Background to hospital staff industrial action

Admin and clerical staff on strike outside Pontefract hospital in thier ongoing dispute about pay cuts.'p304c305
Admin and clerical staff on strike outside Pontefract hospital in thier ongoing dispute about pay cuts.'p304c305
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A week of strikes has gone ahead at Pontefract Hospital as talks between staff and management in a pay dispute broke down.

Unison decided to go ahead with five days of action at Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals after failing to reach agreement with Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – despite the involvement of ACAS.

Graham Briggs, head of human resources at the trust, said staff rejected four improved pay protection offers, and a fifth proposal from Unison to come up with an alternative scheme to make the cuts was then also rejected by members.

However, Adrian O’Malley, Unison representative, said: “We agreed we would work to save half a million from admin and clerical, but they came back and said the savings had to be on the 280 staff that are already facing downbanding, but wouldn’t include management. They threw the offer back in our face. I’ve never known members so angry.”

The trust has now issued dismissal and re-engagement letters to 162 staff, giving them until April 25 to sign a new contract with the new pay grades.

Mr Briggs said: “We agreed to support the union for a six-week period to work up its spending cut alternative in detail and evaluate it.

“We are therefore surprised and disappointed at this response.

“The decision to reject this out of hand means we have no alternative but to press ahead with implementation.”

He said contingencies had been put in place to ensure services to patients were unaffected by the strike action.