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Work/Life Balance Problems Continue In Many Workplaces In The UK

BT, EE, o2, Royal Mail and the NHS are just some of the UK's major employers that don't do enougth to ensure their workforce enjoy a healthy work/life balance. The lack of which, erodes the quality of home life for many workers and creates stress and anxiety.

The most recent dispute which has led to industrial action, involves the NHS and Untite members working at Newcastle’s hospitals.

The Union has issued this press release:

More than 30 maintenance staff at Newcastle’s hospitals will be balloted for strike action in a work/life balance row, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, announced.

Unite said that NHS bosses had failed to provide convincing evidence for the changes in shift working for its members that, the union warns, could endanger patient safety.

Thirty-five electricians, engineers, plumbers, maintenance assistants and supervisors employed by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, the Dental Hospital and Freeman Hospital, will start balloting for strike action over the shift changes on Monday 1st April.

The ballot closes on Thursday 11th April.

The crux of the dispute is that 08.00-16.00 shift will change once every four weeks to 12.00 till 20.00 for the day shift. The other aspect of the dispute is introducing a new 24/7 pattern when the team currently made up of two skilled craft employees and one assistant will be reduced to one craft person.

Unite regional officer Dave Telford said:

“What we have here is an erosion of our members’ work/life balance. The trust bosses have produced no convincing evidence for these changes – despite repeated requests by Unite.

We have serious concerns about patient safety with the 24/7 shift changes.

You could have a case of an elderly patient being trapped in a lift, or fire alarms could go off without warning – resulting in the one member of the maintenance team on duty at night requiring the assistance of the on-call engineer, who would obviously take some time to attend from home, leaving patients potentially trapped in a lift or evacuated due to an alarm for significantly longer than necessary.

Unite is open for a constructive dialogue with the trust management to avert any possible strike action, but we are not going to have our members’ employment conditions rode roughshod over when no coherent data for the need for such changes has, as yet, been produced.”

Source: Unite

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