Unite members at the blood sciences department of St George’s Hospital in South London are now being fairly rewarded for moving to a 24/7 shift pattern – but only after voting to take action.
“This is not only a groundbreaking agreement, it has also given people confidence that they can resist unreasonable behaviour by managers,” said Unite officer, Rose Keeping. “It has also shown people the value of joining Unite – we now have twice as many members in the department.”
Management at the hospital in Tooting had wanted reduced overtime rates and offered only one month’s salary in return for the major change in working patterns.
The St George’s workers responded by voting to work only their contracted weekly hours. The settlement was reached the day before the overtime ban was due to start.
“Our members were determined to negotiate a safe and robust shift system that could allow for spikes in demand. The blood-testing service has to cope with emergencies - often in the small hours - as well as routine analysis of samples,” said Rose Keeping.
“This was achieved in the settlement, along with improved overtime rates and a one-off goodwill payment six times higher than the original offer.” The deal was agreed in November.
Unite is the leading trade union in the health sector, with over 100,000 members across all occupations and professional groups.
For more information on the health sector in L&E Region, contact Sarah Cook
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.