NHS Tayside pharmacy workers’ strike set to continue ‘for weeks’

NHS Tayside pharmacy workers’ strike set to continue ‘for weeks’

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Courier News, unknown REPORTER Story, CR0013821 Pharmacy Support Workers 'Fury' at NHS Tayside as industrial action continues. Picture shows a group of protesters near Ninewells Hospital. Ninewells Drive, Dundee. Thursday 5th September 2019 Pic Credit - Steve MacDougall / DCT Media

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Union reps believe the ongoing industrial action by NHS Tayside pharmacy workers could go on “for a few more weeks”.

Pharmacy Support workers at NHS Tayside have been on strike since August 19 in a row over pay grades.

Hopes of ending the walkout were dashed last week after the health board failed to secure enough members for an appeals panel to review workers’ banding grade.

Steven Smith, a Unite union rep and pharmacy support worker, said: “We found out last Wednesday that it did not go ahead because the staffside member thought the case was too high profile.

“We haven’t heard anything since then about what is happening.

“I expect the strike to continue for a few more weeks.”

Currently, NHS Tayside’s pharmacy support workers are on the health board’s second lowest pay grade, earning between £17,949 and £20,015 a year.

There is concern, however, that in recent years the role has become “unrecognisable”, with duties from higher paid jobs being filtered down to the lower pay grades.

Steven said: “We are responsible for dispensing drugs for chemotherapy and other controlled drugs.

“People have to do a two-year course at college to do this.”

In a statement last week following the breakdown in job evaluation process, George Doherty, director of workforce for NHS Tayside, said: “Unfortunately, due to circumstances outwith the control of NHS Tayside and Unite, we have been unable to secure the required participation of panellists in the second part of the process.

“Therefore NHS Tayside has now asked for expert national guidance from the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) on the appropriate next steps in line with national frameworks agreed with all NHS trade unions.”

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