Adrian O’Malley, Secretary, Unison, Mid Yorkshire Health, personal capacity
Unison staff at Pinderfields hospital strike, photo Iain Dalton

Unison staff at Pinderfields hospital strike, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

As the government continues to do all it can to dismantle and privatise the NHS, workers’ pay and conditions are under constant threat.

In Mid Yorkshire, the gloves are now well and truly off in our battle against the health trust’s attacks on workers.

The Trust is pushing forward with more downbandings (pay cuts of thousands of pounds) and job cuts in other departments.

Clinical nurse specialists, dental nurses and more admin staff are at risk of job and pay cuts.

But at the same time the Trust is employing more senior managers and has given over £4 million to private management consultants Ernst and Young.

After a series of well-supported strikes by admin and clerical staff at the end of 2012 and the beginning of this year, talks with the Trust broke down in March.

Now we are holding a branch-wide strike ballot which was agreed on the last day of the strike on 1 February. This affects 3,000 Unison members across Dewsbury, Pontefract and Pinderfields hospitals.

The ballot forms went out with a message from Unison general secretary Dave Prentis urging members to vote ‘yes’.

We also sent out an update on the discussions and why a ‘yes’ vote is needed to resist the Trust’s attacks on our terms and conditions.

Unison regional officials have been meeting the workforce in the last few days and discussing with them about the need to vote ‘yes’ in the strike ballot. They have had a very good response and have been recruiting to the union as well.

The Trust has responded by attacking the branch in the press and workplace, including massive attacks on trade union facility time. They are clearly attempting to destroy union resistance within the Trust.

They have gone to the local press with their propaganda. But this has backfired, particularly when people see the attacks on staff alongside reports about the millions of pounds being sucked into the PFI scheme for Pinderfields hospital.

This has resulted in our stewards becoming even more keen to get the ‘yes’ vote out.

A massive ‘yes’ vote is vital not just to reverse the pay cuts but also to defend our union.

The ballot ends on 28 May.

Please bombard the Trust HQ with protests about these attacks, particularly on trade union facilities:

Trust Headquarters, Trust Headquarters and Education Centre, Pinderfields Hospital, Aberford Road, Wakefield WF1 4DG

Switchboard: 0844 811 8110 or 01924 541000