A pathology recruitment crisis at a north east London NHS trust has exacerbated a dispute over new shift patterns which could see biomedical scientists lose about £10,000 a year, Unite said today (July 11).
Unite said that its 64 biomedical scientists were currently holding a consultative ballot to see if they wished to move to a full-scale industrial ballot in their dispute with Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.
The crux of the dispute is the lack of consultation by trust bosses in planning to move the present ‘on call’ system to a seven day a week shift system, which, Unite says, will cost its members about £10,000 a year in lost income.
Unite members will be holding a protest demo at Queens Hospital, Romford, Rom Valley Way, RM7 0AG between 8am-9am and 12.30pm-1.30pm on Monday (July 15) – the same day as the consultation ballot closes.
“Our members have recently discovered that the trust management intends to implement the shift system next month, although this has not been communicated directly with staff or the union, which is deplorable,” said Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon.
“Our members stand to lose about £10,000 a year in ‘on call’ payments, yet management has consistently failed to engage in meaningful consultations with the staff or Unite to address these legitimate concerns,” she added.
“Many of members simply cannot do the shifts being proposed because of their parental caring responsibilities – many have young children.
“The situation is exacerbated by a recruitment crisis in the pathology department and many of the shifts will not have a safe level of staffing, which should be of serious concern for the 750,000 people covered by the trust, who rely on this service for the analysing of vital blood samples.
“Unite has always been willing to discuss these issues with the trust, but we have been met with a brick wall of managerial intransigence, hence the holding of the consultative ballot.”