Today (May 9th), AWP staff joined in another lunchtime protest orchestrated by Unison Wiltshire and Avon branch. BCWN has been scathingly critical of these pantomime pickets, since they take place over our lunch breaks and as such involve no actual work stoppage (see our previous response here). Staff’s response today was fairly mixed but despite ours and other’s reservations, that atmosphere during the protests themselves seems to have been positive. Workers were chipper, enjoying the novelty of taking some kind of action for a change, and pleasingly defiant in their attitudes to both the bosses and the union.
Whatever our criticisms, Unison’s tactics have undeniably got the bosses rattled. About half an hour before the planned walk out, AWP’s departing CEO Hayley Richards emailed all staff in the trust to “share […] the latest position regarding the administration review”. Hayley’s email made frequent reference to the impending threat of strike action (for which admin staff are due to be balloted this month), and contains what is essentially a bribe (that band 4 staff who get downgraded will be pay protected for 5 years) and a threat (that this oh-so-generous offer will be withdrawn if staff vote in favour of a strike).
We hope that AWP staff can see this for what it is. If the bosses were confident that they could force the review through then they wouldn’t be making deals with us. The trust are clearly scared of an admin strike and are trying to buy staff off with concessions to avert any real action being taken.
Our message is; let’s not quit while we’re ahead. If the CEO’s are scared enough that they’ll try and bribe us off, then they know they can’t beat us. Be confident, and don’t accept half measures.