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Posted on 3 October 2012 at 13:33 GMT

Mid Yorkshire Health admin staff ballot for strike

Over 500 admin and clerical staff working for Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust are being balloted for strike action.

The strike is against the Trust's plans to make up to 40 staff redundant and "down band" ie cut the pay of over 200 others.

The Trust is trying to save 16 million in a desperate attempt to break even and achieve Foundation Trust status by 2014.

Predictably the Trust board has opted to reduce staff numbers and cut the pay of some of its lowest paid and mainly female workers.

The workers being balloted include medical secretaries, waiting list coordinators, cancer admin and reception staff working at Dewsbury, Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals and clinics across the district.

If implemented, the pay cuts would be between 1,700 and 2,500 a year. The 25 redundancies in the Medical Secretarial department would have a direct impact on the service to the patients and have been opposed by consultants in some departments.

Despite many requests from the trade unions the Trust has still to release the Clinical Impact Assessment it has carried out during the so-called consultation process.

Overwhelming support for action

If the Trust thought that it would have an easy time attacking the terms and conditions of these low paid women they have been shown to be mistaken. Over 150 attended a lobby of the Trust HQ prior to a negotiating meeting in August and in a Unison consultative ballot they voted by 95% for strike action and by 98% for action 'short of strike' action!

The anger of the workers has been strengthened by the revelation that while it was demanding job and pay cuts the Trust has spent over 3 million on private management consultants including 2.5 million to Ernst and Young since December last year.

Ernst and Young has been part of the Admin and Clerical review which recommended the job losses and pay cuts - no doubt in order to justify their inflated fees.

Unison has called for the removal of Ernst and Young from the Trust and is demanding no compulsory redundancies and the withdrawal of the down-bandings.

We are also calling for the nationalisation of the Mid Yorkshire PFI scheme which costs the Trust 40 million a year.

The ballot ends on 19 October and if the vote is yes the strike action will take place in early November.

Adrian O'Malley, Secretary, and Dave Byrom, Chair, of Unison, Mid Yorkshire Health (personal capacity)

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 3 October 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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