Pathologists at Chorley Hospital have voted for strike action over what they claim is a £6,000 pay axe threat.

Biomedical scientists working at Chorley and Royal Preston hospitals have voted to strike over the prospect of changes to their working arrangements which they say will hit them financially.

The management at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has now asked Unite, the union, for talks.

Its members in the pathology department are due meet this week to discuss their strategy.

Unite members reacted to the trust’s plans to impose shift changes, which they claim could see staff lose up to £6,000-a-year from their salaries.

Staff, who examine patients’ blood samples, say they could also be called into work at a moment’s notice and with insufficient staff to adequately cover shifts.

Unite members voted unanimously for industrial action short of a strike and by a margin of 96 per cent for strike action.

Unite regional officer Steve Davies said: “The trust’s management is being completely unreasonable. Workers will end up losing up to £6,000-a-year due to these cutbacks. The changes will not only affect our members’ lives, but, because of future insufficient staffing levels, patient safety.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Teaching Hospital Trust, said: “In 2011, in partnership with our local joint staff-side representatives, we agreed arrangements for the transition of biomedical scientist staff to national terms and conditions for out of hours working. “The agreement was signed up to by all parties and included a 12-month period of salary protection for the staff affected.

“Over the last 12 months we have discussed various shift options with staff and the unions, including maintaining the current shift arrangements.

“We are continuing to work with unions and staff to resolve these issues.”