Tayside and Central Scotland

NHS Tayside pharmacy support workers begin strike action

Picket line
Image caption A picket line was in place outside Ninewells Hospital in Dundee

NHS Tayside pharmacy support workers have begun strike action in an ongoing dispute over pay gradings.

The Unite union said the dispute related to a "flawed evaluation process" leading to workers being paid at "lower grades than they should be."

NHS Tayside said it "remained committed" to working with the union to resolve the dispute and that "robust contingency plans" were in place.

Picket lines were in place at Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary.

The union said the strike showed the "anger and frustration" its members felt after "years of neglect".

It said "initial progress" had been made with NHS Tayside, but that negotiations had "collapsed" when Health Secretary Jeane Freeman directed the health board to end the talks on the "establishment of an independent process."

'Not directly intervened'

A Scottish government spokesman said that "established procedures" existed for the resolution of "disputes of this nature."

The spokesman said: "The cabinet secretary has not directly intervened in these matters but, when local processes couldn't be completed, the board sought her view and she has asked her officials to provide whatever support and assistance they can in order to bring about a resolution."

NHS Tayside's director of workforce George Doherty said: "We formally referred this matter for independent consideration to the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC).

"This is the senior independent body in NHS Scotland responsible for terms and conditions issues.

"NHS Tayside has always sought to avoid any industrial action and remains committed to working with Unite in accordance with the nationally-agreed framework.

"NHS Tayside hopes that STAC will provide a means of resolution."

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