STAFF at hospitals in Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury went out on strike yesterday in a row over jobs and pay cuts.
Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust workers held a day of action which included a rally at Wakefield Town Hall as they protested over plans to axe 70 clerical jobs and cut the pay of around 275 other staff.
The industrial action came after a ballot of 537 Unison members last month, which gave overwhelming support to industrial action.
And union bosses have warned there will be more action to come if the dispute cannot be settled.
Unison regional organiser Jim Bell said: “After we have taken the strike action on Thursday we will discuss with members how they want to escalate the action.
“That will be a matter for discussion and agreement but I feel sure this strike will only be the start of what we are prepared to do to protect members’ jobs and pay.”
Mr Bell said at risk staff, who include medical secretaries, have suffered a two year pay freeze and now face redundancy or a £2,000 pay cut.
Graham Briggs, Director of HR at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, insisted contingency plans during the strike action had seen services running as normal.
He added: “Our absolute priority is to provide safe, high quality care for our patients, which is sustainable for the longer term. To do this we must have a workforce that is financially sustainable but which is also designed to best meet our service needs.
“The proposed change in pay has been part of a review of some administrative and clerical job roles, which also includes a reduction in posts. So far, we have worked successfully with staff and their representatives to facilitate redeployments and therefore no one is being made redundant from the Trust that wants to remain in employment.
“We cannot escape the reality of our current position; in order to meet our financial challenge we have to reduce our pay bill.”