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Leeds health workers set for strike action

Pathology staff in one large NHS hospital trust, mainly Unite members, have voted for industrial action against the imposition of new shift patterns to replace long standing Out-of-Hours (OOH) working arrangements.

The staff balloted, mainly Biomedical Scientists and Biomedical Support Workers, voted 63% for Strike action and 84% for Action short of Strike.

Pathology Management propose to introduce the new arrangements on 1St July 2013.

The ballot result was announced on 23rd May and action must be taken within for weeks for the ballot to remain legally valid. Some Unison members are also involved in the dispute.

Reasons for opposing the new arrangements vary between departments. For some staff they conflict with childcare and other arrangements. Some have never worked nights and don’t intend to start. In many sections there simply aren’t enough staff i.e. ‘not enough bodies to go round’ and the service to patients would fail.

Pathology management have yet to give a convincing explanation of how they intend to deal with this. The ‘disconnect’ between Management thinking and the realities on the ground is disturbing. All staff currently involved in OOH working would see a large drop in income. Some Band 2 staff are expecting to have difficulty paying their rent if this goes through.

Further meetings with Trust and Pathology managers have been arranged.

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