NHS: Strikes at Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals set … – Lancashire Telegraph

A HOSPITAL strike is now set to run until mid November, becoming one of the longest running disputes in the UK.
Biomedical scientists at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospitals, originally took strike action from May 31 to July 28 over a pay dispute, with the Unite union claiming that the 21 scientists are owed a total of £1000s worth of back pay.
They are now set to resume industrial action on Friday August 20, which will continue until Thursday November 11.
Unite regional officer Keith Hutson said: “Our members have voted to strike until November as they have been met by a dogmatic management intent on wastefully racking up thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to break this strike, rather than do the honourable thing and stick to the 2019 agreement to pay the upgrade that was promised.
“This is the worst example of macho-management and unworthy of the ethos underpinning the NHS.
He added: “We estimate that the sum spent on undermining this strike by paying overtime to non-union biomedical scientists and bringing in managers could reach more than £150,000, three times the cost of paying the biomedical scientists what was agreed.
“The irony of this dispute is that the 2019 agreement was aimed at dealing with the recruitment and retention crisis in the biomedical scientist profession.
“We believe that the public, who have given our members magnificent support over the last three months, will find this refusal to engage inexplicable at a time of national crisis.”
Unite says that the scientists are owed back pay of between several hundred pounds to £8,000, as managers had not honoured the 2019 agreement to upgrade them from band five to band six on the Agenda for Change scale.
However, the Trust responded that its employees have in fact been rebanded and that any claims for further back pay would be considered on an individual basis.
ELHT operational director of HR Kate Quinn said: “This action is the latest phase of an ongoing dispute between the Trust and some of our biomedical scientists, which has been a long and difficult process for all involved.
“This action has been ongoing for some weeks now and colleagues in this team have done an incredible job in ensuring patient safety is not compromised by working extra shifts and managers have also stepped in to cover too.
“We are continuing to support everyone affected and we do want to resolve this as soon as possible so that the team can return to normal.
“We’ve taken part in numerous talks with union colleagues representing Unite to try and resolve this dispute and have always expressed our willingness to keep discussions open.
“The Trust remains confident we have followed a legal process with colleagues and to make further payments would not be appropriate.
“We will continue to work with everyone and hope to conclude this as soon as possible.”
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