UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Nurses and practitioners vote on action against cuts

Four hundred theatre nurses and practitioner UNISON members at St Georges hospital, South London, have started balloting in an “indicative” ballot that could lead to official industrial action at St Georges by nurses for the first time in twenty three years.

UNISON has been angered at the plans to implement Tory Led Government health cuts at St Georges. In particular nurses and technical staff are angry at the decision to press ahead with major changes to the rotas, duties and pay of four hundred theatre nurses and practitioners. These changes would see staff suffer pay cuts, day staff forced to work night duty and some of those with childcare commitments forced to quit theatres. This means the loss of many dedicated and experienced NHS staff. Nursing staff (many of whom are women) will also be forced to work a late shift which finishes at 10pm, forcing them to make their way back home across London in the dark.

UNISON Regional Officer Michael Walker condemned the move and said, “When this government of millionaires are telling hard pressed professional theatre nurses that they need to cut their pay, work nights and walk home late at night, you can understand why nursing staff are so angry.

“It would seem that the government and some managers have totally lost all understanding of compassion and fairness in the way they treat dedicated nurses, in their quest to implement government cuts to the NHS.”

UNISON Branch Secretary Geoff Thorne said, “It is regrettable that, despite UNISON’s best efforts to resolve these issues, it now looks inevitable that we are heading towards industrial action by nurses and practitioners, a situation created by management’s refusal to sit down and discuss child care and pay protection arrangements.