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Wednesday 30 September 2020

Keep reviewing industrial relations locally as virus stays with us

By MiP

The national NHS Social Partnership Forum has issued a new statement to employers and unions. Employers and staff sides will need to keep under review local arrangements for industrial relations, as Covid-19 will have an ongoing presence in NHS workplaces for the foreseeable future. This advice to the service comes in the latest statement from the national NHS Social Partnership Forum.

The latest statement follows two previous statements in April and July which helped employers and unions tackle the conditions created for employment relations by the pandemic. The statements were widely taken up and still hold relevant guidance. 

In the new statement, the national partners stress the ongoing importance of: 

  •  staff safety and well-being
  • realistic plans for employment relations
  • a Just and Learning Culture
  • managing change well
  •  making sure hearing and meetings are safe and fair.

Commenting on the statement, MiP Chief Executive Jon Restell said:

"Proper consultation about changes is key to keeping staff goodwill and trust in how the NHS manages the virus. How it is done may need tweaking but employers must not just renew temporary changes or make them permanent without good process. This is staff side’s number one issue.

"Covid-19 will shape the NHS workplace for some time to come. There can be no return to the past and local employers and unions must talk about how they manage industrial relations.

"As more and more decisions affecting staff are made outside individual employing trusts, it will become more important for managers at ICS and regional levels to talk to trade unions.

"Our union has stayed open to our members throughout the pandemic and the statement will help us do our job representing them, collectively and individually, in the workplace."

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