Hundreds of domestic staff and porters could stage strike action at Ninewells as a bullying storm threatens the hospital’s operation.
Local councillors have voiced grave concerns after it was confirmed the NHS Tayside hospital is facing another mass walkout hot on the heels of last year’s porters’ strike.
Domestic staff have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the fresh action after growing fed up of “bullying tactics” deployed by senior management.
Responding to a consultative poll of members by Unite the Union, 98% of the hospital’s 160 domestic staff said they would back industrial action should it be tabled.
With hospital porters now to be balloted on the same matter, Ninewells could lose more than 260 staff.
Councillors throughout Dundee have now urged NHS management and union bosses to work together to come to a solution.
Labour councillor Richard McCready supported striking porters during 2015’s walkout and said, while he hopes concerns can be resolved before strike action is taken, worker’s demands have to be taken seriously.
The West End councillor said: “Staff know their contribution is crucial to the delivery of healthcare services.
“And I know they would go out of their way to ensure there wasn’t any impact on emergency cases.
“That is why it is absolutely important we make this situation different to last year.
“There needs to be a hands-on approach — there can’t be any procrastination.
“Workers in this city need to be treated with dignity and respect. There can be no justification for bullying in the workplace and I would expect action to be taken against any accusation which is proven.”
Liberal Democrat representative Fraser Macpherson, too, called for efforts to be made to avoid industrial action.
He said: “It is absolutely vital that there is a resolution.
“There has to be meaningful discussion between NHS management and trade unions.”
Independent councillor Ian Borthwick said: “I would hope these matters are investigated fully and action taken where appropriate.
“Bullying is deplorable and management have a significant responsibility to ensure this is thoroughly investigated.”
A source told The Courier that staff turnover within Ninewells is abnormally high due to workers feeling unhappy about treatment from management.
It’s further claimed there is “unrest” within a number of departments within the hospital.
Dundee City Council health convener Ken Lynn said he was unaware of any potential strike action.
He said: “This wasn’t on the radar
“As someone who has been on the wrong end of work place bullying, I know it’s not pleasant at all.
“It made my life a misery for a considerable amount of time.
“I personally, and NHS Tayside, take accusations of bullying very seriously.”
A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “NHS Tayside is disappointed that it has still not received notification from UNITE on the outcome of any consultative ballot they may have held.
“NHS Tayside continues to discuss any concerns held by UNITE members with their local branch officials, and local managers and trade union officers are working in partnership around issues raised.
“We take any allegations of bullying seriously and have very robust policies and procedures in place so that staff can feel confident to report any concerns that they may have.”
Last year’s porters strike ran from April 7 to the end if June and saw support staff having to cover duties.
Union members accepted a “compromise” offer of increased wages.
The dispute related to pay grades stretching back 10 years.
Members of the Unite union voted to accept a deal which will saw them moved to a new pay bracket.