Bristol and Weston-super-Mare hospitals warned to prepare for 'wave of strikes' over winter
Hospitals in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare could see a "wave of strikes" over the winter, one health boss has warned.
The chief executive of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston (UHBW) says it comes as there is “growing appetite for industrial action” among staff.
Trade unions representing staff in the organisation, which runs hospitals across Bristol as well as Weston General, will be balloting their members for industrial action.
Eugene Yafele, UHBW chief executive, told the organisation’s board on Wednesday (12 October): “There is a growing appetite for industrial action and therefore we are preparing for a wave of strikes during this winter across the range of clinical disciplines that we have in our organisation.”
He said that the organisation was looking at how it could coordinate and protect services and that he expected national guidance to be issued.
Mr Yafele added: “This is something that our colleagues are going to be doing reluctantly, should they sign up for it. But still gives us cause for concern because of the difficult nature of the strike action and the fact that you can’t plan for one isolated incident.
“It might be a wave of strikes which makes it even more challenging.”
He said they were “working as closely as we can” with trade union representatives and were looking at how they could support staff.
Director of people, Emma Wood, added that they were looking how they could support staff with financial problems.
However, she said: “We are limited in terms of national terms and conditions around pay. But there are some other things we can do.”
Ideas currently being looked at include locating food banks inside NHS libraries and providing discounted meals or free soup and rolls for staff at workplaces.
Ms Wood also said they wanted to bring forward when staff were paid for extra shifts, which are currently paid at the end of the month.
Credit: John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporting Service