The move of NHS 24 call handlers into a Clydebank office block has provoked a formal grievance against council bosses for lack of consultation.

Hundreds of jobs are moving out of their base in the Golden Jubilee National Hospital and fears were raised last year they could be moved to Renfrewshire.

But the alternative site, West Dunbartonshire Council’s (WDC) Aurora House, has previously been the subject of concerns about its suitability for social workers.

Their union, Unison, complained in February there had been “no meaningful consultation” about their social work staff being moved out of Aurora House to other facilities. 

They said they have “serious concerns" including not having enough space should offices return to work from as early as July.

While they welcome the NHS 24 jobs staying in West Dunbartonshire, union bosses said WDC had conducted “no consultation” with existing staff in Aurora House.

The NHS said their own trade unions were involved in "every step" of the process, which had been "comprehensive and inclusive".

Unison said they had “repeatedly” requested information and meetings with council bosses after their members read details of the proposals for Aurora House in the Post before staff had seen them.

Val Jennings, Unison West Dunbartonshire branch convener, said: “To date there has been no meaningful consultation with trade unions or members who were given only days notice to collect their belongings and resources and move out, with no forewarning and no information on future work location or where essential work resources would be located.

“Members informed Unison the move was chaotic and uncoordinated leaving staff feeling confused, undervalued and stressed.”

Unison members voted unanimously on May 18 to submit a collective grievance and duly submitted it on May 27.

“All members expressed disbelief, upset, anxiety as well as anger and other justified emotions with expressions of a lack of trust and confidence in the organisation,” Ms Jennings continued.

“Unison and its members are appalled at the unacceptable way trade unions and staff from various departments have been treated by the employer.

“Unison have serious concerns for workers returning to work in offices, which could be in July 2021 dependent on restrictions, with not enough space particularly in Clydebank.”

The union called for urgent discussions and assurances from council bosses.

But WDC insisted they have engaged with staff since February 2020. Confirmation that they were considering Aurora House came in February 2021 before an NHS board meeting in March.

A spokeswoman said: “We updated our employees with further information circulated on March 12 following the board decision to proceed.

“We recently completed an exercise to identify employee’s preferred work location, home or office, and will be continuing to consult our trade union colleagues as we develop a plan for the return to the office for a number of staff following 14 months of home working.

“The council has a significant estate and has space available which can fully accommodate any teams which require office facilities going forward.”

West Dunbartonshire’s MP, Martin Docherty-Hughes, told the Post: “Whilst it’s positive news that NHS 24 jobs are to remain in Clydebank, I’m concerned to hear that council staff based at Aurora House may not have been suitably consulted on changes to their working arrangements.

“I would encourage council officials to engage in constructive dialogue with trade union representatives to resolve these matters quickly and ensure staff are given the reassurances they need.”

A previous version of this report was not clear that the grievance was against West Dunbartonshire Council over Unison members being moved out of Aurora House. The grievance and complaints were not against the NHS 24. The Post is happy to clarify this point.