Scientists on Covid front line in East Lancashire plan more strikes over pay dispute

Biomedical scientists in the frontline of Covid-19 testing at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust are ramping up their industrial action with a further three weeks of strikes in June, after claiming that bosses reneged on an upgrading pay agreement.

By Dominic Collis
Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:33 pm
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:36 pm
Burnley General Hospital
Burnley General Hospital

Unite the union said its biomedical scientist members, who analyse patient blood samples at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and the Burnley General Teaching Hospital, will strike continuously from 12-01pm Monday May 31st until 6-59am Monday June 21st.

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The 21 biomedical scientists, employed by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, have been striking during night, weekend and late shifts since May 7– but the new strike action means that they will be striking all day for three weeks.

Unite warned that the new strikes increase pressure on whether the accident and emergency department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital will be able to remain open in June.

Unite said that its 21 members were owed back pay of between several hundred pounds to £8,000, as managers had failed to honour an agreement to upgrade them from band 5 to band 6 on the Agenda for Change (AfC) scale. The back pay issue goes back as far as 2010 for some members.