Recently I’d heard of some cases where BMA members (particularly junior doctors) were being told they couldn’t take time off during working hours to carry out trade union duties. This completely contravenes the partnership working arrangements we fought to get in place, in order for our members to be able to conduct BMA work.
So, having had this brought to my attention, I have written a letter to Paul Williams, Chief Exec of NHS Wales to remind of our position as a trade union and the rights that go along with that status.
I am delighted to be able to tell you, that I have had following response from my letter…
BMA MEMBERS – TRADE UNION DUTIES
Richard Lewis, Welsh Secretary for BMA Cymru Wales, has sent Paul Williams the attached letter of 12 May 2009.
I confirm that the Welsh Assembly Government expects all NHS employers in Wales to allow representatives of recognised staff organisations such as those of the BMA to be granted reasonable time off during working hours to undertake their trade union duties. This is in accordance with both the partnership working arrangements that have been agreed and established within Wales, and with the relevant legislation.
I understand the particular problems the BMA are concerned about relate to a reluctance of some Trusts to provide the relevant time off to junior doctors undertaking trade union duties.
I should be grateful if you will ensure – and confirm with the BMA locally – that this is not the case in your Trust, or that you take agreed steps to overcome any such difficulties.
Sheelagh Lloyd Jones
HR Director, NHS Wales
So, please continue to let myself or any of the staff at BMA Cymru Wales know if you are having difficulties with your employers giving you time off work, for BMA activities. It is not a situation you have to put up with!