Hospital Dr News

HCSA general secretary lands senior TUC post

Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) general secretary Eddie Saville has won a key TUC post giving consultants a voice for the first time on the most influential trade union body in the UK.

An experienced union negotiator, Saville has been elected to the TUC’s General Council with 232,000 votes from unions across a range of industries.  He came second in the poll.

Saville’s election follows his success in leading the debate on opposing regional pay at the recent TUC annual congress. The motion was carried unanimously.

HCSA president Umesh Udeshi says: “This puts the HCSA in a league of its own and shows we are a serious and influential trade union and professional association.”

Saville has a 30-year track record of fighting for the rights of trade union members. His first job was working as a regional officer for the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union before moving on to become head of variety at Equity, the actor’s union. He then led the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists for several years before being appointed general secretary of the HCSA seven months ago.

For the last eight years he has led the public sector pension negotiations for the TUC as chair of the staff side, giving him a high profile in the trade union movement.

The HCSA’s position during the NHS pension dispute earlier this year was, however, overshadowed by the BMA’s decision to take industrial action. Although HCSA members were opposed to the pension reforms a poll revealed that only around 15% of the membership were prepared to take industrial action and it was decided this not a strong enough mandate to ballot for action.

Some HCSA members left during this time but other consultants joined from the BMA.

Saville says the pension fight is far from being over as there are still a host of issues to negotiate such as the question of contributions and what the new scheme is going to look like post 2015. Union negotiators are also awaiting the outcomes of two reviews into widening access of the NHS pension scheme to ‘any qualified provider’ organisations and the impact of working longer on NHS workers.

“There are pension negotiation meetings planned all the way through 2013 and there are still many implementation issues we want the government to think again on. I will be making sure the HCSA is represented at those meetings.

“We will now be getting support from other union colleagues on the General Council,” he says.

With continuing battles on the horizon over the NHS pension and regional pay, concerns over the pay review body and the future of clinical excellence awards, Saville says the morale of consultants has hit a low ebb. “They are feeling a bit battered,” he says.

But he says he is working to raise the profile of the HCSA with an offer of a new legal package and a revamped newsletter and will be making the most of the new opportunity to work together with his fellow trade union colleagues.

“We are going to be working in partnership together as a group of trade unions to ensure we defend everything that is thrown at us.

“Being on the TUC General Council gives the HCSA an opportunity to be right at the heart of everything that is going on – the economy, issues that impact on public services, the whole works.

“My job will be to put the view of hospital consultants in that arena for the first time. This is the most influential trade union body in the country and it puts us squarely on the map in terms of being able to fight above our weight,” he says.

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2 Responses to “HCSA general secretary lands senior TUC post”

  1. @Flattliner says:

    There’s no point denying it. The time has come for primary and secondary care to separate in industrial terms, mainly because the GPs have been useless on that front for some time. Had they not been so limp-wristed we might have got somewhere with pensions, but didn’t – despite an overwhelming mandate.

  2. palu says:

    Flattliner what you say doesn’t fit in with the facts – it’s the HCSA that represents senior hospital staff who were silent.

    The BMA on the other hand really spoke out as well as balloted their members.

    Having been in both unions I can tell you it was the BMA that really stood up for Doctors when it came to pensions. United we stand, divided we fall.

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