Talks between NGH and striking scientists break down

Northampton General Hospital
Northampton General Hospital

Talks about Northampton General Hospital blood test scientists coming back to work have collapsed today, union representatives have said.

Unite and hospital HR bosses had met this morning in a second round of talks chaired by intermediaries of Acas as both parties sought terms on which they scientists would come back.

But Mick Orpin, Unite regional officer said, from the union’s point of view, the talks were a disaster.

He said:“We hoped that Acas talks would be the beginning of meaningful negotiations, instead the trust refused point blank negotiate its ‘sign or be sacked’ ultimatum.

“We’re deeply disappointed at Northampton General Hospital’s bull headed stance following the breakdown of Acas talks. “It’s a bitter blow to the men and women biomedical scientists and support staff who have been locked out of the workplace for two weeks today for daring to stand up to the trust’s bully-boy tactics.

“We’ll continue the fight to get justice for Northampton General Hospital’s biomedical scientists and support staff.”

The Unite union members, who now number 58, have not been back to work at NGH for two weeks because of a long-running disagreement over proposed cuts in overtime pay.

NGH bosses said they can come back as long as they sign a contract that guarantees they will work to a safe standard.

But the workers have now voted to be on strike, leaving colleagues who had agreed to the deal to operate the blood test machines and perform safety checks on the results.