volunteer to help out on the picket lines. This is not illegal, it isn’t dangerous, and it can be fun! It shows that everyone is united in taking strike action. UNISON only takes strike action as a last resort once every other avenue has been exhausted.

Would I have to tell my employer that I would be taking strike action?

Employer’s might send you a formal-sounding letter asking you to declare in advance whether you will be taking industrial action. You are under no obligation to inform your employer in advance as to whether you will be taking part in strike action. UNISON is legally required to give your employer some statistical information about UNISON members taking industrial action, but we do not give individual names.

Am I breaking my contract by taking strike action?
All effective industrial action is a breach of your contract of employment. The law protects workers from dismissal whilst taking part in lawful industrial action at any time within 12 weeks of the start of the action and depending on the circumstances, dismissal may also be unfair if it takes place later.

How would it affect my pension?
In some strikes (short ones) employers may not withhold superannuation contributions and there-fore participation in strike action has not generally affected pensions. Nonetheless it is a possibility. However, employers that do choose to withhold contributions usually make provision for members to make up pension and Additional Voluntary Contribution deficits from their pay.

What if I am part time?
UNISON believes that any deduction must be pro-rata for part time staff. The deduction must only be for your contracted hours. You should contact your local UNISON rep if you think that your employer has deducted more than they should.