Unison NHS members in Yorkshire are currently on strike due to redundancies and pay cuts. Richard Vivian reports on the dispute and action.
Following the break down of talks between Mid Yorkshire Trust NHS and Unison administration and clerical staff including medical secretaries, the union has called a five day strike at the Dewsbury, Pinderfields and Pontefract General Hospitals from Monday 28th January. This action follows previous strikes by staff in November last year when further action was put on hold, subject to negotiations with the Trust and the unions.
The Trust is faced with a cut of £24 million imposed upon the by the coalition government and is determined to find the money through redundancies and pay cuts. However, three revised offers to the staff have been firmly rejected by Unison. 74 clerical staff have now received redundancy notices and clerical and administration staff face cuts in pay of between £1700 and £2,800 a year.
A Unison activist told Socialist Appeal, “the Trust is still intending to press ahead with dismissing and re-employing our members on lower pay bands. During our negotiation meetings they refused to discuss alternatives to the down bandings and insisted on discussing only the length of protection paid following down banding. Their latest offer of 18-24 months protection was unanimously rejected at meetings of the members last week. The Trust refused to discuss the new Admin ‘model’ at a meeting last Wednesday.”
Unison intends to ballot other sections of its members at the three hospitals in favour of supportive action in order to increase the effect of the present dispute.