Biomedics Locked Out in Northampton Dispute

Seventy-eight biomedical scientists at Northampton General Hospital been locked out of their jobs after a dispute over new contracts. If they want to keep their jobs Unite members will have to sign contracts which could double their night time shifts and slash out of hours payments by 80%, which could mean losses of £6000 pa for some.

The dispute has been going on for a year now but it is now at the ‘sign or be sacked’ stage. Workers had voted to take action short of strikes, but management has put in security guards and is using agency and temporary staff.

Mick Orpin, Unite Regional Official has said, “Patient safety is being put at risk because the trust is trying to force through a new strategy without giving its loyal workforce a chance to voice their concerns. Inexperienced staff, who have never worked in blood transfusion, are being trained in an ad hoc manner to operate complex machines.

“The trust has already axed many posts; there are fears that staff shortages could mean our members are forced to work up to 25 night shifts in 14 weeks – almost doubling the trust’s new proposals. This will cause considerable hardship for those with family commitments and older members – something management has shut its eyes to.”

Recent negotiations have failed to get anywhere. There have been rumours in the past that NGH would like to privatise pathology, so it could be that this will provide management with an excuse.

For full details and a petition please go to http://www.unitetheunion.org/how-we-help/list-of-sectors/healthsector/healthsectorcampaigns/back-the-biomedical-scientists-at-ngh/

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