Strikers at Dudley Group of Hospitals trust voted for a 12-day stoppage after health minister John Denham said the government was 'working closely with Unison at a national level' to end the dispute. The 600 mainly ancillary workers voted last week for a sixth round of strike action against their transfer out of the NHS in a private finance initiative deal. In a letter to Dudley South's Labour MP Ian Pearson, Mr Denham made it clear that the government was taking an active role in the dispute, over the head of the trust. Resolving the dispute had been 'a top priority for some time', the letter says.
The government had 'instructed the trust' to re-open negotiations with the staffside and was taking 'all necessary and possible steps' to resolve the dispute. A trust spokesperson confirmed it had reopened talks with the strikers.