Thursday, 12 January 2012
What's the Big Secret?
The two sides in the great SAS 'rest breaks' dispute met the other day - in a further attempt to resolve their differences.
Given how long this issue has been running - I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an outcome.
But what I do want to know - is how many ambulance staff actually voted in the recent trade union ballots?
The unions claim the 'new offer was rejected as follows:
GMB - 77% of members voted to reject
Unison - 65% of members voted to reject
Unite - 62% of members voted to reject
But what does this actually mean - how many ballot papers were sent out by each union and how many were returned?
In addition how many staff in total are affected - not all are necessarily trade union members - and you'd think that the SAS management would be asking such questions - and sharing information with the public.
I'm really surprised no one has picked up on this issue - including the press and media.
Because the trade unions have come across all secretive suddenly - what they're doing is copying the same tactics as the Scottish Labour party - which gave out only percentage totals in respect of their recent leadership ballot.
Now why do organisations behave this way?
Well in my experience it's because they have something to hide - they don't want other people to know that their membership is actually very low - or that the turnout in a ballot is actually very poor.
So I hope others will take up the cudgels as well - and force this information out into the open - where it belongs.
Green Cheese (January 9th 2012)
The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) is meeting with the trade unions again today - in yet another attempt to resolve the long-running, highly embarrassing dispute over rest breaks.
See previous post dated 8 January 2012: 'Wrong End of the Telescope'.
As I understand things the trade unions recommended a new offer to their members - but the members rejected their leaders advice - which they are entitled to do obviously.
But what does it say about the quality of leadership in three trade unions - GMB, Unison and Unite - not only did they get turned over, they got very badly turned over.
The new offer was apparently rejected - by 77% GMB members, 65% of Unison members and 62 per cent of Unite members.
A case of great minds thinking alike?
Maybe, but I think not - I suspect the unions are not playing things straight - because it's an old maxim that you don't put something to a vote if you know you're going to lose the vote - especially by such a large margin.
Unless you are useless, incompetent or simply playing games - you keep on negotiating until you get an agreement that you know ill be acceptable to the members.
And if the members' expectations are too high - or wrong even - then the trade unions' job is to tell them so - by talking straight and providing leadership.
Democratic votes are a great thing - but it's easy to vote 'for' or 'against' something when there are no consequences.
Especially easy when someone else's money - or as in this case public money - is at stake.
People can vote all day long that 'the moon is made of green cheese' - or that 'Elvis is still alive' - which might be democratic but defies logic and common sense.
And that's where we've got to with this ambulance 'rest breaks' dispute - the management of SAS seem weak and unable to communicate a clear message - but the position of the trade unions defies logic and common sense.