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Unite Pathology workers picketing outside an entrance to the Leeds General Infirmary

Unite Pathology workers picketing outside an entrance to the Leeds General Infirmary

Unite have called out 140 staff at Leeds General Infirmary, St James’ Hospital and Bradford Royal Infirmary in their ongoing dispute over changes to shift patterns. Following last months 24 hour strike, the union has escalated their action to 48 hours strike after management have continued to refuse to negotiate with them. Picket lines on the first day of the strike were well supported with members of Leeds Unite Community branch and other Unite branches coming along to support the pickets.

Iain Dalton spoke to Michael O’Sullivan, a biomedical scientist in Blood-Science Department and Unite rep about the strike

“The dispute is about cuts to hours, its not necessarily about money. At the moment we work in excess of our contracted hours, so the staff in blood sciences are supportive of going onto Agenda for Change terms and conditions, which means we’d only have to work 37 and a half hours a week. At the moment we’re working an on call system which means we work far too many hours. The problem is, if we move onto Agenda for Change, we’re going to be doing 37 and a half hours a week, there’s going to be lots of hours short so shifts are going to be understaffed. We believe thats unsafe.”

“The trust has said that they are committed to resolving the dispute, however the staff met with ACAS on Monday. The guy from ACAS said his diary had been free, but he’d not had any word from the Trust about whether they wanted a meeting with him or not. On Monday night we had an e-mail from the Trust saying that the strike was inevitable.”

Please send messages of protest to the Interim Chief Executive, Chris Reed at chris.reed@leedsth.nhs.uk and messages of support to membership.northeast@unitetheunion.org