GMB – the union for NHS hospital staff, ambulance frontline professionals and support workers – yesterday reported that management at Isle of Wight NHS Trust refused to allow them to speak to staff to air their complaints and concerns.
The union told OnTheWight that NHS staff had requested they visit the hospital to discuss increasing accounts of bullying and harassment by management and colleagues, organisational lack of support and respect of staff, along with high and increasing workloads, and staffing shortages, among a raft of other issues.
Unions “cannot be allowed to interfere with patient care”
This morning (Wednesday) Julie Pennycook, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Isle of Wight NHS Trust told OnTheWight,
“We make facilities available to a range of recognised unions and professional bodies for local and regional representatives working together to participate in meetings and negotiations on terms and conditions.
“With our support they hold awareness raising activities around Trust buildings and we support their communication with their Members in a variety of ways. It is important to us that staff are appropriately represented and representatives are appropriately supported.
“However union and professional body activities cannot be allowed to interfere with patient care and we have to respond to concerns raised with us by staff.”
Pennycook: “Staff complained about assertive approach”
The Director of Human Resources went on to say,
“Whilst I am very happy to meet with representatives from the GMB they have not, as yet, formally asked to be recognised by the Trust. Nor were they willing last week to tell us how many of our staff they represent.
“Last week three GMB regional organisers entered St. Mary’s Hospital to hand out leaflets and a survey.
“Staff complained to us about the assertive approach taken by the GMB representatives and told us they were concerned that they were attempting to have conversations with staff whilst they were caring for patients.”
NHS Trust called Police
Julie finished by explaining,
“At the request of our staff the Trust’s security staff attempted to discuss the issue with the representatives but when the representatives would not amend their behaviour Hampshire Police were asked to intervene.
“We do not want a confrontational relationship with the GMB and we would encourage them to develop a good working relationship with the other unions and professional bodies. We are doing everything we can to change the culture, eliminate bullying and encourage an atmosphere in which staff feel able to speak up.”
Image: © Used with the kind permission of Auntie P