Last week was #heartunions week – we marked it with a series of posts and references – without the Unions we would not have the employee rights or benefits which generations of brave individuals have fought for on our behalf.

Folkestone & Hythe CLP counts many union members among our most active people, bringing their empathy and solidarity to bear on all fronts of their personal and working lives. As the closing post to mark #heartunions 2021, we thought it would be great to feature a short blog from Cllr. Belinda Walker, who works in the health service as well as being a local Councillor – and is a Union rep herself.

“The annual #HeartUnions week is here again.  Here at KCHFT we have an active staff side where reps from 13 different unions work together with senior managers to negotiate and give a voice to staff at the Staff Partnership Forum.

We will see a few reps popping up during the week to say hello and saying why being a rep is important to them and important to the Trust.

I first became involved in unions long before I trained to be an SLT.  I am a workplace and learning rep here.  I love the interaction with people and the feeling of doing something useful outside of my clinical role. 

My fellow reps are a wonderful bunch of people and I have formed some genuine supportive friendships.  It is a great chance to meet others outside of your own teams and to gain insight into how the Trust works at a senior level.

Becoming a rep is easy (and highly recommended!) – you get training from your own union and a welcome from your staff side colleagues.  There is facilities time available and you will be allowed reasonable time off to perform your union duties within your working hours. 

Please get in touch with me or one of the reps from your own union if you want to come forward.  And if you are not a union member please consider becoming one.  It’s not just about helping out when you are ‘in trouble’ – it’s about shaping the future direction of the Trust and ensuring the staff voice is heard.  Costs and benefits vary from union to union – log on and take a look!”

Join a union: be part of the movement!


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