Ninewells Hospital porters set for strike ballot after ‘working 30 men down’

Unite rep Graham Nelson said porters at Ninewells Hospital “are on their knees”.

Porters at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee could be set for strike action again.

NHS Tayside porters are “on their knees” due to being understaffed by almost a third, according to senior Unite rep Graham Nelson.

Now, the workers at Ninewells Hospital are set to hold a ballot over potential strike action in a bid to force the health board to increase the workforce.

Mr Nelson told the Tele that porters had even tried to solve the recruitment issue themselves — but are now set to hold a consultative ballot for industrial action.

He said: “We are running 30 men down just now and it’s going to be 35.

“We have been in discussions with NHS Tayside for four weeks now about a resolution but we are getting nowhere — the porters are on their knees.

“It’s ridiculous — they’re having to do the job with a third fewer people.

“A manager came down and he was shocked — he said it was the worst he had seen it.

“They are running them into the ground. There are nurses complaining about the service and patients will be impacted by the lack of numbers.

“Something needs to be done and we have tried everything at this point.”

Mr Nelson said the ballot will be held in the coming weeks and he believes members will vote for strike action.

George Doherty, NHS Tayside’s Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, said: “NHS Tayside continues to work positively in partnership with our trades union colleagues.

“Currently there is an ongoing review of portering services being carried out jointly with trade unions.

“As is normal in any service review, interim measures have been put in place during this period such as enhanced use of overtime and fixed-term contracts, to support the continued delivery of services.

“We are confident that any individual’s issues will be fully discussed during these partnership meetings.”

NHS Tayside porters went on strike for three months in 2015 following a dispute over pay grades stretching back 10 years.