03/11/2012 - NHS Jobs Under Threat

5,500 British workers could face axe at just ONE NHS Trust if they don't sign a new pay deal.
Ruthless North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is threatening to sack its nurses, receptionists and admin staff if they do not accept new terms which would stop them being paid overtime when covering for ill collegues. The Trust wants to remove sick pay enhancements from staff contracts at Stockton’s North Tees University Hospital and University Hospital of Hartlepool. It is understood staff can more than double normal rates if they choose to work extra hours at weekends or in evenings.
Staff have already been told they will be dismissed on March 31 next year unless they sign the new contracts. If workers do not sign it unions have warned EVERYONE could be axed then re-employed on worse terms and conditions.
HR director for the Trust Clare Curran warned the Royal College of Nursing “It is possible that such consent may not be achieved. One option in those circumstances would be to issue notice to terminate the contracts of employment of all relevant employees and issue contracts to take effect immediately which incorporate the desired change.”
Glenn Turp, of the RCN, responded “It is intimidating the workforce to get them to sign new, less favourable contracts. In 30 years of working with the NHS, I don’t think I have ever seen a more bullying approach.”
Britain's largest union UNITE warned that hospital wards could close and operations be cancelled if the northern NHS trust goes ahead with the plans, they have also written to 40 local GPs warning them of the consequences if the sackings go ahead.
In the letter to the GPs signed by joint unions, UNITES Ms Maskell said: "With 5,452 members of staff being threatened with redundancy on 31 March 2013, there is a very high risk that staff will not engage with detrimental terms and conditions, and simply not be employed on 1 April 2013. If that were to happen to a significant extent, the trust would not be able to function.
"The NHS workforce will always put patient safety first, and we will be happy to work with you to ensure that patients do not suffer any detriment as a result of the trust's decision."
The trust covers 365,000 people living in East Durham, Hartlepool, Stockton on Tees and part of Sedgefield. Unite and joint unions are advising their members not to sign new contracts, and have called for urgent talks with the trust over the dispute.
The drastic measure underlines the financial turmoil in the NHS under Tory PM David Cameron, who two years ago insisted he would not take risks with the service.
Ian Bell