Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Day solidarity with mid-Yorkshire

Today, May Day, is a day for solidarity.

UNISON members employed at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust - where the Union is balloting all our members for strike action, need that solidarity today (http://m.morleyobserver.co.uk/news/local/unison-to-ballot-3-000-members-at-mid-yorkshire-hospitals-trust-1-5626886) as they prepare for a branch-wide ballot.

Adrian O'Malley, Unison Mid Yorkshire branch secretary, said: "As we expected the Trust is pushing forward with more downbandings and job losses in other departments. Clinical Nurse Specialists, Dental Nurses and more Admin staff are at risk of job and pay cuts. At the same time the Trust is employing more senior managers and has given over £4 million to private management consultants Ernst and Young.

"We have been forced into balloting our whole membership as the Trust is unwilling to discuss any alternatives to the downbandings (pay cuts)."

"The Trust is holding a gun to its staff's heads and saying take a pay cut or your sacked. We cannot allow this to continue. Industrial relations within the Trust have broken down due to the senior managements bullying."

Our members in mid-Yorkshire offer a refreshing alternative to the failed approach of swallowing attacks on pay and conditions to save jobs. As the North West Region pointed out to the National Joint Council Committee in local government, we've had both a pay freeze and massive job losses in local government over recent years. The health service faces similar medicine.

After the premature ending of the public service pensions dispute (following the biggest strike action for decades on 30 November 2011), last year - 2012 - saw the lowest level of official strike action since records began. In the twelve months to November 2012 only 250,000 working days were lost to strike action (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/january-2013/statistical-bulletin.html#tab-Labour-disputes--not-seasonally-adjusted-).

(Which is to say, in the whole year that followed the strike action on 30 November 2011, the sum total of all the officially recorded strike action was perhaps a quarter of the action which took place on that single day.)

However, 2013 has seen a modest resurgence of action, including by the CWU and PCS.

The decision of UNISON health workers in mid-Yorkshire to ballot for branch-wide action is a timely inspiration to us all - particularly in UNISON.



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