Trust ‘seeking retribution’ in hospital union shake-up

A UNION steward could be axed in the latest twist to an increasingly bitter hospital pay dispute.

The Press understands Adrian O’Malley, Unison branch secretary at the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, could be made redundant.

Trust bosses are proposing his post, which is funded by Mid-Yorkshire, be scrapped or turned into a part-time job-share.

This would see him do a day a week at Dewsbury District and Pinderfields hospitals and half a day in Pontfract.

The remaining two-and-half days a week would go to other unions, most likely the Royal College of Nursing.

And in another twist, the trust are proposing to move Unison’s office to the human resources department.

Unison regional officer Jim Bell said that would make employees reluctant to speak out, if they would be prepared to come forward at all.

He said: “Our office is near the canteen and it ensures staff have privacy as it’s nowhere near the management.”

The Press has seen documents from a meeting on May 7 which confirms the trust’s intentions.

These papers propose, the dis-establishment of the full-time Unison convenor and paid secretary; a redistribution of these resources to other major recognised unions; and relocation of the union office to the Gwyn Jones building at Pinderfields.

Mr Bell accused Mid-Yorkshire of seeking retribution for Unison’s campaign against pay cuts for clerical workers. He said: “It surely can’t be a co-incidence that this comes at a time when we’re balloting our members on industrial action.”

The trust’s director of human resources, Graham Briggs, insisted the moves are about doing away with the need for strikes.

He said: “We believe genuine partnership working is the right direction if we are to achieve our ambitions for the future.

“This is why the trust has launched consultation on a proposed new partnership agreement.

“The agreement seeks to invite ACAS to work with the trust and staff to redefine our future relationship.

“It seeks to move away from appeals, disputes, strikes and delays and encourages staff to work together to meet health care priorities.”

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