An end to NHS Tayside’s pharmacy workers strike could be in sight if a meeting planned for today is successful.
Union bosses representing the region’s striking workers were due to meet with the Scottish Government’s terms and conditions committee (Stac) today to discuss the ongoing dispute.
Pharmacy support workers have been on strike since August 19 in a row over pay grades.
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Hopes of ending the walkout were dashed earlier this month after the health board failed to secure enough union members for an appeals panel to review workers’ banding grade.
Susan Robertson, Unite’s industrial officer, said: “This has been a long and bitter dispute over pay grades.
“However, fresh talks planned for today could put an end to the stalemate.
“We believe that our workers have been treated very poorly by NHS Tayside.
“Industrial action has been continuing with pickets present on a daily basis outside Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and Perth Royal Infirmary.
“The union has been seeking further meetings with the management to resolve this issue.
“However, they have failed to conclude planned negotiations over the past two weeks.
“We are now sitting down with the Scottish Government’s terms and conditions committee in an attempt to break the stalemate and get our workers the pay deal they are looking for.”
Susan predicted the ongoing impasse would have had far-reaching consequences.
She said: “NHS Tayside has covered the striking workers by using other workers on higher pay grades.
“This has obviously taken them away from their own posts.
“This is bound to have had an effect on the public who will have had to wait longer for any medication they have been prescribed. Susan said there had been “no sign of urgency” from the board.
But a health board spokeswoman claimed Unite had failed to take up an earlier offer to meet with the committee.
She said: “We believe the involvement of Stac will support a resolution to this issue.
“Therefore when Stac again contacted both parties earlier this month offering their input to support a resolution, NHS Tayside agreed.”