Union ballots risk patient safety when we need discussion, not disruption


22 / 7 / 2014 4.24pm

The NHS Employers organisation is calling for discussion, not disruption, in response to today’s announcements by Unison, the Royal College of Midwives, Unite and the GMB of ballots in August to September for possible industrial action.
Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said:
“I know trade unions don't intend to distress patients when talking about strikes, but it does distress them. It's not fair on them yet they will bear the brunt of any industrial action.

“I completely understand the frustration and anger staff and trade unions feel after a prolonged period of pay restraint and the decision not to fully implement the pay review body recommendations. They are clearly annoyed at the government and I understand they will want to protest. But timing ballots and industrial action for the busy winter period is bound to impact on care. This is a critical time when a union campaign risks a prolonged period of real distress for patients this winter. Employers will do all they can to maximise patent safety and emergency care.
“I urge and plead with the unions to take patients out of the dispute and instead focus on meaningful discussions to find a sustainable way out of pay restraint. Let's explore longer term deals, protect those on lower pay and the living wage. The NHS has enjoyed good relations between trade unions and employers and I want that to continue. We need more discussion not more disruption."


Notes for editors:

  • The NHS Employers organisation is the recognised body for employers in the NHS, supporting them to put patients first. See www.nhsemployers.org for more information.
  • Follow NHS Employers on Twitter at @nhsemployers or follow Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, at @NHSE_Dean.

Contact details:
If you have a media enquiry, please contact the press office:
Mike Foster
Senior Media Officer
NHS Employers
Tel: 020 7799 8671
Email: mike.foster@nhsemployers.org 
For out of hours media enquiries, please contact the duty press officer on 07880 500 726.

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