I work for a public sector organization leading a large Marketing/Comms team. I am going off on mat leave in mid-September. While my Manager/the Director of the organization has supported getting full mat leave cover for me, she is now leaving and the incoming Director (her Deputy) is humming and hawing a bit. We are being asked to make budget cuts and there are other permanent posts that have been vacant for some time. As a result the incoming Director isn't sure he can 'afford' to replace me.
If we don't hire someone to cover my role things will fall apart. I am very hands on working 12 hour days so we will definitely lose productivity. More worrying is that most staff DO NOT want to act up, many work part-time and are worried they'll be lumbered with extra work. The team needs leadership and consistency (particularly with so many part-time staff) and without it I worry there will be more staff confusion, disjointed working etc.
If my role isn't covered I am fairly sure I'll come back to a very tired and disgruntled team who have been overworked, possibly with vacancies due to some staff leaving because they are mad and lots of work incomplete. It's a not-so-fabulous situation to return to.
For that reason can I either go to my Union or insist that they cover on the basis that not doing so will put too much stress on existing staff and on me when I return?
No. How or whether your employer choose to cover your maternity leave is nothing to do with you. Whether other staff are stressed because of a decision made by your employer is between the staff and whoever is managing them at the time.