An autumn of discontent?

This week I’ve noticed an interesting development.  Or perhaps, once I’ve been looking out for it, I’ve noticed the following:

It started with the announcement that UNISON were going to take on the Government as they claim that there hasn’t been the appropriate consultation with the public over the recent White Paper.   I think this is a brave and interesting move, and I will be watching developments unfold as they happen.   Whatever happens will have long-term consequences both within and outside the NHS.

Along with this expression of discontent at a national level, I’ve learnt of a number of local disputes.  The GMB are balloting their members over the transfer of a contract with their patient transport service at a Trust in South London.

I’m also aware of UNITE also talking to members about taking similar action at two other Trusts south of the river.

Is this the sign of things to come?  In my 12 years with the NHS, I’ve always experienced good staff side relationships, working through differences in a pragmatic way.   As the pressure increases with significant cost savings and radical service changes on the agenda, will we see an increase in union action?  Are we entering an autumn of discontent?

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