Your CSP steward and safety rep are there to support you with individual workplace problems and to help coordinate collective responses to problems affecting groups of members. We share some of their successes
A West Midlands steward describes how ‘I was approached by a member who had been advised by their manager that after completion of their fourth fixed term contract, each of 12 months, they would be let go. The member did not wish to leave the trust at this point.
‘So, I checked their terms and conditions of service. I found that – in line with national legislation – when a fixed-term staff member has two years continuous employment, their manager needs to show that there is a “fair” reason for not renewing the contract. Furthermore, if the fixed term role is no longer required, then they should have been placed on the redeployment register so that a suitable alternative role could be found.
‘I contacted the member’s manager to highlight these details of the policy – and legislation. The manager liaised with HR and then offered our member a permanent role within community MSK, as per their original request.
‘The whole process took just five working days to resolve. I learnt that not all managers follow policy! This could be because they are not aware of their obligations. I also learnt that a swift resolution is possible when approached in a direct and confident way.’
A member’s request to carry over some annual leave till after their maternity leave was refused. So, they contacted the Welsh health board’s CSP steward.
Being a newly accredited rep, our steward sought additional support from their senior negotiating officer – a member of CSP staff available to assist our rep networks – who talked them through their planned approach. This made our rep feel empowered to deliberate with human resources over the relevant policies.
‘With just one five minute phone call I fixed a problem managers could not solve. We only need to speak up! This was my first piece of casework and it was very fulfilling helping the member in a difficult situation.’
CSP members in a South West trust approached our steward about increasing motoring costs – and the impact they were having on those needing to travel between sites or completing community visits as part of their job role.
After listening to members’ concerns, our reps compared notes with other trade unions’ stewards before requesting a joint management/HR/union meeting.
There, the CSP highlighted that the 45p per mile rate paid by the trust, due to a historic local arrangement, compared badly with the national standard mileage rate of 56p per mile. Our reps presented this as part of a case to increase the local rate.
After union discussions between HR and the CEO, this was agreed – with rates reviewed monthly in light of the changing economic landscape. Members feel this has gone a small way to supporting them to continue with their roles without financial impact.
The case highlights the importance of monitoring and negotiating those terms and conditions that can deviate from national arrangements – with employers able to go above, but also below, some NHS terms and conditions.
New rep and proud!
Andrew, a newly accredited steward in Wales, explains why they put themselves forward as a workplace rep: ‘I wanted to get a greater insight into wider developments going on in the profession.
‘While representing colleagues in the workplace and ensuring that their voices are allowed to be heard, I also hope to form a link better connecting members with the CSP’s policy work and campaigns.
‘The cost of living is a big concern at the moment. Pay and travel expenses are particularly big issues for members working in our community service.’
If you need support on an employment matter or on health and safety, contact your workplace rep in the first instance. Or call the CSP enquiries team on 020 7306 6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re interested in stepping up as a rep, speak to your workplace team, or find out more here.
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