UNISON has today warned of disruption to hospitals across Birmingham as staff employed to provide sterile serves to all the major trusts in the area take industrial action this Thursday (26th November 2015).
Employees of BBraun Sterilog will be striking over the decision by their employer to dismiss any staff who refuse to give up their breaks while at work. There will be an all out, 24 hour stoppage from 0001hrs on the 26th November 2015 and staff will work to rule from then on.
The staff provide specialist services to sterilise medical instruments used in hospital theatres and specialist units. The action is likely to affect hospitals such as The QE, the Children’s Hospital and the major A+E departments in the city.
The dispute follows an attempt by BBraun to force staff to give up breaks. The work they carry out is in a controlled environment which prevents them from taking refreshments while in the workplace, irrespective of the temperatures, protective equipment they have to wear or a number of other difficult working conditions. Many of these staff have had these breaks for a number of years which predate their employment with BBraun before being transferred to the private company from the NHS.
Ray Salmon UNISON West Midlands Regional Organiser said:
“It is disappointing that this has come to a strike. We have tried to resolve this amicably but BBraun have consistently refused to listen to their staff or offer a sensible resolution. Once our members made it clear they didn’t feel they could give up their breaks the company changed from a reasonable employer to take a hard line and have taken steps to dismiss staff’.
Despite the potential impact on major NHS services across Birmingham the NHS trusts have refused to assist and resolve the dispute.”
Ray Salmon added
‘I have never experienced such a poor response from the NHS Trusts on an issue like this. They transferred their staff to BBraun and despite contracting them to provide the service they think they can ignore this action. This is a very dangerous position to take.’