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Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury: Bitter row as hospital strike looms

There have been than 300 winter deaths linked to cold weather in Leeds, according to the latest figures.

There have been than 300 winter deaths linked to cold weather in Leeds, according to the latest figures.

  • by Mark Lavery
 

A union chief has blasted hospital bosses for requesting that some groups of staff be exempt from a three-day-strike, which is due to start on November 20.

Unison regional organiser Jim Bell said he is “staggered by the hypocrisy” of chiefs at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs hospitals in Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury.

More than 300 admin and clerical workers are set to walk out in a row over the axing of 70 jobs and slashing pay of 275 staff by up to £2,800 a year.

Mr Bell said trust chiefs have requested that some staff – including A&E receptionists and cancer waiting list admin workers – are granted exemption from strike action.

He said: “On one hand they are saying they want to cut our members’ pay because they don’t rate their skills.

“Then they are begging for exemptions so members won’t go on strike. I’m staggered by the hypocrisy.”

Graham Briggs, director of human resources at the trust, said: “In good faith we responded to assurances from Unison that they would support any critical areas after we had assessed our ability to provide those services people rely on – in this case, receiving and booking patients into A&E and a range of administrative support to cancer sufferers.

“Our request was part of planning to ensure people who need urgent care are not put at risk. We will respect whatever decision Unison make.

“Either way, we will have plans in place to ensure patient safety is not compromised.”

 

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