Blackburn and Burnley biomedical scientists have voted to stage a third strike. The action will begin on 15 December and ends on 8 March in a dispute over unpaid wages. 

The skilled NHS staff at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust are owed on average between £8000 and £12,000.

Unite has called on the Trust to meet with the union. NHS managers now have a “short window of opportunity” to finally resolve this dispute before Christmas. The Trust only needs to honour the agreement it reached with the workers back in 2019.

The scientists have already been on strike in two periods this year, between 31 May and 28 July and between 20 August and 11 November. 

The dispute centres on unpaid wages owed to the scientists by the Trust for the period between 2010 and 2019. The workers have been paid at a band 6 on the NHS Agenda for Change pay scale since 2019. However, at varying stages the workers became eligible to be paid at band 6 since 2010. The skilled NHS staff are owed on average between £8000 and £12,000. Unite negotiated a deal for the workers to be paid what they were owed in 2019 but the Trust reneged on the deal.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Trust now has a short window of opportunity to finally resolve this dispute. We hope management at the Trust can find enough seasonal good will to honour their agreement with the scientists.

“If the strike goes ahead the blame will lie squarely with the Trust. For the patients, for staff and for the taxpayer I urge the Trust’s Chief Executive Martin Hodgson to honour the agreement and end the dispute.”

Last month the union submitted new detailed evidence to Martin Hodgson the Trust's Chief Executive which supports the workers' claim. The evidence includes an e-mail from Mr Hodgson from 2019 where he acknowledges that the uplift to band 6 applied to the biomedical scientists.