Socialist Worker

Tayside pharmacists dispense a solution to pay dispute

Issue No. 2668

Picketing in Perth

Picketing in Perth (Pic: Lorna Robertson on Twitter)

Pharmacy support workers at NHS Tayside began an indefinite strike on Monday.

Pickets were out at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary.

The dispute relates to a flawed job evaluation process which the Unite union says has led to a number of grading issues.

This has left some workers being paid at a lower grade than they should be.

Pickets on Monday chanted, “What do we want? Band 3.—When do we want it? Now!”

NHS Tayside has admitted that the job evaluation process was not followed through to its rightful conclusion and some workers were not given a right of appeal.

But they have not paid up. In a ballot 100 percent of pharmacy support workers voted for action on a 90 percent turnout.

Unite has criticised Scottish government health secretary Jeane Freeman.

The union said that “initial progress” had been made with NHS Tayside.

But negotiations “collapsed” when Freeman directed the health board to end the talks on the “establishment of an independent process.”

Susan Robertson, Unite regional industrial officer, said, “Pharmacy support workers in NHS Tayside have been severely let down by the cabinet secretary for health.”

A Scottish government spokesperson said that “established procedures” existed for the resolution of “disputes of this nature”.

Roads lead to a Scottish Borders strike

Workers in the roads department at Scottish Borders council (SBC) are set to strike for 24 hours on Thursday of next week.

Over 86 percent of Unite union members voted for strikes on a 78 percent turnout.

The day of industrial action coincides with a full council meeting. A protest will take place outside SBC headquarters at Newtown St Boswells.

The dispute follows a series of detrimental changes being imposed by SBC to the terms and conditions of workers in the local authority’s roads department.

They include a worsening of the way pensions are built up, and the removal of paid travel time.

Currently, summer standby shifts are voluntary for SBC’s 134 road staff, but bosses are trying to make them mandatory.

Unison union members also oppose the changes.

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