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Pathology strike solid at Leeds NHS

By a Unite member

Leeds Pathology staff took strike action for 24 hrs from 8.30am 16th July 2013 at three acute hospitals: Leeds General Inirmary, St James’ Hospital and Bradford Royal Infirmary which contracts its pathology services with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

The strike was very successful, calling out all Unite members in Biochemistry, Blood Bank, Haematology, and Microbiology services. An agreed level of emrgency cover was provided, mainly by non-Unite staff but a few Unite strikers left the picket line to ensure patient safety.

The dispute is over Leeds Teaching Hospitals plans to impose, on August 26th, without negotiation, new shift patterns on staff who have up til now worked 9 to 5 and then on-call out-of-hours. The problems include: dangerously inadequate staffing for the proposed work patterns, severe disruption of staffs’ personal lives, in paticular child care arrangements,  a large drop in take home pay. Low paid support workers will be proportionately the hardest hit.

Pickets at Leeds General Infirmary

Pickets at Leeds General Infirmary

In a new development in the last few hours Pathology managers have issued new work rotas, reaching new heights of arrogance by using an ‘e-rostering’ system which has not been agreed with Pathology staff. What hasn’t changed is their ineptitude and inability to write workable rotas, showing an extrordinary level of ignorance of the areas of training and competence of highly specialised staff.

This would be a joke if it wasn’t that acute care of sriously ill patients depends on having robust pathology working arrangements.

Unite’s demand is that status quo be maintained until new working arrangements can be agreed. This will include resolving the already severe staffing problems.

Unite members in Pathology will be considering their collective response in the next few days.

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