‘Take a 15% Pay Cut or You’re Fired’ – NHS Bosses Lock BioMedical Staff out of Hospital

A006 - CopyBlood scientists at Northampton General Hospital have been locked out their offices for weeks after striking over a planned 15% cut in their wages. Expensive temporary staff have been filling their roles, while Northampton General Hospital Trust says any staff who refuse to sign the new contracts will be terminated on October 1st.

Staff from the pathology lab at Northampton General who took Industrial Action in the face of planned pay cuts have been locked out of their lab since 26th June.

As the Northampton Herald and Post reported on 30th June:

The industrial action was only expected to last 24 hours on Thursday but on each day since staff who have turned up for work and tried to get into the pathology lab have found all the entrances locked.

On Friday, they had to go around to the main entrance where they were met by senior management at the hospital who said unless they signed the new contracts then they could not come into work.

They were then escorted off the premises by security personnel while temporary staff

The staff have been locked out ever since, while far more expensive agency staff are covering the 24/7 critical service.

The Unite trade union who represents the pathologists explains that the new agreements mean staff could end up working double the number of night shifts and that out-of-hours payments would be cut by up to £6,000 a year – this would equate to a 15% pay cut for the staff.

A Unite spokesman said:

“The payments they receive is for every night from 8pm to 8am, every Saturday and Sunday daytime from 8am to 8pm, and every Bank Holiday. In addition they cover for long and short-term sickness, maternity and paternity leave and for staff leaving the service.

“On Tuesday, staff were given notice of 90 days termination of the old terms, with pathology and blood science staff, as things stand, ceasing to be employed by the trust on October 1.

“Locum staff who might be asked to step in would only do so at much higher rates than current permanent staff are paid.”

Speaking to the Herald & Post when the lock-out began, Terry Lodge, who works in the pathology unit and is the UNITE lead representative for the trust said:

“The situation here is horrible.  This is a very aggressive stance being taken by management. All our contracts will be terminated tomorrow, Tuesday, and we have until July 25 to sign new ones. If we do not there will be a 90 consultation period and we will have to leave the Trust on October 1.

There are two people on the picket line who have worked for the trust for 39 years and 40 years. This is not a nice way to treat people who have given so much to the hospital.

“We will continue to turn up for work everyday as we are not refusing to work.”

The Trust argues that the changes are required due to meet required cost savings targets and ‘harmonise’ pay conditions across the NHS. Translation: somebody, somewhere is paid less for doing this work so these highly trained scientists should follow suit.
The Trust also argues that 94% of staff support the changes because they are back at work, leaving this group of 53 staff to fight for the terms and conditions of all 600. The threat of losing their jobs may well have played a part there.
But solidarity has come.  More than 700 postal workers from the area have signed a petition in support of the pathologists, and their union CWU has donated £1,000 to their strike fund.

Gareth Eales, Area Processing Representative for the CWU, said:

“It is a privilege to offer our solidarity with these workers in their time of need.

“Postal workers and members of the CWU have been through many disputes over the years and we know how much we value the support of other workers and unions during those hard times.

“The treatment that these workers are having to endure is shocking and should not happen in 21st century Britain, its a throwback to a bygone era.”

Councillor John McGhee, leader of the labour group for Northamptonshire County Council, has also given his backing to the hospital staff on strike.
The pathologist continue their battle against their own management, with their pay and jobs on the line.  If you would like to support them – click here.

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7 thoughts on “‘Take a 15% Pay Cut or You’re Fired’ – NHS Bosses Lock BioMedical Staff out of Hospital

  1. Interesting to see that the BBC news webpage for Northampton failed to report on this, opting instead to go with a story of a couple using jelly sweets instead of wedding rings and another about a cat…

  2. I didn;t think that was legal – I was under the impression that they should have the right to retain their old contracts if they chose. This is shocking but the ever-poorer treatment of employees is a direct response to our governments changes I’m afraid. They are taking this country back decades and all the while we lose our rights as citizens in a supposedly free & democratic society. I am so glad now that I didn’t have children :(

  3. Poor reporting by Northampton Herald & Post. What do senior managers say? What is their pay progression? Who are the Trust members? Name and shame. Question. C’mon, DIG!

  4. Wonder what the bonuses will be for senior management, once this is rammed through.

    If one added the costs up these “performance bonuses”, the cost of admin staff, disruption to service and legal fees, how much is actually saved? And what gets done with that money?

    Don’t forget to factor in the loss of earnings to the staff, public assistance they may need, taxes they aren’t putting in any more, money they don’t spend in their community because they haven’t got it, and it starts to look like a rough deal for the country all round.

    Ideological dogma is an expensive business for the country.

  5. Pingback: 'Take a 15% Pay Cut or You're Fired' - NHS Boss...

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