Happy Christmas fancy a pay cut ?

Admin and clerical NHS staff are holding three days of strike action at Pinderfield Hospital Wakefield
Admin and clerical NHS staff are holding three days of strike action at Pinderfield Hospital Wakefield

MEDICAL secretaries have been given a Christmas Eve deadline to sign up for pay cuts of up to £2,800 a year, a union claims.

Unison has threatened more industrial action in a dispute over pay cuts at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust which has so far led to four strike days.

The trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, wants to downgrade the salaries of admin and clerical staff as it faces a £26m deficit.

Unison medical secretaries received letters asking for their agreement to pay cuts by December 24.

The union is also furious that Mid Yorkshire spent £660,000 on a firm of management consultants in October and November. The cash went to Ernst and Young, which has been advising Mid Yorkshire on cost savings.

Unison’s Adrian O’Malley said Mid Yorkshire had so far paid the firm £3.3m.

He said: “Every month they are signing cheques to the this company but they are totally invisible and nobody knows who they are.

“We are not prepared to sit back and have our pay decimated while the trust hand over millions to a multi-national company. We call on the trust to withdraw the pay cuts or face further strike action in the new year.”

Graham Briggs, Mid Yorkshire’s director of HR, said a two-week phase of consultation on pay would conclude on Christmas Eve.

He said: “We will then consider the issues raised through these individual conversations and confirm our intentions in the New Year.

“Wherever possible, we always prefer to reach agreement with staff about any planned changes.”

Mr Briggs said the trust remained open to talks with the unions.

Robert Chadwick, the Mid Yorkshire’s director of finance, said Ernst and Young provided invaluable support and expertise to the trust as it faced a major financial challenge.

He added: “To compare the costs of Ernst and Young against a small aspect of this wide-ranging long-term plan is misleading and inappropriate.”