Laboratory staff will vote again in new year

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STRIKE plans by laboratory staff at Wigan Infirmary have been put on hold over the festive period.

Due to a discrepancy in the terms put forward to pathology staff at the hospital, plans for industrial action by members of the Unite union have been shelved - at least for the time being.

The workers will now hold another ballot in the new year over proposals to stage a strike in protest at changes to pay and working conditions.

And it was claimed today that in the original poll some staff may not have realised the terms on which they were voting on.

Unite regional officer Gary Owen said: “Some of our members may have voted on new proposals put forward by hospital chiefs without looking at a key amendment so we will get them to vote again in the new year.”

Some 60 staff employed by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (SRFT), conduct all diagnostic tests (such as blood and urine samples) at all three Wigan hospitals and Salford Royal Hospital.

In September this year they voted to strike over plans to slash the pay and terms and conditions by up to £6,000 a year.

Union bosses say that this was the last straw for most staff.

However, after union chiefs agreed to stall any strike action so negotiations could continue, employees once again voted to reject the latest improved offer put forward.

They have also endured a three-year pay freeze, a cut in payments for working unsocial hours and imposed increases in their pension contributions say Unite.

There has also previously been criticism from some experts about the medical and logistical sense in sending blood and other samples 15 miles through heavy traffic to Salford for tests that are currently carried out on site at Wigan.