The Ridgeway Partnership has decided not to try and become a Social Enterprise and is now starting the process of looking for another NHS Trust to merge with which will probably take 12 to 18 months. However some parts of the organization, especially on the Social Care side, are considering splitting off to become smaller social enterprises.

We in Unison are actively campaigning against any part of the organization becoming a Social Enterprise as we want to keep the organization together and protect the workers. We have sent out a leaflet to all of the properties via the internal post. We are doing a survey of all of our members by sending out leaflets to their home addresses with return envelopes for the replies. We also wanted to attach a leaflet to all of the wage slips so our message could reach all staff but it was blocked at the last minute. It was noticeable that in the information that the Trust sent out about Social Enterprise it didn't say anything about the negative implications of leaving the NHS, so we felt that it was very important to get our message across. 

We are having continuing problems with regular communications with staff which we have been trying to resolve for a long time. After the last Joint Consultation and Negotiating Committee meeting we were hoping to have a meeting with the head of Social Care and Kelvin Aubrey, the regional officer, before he went on holiday, but it wasn't possible to get us all together at the same time.Our Branch Secretary, Mark Ladbrooke agreed to accompany us to a meeting with the head of Social care and the head of HR. 

We raised another couple of issues which have arisen out of letters that were sent out to the properties. Staff were told that they could not have meals if they were doing an extra shift but we argued that the £20 food allowance that we pay is a flat rate and should apply to any shifts. We were told that the status quo would apply for now but the problem is that the letter had already been sent out and so staff think that it still applies. 

The other issue was that staff were told that they could not do any OCH for 2 weeks if they had been off sick. We argued that this was not right as you could have somebody who has a very good sickness record who may be off for one day and then can't do any extra. There is also a risk that staff could come to work when they are not well and endanger other staff and service users. The head of Specialist Health said that they don't do this in their directorate and sickness absence was looked at on a case by case basis.

We had the meeting on 27/5/11 and they agreed to withdraw these two directives. We will be having a meeting with the Chief Executive soon to find out why the wage-slip attachment was withdrawn.