Sunday, 1 July 2007

Are you a union shop steward or rep in the Blood Service?

If so here is a suggestion for you.

Communication between centres in different areas, and between lab staff and donor facing staff is almost non-existent. This is bad for several reasons.

It can feel that we are all isolated from one another in our separate regions. The only 'contact' many of us have with each other is when photos of our protests are emailed around and properly cascaded by hardworking and effective staff reps. Even then the large number of NBS staff who can't easily access computers and email (such as drivers and donor carers) are left out of the loop.

In reality we are one big workforce but the vast gulf between labs and donor carers makes it feel like we work for entirely different employers. Some collection teams are actually unaware of the full scale of proposed restructuring and its effects, despite national union officers claiming that all members and reps are being kept informed of the staff-side campaign in opposition. All centres have submitted cases for their own labs to be saved - implying at the expense of other centres - but we could take a more positive unified stance. It is not too late for us to put up a successful grassroots union resistance.

Our message will be communicated to the public louder if we work together and in an organised, co-ordinated way. Previous successes in defending our Liverpool centre were won by staff and reps tirelessly mounting a huge campaign to hog the media spotlight. More importantly, a combined fight from all staff will give us strength from each other. Solidarity and mutual support can help to beat the low morale, defeatism and exhaustion which is rife across us all who are trying to save the service.

In the absence of an external message board for us to use at this moment (NBS intranet forums can be read by management), the suggestion is that all union reps across the NBS sign up as users of the TUC's unionreps notice board. from the TUC

It is free to use, and will make it easier for us to keep in touch and discuss the campaign, as well as access much valuable advice for reps on disputes and organising in general. Hope to see you on there!

Maybe you are a member of staff reading this who is not a union rep but would like to be? There is no such thing as too many. Speak to your local steward.

Another useful link for reps wanting to build stronger organisation across the Blood Service and beyond

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