NHS adminstrators to ballot over jobs strike

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MORE than 500 administrative staff at a troubled Yorkshire NHS trust are to be balloted over strike action in a protest over threatened compulsory redundancies.

The clerical staff will be asked to vote for action at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust which runs services at hospitals in Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract that are losing £100,000 a day.

The trust is embarking on a huge re-organisation programme which is likely to see significant job losses. About 74 staff including medical secretaries have been warned their jobs are at risk

The trust last year called in private finance experts from Ernst & Young to advise on its strategy. Unions claim they were paid £2.6m for advice.

Unison regional organiser Jim Bell said there had already been 250 applications for voluntary redundancy and early retirement and further redundancies were unnecessary.

“We are continuing to talk to the trust to avoid compulsory redundancies and ‘downbanding’ – diminishing the level of existing job descriptions to slash wages,” he said. “The last thing our dedicated members want to do is to take strike action and we will do everything to negotiate with the trust to avoid that outcome. But our members are the lowest paid, predominantly female, workers in the organisation and there is enormous anger that they are being made to pay for the costs of vastly expensive private consultants and financial mismanagement.”

Trust HR director Graham Briggs said measures to reduce the pay bill focused on administrative posts as well as management roles including matrons and senior nurses.

“Affected staff have now received notification that they have been provisionally selected for redundancy,” he said. “We will be actively working with affected colleagues and staff side to avoid compulsory redundancies through measures such as voluntary redundancies and redeployment. However to make the necessary savings, we do need to reduce our workforce costs and regretfully we cannot rule out having to make redundancies.”