Access to annual leave when you want it is unreliable at best and non-existent at worst says GMB Southern
GMB members at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWAST) are seeking to get their employer to consult with GMB over on-going, persistent and unfair refusals of annual leave requests for those working within the NHS Ambulance Trust.
SWAST provide emergency ambulance 999 services (A&E) across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire including large urban centres including Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter, Bath, Swindon, Gloucester, Bournemouth and Poole, and include the Trusts two Hazardous Area Response Teams.
The application of unfair operational annual leave limits mean many GMB members have little or no control of when they can plan or take their annual leave. Members are often experiencing 10 or more refusals for annual leave.
There are also numerous issues in regard to a recent rota review and implementation which have left many staff in areas across the trust experiencing a far worst work life balance.
Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser says:
"GMB members are fed up having application after application for annual leave turned down. They, better than anyone, understand the stresses upon the organisation because they deal with the effects of those strains on a day to day basis when providing Emergency clinical services across over 10,000 square miles of West and South West England.
"Access to annual leave when you want it is unreliable at best and non-existent at worst, so when you and your family do get to plan possibly the one event or holiday for the year, many of our members are finding themselves having to make their way into work even when off shift at midnight to try and get lucky in being granted annual leave 12 months in advance, many are still turned down regularly.
"The problem is they then find they are being refused because some unfathomable calculation for colleagues being off at the same time possibly up to 50 or 60 miles away on another Station means that staff being turned down is a regular occurrence, and no one knows why.
"The issue has no doubt been exacerbated after the implementation of what many GMB members feel are excessive changes to rotas, which have led to long days, having to work many more weekends in a row, and loss of the control staff at each station to manage their rotas. This means that members are not now getting any sort of regular or decent work-life balance and that most times it’s simply down to luck and shift swops if you get time to spend with the family.
"Importantly, GMB Union and our members working at SWAST feel that if the first class medical service front line ambulance professionals and support staff provided at the Trust is to be maintained for the patients and public within the West and South West then greater care needs to be taken with the trusts most valuable resource…. their staff.
"We have written to Ken Wenman, SWAST Chief Executive, to request talks to look at developing and implementing changes and improvements which will see more empowerment for ambulance staff on matters such as rotas and holidays."