Unison to ballot 3,000 members at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust

STRIKE Unison members picketing outside Pinderfields Hospital during January's strike action.
STRIKE Unison members picketing outside Pinderfields Hospital during January's strike action.
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Unison members working at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS trust will be balloted for strike action in a long-running dispute over pay cuts and job losses.

Members of admin and clerical staff have already taken part in nine days of strike action in November and January over the dispute, which involves the downbanding of pay grades and job losses.

Now all of the union’s 3,000 members working for the trust, which runs Dewsbury, Pontefract and Pinderfields hospitals, will be balloted for action.

Adrian O’Malley, Unison Mid Yorkshire branch secretary, said: “As we expected the Trust is pushing forward with more downbandings and job losses in other departments. Clinical Nurse Specialists, Dental Nurses and more Admin staff are at risk of job and pay cuts. At the same time the Trust is employing more senior managers and has given over £4 million to private management consultants Ernst and Young.

“We have been forced into balloting our whole membership as the Trust is unwilling to discuss any alternatives to the downbandings (pay cuts).”

“The Trust is holding a gun to its staff’s heads and saying take a pay cut or your sacked. We cannot allow this to continue. Industrial relations within the Trust have broken down due to the senior managements bullying.”

Graham Briggs, director of HR at Mid Yorkshire, said he had been notified of the union’s intention to ballot this Friday, May 3

He said: “We are of course disappointed but whatever the eventual outcome the Trust will always put the needs of its patients first. Safety and quality are our primary drivers.

“The core issues for the Trust have not changed. We must tackle the Trust’s underlying financial debt. To do that we must reduce our pay bill. This is the only way that we can secure services for the longer term and make the best use of public funds.

“Nationally, the new pay award for 2013/14, which gave NHS employees a 1 per cent pay rise, included an agreement to the principle of redesigning job roles to meet the changing needs of the service and paying accordingly. That is exactly what the Trust did last year with its Administrative and Clerical review. Unison was party to that national agreement so the local branch’s opposition to job redesign is contrary to the direction of travel for the rest of the NHS.

“We will continue to look for every opportunity to save money and provide more efficient ways of delivering both front line and support services. In 2012/13 we made greater efficiencies and savings from senior posts than we did from more junior posts. We believe that securing longer term employment opportunities for our staff, albeit sometimes on a lower grade with a sensible pay protection period, is a much better alternative to job losses.”