Len McCluskey’s message to NHS chief: ‘Stop your war o...

Len McCluskey’s message to NHS chief: ‘Stop your war on NHS workers and negotiate’

17 July 2014

Unite’s Len McCluskey, general secretary of the UK’s largest union, will visit locked out NHS biomedical staff tomorrow (Friday 18 July) to highlight the appalling treatment they’ve received at the hands of their NHS employer; Northampton General Hospital.

WHEN: Friday 18 July 2014
WHERE: Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, Cliftonville, Northampton, NN1 5BD, on the picket line on the approach to the hospital’s accident and emergency.

Unite had requested a meeting between Len McCluskey and the trust’s CEO, Dr Sonia Swart, to discuss the workers’ plight, but the hospital chief is unavailable tomorrow.

Seventy eight biomedical scientists and support staff, working for Northampton General Hospital have been locked out of work for nearly a month for refusing to accept an imposed £6,000 a year pay cut and a doubling in their night time shift patterns.

The visit comes as the union’s legal injunction to stop the trust from using agency staff to break a lawful industrial dispute is expected to be heard by a high court judge in the Administrative Court in London tomorrow (Friday 18 July).

Speaking before the visit, Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “I’m calling on Dr Sonia Swart to abandon her war on NHS workers and get back around the table to negotiate a solution. This dispute has far-reaching implications for industrial relations across the NHS and is destroying the goodwill of dedicated NHS staff.

“Under no circumstances should NGH’s bullying and intimidatory tactics signal a new era of aggressive employee relations in the government’s newly privatised NHS.

“We’re witnessing the first ever instance of union-busting in the NHS. NGH’s callous attempts to starve our members into signing new contracts on significantly worse terms are scandalous and must not become a precedent in the NHS.

 “The people of Northampton deserve to know why these highly professional men and women trained to degree level and beyond with hundreds of years of experience between them are now spending their days locked out at the hospital gates. This is happening while the hospital sends complex cases many miles away to London’s Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals for testing.

Talks at the conciliation service Acas broke down last week (Thursday 10 July) within hours over the trust's refusal to remove its `sign or be sacked' ultimatum to staff.

The NGH's biomedical scientists and support staff are the only staff group facing the loss of £6,000 a year under the new deals, a drop of around 15 per cent in their yearly income, and a doubling of their night shift working.    


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

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web:

Notes to editors:

Under regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 – it is an offence for an employment business to supply or introduce ‘work seekers’ to a hirer to perform the duties normally performed by a person taking part in official industrial action.

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