Hospital braced for industrial action

Borough NHS staff take to the picket line last year
Borough NHS staff take to the picket line last year

WIGAN patients with hospital appointments on Thursday may face delays, bosses have said as NHS workers gear up for a 12-hour strike.

Staff including nurses and midwives have voted in favour of further industrial action in a dispute over pay.

And some ambulance workers are taking part in a 24-hour strike, both on Thursday.

Wigan Infirmary said agreements with unions will ensure emergency and essential services will continue to operate.

But there will be some “potential disruptions”.

Director of Human Resources Jon Lenney said: “Patients’ operations and clinic appointments have been scheduled at times to avoid the strike period where possible.

“Although some patients may experience a delay in appointments scheduled on January 29.”

Discussions between the Department of Health and the unions are ongoing meaning the strike could potentially not go ahead.

Mr Lenney added: “We are aware that discussions are taking place at a national level; which may have an impact on the plans strike action.

“We will be keeping the public and patients informed of developments.”

This latest round of industrial action follows four-hour walkouts in both October and November in a dispute over pay.

Unions say the Government’s refusal to implement a one per cent pay rise for all staff is unacceptable.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said “It has taken months to get the talks started in the NHS pay dispute.

“We are all well aware the pressures on NHS staff who have worked tremendously hard despite government taking an axe to their independent pay review body recommendations.

“Should a tangible offer emerge as a result of these current talks GMB will take that offer back to members. We are not in a position to call the strike off until we have such an offer. Notices have been served to the relevant NHS employers today.”

GMB ambulance members are planning a 24 hours strike, Unison and Unite colleagues the 12 hour action.