I wish I could start this first Eric’s Blog on a happy light-hearted note, but we are going through difficult times and what the future may hold is no laughing matter either.
I met some of our PTS Â members at Greenwich Ambulance StationÂ yesterday with the Branch Chair Eddie Brand,Â and Gary Edwards, Senior Sector Rep. These members work on the South London Healthcare PTS Contract which has been lost, via the tendering process, to a private company called Savoy Ventures.Â Over 70 members of our staff are affected.
The Unison members I met are all long serving, hard workingÂ LAS staff and it is shameful that the last government never fully got rid of the NHS internal market, but, on the contrary, made parts of the health service attractive to private business.Â We will get no change out of the present ConDemÂ government, but more of the same, only worse!
Under the TUPE regulations the choice facing our members is a Hobsons Choice: transfer to the private company or put yourself out of a job!
This is not the fault of staff. This is not the fault of the LAS. This is the fault ofÂ free market, anti public service politics.
That is why we are working with senior PTS managers (as we have done many times in the past) to try and re-deploy as many members as possible back within the LAS before the transfer date.
Patient Transport Staff deal with some of the most vulnerable members ofÂ our society.
Our members deserve our support, and they will get it.
The Staff-Side of the Staff Council meet on Monday. Foundation Trust Governors is sure to be raised and it is vital for the trade unions to make sure we have a voice in any LAS Â Foundation Trust. We have been offered a Governor seat in our own Trade Union/Staff Council Constituency and we should take it.
It would be ludicrous for the LAS trade unions to sit outside decision making bodies while non members and other public stakeholders, including charities andÂ London Health TrustsÂ could be making decisions regarding our members future.
It may be withÂ reluctance, but the bullet has to be bitten sooner rather than later.