The industrial action at the Royal Berkshire Hospital that would have affected tests from GPs, due to start tomorrow (Friday 25 April), has been postponed for two weeks, while the pathologists consider a deal hammered out by Unite, the country’s largest union.
Pathology staff, who test and monitor blood and other specimens, had threatened not to process tests from Berkshire GPs and other outside providers, such as private hospitals, in the dispute about reduced staffing levels affecting patient safety. The staff would have continued to process tests from patients within the hospital.
Unite regional officer Debbie Watson said: “Unite has hammered out a deal with the trust’s management that our members will carefully consider – in the meantime, the industrial action has been postponed for two weeks.
“A key element included an executive member of the trust’s board meeting with Unite reps on a regular basis to discuss matters of concern – this had not been forthcoming up to now.
“Our members will now receive overtime payments for the extra hours worked and it was also agreed not to run one night-time shift.
“We are hopeful that the fine detail can be ironed out in the next couple of weeks between our members and the management. This has been a victory for our members who have stood firm on the important principles of staffing levels and patient safety.”
The dispute started on 1 March when the management moved staff in haematology and transfusion, microbiology, biochemistry and specimen reception onto a 24/7 shift pattern.
For further information please contact: Debbie Watson on 07798 531 029 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
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.