78 locked out NHS workers protest against trust mistreatment

78 locked out NHS workers protest against trust mistreatment

14 July 2014

Photo call of locked out biomedical scientists

WHEN: Tuesday 15 July 2014 at 10.30am
WHERE: Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, Cliftonville, Northampton, NN1 5BD, on the picket line on approach to the hospital’s accident and emergency. 

`Bound to poverty, gagged from speaking out' – 78 locked out NHS workers protest against Trust mistreatment

The 78 biomedical scientists stopped from doing their vital work at Northampton General Hospital (NGH), will protest against the appalling bullying by their employers who demand that they sign contracts that will see the staff work longer for less pay. 

The workers were shut out of the NGH by their employer on June 26, in a move described by their union, Unite, as a blatant attempt to `starve' the workers into accepting inferior terms.

The biomedical scientists will pose outside the NGH wearing gags and handcuffs in protest over the detrimental deals they are being forced to sign against their will, or be sacked.

This is believed to be the first ever instance of a `lock out' of NHS staff, a tactic more commonly used by union-busting employers.

In addition, Unite's team of `Draculas' will take to the streets of Northampton, symbolising that the vampires want to take control of the bloodbank, to draw the public's attention to the appalling treatment of these vital NHS professionals.  Public support has been incredible with over 5,000 people signing the petition in the past week.

Talks aimed at resolving the dispute broke down last week when the employers refused to pull the `sign or be sacked' ultimatum.  Unite has called upon the employers to think again and get back to Acas to find a negotiated solution to the dispute.

Ahead of the protest, Mick Orpin, Unite regional officer, said: “This is the most appalling case of intimidation by a NHS employer I have ever encountered.  These tactics are more akin to aggressive, union-loathing employers who believe that threat is the only way to manage.

"There is simply no place for this sort of aggression in our public services, least of all in our NHS which is built upon professionalism and cooperation.

"I say to Dr Sonia Swart, the trust’s CEO, to think again.  NGH ought to be a beacon for our community, not a place of fear for its workforce."

The trust’s CEO Dr Sonia Swart earns £180,000 a year compared to the average biomedical scientist on between £21,000 and £35, 000 a year. Pathology support staff earn £18,000 a year.

The new contracts will see workers forced to double their night time shifts from seven days in 14 weeks to 14 days in 14 weeks, while out-of-hours payments are slashed by 80 per cent.


For further information please contact Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146 777

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.
  • Sign the petition to get NGH biomedical scientists and support staff back to work at: