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9 September 2010

Health workers' victory

HOSPITAL WORKERS, Unison members in Calderstones Health branch (centred on Clitheroe, Lancashire), faced proposals to introduce 'super-flexible' contracts and work patterns that would have reduced the hospital's qualified nursing care.

The Unison branch said they would ballot members for strike action if these proposals were imposed. A demonstration was organised through the village of Whalley, which attracted strong public support, including from the policeman on duty and a local shopkeeper who gave protesters ice creams! Faced with such opposition inside and outside the hospital, the employer backed down and a negotiated settlement has been agreed.

East Lancashire Health branch (centred on Blackburn and nearby towns), faced similar proposals that would have downgraded nursing and healthcare staff and reduced service provision to children's hospital services. Again, a determined stand and preparedness to ballot for strike action has resulted in negotiations that are expected to result in an agreement acceptable to the union.