Readers' letters - April 14

Violent crime not due to bad news on television

Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 6:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 6:46 pm
BBC and ITV news coverage isnt to blame for violent crime says a correspondent

Basil A Smith moots a possible connection between regular BBC and ITV coverage of violence in war-zones and knife crime among impressionable youngsters (WP Letters, April 7). Does he really believe that these disaffected boys really digest the TV news with their tea before going out to meet their pals? I doubt that they ever watch TV – much more likely they are engaging in the social media or other pursuits alien to us oldies.It serves no purpose to bury one’s head in the sand as if everything was fine. Knowledge is always preferable to ignorance.Reporters sometimes risk their lives to keep us aware that horrible things, like Syria, are going on out there. Your correspondent wants “some positive news for a change”. Good news is not usually big news. I get angry when TV news occasionally leads with a sporting success or a Royal engagement when children are being murdered by chemical weapons abroad. There is plenty of escapism to be found on TV and, to be fair, the newscasters do try to sign off with something light-hearted where possible.Brian H SheridanAddress suppliedWe’re backing our membersI read, with interest, a letter you published by an individual who signed themselves as a Member of WWL Who Will Transfer to Solutions, with a view to putting the record straight regarding claims made (WP Letters, April 10). UNISON Wigan and Leigh Health branch is 100 per cent behind its members affected by a potential transfer into WWL Solutions Ltd. UNISON currently represents 65 per cent of the total staff identified as under risk of transfer to the new proposed company and numbers are continuing to grow weekly. This hardly represents a “small number of staff” referred to previously.UNISON’s message during this ongoing process has consistently been NHS jobs should remain within the NHS. Our membership, among those potentially affected staff, has doubled during the last three months. Therefore, I would question the author’s assertion that only a “small number of staff” are against transferring to WWL Solutions Ltd. Why would you join UNISON if you were in favour of this transfer? The author refers to guarantees offered to staff by management. None of these guarantees were offered originally to staff prior to UNISON organising staff opposed to this transfer. Any guarantee or contract offer can be changed at any time, as could the current Agenda for Change terms and conditions. That is a legal fact.Let’s be clear why UNISON members are against any transfer into WWL Solutions. It is because staff would no longer be directly employed by the NHS. UNISON members are proud to work for the NHS. Many have spent their whole working life in the service of the NHS. It is ironic, as we near the 70th anniversary of the NHS, that WWL NHS Foundation Trust wish to establish a wholly owned subsidiary company to take advantage of a tax loophole that would enable them to claim back VAT for services rendered. Yes, this is an unfair advantage that private companies offering services can avail of. But, instead of NHS Trusts rushing to form subsidiary companies to get their share of a VAT bounty, it is Wigan and Leigh Health branch’s view that this loophole should be closed to all. This is public money that should only be recycled into the public sector.As a democratic organisation, UNISON respects its members’ views. That is why we are running a closed ballot that enables our members to decide, in privacy, whether to support their union’s recommendation to endorse strike action in an attempt to prevent WWL Solutions becoming a reality or by voting against industrial action, agreeing to transfer. We will be guided by the majority.The author writes that large numbers of UNISON members did not vote. Wigan and Leigh Health branch has previously run two indicative ballots consulting members. The returns have been 79 and 69 per cent, with 95 and 82 per cent of those who voted doing so in support of their union. This represents a fantastic return. I would challenge the author to show me anywhere else where such a high return was registered. UNISON is balloting its membership on whether to take industrial action. We will be bound by the outcome of this ballot. Spokesman for Unison Wigan and Leigh Health Branch

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