UNISON strikers will decide this afternoon whether to escalate strike action against threatened job and pay cuts
(Pictured: strikers outside Pinderfields hospital, Wakefield)
It comes as UNISON members at hospitals in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract continue a third day of strike action this week against plans to ‘downband’ hundreds of staff, such as medical secretaries, threatening pay cuts worth as much as £2,700 a year.
Speaking on the picket line outside Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield, local rep, Andrea Busfield told UnionNews: “I think management saw us as an easy target, that we would just accept these changes without a fight.
“These three days have shown that we won’t accept it. We are prepared to fight for our jobs.”
UNISON negotiators have argued that new job descriptions drawn up by the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust as part of the ‘downbanding’ proposals cover virtually identical work and therefore amount to no more than a pay cut.
Today’s action is the fourth strike day in UNISON’s campaign against the proposals.
Strikers and supporters are due to hold a rally in Wakefield town hall later today.
Union officials say they will consider escalating the dispute by holding industrial action ballots among other members of staff at the Trust who are facing similar job and pay cuts.
UNISON fears 70 jobs are at risk as a result of the proposals.
The Trust chief executive, Stephen Eames – who earns some £300,000 a year, in contrast to the medical secretaries’ salary of £21,000 – told reporters earlier this week that he was prepared to meet UNISON officials ‘anytime, any place, anywhere’ to try to resolve the dispute.
Says Andrea Busfield: “If that’s the case, we’ll go and knock on his door as soon as we finish on this picket line.”
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