Staff confront bosses at Dorset County Hospital over regional pay cartel (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Staff confront bosses at Dorset County Hospital over regional pay cartel
STAFF confronted bosses at Dorset County Hospital over their controversial decision to join a regional pay cartel.
Board members arriving at their monthly meeting were met by around 50 protesters angry at the hospital’s involvement in a consortium of 20 trusts in the South West looking at pay, terms and conditions.
Union representatives also had a chance to ask questions of the board at the meeting.
Area organiser for Unison South West Jon Dunn said he was impressed so many staff had turned out to lobby the board members, with some even coming straight off a 12-hour night shift to join the protest.
He said he hoped the board would take note of the strength of feeling among staff and consider withdrawing from the consortium.
Mr Dunn said: “The trust board has it in its power to leave the consortium. There are national pay discussions ongoing and we have a couple of issues which we are prepared to negotiate on that could achieve economies.”
He added that a move towards regional pay would see staff look elsewhere for a more attractive package of pay, terms and conditions, which would see healthcare in the region suffer.
Martin Shepherd from the Unite union has worked at the hospital as a pharmacist for 27 years.
He told board members: “Overall, the morale in the hospital is as low as I have ever seen it in 27 years.”
Also joining in the protest were members of the GMB union, the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives.
Responding to questions at the meeting, Dorset County Hospital’s director of human resources Mark Power said the trust would wait to see what concrete proposals emerge from the work of the consortium before deciding on whether to proceed with them or not.
He said that the hospital had made savings across the board and needed to look at staff costs, which accounted for two thirds of its expenditure and were rising year on year.
Mr Power said: “If we are to safeguard hospital services and jobs, then we must look at all other options for controlling a pay bill that is becoming unaffordable.”
The board turned down a request from the unions to present directly to members when it does look at the completed business case that will be put forward by the consortium.
However, Mr Power said he will meet with representatives and will make it clear to all board members what views the staff take.