It was the first note of union discord in a process apparently characterised by total harmony.
As the long-awaited legislation on statutory union recognition came into force last week, the MSF union attacked employment lawyers Eversheds.
MSF head of health Roger Kline demanded to know if there were any circumstances under which Eversheds would advise NHS employers on “undermining” a trade union.
In a letter to Eversheds senior partner Martin Warren, Kline also asked for details of contracts to provide NHS employers with anything other than advice on specific contractual or risk issues.
He added, “If MSF discovers that Eversheds provided any advice to NHS Trusts on de-recognising trade unions or marginalising their role, we will not hesitate to call for a UK-wide NHS boycott on the grounds that they are undermining the human resources strategies of the NHS.”
But Warren described the issue as “academic”. He said, “I have never been asked to give this sort of advice to an NHS Trust and I think it is highly unlikely I would be asked to do so. The sector is totally unionised.”