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Union says it will take 'continuous strike action' over pharmacy support workers' pay

Unite the Union has confirmed that pharmacy support workers in NHS Tayside will begin “continuous strike action” on 19 August 2019.

The union, generally known in the UK as ‘Unite’, says the action will include a ban on overtime working.

In June 2019, the union balloted its members on strike action after claims that pharmacy support staff were being paid according to a lower pay grade than they should be. In a turnout of 90%, all those who voted supported ‘strike action’ and ‘action short of a strike’.

Although talks between NHS Tayside and Unite are ongoing, the union confirmed on 14 July 2019 that it had now served notice of strike action.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Unite said its members “wish to keep the right to strike on the table during these talks to focus attention on reaching a positive outcome”. 

“Strike action is clearly not ideal for our members, patients or their families, however our members feel this is the only option open to them at this time,” she said.

George Doherty, director of workforce at NHS Tayside, said: “While [NHS Tayside is] disappointed to receive this correspondence, we have met with Unite representatives and have jointly agreed a way forward which will allow us to continue our considerations with the aim of resolving this ongoing issue.”

He added that the board had “detailed contingency plans to deal with issues such as these involving our workforce to ensure we can continue to deliver patient care and treatment across our sites”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206814

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