Trust staff fears over new contract hours

Altnagelvin Hospital.
Altnagelvin Hospital.

The Journal has been inundated with calls from Western Trust staff concerned over plans to cut new contracts to 35 hours per week.

Proposals were put before Trust staff that all new starts and those who are promoted through the ranks will no longer be offered a full time 37.5 hour contract.

A spokesperson for the Trust has said the consultation comes as part of measures being undertaken to try and tackle budget deficits within the organisation.

She said: “Like all Health and Social Care Trusts, the Western Trust is facing a very challenging financial environment.

“The Trust must examine ways in which it can make the most efficient and best use of its resources for the most effective provision of patient care and all services have to be looked at in this light.”

However staff contacting the ‘Journal’ have reacted angrily to the consultation.

One staff member, who did not wish to be named, said: “We are already being pushed to the limit. Staff are already working above and beyond their hours to cope with the workload we are facing and now we are being told that a move up the ladder comes alongside a cut in hours?”

Another staff member said: “Morale is at all time low. Employees feel as if they have been treated like dirt on the ground.

“Our fear is that this cut will follow for all of us.”

Trade Union NIPSA have also expressed their concern about the consultation.

A spokesperson said: “NIPSA condemns these plans and calls on the Trust to withdraw them immediately. We are commencing immediate consultations with our membership on Industrial Action.”

Commenting on the savings which would be incurred by the cuts, the spokesperson said: “The proposals by the Trust will achieve less than £68,000 of savings and is nothing more than meaningless tokenism which will exploit some of the lowest paid staff which the Trust employs.”