Tagged: Simonside

Call for Dame Margaret Barbour to intervene in strike dispute

Barbour warehouse staff picketing outside Beacon House, Follingsby Park, at the start of a three week strike.

Striking workers are to call on Barbour’s chair Dame Margaret Barbour to help resolve a dispute over changes to employees contracts.

A letter is to be handed in to the firm’s headquarters in Simonside, South Shields, tomorrow, following a march by those taking industrial action.

A rally will also be held outside Barbour House.

The march, which will set off from the Tesco car park at 9.30am, comes as Barbour management have agreed to Acas talks on Monday, according to union Unite.

They are calling on Dame Barbour to ensure the company’s management enter the talks in a positive and constructive manner.

Speakers at the rally will include Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said:

Barbour’s actions run contrary to the family values the company says it holds dear. We hope that Dame Barbour listens to the workers’ concerns and ensures that the company’s management enters Monday’s talks in a constructive manner.

“Workers have shown through their solid support for the strike that they are prepared to stand firm to get a just settlement.

“Management should be under no illusion of the workforce’s resolve and we urge Dame Margaret Barbour to intervene and help resolve a dispute which is damaging the Barbour brand.”

January’s four week stoppage by the Gateshead based workers started on Monday 5 January and follows six days of strike action in December in a row over contracts.

Members of Unite are unhappy at changes in their contracts, which, they say, will see the removal of unsocial hours payments and the requirement to work until 11pm.

However, the company, says the new proposed shift pattern would be from 7am to 3pm, and 2.30pm to 10.30pm, and that the deal offers workers substantial pay rises.

Source – Shields Gazette,  08 Jan 2015

Blind man was asked: ‘Can’t you get the bus to hospital?’

A blind man in South Tyneside says he was asked if he could “get a bus” under a controversial new vetting system for ambulances.

Former lorry driver Alan Tully, 65, lost the sight in his left eye 25 years ago to glaucoma and has very minimal sight in his right.

He regularly books ambulances for treatment at Sunderland Eye Infirmary and a diabetic clinic at South Tyneside District Hospital.

But when he called last Friday to book an ambulance for an appointment at Sunderland Royal Hospital next month, he was told he was “not entitled” to one – and advised to take a taxi or bus instead.

The move comes after a new eligibility system introduced by the North East’s clinical commissioning groups.

Mr Tully, of Winskell Road, Simonside, South Shields, said:

“I rang my GP at Cleadon Park and they told me the system had changed and they gave me a number to ring.

“When I called, they asked me if I couldn’t not use a taxi instead. I thought he meant a taxi ambulance, which I have used in the past, but he meant for me to pay for a taxi.

“I rang back later and this time the woman asked if I could not get a bus to Sunderland.

“I just told her I was blind and my legs aren’t too good.”

Mr Tully, who gets about with the support of his guide dog Zeke, called the service last Friday and is still waiting to hear from health bosses if he meets the criteria needed for an ambulance.

He added: “I think it’s absolutely disgraceful, I really do.

“How are pensioners supposed to be able to pay for taxis?”

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck expressed her concerns over the rule change and is to seek a meeting with the region’s Commissioning Group.

A spokesman on behalf of the Clinical Commissioning Groups in the North East said he could not comment on an individual case.

He confirmed that regulations did not exempt a person with any particular condition or illness from having their transport eligibility reviewed.

She added:

From October 20, all new Patient Transport Service bookings are subject to a short eligibility assessment, in accordance with national policy.

“This will take the form of a small number of questions being asked at the time of booking.

“The purpose of eligibility criteria is to ensure that those patients, with a medical requirement, can access transport to hospital. Patients with a medical requirement to be transported by ambulance will continue to receive transport.

> You might have thought that any patient trying to get to hospital for pre-arranged treatment could be considered to have a medical requirement ?

“Patients who are not eligible, are given information on alternatives available to them. Patients will not have to pay for an ambulance where there is a medical need for transport.”

If patients have any concerns or queries, they can contact the North of Tyne Patient Advice and Liaison Service via Freephone 0800 0320202, by text to 01670 511098 or by e-mailing northoftynepals@nhct.nhs.uk.

Source –  Shields Gazette,  25 Oct 2014