Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract: Pickets vent anger over pay cut plans by health chiefs

MEETING: Unison regional organiser Jim Bell addresses the gathering at Dewsbury Town Hall.
MEETING: Unison regional organiser Jim Bell addresses the gathering at Dewsbury Town Hall.
Have your say

Medical secretaries spoke of their anger at a hospital trust’s plans to slash wages as a three-day-strike got underway.

Union leaders at Unison say 150 striking hospital administrative workers were on picket lines outside hospitals at Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract yesterday morning.

And dozens attended a Unison rally at Dewsbury Town hall yesterday afternoon.

They are protesting at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust’s plans to save £630,000 by axing 70 administration and clerical jobs and cutting the pay by ‘downbanding’ around 275 other staff.

Pinderfields Hospital medical secretary Karen Grimaldi, 59, of Wetherby said her annual £20,000 salary could be cut by 20 per cent.

The grandmother-of-one added: “This action will go on until the trust listen to us. I can’t afford to put petrol in my car to get to work. We struggle as it is.”

Andrea Busfield, 39, is a medical secretary in the cardiology unit at Pinderfields. She is striking for the first time in a 21-year NHS career amid fears her £17,500 salary could be cut by £2,500. She added: “I’m absolutely outraged. They have reduced the workforce and the ones left are going to be expected to pick up the same amount of work and then take a 20 per cent pay cut.”

Mid Yorkshire Unison branch secretary Adrian O’Malley said: “We are considering balloting all our 3,000 members at the trust for strike action if the trust doesn’t negotiate, withdraw downbanding and talk to us.”

The debt-hit trust faces a deficit of £26m by the end of the year.

Graham Briggs, the trust’s director of Human resources, said: “Our 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 strike is due to end at midnight on Thursday. (Nov 22)


Childhood obesity on rise in Leeds: Almost one in four children leaving primary school classed as obese