Strike could be called at hospitals trust

Pinderfields Hospital

Pinderfields Hospital

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A BALLOT for strike action is under way over redundancies and wage cuts at the district’s crisis-hit hospitals trust.

Cash-strapped Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has put 74 members of staff at risk of redundancy and will downgrade the pay of another 275 to save £630,000.

The trust, which runs Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals, is expected to be £26m in deficit at the end of the year.

Bosses are trying to reduce the wage bill, which they said accounts for almost 70 per cent of Mid Yorkshire’s total costs.

Public sector union Unison is balloting more than 500 members on industrial action in protest at the move.

Ballot papers were sent out last Tuesday, and action could be taken as early as November 1.

Graham Briggs, the trust’s director of HR, said: “We need to start preparing for possible strike action.”

Mr Briggs said redeployment opportunities were available for staff, and people facing downbanding of salaries would receive pay protection for 12 months. Mr Briggs said: “In principle, we are not forcing anyone out of the organisation that wants to stay and have a job.

“Anyone that wants to remain in employment will have the opportunity to remain.”

Unison’s Adrian O’Malley said: “Our position is that people are still formally at risk until they get it in writing, but we are happy that some progress has been made.”

Mr Briggs admitted staff facing downbanding could lose an average of £2,000 per year. He added: “It’s about designing new job descriptions and different roles.” Mr O’Malley said Unison was putting forward alternatives proposals to the downbanding.