Blood 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.”
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